I managed to visit Paris in three days. There is one “attraction” I do not recommend at all

I managed to visit Paris in three days.  There is one "attraction" I do not recommend at all

Paris. There is a lot and a lot of talk about this city. Some people are disappointed when they arrive and do not feel its magical aura at all. Others, on the contrary, fall in love at first sight. Which group am I in? Here are my impressions and practical tips after a short stay in the capital of France.

I went to Paris to spend the beginning of June pleasantly. I had been planning this trip for quite some time and when I finally made it, I was very happy. I didn’t know if the magic wouldn’t be broken once I got there – the disappointment of tourists expecting too much from the capital of France has even been called the “Paris syndrome”. Fortunately, however, nothing like that happened. I organized everything in such a way as to make the most of my 3 days of stay. If you’re flying there for the first time, you may feel disoriented, but the more you read about this city and study the map better, the easier it will be for you. I will try not only to share my impressions of my trip with you, but also to give you some valuable tips related to sightseeing.

A city that can charm and disappoint. Am I in?

My first contact with the center of Paris took place on the weekend, before noon. I got there by special bus and metro straight from the airport. It may sound scary, after all, we’re talking about public transport in a foreign city with over 2 million inhabitants, but I must admit that it is organized very well on site. The city has as many as 302 active metro stations, and 58 of them have transfers. This should include city buses and the RER train (compared to Polish suburban trains). It was very easy to get from point to point. I arrived at the Eiffel Tower, getting off at Bir-Hakeim station – it was a very good choice. Among the lush greenery, I finally saw the famous, monumental object in person. Photos in books or on the Internet do not convey the impression it makes in real life. For me it was magical, romantic and fairy-tale-like. I wandered through atmospheric streets full of charming restaurants and the famous Champ-de-Mars. I took advantage of the greenery in front of the monument and rested, looking at the large structure.

I was impressed not only by the places, but above all by the people. The locals were polite. I had the opportunity to ask for directions or directions many times – both on the street and at the attractions, and the answers were given with a smile. It was similar in restaurants and cafes. Before leaving, I had heard a lot about the French not wanting to speak English and that they were prejudiced against tourists. Yes, there are places where you will only get a French menu, but with access to a translator, it is very easy to cope even in such a situation.

Of course, there are also things in Paris that shock or – at least – surprise and may leave negative feelings. Despite everything, I tried to focus mainly on the positives. I was looking for positive urban energy, beautiful landscapes, and I accepted what was different and different. Perhaps it helped that I didn’t have many expectations before the trip. I simply wanted to discover this place as it is and see for myself a place inextricably linked with European culture.

It is worth paying attention to this in catering establishments

Already on the first day I discovered that I had to be careful and I forgot about the valuable advice of some travelers. In Paris, tap water is very good and always offered for free in establishments. You only pay for the one in glass bottles. I knew this, and yet the waiters from the first restaurant I visited let my guard down and unexpectedly brought me quite expensive and paid water. I will mention that we also had other drinks on the table. This has never happened to me during my stay in any other place.

You need to be especially careful in the establishments located in the streets right next to the tower and the Campus Martius. Prices are higher than, for example, the famous Trocadéro, which is not far from the above-mentioned location. Tourists are accosted by the staff and encouraged to go inside, which may be perceived as quite intrusive. You also have to be vigilant near the Eiffel Tower, because it is full of touts who want to sell you souvenirs, encourage you to take part in surveys or the famous three-cup games. The situation is similar in the Montmartre district and at the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. If we show assertiveness and ignore suspicious “attractions”, there is probably nothing to be afraid of.

The biggest attractions in the capital of France. This is what I saw in 3 days

There are so many attractions and monuments in Paris that it is impossible to see them all in 3 days. I already know that even a week would not be enough – especially if we wanted to go inside every museum or gallery. Versailles or Disneyland alone are places that you have to devote a whole day to. I focused on what was important to me and tried not to give in to the pressure that was often imposed from the outside.

Every day I explored different spaces and planned everything logistically to make the most of the locations I was in. Thanks to this, I was in the city center by the Eiffel Tower and went to its top, walked along the Seine, went to the Arc de Triomphe, ate in a restaurant on Trocadéro and walked along the Champs Elysées. I saw famous bridges, visited the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Pompidou Center, the Luxembourg Gardens, the artists’ tenement house at Rivioli 59, as well as the Montmartre district with the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and a beautiful hill. In addition, there was also the Pigalle Square and the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret – by the way, it was quite an unusual experience to see it right after the collapse of a large windmill, an important part of this building. I will add that during the tour I couldn’t avoid at least a few metro rides, which saved time, and besides, it is safe and easy.

