I love Paris for it’s beautiful architecture, huge parks and Pret a Manger! What more could you want in a city!?
Back in the summer of 2018 I went to Paris for the first time which is where this whole Tourists Guide idea began, so this post is more about the less touristy bits of the Paris seeing as I did all of those last time. You can read that post HERE.
You may be wondering, was it a wise idea to even go to Paris given this whole Coronavirus situation? Well I went from the 8th to the 11th when things were just as bad as they were in the UK but things have escalated since then. I was actually meant to go to Milan and Florence for that time, but unfortunately I had to cancel that about a week before I was meant to fly out and I’m very glad I did otherwise I would be stuck over there right now. I decided to go to Paris instead because why not!
I had 3 full days there and I squeezed in as much as I could to make the most out of the trip, if you are planning a visit then I would definitely recommend using the metro instead of walking everywhere because it’s sooooo cheap to use. It’s about £1.80 per journey and it doesn’t matter how far you go within the city, so it’s definitely worth it, compared to somewhere like London where the cheapest fare is about £2.40 for a couple of stops.
I also stayed in St Christophers Hostel, which I would definitely recommend for solo travellers if you’re looking for somewhere affordable. It’s a little far out of the city centre, about 30 minutes to somewhere like the Louvre on the metro but when it’s so cheap it’s worth it.
Jardin Des PLantes
I started off my adventure in a beautiful park, if you have read all of my other travel posts then you’ll know that I love a good botanical garden! With it being, sort of, winter there weren’t many plants in full bloom so it looked a bit bare but was still gorgeous nonetheless. They had a natural history museum as well as a botanical garden museum within the grounds that weren’t hugely expensive to go in but I decided not to go. However I did go through a couple of the greenhouses, which were lovely! Definitely overpriced, 5 euros to go in, but that’s Paris for you. It’s an expensive city!
Shakespeare & company bookshop
This is somewhere that I didn’t see in any guidebook I read but heard about it from my Mum and I’m so glad I went. It’s basically a very quirky small bookshop! As a book worm it’s my idea of heaven. Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take any photos inside, so all I’ve got are these couple of the outside but if you google it then you can see all of it’s glory inside. There were a few seats inside as well so I could have spent hours and hours here if it wasn’t so busy. With it being very unique there were a lot of tourists inside, making it very hard to move around.
As you may all know, the Notre Dame unfortunately caught fire last year taking a lot of damage. When I last came to the city, this was the one landmark that we didn’t see because we didn’t have the time and I do kinda regret not going then because even though they are rebuilding it, it won’t be the same as it used to be. You now can’t get anywhere near it because it’s covered in scaffolding and cranes and surrounded by a very tall wall.
Unlike the rest of Paris which architecturally looks very old, this is very modern and definitely one of a kind. It’s actually an art gallery, I would compare it to the Tate Modern. It’s got work from so many amazing artists such Mondrian and Delauney, and with the galleries being located on the top floors you can go outside and see some amazing views of the city! I was in here for a couple hours because it was absolutely huge! They’ve got these cool escalators that are outside the building, unfortunately they were doing construction work so you couldn’t use them.
In terms of ticket prices, I actually got in for free because if you’re under 26 and part of the European Union then you can get free/reduced tickets to most museums in Paris. You may be thinking, Great Britain is no longer part of the EU which is very true. However when I showed my passport to every museum on this trip they still let me in free so maybe they didn’t get the memo that we’d left? I don’t know, but I saved a lot of money which is all that I care about!
Is it really a trip to Paris if you didn’t visit this monuent? Due to the virus it is now closed but I was still able to go last weekend thankfully. I have never been up the tower because it’s honestly quite a lot of money that I didn’t want to spend and you can get great views of the city from the top of the Pompidou or Montmarte for free, I’m such a cheap skate. I really wanted to see it at night because it lights up, however by 6pm I was exhuasted and hungry so didn’t get to see it. However my flight was at night and I saw it lit up from the plane, so does that count?
I actually did all of the above in one day so we now move on to the next day, where I started off at the Musee D’Orsay another art gallery similar to the Louvre. It’s located in this gorgeous old train station, and on the top floor you can actually look out through the clock faces and see the whole city. It contains work from many great artists such as Monet and Van Gogh, and my favourite Degas’ Little Ballerina.
Again, I got free entry in here and I was actually very lucky to get in because at the time they were limiting entry to 1,000 people. I got there when it opened at 10 and I left at 12ish when there was an absolutely HUGE queue out the door for people who couldn’t go in until some people had left. Top tip, get to these places when they open!
Musee des arts decoratifs
From there I headed to the 3rd free art gallery on this trip. I hadn’t actually heard of this one before, despite it being located just next to the Louvre but it was formally known as the fashion museum. If I’m honest their permanent collection was nothing to boast about but I loved their exhibition on the Harpers Bazaar magazine. It contained work from the archives, clothes that had been used in shoots and the history of the magazine which may sound boring to some but is everything that I love to read about and more!
I spent the rest of this day sitting in Pret reading if I’m honest….
Musee de l’orangerie
Honestly this museum was a little disappointing. They were switching over the temporary exhibition so they only had the small permanent collection on display which is why I’m very glad I didn’t have to pay to go in because it wouldn’t have been worth the 6 euros to go in. The collection features Monet’s Water Lilly’s series which is 8 massive painting. Don’t get me wrong they were absolutely stunning, and sometimes I do find it quite breathtaking to see such classics up close. Another one of Monet’s Water Lilly’s is in the Musee d’orsay.
Seeing as I spent hardly any time in the last museum I headed to my 5th and final one on the trip. It may be called the small palace but it is in fact huge and is architecturally one of the most stunning buildings that I saw on my trip! Again they were changing out some of the temporary collections, so most of it was closed but the sculptures that were on display were quite amazing. As you can tell I didn’t have a lot of luck with the museums that I saw on this trip, but as someone who works in an art gallery, I understood.
These are the gardens that surround the Louvre and are one of my favourite places in Paris because they have some huge fountains and around them they put out loads of chairs so I spent ages sitting on them reading as the weather was lovely. Again, to some people that probably sounds really boring but to me it’s perfect.
My last stop on this trip was of course, another park where I once again sat and read and finished my book (it was a long book). By this time I was very tired and had been carrying around my backpack all day so my back hurt, so I didn’t explore much of the park but the bits I did see where gorgeous. The sun came out as well for a bit which really made it feel like summer, which I really wish it was. Again this was summer that wasn’t really in any guide books but that I saw on Google maps so would definitely recommend paying a visit to.
Et Voila, that’s everything I saw on the trip! It was a lot to squeeze into 3 days and by the end I was feeling every tired. Even though Paris can be quite expensive in terms of coffee and food, I actually saved a lot of money on the museums and attractions, the whole trip probably cost me under £300 pounds including my flights and accommodation, which is pretty good if I say so myself!
Have you ever been to Paris?