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What to see in Paris in 5 days

A couple of months ago I was in Paris for a few days. From my visit to this capital city, I have a few recommendations for future visitors.

WHERE TO STAY?

I rented an apartment (with a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, TV, wifi... basically everything you need) on a street adjacent to the Champs-Élysées that led onto the Arc de Triumph. The price was genuinely cheap, for it was one of those famous apartments that are on the top floor of Parisian buildings. I say famous because they are apartments that were previously used for service (as they didn't have a lift, wealthier people didn't want them despite the views) but currently, they are mainly occupied by students. They are very small, but they have everything you need and above all, the location was perfect for me.

In my opinion, when you visit a new city it's definitely more beneficial to stay in an apartment as you're able to have breakfast there each day, cook some dinner, or prepare some sandwiches for food during the day. This was what I did in Paris and believe me when I say I saved a ton of money.

I found my apartment through Airbnb and it was a complete success. As I said it had everything, albeit the size of it being smaller than you could imagine. The flat was on the 7th floor with a lift, although during my stay they were doing work on it and for a few days it wasn't working, so I had to walk up 7 flights of stairs.

WHAT TO SEE

Eiffel Tower

Well in the section of what to see in Paris, of course the first entry has to be about the famous Eiffel Tower. I went up to the top of the tower, with the price of tickets depending on whether you want to take the stairs or lifts up. I preferred to go up via the stairs and as this worked out cheaper, I didn't give it a second thought.

The price to go up in the escalator was about 10 euros, and 7 to go up via the stairs.

In the following photo you can appreciate the famous Eiffel Tower of the city of Paris.

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The views at the top are very worthwhile seeing, although it's true that the stairs do give you a bit of vertigo. They are totally secure and there is absolutely no danger, but when I went up it was very windy and I ended up with a bit of vertigo.

This tower has a very interesting history because initially when it was built in Paris the Parisians didn't like it, as they thought the style didn't fit in with the rest of the city. It was going to be destroyed as it was built from concrete, but finally, it was decided that it was a better idea to leave it there permanently. And thank goodness, as what would Paris be without its Eiffel Tower!

Looking at the base of the first floor, you'll be able to see a multitude of names of French scientists from the 19th century.

It is strange that every hour of the day the Eiffel Tower is lit up with bulbs that look like little stars, and during the night there is some kind of beacon at the top that shines over Paris continuously. Look out for this detail!

The River Seine

This is the river that you'll find in Paris. It is really wide and deep, and it is normal to see recreational boats making their way down it.

Arc de Triumph

At the end of the Champs Elysees you'll find the Arc de Triumph.

It is located in a massive square and at first glance, it is a bit difficult to find the entrance to the arc, which is situated in the middle of a big roundabout.

After going around the square various times, I realised that the access to the centre was via the metro.

It was interesting to me that the access to go to the top of the Arc was free for students.

I recommend that you go the top on the dot of the hour, as you can see the Eiffel Tower completely lit up and the view is quite wonderful.

In the following photo, you can see the beautiful views from the Arc de Triumph of the Champs-Élysées.

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Champs-Élysées

First off, I'd like to say that the Champs-Élysées isn't a park or a green area. It is a very wide street which lots of people walk along during the day, which opens out onto the Arc de Triumph at one end and the Tuileries Garden at the other. In the photo that's just above you'll be able to see the Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triumph.

Place Vendôme

In this square you can find luxury shops which are totally exclusive, for example, the Ritz Hotel of Paris. As you can imagine, this is the most expensive area in the city. This hotel is famous because it's where Lady Diana spent her final night.

The Rue de la Paix, a wide street from which you can get to this square, is also very pretty and luxurious so it is definitely worth going down it. Buying something from the shops there is whole other question!

Tuileries Garden

They are pretty gardens in which you can get a bit of sun and see people walking through, running, having a drink... You can easily find these gardens from the big Ferris wheel at the start of them.

In the following photo you can see the ferris wheel I just spoke about.

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At the other end of them, you'll arrive at the Louvre Museum which is the next entry in this blog.

At a standstill, in the centre of the gardens, you can see three buildings which are in a straight line, and these are the three arcs of Paris.

The first is a small arc de triumph that you'll find in the same entrance as the Louvre Museum. The second, taller than the first, is the famous Arc de Triumph, and the third is one that is again taller than the first, that you'll find in the city's financial district.

Louvre Museum

This is the most famous museum in Paris. It is the most visited museum in the world, and inside you can find (amongst thousands of other works) the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

When you enter, you'll see crystal pyramids that all the tourists get a photo with.

In the following photo you can see one of these pyramids.

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In this same entrance, you can find the other Arc de Triumph, but it is smaller than the famous one that is in the middle of the roundabout at the end of the Champs-Élysées.

Bear in mind that the museum is closed on Tuesdays. I didn't know this and I almost wasn't able to pay it a visit. In the end, I managed to change my plans and visit it.

If you are a student the museum is free to visit.

Pantheon

The Pantheon is another one of the big buildings that you have to visit in Paris when you come here.

