This trip was a quick overnight stay in the French capital on our way to Disneyland but we managed to make the most of it and crammed the big 3 sights in! We arrived by Eurostar which is the quickest and easiest way to arrive from the UK in my opinion. Yes by air it is technically quicker but as the train departs and arrives right in the centre of London and Paris, it means you bypass the bus journey from the airport and can get into your trip straight away. We just had to catch the Metro a few stops to our hotel for the night, the ibis Paris Tour Eiffel Cambronne 15eme. It was only a 5 minutes walk from the Metro and within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower so perfect for our short sightseeing trip.
We went to our room and got a surprise, the bed wasn’t made, there was litter all over the floor and it looked like someone had just left! We went straight back down to reception to tell the team member who swiftly apologised, called the cleaner and within 20 minutes had our room perfectly clean so hats off to them for sorting it quickly. Now we were eager to get out into the city as soon as possible so we got the bus to the Louvre before it closed!
The exterior of the buildings are stunning, the pyramid was wearing a sort of rain jacket when I visited, I don’t know if this was for bad weather or another reason but we could see the excellent architecture once we headed inside to the very modern entrance area. For all visitors under 26, admission is free so ensure you carry your passport for proof of ID. We only had around a couple of hours before close, which is nowhere near enough time to enjoy the louvre to its fullest so we circled a few highlights on the map and focused on seeing just those. Some of the rooms are amazing themselves, with intricate sculptures and details on the ceiling, of course the Mona Lisa was a must visit which was, and probably always is, extremely busy. It is a lot smaller than people expect and we couldn’t get near with the crowd of visitors around it, but it is one of those things you have to tick off your list when visiting. Make sure you look at the other paintings in this room though which don’t seem to get missed as they are all stunning!
We exited through a huge shopping centre and walked along the Rue de Rivoli, a busy shopping street for something to eat. We were incredibly tired from travelling at this point and hadn’t eaten for a long time so we actually ended up in an American style diner of all places as we were extremely hungry and didn’t want to waste anymore time! It turned out to be a rather good place to eat and wasn’t particularly expensive either for the touristy area we were in. Now the skies were dark, we jumped back on the metro for a few stops to the Arc de Triomphe.
Arc de Triomphe
The only way to get to the Arc is via the subway and it is another attraction that is free admission for all under 26! Prepare for a tiring visit though, because to get to the top there are 284 steps up a tiny spiral staircase, though once at the top you forget about the pain in your legs as the view is incredible. In one direction is the light covered avenue of the impressive Champs-Élysées, to your right is the Eiffel Tower soaring above the city and if you look down you can amuse yourself with the crazy traffic weaving its way around the roundabout you are standing on. Luckily we managed to time our visit to the top perfectly for the hourly light show on the Eiffel Tower so as soon as it hit 8pm, the strobe lights on the tower glistened and shined for miles for 5 minutes.
It then took us around 30 minutes to walk to the foot of the Eiffel Tower and arrived just in time to see the next light show up close. It is an amazing sight and I would recommend going to both of these icons in the evening, the way they both shine in the darkness around them is really special. We decided to leave the trip to the top until the next day as we had done a lot of walking and the queue was extremely long so our legs deserved a rest. We arrived early the next day at the tower so we could take a visit to the top this time! The weather was terrible, I hadn’t seen rain like this in a long while, we were ready to brave the weather though and started queuing for the ticket offices to open, the weather started to settle down so we hoped for them to open soon. That was until one of the staff members came down the queue and said it might not open till after midday. With us leaving Paris for Disneyland at midday we had to miss out on the journey to the top this time but we did manage to get our hands on some cute Eiffel Tower shaped pasta in the gift shop!
So it is possible to complete all the Parisian main icons in one short overnight stay, just ensure that the weather isn’t terrible and the hotel cleans your room! Of course Paris has a lot more to offer and I hope to return soon to see some of the amazing palaces and try some classic Parisian food, though this was a great taster to the French capital. If you have been to Paris let me know what you thought in the comments!
Check out some of my other travels!
New York City – Amazing views, Attractions & Central Park
Bruges – Food heaven: Chocolate, Waffles & Fries!
Cappadocia – Fairy Chimney Rocks & Fantastical Valleys