Paris was one of my favourite cities, out of our recent European Adventure. It was truely romantic, I don't care how cliche that sounds, it honestly was. I felt more in love than ever, I felt more free and creative than I had in a long time and all the while being fuelled by fresh crispy baguettes and smooth buttery croissants. Here's how you can spend 4 days in Paris.
Ultimate Guide To 4 Days In Paris
The sun was hot, the sky was clear, and the breeze perfectly brushed back my hair as I closed my eyes and smiled, taking a bite of the best creme brûlée that had ever graced my lips - You have not eaten a real creme brûlée till you have had a parisian creme brûlée .
We tried Escargot the very first night - a tasty delight but rough on the mind. We walked for hours exploring the back streets, in awe of the beauty that simple residential apartments were blessed with. Their tiny balconies and wooden shutters were like a loved-up movie set.
We were lucky (in a way) to have spent 3 extra days in this wonderful city. Due to too much wine and the hypnotic achievements of le Paradis Latin Cabaret performers, we left our passports at the check in desk of the show. I'm actually glad we were so stupidly drunk. This was a great testing point for our relationship and the time we had together was cherished for the rest of the cramped camping trip. I obviously wouldn't advice anybody to lose their passport, but if the unfortunate event occurs, try your best to just go with the flow. Appreciate the positives and accept the unexpected adventures that come your way.
I still dream of this city. I look at my little metal Eiffel Tower and am filled with wanderlust for my next Parisian adventure. If you are planning or just thinking of converting your mind to French bonjour's and Euro's in your wallet, here's some extra information to get you started…
Learn A Little Bit Of French
Yes, no, hello, thank you, please and goodbye. Smile, be friendly and use these simple words as often as possible - a little goes a long way! Whenever entering a shop, start with 'Bonjour, do you speak english?' Most people will reply with a smile and a yes or no. It's polite on your part and a great way to establish clear communication.
The Metro In Paris
There are over 300 stations within the city. You can literally get anywhere! It's a flat rate of €1.90 for any trip. You can bulk buy tickets which works out cheaper if you are there for a few days or longer. The system is super easy to work out and there are heaps of information booths around the stations. On the Maps.me App, which I highly recommend downloading, it shows a giant M for the metro stations, this was the easiest way for us to find the closest stations.
Beat The Parisian Heat
Don't underestimate the greatness of sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Not only for sun protection but for cute pictures throughout the streets.
Make sure to drink lots and lots of water too. Most public attractions have drinking fountains near them. Take advantage of them and fill up your bottles! Saving time and money.
If you're fit and able, you can walk everywhere. There's nothing that's out of about a 4km radius. The furthest and steepest destination is the Sacre Coeur, but it is worth it once you get there. Walking saves you a lot of money, and you also get to see a lot of the hidden, of-the-track gems throughout the city.
Eating In Paris
Most Cafes/Brasseries do entree+main / main+desert for a set price. We found this to be the easiest and cheapest way to grab lunch and dinner. The servings were usually big enough to share. We shared all meals in Paris, meaning we halved our costs, didn't waste anything and maintained our physiques ;).
Our hostel, St Christopher's Inn Paris Canal, (which I recommend) was on the outside edge of the city, meaning we had to catch a train in each day. But we found that bakery's and cafes were nearly half the price of such within the city itself. We would take advantage of this by buying a snack (croissant/custard flan) and keeping it in our backpack for later on.
Things To Do In Paris
To gain the best views of the city, you can climb the Eiffel Tower or have a ride on The Roue de Paris, both for around the same price. This is great for either day or night, or both to get an exciting comparison.
Visit The Musee de l'Armee
Home of Napoleons Tomb and a whole treasure trove of the history and pride the city has to show off. Opening hours are a little complicated so make sure to check on the official website before planning a visit. The building itself is enough to drop jaws in awe. It is an absolute architectural masterpiece. Even if you're not a budding history fan, I would recommend going for a walk and a gawk anyway.
La Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre (The Sacre Coeur) and Cathedrale de Notre Dam de Paris (Notre Dam Cathedral)
Two of the world's most impressive and famous churches can be found in Paris. Both Cathedrals are major must-do's of France. Again, the architectural awesomeness of not only the outside, but inside is mind-blowing. Both are free to enter, but have reserved areas for prayer and meditation. There are many opportunities to donate once inside, if you wish to do so, but there is absolutely no obligation. Please keep in mind, that these are places of worship and great significance to the hundreds of people visiting. Respect the space, silence and people.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
For a fantastic afternoon, I recommend taking a stroll around this beautiful park. Head to a nearby bakery, pick up some goodies, a towel and head on down for a relaxing romantic picnic. This park is quite large, with many different walking trails to chose from. In the centre of the park is the Temple de la Sybille, a large network of tracks and hideaways carved into the rock. It's the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon just to take in the surroundings and have your own little 'I'm actually in paris...' moment.
The Louvre Museum
Probably the world's most famous museum, The Louvre, is another must-do. This place is HUGE, so do set aside a few hours to a few days, depending on your artistic enthusiasm, to cover all this museum has to offer. Of course, being the home of the lady herself, The Mona Lisa, do expect crowds and an early start is recommended. The building itself, again, is an incredible feat, so do make sure to have a good walk around of the grounds outside.
This island, I have dubbed gelato island. Ile Saint-Louis is home to Paris' best gelato, with an entire street dedicated to it and all things delicious and sweet. There is no way you can walk down it's main road without finding something to satisfy your sweet tooth. It was truely incredible finding this little gem when we needed a pick me up from our tragic passport-losing venture.
It's the island directly across from where Notre Dam Cathedral is located, and is easily accessible via the connecting bridge.
Shopping On Avenue Des Champs-Elysees
There is only one street in Paris where this word gets taken to the absolute next level... Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, and Chanel all call this street home. You'll casually see Ferari's, Lamborghini's and Bentley's. If you ever want to feel as poor as dirt itself, or inspired to work a little harder towards your goals, go for an afternoon stroll along it's promenade. (I recommend the afternoon because there are no overhanging pergolas or shade cloths, as to maintain the 'look' of the street, so it is very open and we did get very sunburnt.)
River Cruise With Bateax Mouches
Finally, the last must-do thing i'd recommend is a river cruise. These are fantastic for either day or night and give a fantastic new perspective of the city and its main attractions. We went with the company Bateax Mouches, running every 20-30 minutes the cruises go for approximately 1 hour 10 minutes and having commentary in english and french throughout the boat. They also offer dinner cruises and show cruises, something definitely on my to-do list for next time!
For more tips on travelling through Europe, check out my full list of comprehensive guides.