Yes, Paris is definitely one of the most magical cities in the world, and it’s also one of the most visited cities in the world as well. More than 29 million tourists visit Paris every year! If you’re planning to visit Paris, there are many different activities you can take part in while you’re there that allow you to see some of the lesser-known parts of the city while exploring the beautiful architecture and landscapes that made Paris so famous among the artistic and literary elite of centuries past.
Walking Around Versailles
There is something so intoxicating about Versailles. It’s a lavish hotel, a gilded shell over a city that was once as new and unfamiliar to me as anything I could have visited. It felt like it had grown out of nothing, somehow… The lush gardens stretching out behind me with manicured pathways that lead right up to impossibly tall doors and past enormous stone fountains and hedges sculpted into perfect shapes, statues that seem more like pets than pieces of art. To one side sits massive hall after massive hall—the Orangerie filled with gold palm trees and two fantastic long rows of mirrors, leading out onto an enormous terrace where an orchestra plays in summertime.
The place is an assault on your senses. A new experience. I couldn’t have planned anything more romantic or out-of-the-ordinary, and it has given me a new appreciation for one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s not often that you can call a trip to Paris new, but with Versailles as your destination it truly is something special. Nothing in my memory quite matches walking from row to row through its gilded halls, past towering marble columns and murals hanging directly above you.
The moment I walked inside I felt like I was inside a painting, and when I finally saw the fountains I could barely believe how gorgeous they were. Meeting them in person is overwhelming–knowing all of the people who had been here, drinking wine and admiring their beauty, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was transported back in time. A trip to Paris is always worth it; no matter how many times you’ve visited before, there’s always something new to discover. Whether it’s seeing someplace famous or trying someplace brand new—I’d recommend making sure at least one day of your trip is spent at Versailles (or at least nearby). You won’t regret it!
Going up to Sacre Coeur
Take a trip to Paris and make sure you go up to Sacre Coeur. The view from atop is absolutely stunning; looking out over all of Paris as if it were a fancy little toy village. I would recommend going at sunset for great photos and stargazing. You’ll be amazed by how many people are there trying to capture their own perfect photo, but everyone around you is enjoying themselves too much to care about what you’re doing (and who could blame them!). After sun down, things get very quiet and peaceful in front of Sacre Coeur. There is a small kiosk where they sell glowing necklaces that reflect light off its windows while they sing opera songs.
Sacre Coeur is a perfect place to visit for some calm in the hectic hustle and bustle of the busy city. As wonderful as the journey up to Sacre Coeur is, it’s made even better by what you’ll find when you arrive. Behind Sacre Coeur is a cemetery where a lot of famous people are buried like Molière and Edith Piaf. In addition, Sacre Coeur is a white and gold building that lights up during the day when the sun shines on it. It’s well worth taking some time out to enjoy this picturesque European city while you visit the well-known Cathedral of the Sacred Heart as it’s bathed in beautiful late-day sunlight.
Finding my way out of the metro system in Montmartre
Once I was above ground, it only took me a few minutes to locate my guesthouse. After signing in at reception, I headed out for a quick jog around nearby streets to help get my bearings and find my bearings in Montmartre. It didn’t take long before I found myself on top of one of its many hills, looking down on Place du Tertre and its colorful artists’ studios. It was a new experience to be jogging through such an idyllic setting—one that helped me quickly realize why so many people are drawn to Paris. The city is just as beautiful as you might imagine!
The most lavish hotel room I’ve ever stayed in: When checking into Le Meurice , I had no idea what to expect from my room. The lobby alone made it clear that we were not talking about your average hotel here. As soon as I stepped into my room, however, all doubt disappeared from my mind. The king-sized bed was covered with white linens and pillows so soft they felt like clouds against my skin. For someone who lives like a hermit most days (because he has no choice), being able to stretch out across a mattress like that felt like heaven!
Walking Down Rue Cler
New experience and photography can be two great ways to show your readers your trip and share your memories. Finding picturesque locations around town is easy – just look for statues, lighthouses, parks, or anything else that would make a good background for a picture. When you spot something particularly beautiful or interesting to shoot, snap a picture from your phone (or pull out your camera) to capture it forever. If you end up taking lots of cool shots in one area, consider buying an instant photo printer before you go so you can get souvenir prints right away! Or have them sent home when you arrive back home; nothing could be more convenient than having home-printed mementos waiting on your doorstep when you return!
Sometimes it is best to go with the flow, even if it is not predictable or understandable. If you do not want to lose track of the trail your mind takes you on, I would recommend picking up a guidebook before your arrival in the city you will be visiting or researching your arrival spot before you leave. Having an idea of what to look for in a new location is one way to always have something interesting to look at. As always, don’t forget to notice any alleys or alleyways that might be too tempting to ignore! many times, I find these things to be some of my favorite aspects of exploring new cities! Don’t be afraid to ask a local (or another tourist) if they know any other cool places nearby – most times, this is how tourists discover hidden gems, after all.
Buying an Ice Cream Cone at Berthillon
I always treat myself to a cone at Berthillon’s when I’m in Paris. The ice cream is so rich and creamy that it’ll satisfy any sugar craving you have, but with fewer calories than most American brands. There are five stores in Paris and I typically get mine from their location in Place Saint-Germain des Prés, just steps away from Île de la Cité. If you want to try some unique flavors, it’s best to go early or late; they sell out quickly!
One must visit the most famous monuments when visiting Paris, such as Notre Dame and Le Louvre. But to really experience what makes it magical, I recommend winding streets with hidden boutiques, cafes, and historic sites. Make your own way to enjoy a good walk; you never know what you’ll find! The best thing about exploring like a local is that you don’t have to visit popular tourist spots; even when you venture off the beaten path, there are still plenty of great places to visit. Here are some ideas for a starting point.
Taking pictures by Notre Dame
Some say Notre Dame is one of Paris’s most famous landmarks. And it’s a spot with a rich history and incredible architecture, so it’s no surprise that tourists flock to it like bees to honey. Though, on the other hand, this also means more crowds and waiting in line to get inside. Spend some time exploring before you visit Notre Dame. Stop at landmarks like Rue des Martyrs or Saint-Etienne-du-Mont to get a close-up look at what makes those streets special before you venture on to visit Notre Dame in person.
Furthermore, it’s the perfect spot for some people watching – just beware of tour groups. And if you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy shot, make sure to go on Rue de Rivoli, which is parallel to Notre Dame. The street is lined with wonderful monuments like Place de la Concorde and is filled with stunning architecture, perfect for photos.