Yes, I said one day.
Paris was never really high on my list of places I wanted to go. Did I want to see it? Yes, but I also want to see everywhere else! Of course, there are things to draw me there. I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and of course all the amazing food! I love croissants, LOVE! There was one thing that was my main reason for wanting to go to Paris. Croissants! No, just kidding. It was my favorite piece of art, The Winged Victory of Samothrace. I’ve always wanted to go to the Louvre and see that piece of art in person.
A trip to London had already been planned and my travel buddy, Michelle has a friend that she hadn’t seen in 10 years that lives in Paris. Being only two hours away on a high-speed train, we decided to make a day trip out of it. We bought the train tickets and started to plan our trip.
We left London early at 7:00 AM. You will lose an hour on the way there but gain it on the way back, so it works out well. We met our friend at the train station and we immediately left the station and stopped at the first place we saw to get a croissant and un café. YUMMY! Such a great way to start the day.
We headed back to the train station to buy metro passes.We bought a carnet to split but didn’t end up using them all. So I wouldn’t suggest buying a carnet if you are only going to be there for a day. Make sure you save the little metro ticket you used, you will need it to get out of the Metro. Otherwise, you will have to pay a large fee. Try not to get the used and unused tickets mixed up.
Here is a glimpse of our itinerary:
11:30 Sacre Coeur
We hopped on the metro at the train station and headed to Sacre Coeur. Luckily we had our French friend with us so we didn’t have to figure out where we were going. We headed out of the metro and turned down the street with a million tourist shops, looked up and saw the basilica. So beautiful!
We headed up to the area with the carousel and starting walking up the steps to the Sacre Coeur. This is where you need to be careful. There are some bracelet scammers that will come up to you and try and put some string around your wrist and then say you owe them money for the bracelet they just made you. Luckily I read about it online before hand and just said firmly, no thank you when they tried doing it to Michelle. After climbing a bunch of steps and of course taking pictures of us laughing about all the steps, we made it to the top! It was free to go inside so we walked around rather quickly so we wouldn’t spend too much time there. Upon exiting, we turned right and went down a path to see if we could see the Eiffel tower. So beautiful!
Our friend got us on the correct metro and sent us on our way to the Louvre for our 1:00 pre-purchased tickets. Michelle and I were on our own to navigate and we arrived around 12:30 once we found the pyramid entrance.
I had read online about the lines to get in and had researched other entrances but it wasn’t needed. There was one line to buy tickets and the second line for pre-bought tickets with no one in it. We walked right in! I had researched where Nike was located but we still got a little lost. The Louvre is huge but we found her in not much time. WOW, she is beautiful. Bucket list item has now been achieved! So amazing!! We checked out the rest of the Greek and Roman Antiquities hit the souvenir shop and ended up spending an hour total in the Louvre. Of course, there is so much more to see in the Louvre but we went in with a mission and kept focused on it. I have heard if you only have a short time in Paris don’t do the Louvre but if there is something you really want to see you can definitely achieve it if you stick to your plan and do some research.
2:30 Sebastien Gaudard
I really wanted to try these salted caramels from Sebastien Gaudard and it is located right by the Louvre. They are expensive but amazing, I am still enjoying them at home. We walked by a bunch of tourist shops while trying to find a place to eat and got free cookies. Yay, free cookies! We had trouble finding a place for lunch in this area. I was just looking for a bakery type place to grab something. I was a little disappointed we didn’t run into more bakeries in Paris. I only had two croissants while there. I was hoping to have more croissants as well as some other bread and pastries. So sad. I guess I should have planned some into our walk instead of playing it by ear. In my head Paris would have a bakery on every corner, lol! I was wrong.
4:00 Eiffel Tower
Next, we walked across Tuileries Garden and across a bridge to head to the Eiffel Tower. This may have been a mistake as it took us an hour to walk. We got to see the area but it may have been better to walk away from the water. We decided to turn down one of the streets and I’m glad we did. We walked a little further, turned a corner and bam right into this amazing view!
We walked underneath the Eiffel tower but didn’t go up. We had already seen the view of Paris from the Sacre Coeur and it had the Eiffel tower in the view so we didn’t see the point. Instead, we walked across the water to take some photos of the tower from a distance.
5:00 Arch de Triomphe
We met back up with our French friend and headed towards the Marble Arch. We ran into a bakery on a corner! Just like I imagined and we grabbed another croissant to enjoy on our walk. We found the underground pathway to get under the arch, it kind of looks like a metro entrance and there are tunnels that lead you to the center of the road so you don’t get run over by the cars. On a clear day, you could get a nice view on top of the arch. We decided to go to dinner instead, so off we went.
Michelle’s friend was from Ethiopia and that is actually where they meet. So he wanted to take us out to enjoy some Ethiopian food. We headed to the 19th Arrondissement to a place called Itegue Taitu. I had never had Ethiopian food before and boy was I missing out. The food was amazing and the coffee too!
9:23 Train Home
After dinner, we headed in the direction of the train station in the 10th Arr., casually walking through town. We stopped for a drink and headed to the train station around 8:00. Be aware you do have to get to the train station early to check in and go through customs in both directions. I was a little nervous about picking the last train on the way home but figured since we knew someone in Paris if we got stuck it would be a great adventure. We made it before the train did and there were no delays.
All in all, I think we did great with only one day in Paris! We definitely could have fit more in but we enjoyed just walking around enjoying the day! It was not my favorite city, but I also wouldn’t be disappointed to go back for another day to see other areas. If you only have a day I definitely think you can do it. Especially if you focus on two main sites you want to see. Oh, and make sure you wear a hat because bird poop!
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