The entrance really impressed me as it had huge columns and it gave the feeling of being in a really stately building (like most of the buildings in Paris to be honest).

Inside, you can see a replica of the Foucault pendulum which was used in the past to demonstrate the Earth's rotation and the Coriolis force.

In the basement of the building, you can visit the tombs of many famous historical figures, such as Victor Hugo or Voltaire, amongst others.

The Notre Dame

Another on of the most famous buildings in Paris is without a doubt, the Notre Dame Cathedral. It is famous due to the children's story about the hunchback of Notre Dame, amongst other things.

The front emphasises its style, as well as its gargoyles, which are also characters in the children's book.

It is a pretty cathedral which you can go inside, although you might have to wait a bit to do so.

Inside you will be able to enjoy beautiful glass-work and decorations which are worthwhile paying attention to.

Musée d'Orsay

I thought this museum was incredible. Not just for the works that are inside it but for the building itself.

The museum was built on an old railway station. You can admire the spots where, many years ago, the trains would have travelled through, where the passengers waited... It is a beautiful building which is worthwhile visiting even if it is only to look at the architecture.

This new museum is free for students.

The Centre Pompidou

This museum was my least favourite.

It is a new museum with a fairly characteristic decoration as you have to access it through some tunnels.

In the following photo, you can see how to access the museum's rooms by going up escalators which take you outside the building into some kind of outdoor tunnel.

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Inside, all the works of art are modernist and to be honest, I don't really understand them.

Amongst the works of art, you can find a blank canvas or a wooden chair.

This is also free for students, which I'm thankful for because I wouldn't have paid to visit it.

Montmartre

With this area, we are moving away from the centre of Paris.

You should take public transport and you'll get there (don't delay as it takes about half an hour).

Montmartre is a pretty area in Paris from which you can visit important city attractions.

One of these is the Montmartre Cathedral. It is a beautiful cathedral which is worthwhile visiting, not just for the cathedral but for the beautiful views you can see from it. After going up lots of steps (you can also go up via cable car if you want) you'll get to a viewpoint which showcases the beautiful city of Paris. For me, it was the prettiest one that I went to, the worst views being from the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triumph, as from those you can't see the buildings in which you'll visit. However, from this location, you can see the main focal points of the city.

In the following photo you can see the views from the top of the Cathedral.

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There is a modern building that I remember that the Parisians didn't like at all due to its architecture, but they say that from it there are views that are really worthwhile seeing. I didn't go there so I can't verify this, but I think that if you want to see spectacular views then you'll find them further out from the centre of the city, like this viewpoint in Montmartre. The Parisians say that you get the best views here, so don't bother seeing this modern building which they think is so ugly, and instead, look at the marvels of the city from here.

The second focal point in the city in this area is the Moulin Rouge. You can find this cabaret, in which many films have been shot, nearby public transport, so after going up the Cathedral to see the views, you can go back down via foot to the town to see the Moulin Rouge, then take public transport to return to the city centre.

They are lots of shows that you can see in this famous cabaret but I thought that the prices were quite expensive so I didn't have the opportunity to go and see one.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Where to eat

During my whole stay in Paris (5 days), I can only recommend you two restaurants out of the whole city, as on the other days like I mentioned at the start, I ate sandwiches and had dinner at home.

However, I had two nights in which I ate in an Italian restaurant called Vapiano.

It is a chain of restaurants which are in a variety of European cites, however, in Madrid I still haven't had the chance to visit one.

It is a restaurant where you go up to the bar to place your order and after you'll see the chef making your pasta in an instant. This gives you the opportunity for them to ask you if you want spice in your sauce or not, or if there are any ingredients you'd like to add or remove from the dish.

I thought the quality of the food was extraordinary, as was the speed in which they saw to you after arriving at the restaurant. They have several chefs so that there are not large queues, and the two nights that I went, the restaurant was chock-a-block but they were still super speedy with the orders.

I thought the price was reasonable considering the quality and service, or even cheap. It was around 12 euros. The one that I went to was nearby the Arc de Triumph, I don't know if there are other ones in the city.

The other restaurant which I spoke about was a burger restaurant. It is called Big Fernand and everything is so tasty. It is a really small place, with only 4 tables, but the food was homemade and really good. The price was around 12 euros. I also really recommend going here. It is in an area next to the Pompidou Museum.

How to visit the city

For those who have read some other of my blog entries about visiting other cities, you will know that I love free tours. In Paris it wasn't going to be any different, and I went on an incredible free tour around the city centre.

They told us the main historical stories, the history of the buildings that we visited... It was a really entertaining tour and I really recommend it.

It started in front of the Café de la Paix, in the islet at the centre of the Place de l'Opéra, in case anyone wants to try their luck by going here, although I made a reservation beforehand.

A lot of you are probably waiting for me to tell you a bit about the famous Disneyland theme park. If you want to hear my advice about Disneyland, you can find it on another one of my blog entries, completely dedicated to the topic.

I hope that this advice will help you on your next stay in Paris. Goodbye travellers!


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