Saturday, August 3, 2013

Two Days in Paris!

Since I knew I would only have a short time wherever I went, I did a lot of research for every city I went to, and decided on what would be most important to see. Here is what I came up with for Paris.

We took an express train from Germany to Paris, and then spent much of our first day trying to find a hostel. Since we hadn't had time to book one before leaving Baltimore, pretty  much everything was full up. We ended up at a Hostelling International property a little far from the city center, but it was definitely cheap! We then took the rest of the day to charge all of our devices, do some research, grab some dinner, and go to bed early for a big day in Paris!

For our itinerary, we did use that first day to do some prep work. We got about ten metro tickets as soon as we arrived, so that we wouldn't be stuck anywhere. We also got the Paris Museum Pass, which was 39 euros for two days. It included a map and list for all the museums it covers.

Day 1
The Louvre, Jardin de Tuileries, Champs-Elysees, and Arc de Triomphe

9am: The Louvre opens. If you already have the Museum Pass, you don't have to wait in line! There is NO WAY you can see the entire Louvre in a day, or a week, so I decided to just stick with my favorites: Venus de Milo, Nike of Samothrace, Mona Lisa, and Ancient Art. I also explored the exhibits on the most bottom floor about the history of the Louvre. You might think it's just another museum, but no! The building itself has been a palace, dungeon, fort, you name it. That's why the Louvre is so cool.

1pm: Lunchtime. We ate at the Louvre; there are lots of options in the building itself, ranging from a really nice cafe to just snacks you can eat in the cafeteria area.

2pm: We took a detour to the Louboutin store on Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, then sauntered through the Jardin de Tuileries in front of the Louvre. These gardens are perfectly manicured and just as beautiful as the pictures. At the end is the Jea de Paume, now a photography museum, and Musee de L'orangerie, which houses Monet's Waterlilies. These are both included in the Museum Pass, so stop by!

3:30pm: Detour to Place Vendome and Cafe Angelina! Even in Paris, I enjoy some afternoon tea.

5pm: Stroll down to the Arc de Triomphe. We took most of this along the Seine, rather than straight down the Champs-Elysees, then cut over a few blocks before Place de Charles de Gaulle. You can absolutely climb to the top of the Arc (194 steps), and it is included with the Museum Pass, so why not? The view from the top is actually pretty grand.

7pm: Dinner. After some serious shopping along the Champs-Elysees, we grabbed some dinner at a little brasserie a few blocks off the Place de Franklin Roosevelt, and then headed back to our hostel.

Day 2
Versailles and Eiffel Tower

8am: Take the train to Versailles! Any south bank train station has the RER trains that go to the Versailles station, and it's just a short jaunt from there. We rented bikes from a place right outside the train station, and took those! Note: get your tickets before you head back! At the end of the day, there is a HUGE line of people trying to get tickets to return.

9am: The Palace opens around here, but it varies. The line is LONG to get in, but it moves fast. Once inside the area, we went through pretty much everything you can see inside. The Hall of  Mirrors, the state apartments, Mesdames' apartments, everything. After going through all of this, we biked out to the town to pick up some lunch. We then headed down to see the various other buildings. There's the Grande Trionon, the Petite Trionon, and the Queen's Hamlet, which also had cute little bunnies!

5pm: Train back to Paris. As I mentioned before the lines for tickets here are crazy! Buy in advance!
6pm: Eiffel Tower. Oddly, my in laws were also traveling through Europe this summer, and we met up beneath the Eiffel Tower! They decided to climb all the steps up to the second tier, since the line was shorter for that, but my friend and I opted to just wait at the bottom. Maybe if it were dark, it would be worth it.
8pm: Dinner. There are a ton of cafes and such around the Eiffel Tower, so of course we picked one and ate there. Delicious, as is to be expected.

There you have it, two perfect days in Paris. I hit everything that I really wanted to see, took time to enjoy it, and loved every second.

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