Bonjour! Paris has been at the top of my bucket travel list for years, and thankfully this past year I finally booked my ticket! Paris was everything and more than I could have imagined. Read on to learn how to spend four days in Paris!
Arriving in Paris at Night
Arrival by Train:
We took the Eurostar Train from London’s St. Pancras into Paris Gare du Nord and arrived in Paris around 9:30pm. We had booked an earlier train into Paris, but somehow got caught up with our wine and cheese platter that we ended up missing our train. Thankfully there was room on the next train out! The Eurostar was a pleasant 2.5 hour ride where I had a chance to relax, upload pictures, and charge my phone and cameras.
Air B&B Check In:
From Gare du Nord, we navigated the Paris Metro system and took the train to La Motte-Picquet – Grenelle station and walked to our Air B&B. Our Air B&B was on Boulevard Garibaldi in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris. The neighborhood was a more quiet and residential neighborhood, but just a short walk to the Eiffel Tower.
Tip: If you are on a budget, this is a great neighborhood to stay in! Our Air B&B was around 60 Euro per night and the Metro was a 5 minute walk away. In minutes you could be in a more ‘tourist’ neighborhood via train. However, if you are looking to be right in the action of Paris, I would recommend staying in the St. Germain Neighborhood.
Exploring the Neighborhood:
Once settled into our Air B&B around 10pm, we decided to watch the Eiffel Tower light show. We bought a bottle of red wine and walked on over to watch the show. This was the perfect way to get acquainted with the neighborhood, have a glass of wine, and enjoy the beauty of the Eiffel tower.
Day One: Touring, Touring, Touring
Big Bus Tour:
One of my favorite ways to see a city is taking a sightseeing bus tour. On a level of 1-10 this is the most touristy thing you can do, but we literally saw all the top destinations in one day! We took the bus from Champ de Mars, and toured through the city until we hopped off at our first stop: Musée du Louvre. We took our obligatory photos of the Pyramid, but we didn’t actually go into the Museum due to time restrictions. Our next stop was Notre Dame followed by the Arc de Triomphe. We were also lucky with beautiful comfortable sunny weather!
Quick Lunch at … McDonald’s:
Honestly, this was my LAST resort in food options, but I was getting beyond the point of Hangry. We needed something quick and fast so we could continue to tour. However, to my surprise, the McDonald’s was modern and clean. We were in and out within 30 minutes and we kept on touring.
We got back onto the Big Bus and headed over the Alexander Bridge to Trocadero where we took awesome pictures of the Eiffel Tower.
TIP: Bring snacks for cases of emergency!
Sunset Seine River Cruise:
Our bus tour included tickets for the Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise. We didn’t plan on taking the cruise during the sunset, but it just so happened that way since we were already in the neighborhood. The cruise was so fun! You get to see Paris from a river point of view taking in the many gorgeous bridges along the Seine. I recommend this tour for first time visitors of Paris.
Tip: Arrive a little early for the River Cruise. You will have to wait in line longer, but you will be the first to board the boat to secure the best seats!
Dinner at Firmine:
After our long and exhausting first full day in Paris, it was time to unwind with a glass of wine and comfort Italian food. We found this place while walking back to our Air B&B and sat outside on the patio. A great way to end our first evening in Paris.
Day Two: Sacré-Cœur, Shopping & Sunsets
French Breakfast at Brasserie Le Segur:
We found this adorable local French Cafe Brasserie Le Segur down the street from our Air B&B. I loved how authentic this cafe was, and ended up coming back here every morning. A cafe and croissant later we were ready to begin our second day in Paris.
Heading to Sacré-Cœur:
Since we booked a two day bus tour, we ended up getting back onto the Big Bus and took the Montmartre route. Along the way to Sacré-Cœur we got to see the famous Moulin Rouge, and the Pigalle Neighborhood. Once the bus stopped we started walking up the hill of Montmartre and the many steps of Sacré-Cœur. We waited in the short line to enter the Basilica and took in the architecture of the building. Since the Sacré-Cœur is on a hill, the views of Paris are stunning from this point. After taking a few photos of the view, we headed back to central Paris to Saint-Germain-des-Prés to do a little shopping for beauty products.
