Paris, tu me manques… – a list of my personal beloved places in Paris and tips how to enjoy Paris like a traveller not a tourist…

Hello everyone,

since my last post a lot of time has passed… My life was pretty busy the last few weeks/months. I have spent a lot of time studying for my exams and of course travelling to different countries and cities. However now, before i will be far away again, I have some time to report you about my 3 last trips. One of them was a short trip to Paris with one of my best friends. A little side note before I start to share my experiences with you, to save some time, to improve my English skills and to make my blog more open to a wider group of travellers, I will write my posts in English from now on. If you have questions about the content of the post, feel free to contact me in English, German or Polish.

I am lucky to say, that I have already been to Paris twice – once in August 2016 and now in end of June this year. Travelling to Paris was of course on the top of my bucket list and I was pretty excited before I managed to go there. And even though I was there already twice and had prepared a good plan/agenda for my trip, I still felt lost and overwhelmed by this city. For that reason I would like to present you a list of my personal beloved places in Paris and I will arrange a small list of tips on how to enjoy Paris like a traveller not a tourist…

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Me & the Louvre Pyramid

Places, that I managed to see in Paris and liked the most:

  • Montmartre & the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur

My favourite place in the city of love is Montmartre – an old district of Paris well placed on a hill comprising the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur and the Place du Tertre. I really love the bohemian and artistic style of this part of town. This might be the last place, where you can still buy some souvenirs that really are from France. Here you can find some nice shops that offer local food and of course nice restaurants.

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Welcome to Montmartre
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Painting on a wall near The Basilica of Sacré Cœur

On the way to Montmartre hill you will probably stumble upon the Moulin Rouge theatre with its famous red windmill.

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The Moulin Rouge

If you make your way to the top of the hill you will encounter the beautiful white Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. This impressive church just looks marvellous from outside and inside (admission free) and it is possible to go up to the top of the dome (for just few €) to enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris.

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The Basilica of Sacré Cœur
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View of the city of Paris from the dome
  • The Jardin du Luxembourg, also known as the Luxembourg Gardens

My second favourite place is the Luxembourg Garden. It looks beautiful with all its flowers, sculptures, model sailboats on its circular basin, fountains and the palace. There are not only banks, where you can take a rest but also chairs, that you can freely move around. I fell in love with this charming place and I know, that I will definitely come visit it the next time I will be in Paris. While strolling around in the gardens, you really want to say: la vie est belle… 

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The Luxembourg Palace
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Entrance
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View of the south facade of the Luxembourg Palace and the gardens basin
  • The Notre Dame Cathedral

No introduction to this beauty is necessary… The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most popular attractions in Paris. The classical front view of the Cathedral Notre Dame is just breathtaking. You shouldn’t miss walking around this majestic building to see a nice little park and rose garden hiding behind it…

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The frontal view of the Notre Dame Cathedral
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Rose garden
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The Notre Dame from the river side
  • The Louvre

You probably already have heard, that you could spend the whole day there and still won’t be able to catch everything…  well I still have tried it and I didn’t make to see everything that I have planned to. But it is definitely worth it, to come back again and I will do it for sure. It is well known, that the Mona Lisa painting is pretty small and most people are disappointed about it. In my opinion the size doesn’t matter and I am somehow fascinated about this rather simple picture. But of course there is so much more to see, for example the Nike of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss and other masterpieces of the Louvre are deserving to be contemplating.

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The Louvre
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Mysteriously smile of Mona Lisa
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The Venus de Milo
  • L’église de la Madeleine

This  Roman Catholic church was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon’s army. To its south lies the Place de la Concorde, to the east is the Place Vendôme, and to the west Saint-Augustin. Impressive pediment of this church shows the Last Judgment.

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Frontal view of L’église de la Madeleine

Close to the church, there are a lot of restaurants, coffees, shops and a lovely macaron specialist – Ladurée.

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The Ladurée
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So beautiful and so delicious…
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View from our hotel on Rue Saint-Lazare
  • The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is of course a must see in Paris. But I have preferred to look at it from some distance.

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Looking at the Eiffel Tower from the Palais de Chaillot
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The Eiffel Tower seen from the Champ de Mars
  • The Arc de Triomphe & The Avenue des Champs-Élysée

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées runs between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. Its 1.9 kilometres long and 70 metres wide. It really nice to walk along there visiting theatres, cafés and luxury shops and do not forget to sing the song Les Champs-Élysées  from Joe Dassin.

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The Arc de Triomphe at the western end of the Champs-Élysées
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The Arc de Triomphe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I beneath the Arc.
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Fascinating sculptures on the Arc. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. You can see there the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on arc inner and outer surfaces.

How to enjoy Paris like a traveller not a tourist:

Paris, Paris, Paris… It is so much here to adore. However also so much to hate. Really long lanes to the most visited places, a lot of people in metro or trains, not enough public toilettes and a horrible condition of them … So you should plan your journey to Paris at latests before leaving your hotel room and here are some hints that will hopefully help you:

  • Prepare a list with places, that you absolutely want to see and do a realistic time scheduling for visiting these locations. Don’t underestimate the walking time around the attractions due to crowded and highly frequented places.
  • Make sure to plan your rests beforehand and that the chosen places are on the way to the next attraction. Trust me it will be really helpful, when tiredness or hunger takes over or you just simply need to go to the toilet. You will be more relieved to reach your chosen restaurant to make a break after a 3 hours visit to Basilique du Sacré-Cœur & Montmartre hill, instead of standing in a long line to use the public toilet or wasting money in overpriced tourists coffees with bad sanitary arrangements. It will also be good for your vacation budget.
  • Try to find a hotel from where you can reach some of the places by foot, that you really want to visit. At best, the hotel is near to a metro-station too. During my first visit to Paris I had booked a hotel near L’église de la Madeleine. One of my friend, who is living in Paris has helped me and my boyfriend to find a nice hotel with a great location, but also has a good quality and price relations (we were  both students at that time). From our hotel we were able to reach attractions like Montmartre hill and Moulin Rouge by foot. Just in a couple of minutes you will be at Place Vendôme and on the way there you can  visit lovely restaurants, tea rooms and macaron specialist – Ladurée.  We had a lot of coffees and restaurants just around and across the street was the metro station from where we were able to go to the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe.
  • If you are looking for a nice place to just relax and enjoy the charm of Paris and its lifestyle, I would advise you to visit the Luxembourg Garden. You might have this picture of you sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower while eating a baguette in your head. You should quickly forget about this idealized imagination. The place around the Eiffel Tower is full of tourists and vendors who want to sell you trashy souvenirs. So after sitting there surrounded by waste and annoyed by all the people, you will probably just leave. Too avoid this situation, just take my advice and visit the Luxembourg Garden for your picnic instead. You will see a lot of French people there relaxing and reading books, listening to music or improving their painting skills. The atmosphere is just astonishing…

So this is it for today.  I hope you find this post helpful. I try to make this blogpost short and tasty. If you have some questions feel free to add them in the comment section.  See you soon while travelling (maybe in Paris?).

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