To use public transport, all I needed was the classic Navigo Easy card, which costs 2 euros. A 10-ticket card is best for three days, unless you’re there on Monday, then it’s worth getting a weekly ticket – unfortunately, it’s only valid from the given day and you always have to buy it a week in advance. I also recommend purchasing entry tickets to attractions online in advance on the official websites of given places. I did so and thanks to that I avoided standing in long lines. It is worth checking the availability of tickets even the day before. For example, I wasn’t able to buy a ticket to the tower a month in advance, but the day before my departure, the dates suddenly became available. It’s worth taking advantage of these opportunities.

The atmosphere of the upcoming Olympics

Walking around the centre of Paris just before the upcoming Olympic Games, it is easy not to notice the accents associated with this event. For the uninitiated, it is worth adding that such an event takes place only once every four years, and this time it is organised in the capital of France. It all starts on July 26. Currently, on the Eiffel Tower we will see monumental colourful Olympic rings, and on the Seine there is a huge structure with a clock that counts down the days until the start of the event. In many shops and stalls there was also no shortage of souvenirs referring to the Olympics.

I recommend these attractions and places

Streets in the historic district of Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. The beauty and charming places are definitely memorable. You can feel the French atmosphere everywhere – in the premises, architecture and even nature. When walking around the area, you have to be prepared for many hills and steep stairs, but this only adds to the charm of this place. Butte Montmartre attracts hundreds of tourists, and the stairs under the basilica were literally filled with them. There is also a fountain and beautiful flowers. I visited, among others: the heart of Montmartre, i.e. Place des Abbesses or Place Dalida with the monument of the icon of French music, i.e. Dalida. This district also includes, among others: the Moulin Rouge cabaret, where I didn’t fail to take a photo. A hit in Montmartre is definitely the Des 2 Moulins café, where scenes from the cult film “Amelia” were filmed.

The Eiffel Tower and the boulevards on the Seine are my second favorite point in the French capital. I believe that the best view of them is from the Pont d’Iéna bridge and Le Champ de Mars park. When visiting Paris, it is worth spending a romantic evening under the tower and waiting until it gets completely dark. During this time, the object is illuminated and even begins to flicker, which lasts only for a few minutes. There is no shortage of bars in the area, including: those standing on the water. Even though there are a lot of tourists, you can feel safe. For many Poles, the number of homeless people lying even at pedestrian crossings right next to the tower may be shocking. Unfortunately, this is a common sight, regardless of the time of day.

The Louvre and the museum gardens. This place also needs no introduction. When visiting the largest art museum in the world, you need to be patient, especially if you want to see the famous Mona Lisa. However, it is worth doing it at least once in your life. The facility’s staff is very helpful and willing to give tips on where to go to see a specific work. It is best to start visiting the museum and the surrounding area in the morning. In the courtyard you can take a souvenir photo with the famous pyramid.

I do not recommend this “attraction”

One of the less known, but sometimes recommended to tourists, attractions is the shortest street in Paris. In the photos it seemed atmospheric, and I was also attracted by the colorful graphics on the walls of the buildings. We are talking about Rue des Degrés, i.e. the so-called Stepni Street. It is only 5.75 m long and there is no house on it. All this in the 2nd arrondissement, in the quartier de Bonne-Nouvelle. Unfortunately, this point of the trip was disappointing. Not only does it smell repulsive, but everything looks dingy and devoid of color. Would I visit there again? Probably only by accident.

Paris sightseeing plan for three days

My trip plan was as follows. On the first day, the list included a short stay at the Eiffel Tower and a visit to the Montmartre district. I think it’s worth having a whole day to visit this area. Then you can easily visit various points, streets or squares, and eat something delicious in one of the establishments. You will also find time to simply lounge on the green hill next to the famous basilica.

Only the next day I planned to climb the Eiffel Tower. You have to take into account that it takes a lot of time, especially since the place and its surroundings really attract crowds. On this day you can also take a walk along the Seine and cross famous bridges, including: Alexander III. From the vicinity of the tower, it is worth heading towards Trocadéro Square, where there are many restaurants, and from there to the Arc de Triomphe. Then you can walk along the Champs Elysées until you reach the Obelisk of Luxor in the Place de la Concorde. From there, walking along the Seine, it is worth returning to the tower and waiting until it gets dark.

I planned the Louvre for day three. Even though I only wanted to see the most important works, the tour still took a long time. The most important one is, of course, the Mona Lisa, but my list also includes the famous Venus de Milo, Nike of Samothrace, the Code of Hammurabi and the Apollo gallery with the famous crown jewels. You can easily spend the whole day there. Then it is worth relaxing in the museum gardens. That day, I managed to go to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Pompidou center and the Luxembourg Gardens. They are all located relatively close to each other.

My sightseeing plan worked out very well. However, if you choose fewer attractions, you will be able to visit at a slower pace. Would I go back to Paris? Definitely yes. I recommend visiting this city in the spring.

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