Because we just got back from Paris, we get asked how we mapped out our itinerary in order to experience everything Paris has to offer. Paris is filled with the most amazing history, sights, shops, food, and shopping. I truly believe that no one will ever “see it all”, but that is the joy of traveling and experiencing new places. You want to leave that place wanting more, and that is why this spur of the moment trip to Paris was our second time visiting!
My advice to those traveling to Paris, (or Europe) is to be OKAY with not seeing it all. Don’t stress yourself out each day expecting to cram everything in to each waking moment. Being stressed and anxious about “missing out” on seeing everything takes away from what Europe has to offer and the cultural experience of LIVING LIKE THE lOCALS. My goal everywhere I go is to blend in and act like a local- dress like them, behave like them, enjoy the little things like they do. That is why our itinerary consisted of WANDERING with a few attractions thrown in each day.
Day 1- Jet Lag
Jet lag is very real. But, you have to fight through. I mean, how hard is it to get showered and dressed and hit the streets of Paris? NOT VERY HARD! You will be very tired, but the excitement kicks in and you are on cloud nine.
We arrived in Paris around 10am and got stuck in extreme traffic. We had to go 14 miles and we were bumper to bumper for 2 solid hours. Thanks to our MOMMY, she packed extra zip lock bags… Hayley and Abigail were close to losing it.. if you catch my drift.
We arrived at our amazing VRBO! It was so cute, so Parisian, and perfect for us sisters! We all showered, called our mom (and hubs) and gave ourselves 3 hours to sleep.
TIP– It is okay to take a nap! We knew we wanted to enjoy the day, but wouldn’t be able to if we felt sickly tired.
Our first day was spent WANDERING! We stayed in our favorite Part of Paris – St. Germain – so wandering and hitting up the shops was the perfect thing to do that day. What amazing sights you fall upon when you just look, walk, and enjoy time with those around you.
Day 2- Find a favorite coffee shop.. book a day trip
My favorite part of Europe is their coffee. The art of of the boulangeries (Bakeries) is unlike any you will ever see. They sit on every corner, baked fresh each morning, each offering a variety of their signature pastries, as well as my go to CHOCOLATE CROISSANT. All you have to memorize is how to order 2 each morning… Je voudrais deux croissants au chocolat.
We found the most perfect one, and went there every morning to enjoy coffee and our pastry before hitting the streets. They expected to see us each morning, and it became “our little place”. While this little activity seems so minuscule in the scope of everything you can do in Paris, it is the most memorable because it was our time together to just relax, enjoy a beautiful breakfast, and talk about what we wanted to do that day.
During our breakfast each morning we would discuss where we wanted to go on our three day-trips we knew we wanted to take. Because we all had been to Paris before, we wanted to book a couple of day-trips to see more of Europe.
TIP- book and plan your day-trips before leaving. Train ticket prices sky rocket if booking the day before. You will get great deals if booking before.
We made the mistake and did not book our train tickets early, so we spent some time walking to the train station to check out some dream destinations that wouldn’t break the bank.
Day 2 was the sunniest day we were going to get, so we let Abigail take the lead and plan the perfect picnic by the Eiffel Tower. While it may be the most touristy thing to do, it was a BLAST! Check out her blog post on planning the perfect picnic.
After our Picnic, we enjoyed wandering around the area. We caught happy hour and sipped our Mojitos on the patio watching everyone walk by, enjoying the rush of the city and the beautiful views.
We did some shopping (naturally), grabbed some dinner, and realized we were chasing daylight. We remembered that at the top of the hour come nighttime, the Eiffel Tower lights up for 5 minutes, shimmering and sparkling and truly is a MUST SEE! We did not plan to be in that area until nightfall, but, we had so much fun wandering that we lost track of time and it couldn’t have worked out any better. After that, we took the metro home and couldn’t crawl into bed fast enough!
Day 3- Day Trip to Versailles
Blog post to come!
Coffee and chocolate croissant time first thing, then off to Versailles we went!
You will see in the coming posts that we had some major metro problems when trying to get to Versailles for the first time. It took us about 4 hours to finally get there. The goal was to see the palace, but we got there so late in the day that we wouldn’t have enough time to wait in line and see the palace before it closed. But, instead, we roamed around the city of Versailles and it was AMAZING! Everyone is so eager to see the palace, and misses the opportunity to truly see the city. So again, we WANDERED, window shopped, stopped in different boulangeries and picked out pastries that looked yummy that we hadn’t tried before. Hayley found a one of a kind dress in a shop and we just laughed, walked so much our feet hurt, and turned a frustrating situation into a really fun and lighthearted day (after wiping the tears from our eyes for wasting half a day on the metro).
Day 4- Day Trip to Lille, France
Blog post to come!
Day 5- Paris and Versailles -Round 2
Of course we started the day at our favorite Coffee shops with a chocolate croissant!
Because we had such a struggle getting to Versailles the first time, and missed out on seeing the castle, we decided to go back so we could see everything we missed the first time. We will share the Palace and tips and tricks to avoid the longest lines in posts to come!
After we left Versailles, we got off the metro in a different arrondissement to explore some different monuments we wanted to see. We didn’t plan on walking as far as we did, but we were having such great fun on our last Paris day that we walked from the Notre Dame to the Arc De Triomphe! It was quite the track. I don’t recommend walking that distance.
TIP- Learn the metro and use that to help you out! We averages 12.3 miles each day. Our bodies definitely paid the price. Bring Bandaids and blister protectors, 3 pairs of good walking shoes and icy hot!
Day 6- Day trip to Brugge, Belgium-
Blog post to come!
To hear more about our day trips from Paris, follow our blog to get updates on when we post!