Shopping at City Pharma
If you are a French products geek, City Pharma is the place for you! They sell French beauty & skin products at discounted rates, along with value sets at up to 50% off the price you would pay in the US. However, be aware that this place is a zoo! People were acting like the world was ending grabbing boxes and boxes of products stocking up for life! That being said, have patience and know that it will not be a relaxing environment crammed tight with people.
Tapas at L’Avant Comptoir
After shopping, it was time for lunch! We found this place with high ratings on Trip Advisor and decided to check it out. Don’t be confused with the restaurant next door named Le Comptior. Behind a curtain you will find a small tapas bar with a nice wine selection. We had a fresh charcuterie board and some sparkling wine. Thankfully when we went during an off time around 4pm, it wasn’t that busy but the only HUGE downside was there were no stools! So don’t plan on relaxing your legs here!
Wine Down Along the Seine
After seeing groups of people drinking along the seine while we were on our river cruise, we decided to do the same! We bought a bottle of wine from wine shop with some plastic cups and headed toward the Seine. Along the way, we ran into the famous Pont de Arts aka the Lock Bridge. Once on the Seine near the Louvre under the Pont du Carrousel Bridge we picked a place to sit, drink wine, and watch the sunset. We were lucky to have the most gorgeous purple and orange sunset. As if I needed another reason to love this city more. The view was stunning and ended up being my favorite night in Paris.
Day Three: Opera Garnier + Wandering
After a quick breakfast and a cafe express at Brasserie Le Segur again, we headed straight to the Opera Garnier. We circled around the Opera Garnier on our bus tour, but today we went inside to admire the gorgeous interiors. I mentioned this in my 10 Cheap Things to do in Paris post as a must do in Paris aIt is absolutely stunning.
France = Fragrance | Souvenirs at Parfum DIVINE:
After the Opera, we wandered a bit the neighborhood and discovered this perfume boutique DIVINE. I wanted to take back with me a French Parfum and this boutique was the perfect place to browse and sample these unique perfumes. Our whole experience was above and beyond! I highly recommend stopping here to purchase your very own French perfume. I ended up buying “Spirituelle” which has a mix of rose and amber scents that is perfect for all year use!
Eating on Rue des Martyrs:
After shopping for perfumes, our sales person recommend us to stroll Rue des Martyrs to grab something to eat. This street has plenty of trendy restaurants and small shops. We stopped at Terra Corsa a Corsican style restaurant/deli with outdoor seating. Unfortunately, it was rainy & cold so we sat inside. The food was delicious! We shared a fresh cheese and meat platter, along with some red wine. After we ate, we headed back to our Air B&B to relax for the evening.
Day Four: Relax + Tour Montparnasse
Bike Rental & Jardin du Luxembourg:
Since we pretty much saw everything we wanted to see in the first days in Paris- on our last day we had the luxury to just explore side streets and not sick to a plan. So we decided to discover the city on bikes, one of my favorite things to do when touring other cities. We rented our bikes from a bike share program on the street. Biking in Paris was a little scary because the streets were so narrow! After we biked around for a bit, we returned the bikes at another station near the Luxembourg Gardens. A beautiful garden in the middle of paris.
Au Revior Paris- Views at Tour Montparnasse:
We saved visiting the Montparnasse Tower observation deck for our last night in Paris. We planned accordingly so we could watch the sunset over the views in Paris. This was a great way to take in the city for the last time.
Tip: Instead of waiting in long lines to go on top if the Eiffel tower, this is another option to see the views of Paris. Also, you will have the Eiffel Tower in your pictures!
Accessibility: I loved how you could get around Paris so easily on the Metro! Conveient and fast, especailly since we were staying in a more residential neighborhood.
Parisian Architecture! I swear, everywhere you look in Paris is a photograph. Can’t wait to visit Paris again soon!
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