So, yea. I won Greg and I a trip to Paris…See Part 1 to see how that all went down.
I mean, yes, going to Paris is awesome! But one of my favorite parts about winning this trip was the fact that we didn’t have to plan 1 second of it! We had been on the road for 4 months at this point constantly planning: Where do we go next? How should we get there? What should we do there? What does Trip Advisor say about this place? We only have 5 days there, what are our priority sites to see? Where should we eat? Mom/Dad/friend/etc said we should go here, how do we fit this in?
ALL OF THE PLANNING!!!! You may be (definitely are) rolling your eyes at me, but it’s exhausting people! Especially when we start adding up how much all of that’s going to cost. Cue freak out session…
So when my new BFF at Easy Pass Paris, Crissa, sent me our itinerary for our entire trip I could have tackle hugged her. Flights, transportation, tours to see everything we would want to see, and a list of her favorite places to eat and see around the city were all together in one pretty little folder in my Gmail. This was like a day at the spa for me!
For anyone else having #travelgirlproblems like me (I use that hashtag a lot on twitter to complain), I have here for you, THE ULTIMATE 5 DAY PARIS ITINERARY!!!!!!!!! You’re welcome.
This is also good for non-travelers, bad planners, and those who have just gotten way too overwhelmed with planning their trip to Paris and have resorted to pulling out their hair and drinking too much wine. My gift to you…and your liver:
Arrive in Paris and whatever you do under no circumstances do you take a nap!!! NO!! Don’t do it! (This is assuming you’re arriving before 8pm). Check-in, take a wake-up shower if you need to. Do not even sit on the bed. Head straight to your nearest cafe and get your espresso on. Then walk directly to the Eiffel Tower. Because we all know that’s what you’re really here to see. It’s pretty darn impressive in real life. None of that, “Oh, it looks smaller in person” BS. It’s huge and is posing there for you all day and night for pictures. Including those super cheesy ones where you try to hold it up (that’s The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, people!!! Get it right!)
Katester made a surprise trip to Paris to take really embarrassing pictures with us!
Then continue your day wandering around aimlessly. Get lost. Walk into expensive stores that you can never afford. Sit at an outdoor cafe in a busy area and drink more espresso and people watch. Make fun of the other tourists who are obviously not as cool as you. Oggle the beautiful Parisians in their beautiful clothes and wonder how they walk the cobble streets in those heels. Head to dinner or better yet, head to the closest market for some cheese, baguettes, and wine and head back to the Eiffel Tower for sunset.
You can go to bed now.
Now that you’ve had some rest, get your stretch on and hop on a bike. Fat Tire Bike Tours hooked us up with some sweet bikes and a tour from Eric who is one of the many tour guides who knows everything there is to know about Paris. You’ll start near the Eiffel Tower and make several stops along the ride. Every stop includes a little history lesson, and not one of those boring ones like back in school. The guides like to perform, share their favorite facts, and talk about the fun/embarrassing/scandalous parts of French History (mistresses were a thing back in the day).
After the tour head to the nearest bakery and do as the locals do, grab a baguette and stroll the streets. Or if you haven’t done laundry in a week like we hadn’t and you are wearing your last pair of underwear go do laundry. Yes, we spent actual time in Paris doing a chore rather than exploring. Don’t make this mistake.
Next you should hit up the night bike tour on the same day because at this point your butt hasn’t quite realized it’s going to be sore yet, but tomorrow your bum is going to be all like “Oh hellz no, I’m not getting on a bike again!” Plus you get to see the city in a different light, literally. Watching the sun set behind the Louvre Pyramid was a memory I’ll never forget from our Paris trip. Oh, and our bike guide Frazier is my kindred spirit. We sang Beyonce and Katy Perry the whole night. It was amazeballs.
If you’re like us, by now you have visited the Eiffel Tower more times than you can count, but always from below. Now it’s time to head to the top! One problem, all those visits to the Eiffel Tower also revealed that there is a line so long you might actually be waiting in it for the entire day. Please don’t wait in this line! I can’t believe people actually do this. SO MANY PEOPLE!!! Instead Easy Pass your way right to the front of the line. Yea, it costs more than just a regular ticket into the tower, but the ounces of soul you save not waiting makes it 100% worth every penny. Then you get to see these gorgeous views…
After you’re done exploring the tower and pointing and laughing at all the people in line, it’s time to put your walking shoes back on. Actually, you should probably just keep them on at all times because this is a walking city. You have 5 days to see it all, don’t waste anytime in cute Louboutins. Nikes or Asics at all times! Now head to Montmartre. If I lived in Paris, this is where I would want to live. It’s very San Francisco with all the people watching, cafes, parks, and quaint streets. And if you’re an artist there is no better place to get creative than where Pablo Picasso lived and worked. Art is in the air in Montmartre. And once you make it to the top of the largest hill in Paris (walk it! You’ll see busses but just pretend they aren’t there), you will be rewarded with Sacré Cœur Basilica and the best view in the city.
