It’s time for another travel post! Whew, I feel like I’m drowning in photos right now (which it totally not a bad thing), but slowly… slowly… I’m making my way through them all. And I’m getting this post out to you ohhhh, only a month and a half after we were in Paris, so that’s not so bad right?? Ohhh, life!
Anyways, back a few weeks ago, I shared photos from the first leg of our incredible trip to Europe. If you missed it and are interested in hearing more, check out this post for things to do in London and this post for all the amazing eats!
Today, we’re moving on to a really special four days on our trip: PARIS!
Ahhh Paris. You wondrous city, you. Have you ever been to Paris before? Always wanted to go? Planning to go?
This was luckily my third time in Paris – I had been twice before during college, but in a very different group (and in a very different mindset) – and I must say, I saw Paris in a whole new light this time around.
Not that it wasn’t amazing before. But somehow the stars totally aligned on our honeymoon and Paris just exploded in front of my eyes! The charm, the food, the gorgeous weather, the romance— Paris was simply perfect. Nate and I totally weren’t ready to leave after our 4 days there (and we were definitely already dream-planning our next trip to France while we were there 😉 ).
Paris, I totally fell in love with you!
I divided this post up by neighborhood (for the most part). When I’m planning a trip, it really helps me to group things by area, so in case you’re planning a trip to Paris in the near future, or want to some day, I hope this will be helpful for you!
Ohhh, and if you’re interested in hearing all about the delicious Parisian EATS, stop back in a few days for my Paris restaurant post.
Louvre, Tuilerie, + Palais Royal Area
Our hotel happened to be right around the corner from the Tuileries Gardens, so it would be safe to say we spent a lot of time walking around this area!
One of my favorite spots in all of central Paris is definitely the Palais Royal. Not only is the architecture absolutely stunning, but we loved spending time walking through the gardens and people-watching everyone taking pictures on the columns (including us lol).
Next up, the Louvre!
I’m going to be pretty honest, and I may be the only person in the world to say this, but the Louvre was not one of our favorite places we visited on this trip— purely because of the CROWDS. Don’t get me wrong, the art in the Louvre is SPECTACULAR. But the amount of people rushing in to take selfies with the Mona Lisa can kind of take away from the experience, if you know what I mean.
And the lines can get pretty long here. I recommend getting the Paris Museum Pass to skip the lines if you want to go. We did that, and while we still had to wait in the museum pass line, it cut a good amount of waiting time off.
Sorry to get a little real about the Louvre. But on a positive note, the outside of the Louvre is simply magical. The second you turn the corner and see those stunning pyramids and gorgeous columns you have to just stop and stare for a few minutes! We walked around this area so many times during our stay here because it is that beautiful.
PS If you’re going to Paris during the height of tourist season, I actually have a few other museums I would recommend over the Louvre that are a little less crowded and allow for a more desirable experience. Keep reading below for some of my favorites!
Le Marais District
Le Marais is a historic district in Paris known for its architecture, picturesque cafes, and museums. This was one of my favorite neighborhoods we explored because it felt so authentically Parisian!
This area is also home to two wonderful museums: the Picasso Museum and the Pompidou. Remember when I told you I had other museums to recommend besides the Louvre? These are two of them!
The Picasso Museum (see below) is so well designed, taking you through the life of Pablo Picasso and chronologically through his works of art. I feel like I learned so much here and really had the ability to enjoy the art. The museum is the perfect size (it took us about an hour to get through) and wasn’t crowded at all (even in the height of tourist season).
Next up was the Pompidou (see above). If you love modern art, this museum is your place! First of all, just look at the architecture of the museum itself. So cool right? You’re literally walking through tunnels and going up escalators in tubes!
If you’re not the biggest modern art fan, this museum is still awesome simply because of the views. As you can see in the photos, you have a clear sight of Sacre Coeur, surrounded by iconic rooftops and buildings.
