They say that Paris is ALWAYS a good idea. That saying is indeed true! When I was studying abroad for a month in London, England two years ago, one of my friends Kaylee and I decided to plan a trip to Paris for one of our travel breaks. Let’s just say that going to Paris has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl like many of y’all as well, and it did not mistake. Going to Paris for the weekend was definitely a dream come true and literally the girl’s trip of mine and so many others’ dreams. With travel currently being put to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I wanted to share my experiences on a girl’s trip in Paris to hopefully inspire you and your crew’s adventures post-pandemic.
Where We Stayed
Can you guess where this photo was taken?! It was, in fact, taken on the balcony of our hotel room! I hands down LOVED where we stayed. We stayed at Hotel Stella Etoile, which is conveniently located right by the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees. In addition to our amazing location in Paris, the hotel staff were extremely friendly and helpful. In fact, they booked us day trips to both the Palace of Versailles and Giverny, France to see artist Claude Monet’s home and gardens. I would highly recommend staying here if you get the chance to go to Paris and are with only one other person (the rooms are very small), as you are in a very central location to many of Paris’s spectacular sights as well as the subway.
Our first afternoon in Paris, Kaylee and I strolled the streets nearby our hotel which, as previously mentioned, included Champs-Elysees. We had lunch at dinner at restaurants along Champs-Elysees and even purchased macaroons from McDonald’s as they were extremely affordable and still pretty good. I have, however, tried Laduree’s macaroons in the Paris airport on a layover on my way to Bulgaria and they are definitely worth the cost. As a major macaroon fan, Laduree’s definitely didn’t disappoint as did McDonald’s shockingly!
In the evening, we went on an illuminated monuments Big Bus Tour. As mentioned in my post Travel Guide: Seeing Washington, DC On A Budget, I did suggest to do a self-guided tour of the city’s monuments. However, in Paris, the monuments are a lot more spread out across the city as unlike Washington, DC. That being said, I would suggest doing an illuminated monuments tour such as Big Bus if you do want to see them all at night. As for the tour, Kaylee and I LOVED it as we got to see a ton of Paris’s most notable sights and learn a lot about them while at it. My favorite part was most definitely seeing the Eiffel Tower shimmer on the hour twice – that was a dream come true for sure. One of the things that I like about Big Bus Tours is that they provide each customer with a headset that allows them to choose their native language, which will showcase them information about each landmark just as if you were on a tour. The best part?! You don’t have to leave your bus seat!
For our second day in Paris, Kaylee and I went on two SUPER FUN tours: The Palace of Versailles and the Eiffel Tower. The first of the two was Versailles. We took the subway here and somehow successfully managed to make it each way and back. Versailles is literally a dream – just the intricate detailing in the art, furniture, and design of the palace is absolutely stunning and something I feel that everyone should see in their lifetime. Not to mention, the gardens are some of the most beautiful that I have ever seen! The Palace of Versailles holds such a vital part of French history, and seeing it still being preserved in its beauty to this day was an experience that I will never forget.
Like our Versailles tour, our Eiffel Tower tour was most definitely another extraordinary experience. Though our Eiffel Tower tour did not start out on the right foot with us initially missing our tour, we ended up calling the tour company and we got on a later tour in the evening. When we arrived for our tour, we met another family who had missed their tour earlier too and had a daughter who was also in college. We both ended up talking with the family and having a really great time. As for the part about touring the Eiffel Tower, I am really glad in retrospect that we ended up on the evening tour and got to enjoy it at night. We got to see Paris from up above and truly experience the magic of this such charming city!
Kaylee and I are both huge fans of art museums, so booking tickets to the Louvre was a definite for the both of us. We ended up spending a total of 10 hours at the Louvre just simply exploring the wonders of this magnificent museum. Since it is such a massive museum, we did not get to see probably even half of what it has to offer, but we both really enjoyed our time there and simply walking through the rooms and rooms full of stunning works of art. We *of course* got our photos in front of Leonardo da Vinci’s notable Mona Lisa painting along with many other parts of the museum. After our hours of walking through the wondrous Louvre, Kaylee and I had a super fun photoshoot outside of the museum and walked around the gardens nearby. As someone who LOVES art of all kinds, the Louvre was definitely a can’t miss and it showed me so many elaborate pieces of art besides Mona Lisa which many tourists just come to see there.
In the evening, Kaylee and I splurged on a snazzy dinner at a restaurant nearby our hotel to, then, go on an evening Seine river cruise. We ended up booking our cruise in a joint package with our illuminated monuments bus tour through the Big Bus Tours. It ended up being a pretty good deal, as we got both tours for less than what they would cost for separately. You can also find Seine river cruises for under 15 Euros on TripAdvisor. Now, these river cruises mentioned are not river dinner cruises, however, I would LOVE to go on one of those one day when I find the one on a couple’s trip! I definitely really enjoyed the Seine river cruise, as I got to see a lot of Paris’s sights lit up and get to enjoy them from a river’s view. It was most definitely a great way to wrap up my last night in Paris!!
For our last day in Paris, we got up bright and early, hopped on a bus, and headed to Giverny, France to see Claude Monet’s house. As major fans of art museums and especially Monet, this was a must-see for us both. When we got there, our time in Giverny was pretty slim – we had just enough time to walk through Monet’s house and then back to our bus. Sadly, we did not get to explore his garden much either. We did, however, get to check out a local cafe where I did meet a chicken friend who was casually going about their day as usual and none of the locals seemed to care – that was a cool experience! I did really enjoy getting to see Monet’s stunning house, as it was where many of his extraordinary pieces of artwork were painted.
Once we got back to Paris, Kaylee and I walked around the streets of Paris and did none other than go shopping – a Parisian dream for sure! We did not have as much luck with shopping as we had thought that we would, but we did find a few shops to try on some cute finds. To spend our last few hours in Paris, we also simply strolled the city streets and took in the magic of Paris. Moreover, it was an amazing way to spend my last afternoon in this majestic city!
Ever since I got accepted to study abroad in Italy and London, I knew that I wanted to travel to Paris for one of my travel breaks. When Kaylee and I decided to go together, I knew that I was going to have my lifelong wish of going to Paris come true. Traveling to Paris taught me how to truly be an international traveler and to expect the unexpected even when I have made an itinerary from top to bottom and getting to do it with one of my best friends made it even better. J’adore Paris!
XOXO – Katie <3