After 7 months in France I finally made it to Paris! I knew I couldn’t leave the country without at least one visit to the City of Light. Thus, I planned to head up to Paris with a few friends at the end of April. Our TAPIF contracts officially ended on April 30th. Many assistants began heading back home around the end of April and beginning of May. My friend Ted had a flight out of Paris back to the States early in May, so we packed up and headed to Paris for his last weekend in France.
In addition to this being my first time in Paris, it was also my first time on a TGV! High speed trains are amazing; especially after 7 months of slow, uncomfortable TER trains full of kids blasting music from their phones. Don’t get me wrong, the TER trains were great as well. Coming from Michigan where everything has been developed with the automobile in mind, reliable (to a point), convenient, easy, cheap public transit was a dream I never wanted to wake up from.
We took the train from Nice to Paris Gare de Lyon on Saturday April 30th. After our train pulled in, we hopped on the metro only to emerge to pouring rain. Finding our Airbnb in the rain wasn’t pleasant. Lugging suitcases up the spiral staircase to the third floor wasn’t much fun either, but we were in Paris; what else did we expect? Once we were in and settled we were able to enjoy the trip.
Our Airbnb was in Batignolles in the 17th, a quiet and bohemian neighborhood categorized by families and hipsters, according to the listing. We found this assessment to be true, and I would recommend this neighborhood to anyone looking for a place to stay in Paris. We were close to both Villiers and Rome Metro stops, which made for easy access to everywhere we wanted to go.
Having previously lived in Paris, Ted was relegated to tour guide status. I created a list of the places I wanted to go and Ted did his best to put together an itinerary that met my expectations. I do have to say, to my credit, I went into this trip with reasonable expectations. Between chats with friends who had lived in or visited Paris in the past, and countless searches on Pinterest, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted my first trip to Paris to unfold. Three and a half days in Paris isn’t much, but it is enough to see quite a bit if you know what is most important to you and if you’re willing to be flexible. Here is my original list of demands:
- Eiffel Tower (day & night)
- from Trocadero
- up close
- Musée du Louvre (from outside)
- Musée d’Orsay
- Notre Dame
- Arc de Triomphe
- Jardin des Tuileries
- Les Invalides
- Place Vendôme
- Galeries Lafayette
- Opéra Garnier
- Grand Palais
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- Place de la Concorde
- Place des Vosges
- Night walk on the Seine or Canal St. Martin
- Musée Carnavalet
- Père – Lachaise
- Moulin Rouge
In the end, we were able to do nearly everything, and Ted added several things to my initial list. The places we missed out on just gives me even more reason to visit Paris again, though do you really need a reason to visit Paris?
Have you been to Paris before or are you planning a trip there in the future? Stay tuned for Paris part 2!