Who doesn’t love Paris! It’s a beautifully dynamic and romantic city, and I’m so happy that I had the privilege of living there on my year abroad. Two years later, I’m sat here reminiscing about those wonderful days where I grew as a person and wishing I could go back and live them again. Maybe one day! For now, I’ll tell you of the best things to do in Paris – like a true Parisian!
So, if you’re planning to go there for a day, these are three things you have to do.
- La Sainte-Chapelle
If you like Gothic architecture then this is a must-see. This royal chapel is located in the heart of Paris, commissioned by King Louis IX (commonly known as Saint Louis) to house his holy relics which included Christ’s Crown of Thorns, is considered one of the highest achievements of Gothic architecture created during the Rayonnant period. This place will take your breath away with its stunning stained glass which depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments illustrating the history of the world, Christ, and how the relics came into the hands of King Louis.
Alongside the chapel is the Conciergerie. A fantastically grand building that was part of the former royal palace, Palais de la Cité, and which was then converted into a prison where Marie-Antoinette herself was held before her execution. It’s an impressive and eerie building with a lot of history. You’ll feel the hairs rising on the back of your neck the minute you walk in here.
Also, the clock that lies outside the Conciergerie on the corner of Boulevard de Paris, is the oldest public clock in Paris!
It’s stunning, isn’t it?
Tip: Tickets to the Sainte-Chapelle cost €10 and €15 to the Conciergerie; BUT, if you’re under 26 and a citizen of the European Union then you can visit for free! This applies to a lot of popular museums and monuments of the city. With Brexit, you better hurry!
+ A lot of these entries are also free on the first Sunday of each month.
2. Shakespeare and Company
This place is by far one of my favourite and cosiest spots in all of Paris; it even has a cat you can pet! The original shop used to double as a library, a publisher, as well as a boarding house for aspiring authors.
Hundred of books adorn its interior, and the beds of the former boarding house are still there, and you can even sit on them while having a read. There’s also a piano, and if you know how to play, then you can have a go!
The bookstore can be quite tricky to find, because of the massive trees in front of it hiding it from view, but it’s in rue de la Bûcherie in the Latin Quarter and opposite the Notre Dame.
Why not have lunch at the famous restaurant nearby, called Procope, where famous philosophers like Voltaire and Rousseau once stayed (unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to show you how beautiful it is).
Since, Notre Dame is just a few feet away you’ll need to head here next.
This cathedral is simply iconic and over 13 million people are said to visit it every year. It is a French Gothic architectural building and is the spiritual heart of the capital. Its interior is beautiful and the stained glass on the rose window will have you staring at it for a while.
You can go to the top of the tower and take some stunning pictures of Paris.
3. La Tour Eiffel
Finish the day by visiting the Eiffel Tower at night, so you can see its 20,000 light bulbs light up and sparkle. This usually happens at sunset, so the time varies, but it usually lasts for five minutes every hour until 1AM.
Tip: I’d suggest you travel to the tower by bus, so you can see other parts of the city if you haven’t got enough time to wander during the day.
The tower was initially built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle and was not intended to remain permanent. It was also meant to go to Spain, but the project was rejected.
Fun fact: Gustave Eiffel, the man who designed the Eiffel Tower, had an apartment made for himself at the top of the tower.
And there we have it! How to spend a day in Paris. I know there is a lot to see in this famous city, but I hope that these few places I picked out will make it a memorable one for you.
I might write another guide soon to tell you of all the other wonderful places.
I’d love to hear what you guys like about Paris! What places do you like to visit on your trip?