Five things you must do when in Paris
Whether you want to embark on a solo trip, hang out with friends or plan a romantic getaway, Paris is a destination of choice. The possibilities are endless.
Here are the 5 things I’ve enjoyed doing while in Paris.
1. Walk down the Champs-Elysées and whistle (or hum) “Les Champs Élysées”
Just like I will encourage you to sing (or hum) “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from the balcony at the Casa Rosada, I will urge you to dare sing “Oh! Champs Élysées” while strolling down the boulevard the song is about. The song will put a smile to your face and add a bounce to your step.
There’s something liberating about being THAT tourist. Think about it… you are on vacation in a foreign country, now is the time to be foolish. Who cares if the locals or the other tourists stare? Chances are you will never see them again in your life. Worst case scenario, you end up in a viral YouTube video. But trust me; no one will have the time to record you.
I did this all by my lonesome. Imagine if two or three of you are strutting down the street humming… And yes, my peeps are silly enough to partake in my shenanigans.
2. Ride the Bustronome
This one will depend on your budget. But if you were already planning on spending a few euros on a nice dinner, I’d recommend this one.
Gastronomic meal paired with a night (or day) tour of the city. Sign me up! Everything about the tour was awesome, except the little confusion at the pick-up location. The street number provided for pick-up doesn’t pertain to a building. The pick-up location is near a park. It would have helped if they just said so on the website. I had to phone in to get better directions. Anyways… Once I got on the bus, all was forgiven.
In case you’re wondering, like I did, how they keep glasses and bottles from falling: the table have a cool built-in tray-like fixture to hold them in place.
The night tour only includes one stop: the Eiffel Tour during the lighting show. And that’s how I like Fèfèl (Yes, I nicknamed her.), all lit up. For the duration of the tour, you remain on the bus, eating and sipping on wine. A listening device is provided which gives you historical details about the main buildings and attractions on the route.
I went with a friend (shout out to the girl who went frolicking with me around town). But this would make for the perfect date. (Imagine: nice diner followed by a proposal by the Eiffel Tower.)
3. Catch a view of the city (by night) from the steps of Sacré-Coeur church
I haven’t been on top of the Eiffel Tower (I promised Hubby that we would do that together), so I can’t compare the two views. But the view from the church steps is breathtaking. City of Lights indeed!
It can be a romantic outing, but there are a lot of people.
Sad note: the friend who took me there passed a few days ago, as I started to draft this. Thanks for the memory, brother. RIP.
4. Walk by the Seine
You’ll see tourists and locals alike.
The Seine is dirty. Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, we can focus on how great it feels to be taking a little stroll in Paris. And Paris is renowned for its bridges. And the bridges go over the Seine. See how irrelevant its cleanliness—or lack thereof—is to your visit.
Once I’ve figured out on which bank my apartment was (Right Bank, same as the Arc de Triomphe), the river made it easier for me to find my way home. All I had to do is look for Fèfèl and go on the side opposite to her!
There are all sorts of photo-worthy buildings and neat shops on both sides of the river. You can easily spend days just exploring the vicinity of the Seine. I really enjoyed my solo walks by the river, but company was good too.
5. Sit on a terrace and do some people watching
Parisians love their terraces. Join them!
It’ll be a good way to take a well-deserved break from all the walking you did along the Seine. It’s also a good way to let the beauty of the city sink in. Pick a terrace on a busy street to maximize your chances of people-watching.
I did this alone, and it didn’t feel odd. There were many other people sitting alone. Don’t be self-conscious if you’re single in Paris.
6. Visit the Château de Versailles (I know. I know. I said five! Consider this a bonus…)
While Versailles is a city in its own right, a Parisian assured me that I didn’t really leave Paris…
Take in the beauty and splendor of the palace. Think about how much money it cost to build it. Then think about where that money came from… This sums up the thoughts that went through my mind throughout my visit there.
The palace is grandiose: luxury at your fingertips. But as I went from room to room, I couldn’t help but think about the amount of slave work needed to build this. To be clear, I’m not saying that enslaved people built it. What I mean is that at the time this palace was being built (18th century), France was peaking as a colonial power. And we all know that the wealth from the colonies was funneled to the Métropole…
That thought did not ruin the visit for me, though. One can admire beauty and still be conscious about how all that beauty came to be.
My favourite room: the Hall of Mirrors (la Galerie des Glaces). It’s the only room that left me speechless. Well, not really. I was able to utter the word “wow” many, many times.
I thought it was awesome to share this experience with a friend. Besides, you’ll need someone to comment on the overall extravagance the palace displays. But you can definitely take the tour alone (among the hundreds of other visitors).