Paris in 72 hours
Paris is almost in everyone's list of places to visit, It has a something that attracts everyone, a bit of romance, a bit for the history lover, something for the fashion lover. The city never fails anyone.
Me and N spent a little over 72 hours (3.5 days to be precise) in the city, last year and here is my list of must do things in Paris, on how to see Paris in 72 hours, get a vibe of the city and soak in it's culture.
Do a Paris Walk with Ludovic
I don't think there is a better way to see a city than walk it and specially so when you are in Europe. Everyday in Paris we walked around 25000-30000 steps (as my fitbit told me) but take a guided short walk with a local, specially of the off beat areas. We did one with Ludovic called see Paris like a Parisian/Off the Beaten Track (link to the walk here) and I think it was the 3 hours that we enjoyed the most in Paris. Besides, taking us to some of the areas and think that we would have never gone by ourselves, things that are never found in a guidebook, he also gave us valuable suggestions on how else to plan the rest of the time in the city.
Ludovic's tour took us through lesser known streets of Paris, pointing us to small pacman and other designs which exist in many corners of Paris streets, view of a gorgeous vertical garden, and then some more street art.
He showed some lesser popular churches, a walk across the canal, one of the best bakeries (I think I had the best Croissant ever), Du Pain Et Des Edees (10th Arr, Rue Yyes Toudic), a visit to Ghetto Museum (Le Comptoir Général) and ended at a local Paris food market with the freshest produce ever.
And oh I even spotted a Punjab store ;)
That's our group with Ludovic at the end of the walk
Visit Notre Dame
It is probably one of the most beautiful churches I have seen in recent times, said of have been build over a period of 185 years from 1160 to 1345, it is the finest example of French Gothic Architecture. The Church building is gorgeous and so peaceful, inspite of the buzzing crowds.
Visit The Pantheon
I know this doesn't pretty high in a lot of people's itinerary but for me this was one of the highlights of the trip. The fact that it has so many great people under one roof is amazing to think of. I literally had goosebumps when I saw the graves of Marie Curie and Pierre. Besides the museum is really well maintained and beautiful
Yes you cannot go to Paris and not have Macarons. So eat them, I tried both Pierre Herme (which blew me with it's flavours) and Laduree whose texture was beyond anything I can explain. I also tried macarons from numerous other bakeries I kept encountering on my never ending walks and I swear each one of them was better than the others.
And while you are at Laduree, try some more desserts as well. Everything you touch there will blow your mind, it did blow mine atleast.
Take the cruise on River Seine
I know it is a very touristy thing to do, but sometimes one must indulge in touristy things because they probably are the best to give you the birds eye view of the city. Paris as a city is vast and unless you spend a month there you cannot really see it all and even then I doubt one can cover it all. The cruise is an excellent way to take a round of the city and atleast see all the major tourist spots from outside. Besides the who doesn't like water and boats
Walk the Fashion High Street - Champs Elysee
Whether Fashion is your cup of tea or not, whether shopping is on your mind or not. A walk down Champs Elysee is a must to know what a fashion high street looks like. From the biggest of the cloth brands to cars to food you find everything there. And climb up L'Arc de Triomple specially in the evening for spectacular night views of the Eiffel Tower.
Eat a French Meal
Find out where locals eat in the area you are staying at and have an authentic French meal. We took Ludovic's advice and went to Le Verve Vole for a meal we really enjoyed. Some brilliant wine, Sashmi of giant sea bass with elderflower pickled cherries as appetizer and a slow cooked pork for mains followed by Apricot Clafoutis with cheese sorbet for dessert. However do go hungry please, we had had a couple of glasses of wine and a bite an hour earlier than dinner and the person serving us wasn't very happy that we are going to be sharing, though he seemed to become very friendly when we ordered a full bottle of wine ;) The meal costed us about 90 Euros I think.
Visit Shakespeare & Company
If you love books like I do, this is really a must visit in Paris, founded in 1919 the store smells delicious in a way only old book stores can. I could have spend the whole day there if not for time crunch. If you are familiar with Blossoms of Bangalore, this that to the power of many :)
Visit The Louvre
Yes we are predictably coming to the end and the two most well known attractions in Paris. I don't need to tell you that you must visit The Louvre, however I do have a word of caution for you. Do plan what you want to see there. The Louvre is massive and unless you have planned on what you want to see it is easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of time there. Also don't go with expectations of standing in front of MonaLisa and getting lost in it's smiles because all you will get is a glimpse between many many cameras trying to take a picture of Mona lisa and a sea of selfie sticks ;) However, even if you don't want to see any art I think The Louvre is a must visit just from the perspective of architecture and what a beautiful and impressive building it is
And go to the Eiffel Tower, The top of the Eiffel Tower
The giant steel, man made wonder of the world. It is spectacular and the sheer size of it is enough to take your breath away, but do make sure you go up. Right up to the second floor because the view of Paris from there is beyond anything you can expect. Also will make you realise how symmetric Paris is and the inner circle and outer circle of Paris that everyone keep talking about. And oh skip the wine on the second floor, it's not worth it ;)
PS : Yes this post is overdue from almost 10 months, a bulleted draft has been sitting in my folder for 8 months and I decided it was high time I worked on it. Last June (June 2015) and N spent 3.5 days in Paris as a part of our Belgium-Paris-Amsterdam Europe trip and hopefully this will the first in the series of post I do from Europe, atleast one for each place and one on the little things that helped me plan the trip better, what tickets, what apps :) Fingers crossed