And if you go to the other side of the museum rooftop where the Georges restaurant is, you get a gorgeous view of Notre Dame. We just grabbed a drink at the restaurant after exploring the museum, and it was totally worth it for the sights!
Ile de la Cite
Right around the corner from Le Marais is Ile de la Cite, home to Notre Dame.
We took a beautiful walk from Le Marais to Notre Dame, stopping at a classic cafe for a cappuccino on our way. Which you must do… like every day… or twice a day. Because, Paris. Their cappuccinos totally live up to the hype.
But anyways, you walk across a bridge and suddenly you’re staring at Notre Dame in all it’s glory!
Another recommendation— we came here in the early afternoon and the line was outrageous. Like down the block and around the corner. So instead of wasting an hour waiting, we just popped by the next morning around 8 am and we were the only ones there! It is definitely worth getting up early in Paris to see the iconic churches and miss the lines. We would just take a little “rest” in the afternoon to make up for it 😉
Ok, so let get real. The total MVP of our Paris trip was definitely the Pantheon! I had actually never been to the Pantheon before during my previous trips, and didn’t have many expectations for it, but it blew us away.
Originally the Pantheon was built as a church, but today it has been transformed into a sanctuary depicting the transformation of the French monarchy. It’s also a burial site for people who shaped the French identity, such as Voltaire and Rousseau.
The inside is filled with gorgeous paintings and statues of monumental moments in French history. And, if you pay the extra 2 euro (which I absolutely recommend), you can climb to the very top and get the most stunning 360 degree views of Paris. I swear, these were the best views we got in our ENTIRE trip!
Saint Germain des Pres
Next up was the other MVP of Paris (yes, there are two): Musee d’Orsay!
Just a short walk down the Seine from the Latin Quarter is Saint Germain des Pres, home to my all time favorite art museum. Like ever.
The Musee d’Orsay is an old train station that has been redesigned and filled with some of the most incredible impressionist paintings of all time. Monet, Degas, Manet, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Rousseau…. the list goes on and on!
We spent a few hours in this museum and totally lost track of time because it was THAT good. Room after room of incredible paintings and sculptures. I’ve never seen so much amazing art in my life! And to make it even better, there were NO lines to get in and the museum was never too crowded.
Such an enjoyable museum experience— if you only go to one museum in Paris, this should be the one!
On our last day in Paris, we spent most of the morning in Montmartre, an iconic artsy district just north of central Paris. We started at the gorgeous church on the hill, Sacre Coeur. Warning: there are a LOT of steps to climb to make your way up to this church, but I promise you, they are worth every breath!
You can also climb to the top of Sacre Coeur and get some incredible views (I heard), kind of like we did at the Pantheon, but we had a full day planned so we decided to skip out on this one.
Isn’t this place just spectacular, though??
Besides Sacre Coeur, Montmartre is filled with cobblestone streets of iconic cafes, ivy covered houses, boutiques, and mini art galleries.
I totally recommend planting yourself at one of the many cafes, grabbing a cappuccino, and people watching. This is totally the place to do it!
Where We Stayed
I wanted to throw in a piece about our hotel because it was probably the BEST hotel experience I think I’ve ever had.
We stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, which as I told you earlier, is right around the corner from the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens. The location was incredible, the staff was so friendly and helpful, and the rooms were just stunning. Since it was our honeymoon, they even had a bottle of champagne and macaroons waiting for us on our first night in town. So incredibly sweet!
This hotel is honestly very pricey, but Nate and I used free nights we earned from our Hyatt Credit Card to pay for the entire stay. Total win! I cannot recommend it enough if you’re traveling to Paris and want a really lovely, centrally located hotel.
So that’s our Paris trip in a nutshell! Check back in over the next few days – I’m hoping to have the Paris eats post live very soon if that’s something you’re interested in hearing more about.
Also, if you’re curious about our other travels, check out the Travel page with all of our other adventures over the past three years!