If you really want to get the lowdown on this part of the city take the Classic Walks Montmartre Walking Tour. We took this tour and without our guide we would have just walked by so many history rich points.
Ok, you’ve been walking around a lot. It’s time for dinner and a drink (or 2…or 3). We went to L’Orangerie and enjoyed a 3 course dinner for €35. I had the Ravioli Royan broth of herbs, Beef cheeks braised in merlot (to die for!!!), and Creme brulee with vanilla. You can enjoy all that for €25 if you go at lunch time. Not too shabby for expensive Paris!
Greg’s lamb and potatoes. Sorry, no pic of my braised beef cheek because I couldn’t waste one second before digging in.
Now soak those toesies in a hot bath because you deserve it! Plus you have a long day of museum hopping tomorrow!
So far we haven’t stepped foot in one museum, which usually isn’t a problem for us since we aren’t big museum people. But who goes to Paris and doesn’t go to the Musée d’Orsay or the Louvre?! We couldn’t be those people. Start early and head to the Musée d’Orsay right as it opens. The line isn’t long yet and you can enjoy Vincent Van Gogh in peace.
The Musèe d’Orsay was a train station before it was turned into this grand museum
Macaron break time!! Best time of the day, am I right?!
Pierre Hermè is the only way to go
Now, let’s hit up the Louvre! I’ve heard tales about secret entrances so you should definitely do some research on this before you head to the Louvre, because like every main attraction in Paris the lines are unbearable! Or you can skip the line with Easy Pass like we did (we did this for the Musèe d’Orsay too). The Louvre as you see it from the outside is so much more on the inside. It still has remnants of the old Château and Palace that once stood there, and is now a grand museum housing some of the most famous works of art such as the Nike of Samothrace and of course, the Mona Lisa.
There is no way to see this whole museum in one visit, it’s gigantic! So just pick a few must see’s and head straight there. If you choose to see the Mona Lisa you won’t be alone as you can see from the picture above. But in my opinion it was awesome to see in real life and the crowd was just part of the experience.
Time for another sunset with the Eiffel Tower! If you haven’t already, be sure to stick around past sunset because every hour on the hour she puts on a little show for you.
Wakeup early and head to the train station to catch a ride to Versailles. This is an all day adventure, especially if you decide to wait in the longest line in the history of man kind. The pictures of the line don’t do it justice, but it’s basically the line of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Musèe d’Orsay put together x10. It’s frightening.
We gave Greg the day off and Katester joined me on the Versailles tour. That’s the line snaking around behind us.
Easy Pass to the recue again! We got a VIP behind the scenes tour of the Palace, seeing rooms that no one else gets to see, my favorite being L’Opéra Royal de Versailles (Royal Opera of Versailles). The details and colors of the opera house were just beautiful.
If you’re brave, head into the palace and mingle with the commoners who waited in line (pishposh). There are many rooms to explore, but our goal was to head straight to the Hall of Mirrors which was a challange. All those people who waited in line are now in the Palace and they’re not going anywhere! I don’t blame them! I would make sure to see every last inch of that palace after waiting in that line.
But my favorite part of Versailles are the gardens. The Orangerie (orange garden) is just spectacular.
And the fountains that are scattered around the grounds are a prize to see. If you come to Versailles without a VIP tour and decide you’d rather cut each of your fingers off before waiting in that line, go directly to the gardens. The line isn’t long and there is so much to explore. Be sure to check out the date and times of the Musical Fountain Show before you go. It’s a must see and it’s not like Disneyland where they do shows every 1/2 hour. It uses the original mechanical system which means it’s not the best at conserving water (hence the odd timetable for the fountain show).
Time to head back to the city and enjoy your last night in Paris. Work your way through the exhaustion and find the nearest Assortiment de fromage and beer. You have conquered Paris in 5 days #ParisFTW
Enjoy more pics from our Paris Trip