This past summer, I accompanied my best friend on a trip to Paris. It was an amazing experience and I fell absolutely in love with the city. But I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who has said they didn’t love Paris. We spent five days in Paris— each day we were very busy with things to do.
Day 0: JFK to Charles de Gaulle
So this wasn’t really a day that we did anything. We left for John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) and got there around 2 PM. It was great to get there 3 hours before the flight departed because we had time to relax, have a bite to eat, and not have to rush to board the plane. Our flight departed from JFK around 5 PM, and it was 7 hours long. I don’t know about most people, but I have a lot of trouble falling asleep on planes. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t fall asleep- you can imagine how tired I was when we landed in the morning. I will definitely have to use these tips next time I go on an overnight flight.
Day 1: Sacré-Cœur & Montmartre
Our flight arrived in Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) at 6 AM. We went through customs and grabbed our luggage from baggage claim. We then left the airport in a taxi around 6:45 AM, where I called my mom to tell her I landed (it was 1 AM in the U.S. but she told me to call her anyways). It took about 40 minutes to get to our hotel from there. We stayed at the Hotel L’Antoine in the 11th arrondissement of Paris (Bastille area). It was a really cool hotel- each of the rooms had a different design- and it was one of the less expensive hotels in Paris (you can see the hotel here). The hotel was not near the center of Paris, but we soon found out that it really didn’t matter whether or not our hotel was close to everything.
After we checked into the hotel, we decided to take a nap because we were so tired after the flight. When we woke up, we got dressed and decided to look around the hotel.
We were walking around and found something we had never seen before— crepes to-go. There was a chef in the front of the restaurant, Esmeralda, who made a crepe of your choosing (Nutella, Chocolate, Cream, Ham & Cheese, etc.) and gave it to you “to-go”. I got Nutella and it was really good. As we kept visitinv different places in Paris, we saw that there were crepe places just like this on almost every street corner! As a result of this, I was eating crepes every day (without any guilt).
In the end, we decided to go to Sacré-Cœur, a beautiful Church. This was the first time that we had to use the metro and the map was really confusing. It is really important to find which metro station is closest to your hotel. It does not really matter where you hotel is located, as long as it is near a metro station—from there you can get anywhere in Paris in less than 15 minutes. To get to your destination, you take the metro towards the station at the end of the line in the direction that you want to go. For example, the metro closest to our hotel, which is located on the Rue de Charonne, was Bastille. So, we had two options once we got into the Bastille station (which is line 1): get on the metro going towards La Défense (westward) or get on the metro going towards Château de Vincennes (eastward). Because the metro at Bastille did not go directly to Sacré-Cœur, we needed to find a station that did go directly there. We found that we could take the metro from Bastille eastward (towards Château de Vincennes) and get off at Nation, then switch to line 2, and take the metro (towards Porte Dauphine) to Anvers. From Anvers, we got off and walked to the Sacré-Cœur.
We went inside and looked at all of the religious relics and lit candles for the patron saints. We saw that we could even climb to the top of the Sacré-Cœur, so we did! At first, it seemed like a great idea- but we saw that it was 300 steps to the top and the staircase was about 2 feet wide with little light.. Very claustrophobic! It took a lot of energy, but we ended up being fine with it, and the beautiful view from the top was worth it (some people say that the top of the Sacré-Cœur has the best view in Paris). I would not recommend anyone who has claustrophobia to do this though…
Afterwards, we decided to walk around the Montmartre. When you walk down from Sacré-Cœur, there are many artists selling their artwork. We were thirsty, so we sat outside in one of the cafés and people-watched. We continued to walk around and did a little shopping. Montmartre is a very nice, calm area of Paris. There are cobblestone streets where everyone walks, and very little cars are seen.
We then took the metro to the Louvre Rivoli station. We wanted to see the Louvre Pyramid- we heard it was really cool. And we took pictures before leaving to get dinner and and then back to the hotel.
We decided to walk down the Rue de Rivoli instead of take the metro. We were looking around and found a restaurant, called Le Tibourg, to have dinner. The restaurant has outside and inside seating; we sat inside because it was a little chilly now that it was evening. It was a more casual restaurant, but the food was great- you can see the food we got below.
After we ate, we walked the rest of the way to the hotel which took about 20 minutes. It was around 8 PM, so there weren’t a lot of people out and all of the stores were already closed so it was a nice walk to have as the sun went down.