We had almost 3 full days in Paris but that didn’t stop us from acting like we were visiting for the first and only time as soon as we arrived! At the end of the first day, and some 8 miles later, not only were we exhausted but we felt like we had “done Paris in a day.” Luckily we were wrong and found many more things but if you only have 24 hours, perhaps this can be your guide.
As soon as we dropped our things at our Air B&B, we headed straight for the Louvre. We had heard that the lines at the pyramid entrance can be insane and so we were heading toward the Port de Lions entrance which is just to the side of it but a bit more hidden. There ended up not being much line at the Pyramid after all so we were able to head straight down.
I definitely recommend the Audio Guides – these are normally great anywhere in a foreign country but the ones at the Louvre are seriously amazing because they are interactive maps and you can even pick “tours” to see certain things. The guide will direct you around the Louvre to see what you want- essential in a museum that you could spend days in! We did the 1 hour tour to hit all the “greatest hits” of the Louvre and it was perfect!
Arc de Triumph
From the Louvre we headed to the Arc de Triumph, aka Napoleons shrine to himself. Since we weren’t planning on heading to the top of the Eiffel Tower this day, we headed to the top of the Arc for panoramic views of the city. The Arc is in the center of a circular traffic grid so it was fun to see the city sliced like a perfect pie.
Any time I take a trip, it is not complete without Macarons! France is the birthplace of the modern version of these fabulous gluten free treats but the originals go back hundreds of years. Catherine de Medici’s bakers would apparently make them for her when she moved to France to marry King Henry.
Laduree is often credited with the cookies’ 20th century reinvention (another Chef says it was him instead) so I had to make a stop (or 2) there to really have the full experience!
I typically get the same flavors of macarons anywhere I go – salted caramel, lemon, rose, mint, vanilla. If I am getting more macarons, then I will lean towards additional fruit flavors like peach, mango, or raspberry.
We didn’t have anywhere planned for dinner so with the powers of Trip Advisor and Yelp combined I was able to find us a spot with great reviews on our way to the Eiffel Tower. Les Ombres could not have been a more perfect spot for our first night in Paris (and it would be a great recommendation if it were your only night in Paris as well). The rooftop restaurant offers incredible views of the Eiffel Tower as the sun set – to include its hourly light sparkle. You are also able to go out on the rooftop in front of the dining area too for even better pictures which was pretty cool.
Beyond the views, the food was also incredible. My fish was cooked to absolute perfection and Shai’s beef tenderloin was equally amazing. They also brought out little pea-lime macarons that were insanely good. They were on the line of sweet and savory and a flavor combination I would never think of but was perfect for dinner.
From there, we decided to do some scoping out of the tower for the next day. The online tickets to get to the “summit” or very top of the tower were sold out online but you can get them day-of too if they are available. Since it was already later in the evening we weren’t able to get to the top but we did decide to buy the tickets to take the stairs to the first two levels. If you are in a time crunch and want to go inside the Eiffel, I definitely recommend it. The walking price is less than $10 per person and you don’t have to deal with being in a cramped, potentially smelly elevator. You do however have to deal with over 700 stairs….so there’s that.
Paris doesn’t really “light up” at night. It seemed like most of the buildings have their lights off and so I decided the next day I wanted to see the top of the tower in the daylight as opposed to the evening. (Stay tuned on that future post!)
It is safe to say that by the time we got back to the 6th floor where our Air BnB was, we were utterly exhausted. If you only have 1 day to do Paris though, I think we hit the highlights. What else would you suggest if you were there for a short time?
Future posts on the rest of our trip to follow!