I recently came back from a whirlwind holiday trip from Brighton, to Paris, to Madrid, and finally, London. Lots of Metro riding, lots of walking, but it was to compensate for the lots of eating that occurred during this trip. I, and three other friends first stopped in Paris.
We booked our trip via the Eurostar which now comes equipped with WiFi, but be warned, the WiFi is not that great and goes in and out the entire trip.
Here are some of the highlights:
Les Catacombes de Paris
Metro line 4 or 6; Stop: Denfert-Rochereau
What says “Christmas” more than visiting a subterranean catacomb storing thousands and thousands of bones? In all seriousness, the catacombs are underground and an exhibit is also placed describing Paris’s rich history and how the Catacombs came to be. Full rates were 12€, but there are reduced prices for full time students aged 18-26 with valid I.D.
Shakespeare and Company
Metro line 4; Stop: Saint Michel Notre-Dame OR line 10; Stop: Cluny-La Sorbonne
If you are a book lover as I am, pay a visit to this long-standing independent bookstore right across from Notre Dame. It’s wonderfully cozy, has a café, and an antiquities section for all you who like to collect first edition or rare books.
Added bonus: a super friendly cat on the second level often found lounging on a chair. Fun Fact: You can also arrange a free stay at the bookstore in keeping with George Whitman’s “Tumbleweed” tradition. To learn more click here.
Musée du Louvre
Metro Line 1; Stop: Louvre-Rivoli
What’s a trip to Paris without visiting the Louvre? We purchased and printed our tickets prior to the trip (15€ for one single adult). I recommend arriving before opening (Opens at 9:00am), if you are interested in taking an unobstructed photo of the Mona Lisa, otherwise you’ll be clamouring with other tourists if you wait until the afternoon. However, while others may flock to Mona, my favourite at the Louvre is the Winged Victory of Samothrace. You’ll bump into her on the way to see Mona.
Also, don’t forget to look up; the ceilings at the Louvre are so beautiful. Do pay a visit to the museum’s newest exhibit, which walks you through the history of the Louvre, prior to it becoming a museum. You’ll walk through original architecture and castle walls.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Numerous Metro lines, but we rode line 4; Stop: Saint-Sulpice
If it’s a sunny day, pay a visit to the Luxembourg Gardens, which are beautiful to walk through. Get a baguette, some cheese, and wine and relax. Note: Not sure of the legality of drinking at the Luxembourg Gardens so best do it on the low low. Legal or not, it’s never deterred me from enjoying a glass (or disposable cup) of wine at the park. (lol)
Christmas Mass at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame
Metro line 4; Stop: Cité or Saint Michel Notre-Dame
Myself, and two other friends attended midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The décor was beautiful and the choir was amazing. There were a lot of tourists there to take photos but seats do clear up throughout the mass when they’re done. Since I was actually there for the service I stayed the entire time. The only hiccup to this trip occurred on this night. After the Eucharist when everyone was sitting down, a group started shouting in French and waving an unknown flag, one individual even made his way to the Cardinal who was presiding over the mass. Needless to say, everyone ran out of mass real quick, especially because the terror warning was on a high level in Paris during the holidays. So as I’m running out of mass I thought, ‘Is this really happening?’ However, in the end, and luckily, it turns out it was a group of protestors and no one was harmed. Whew! Anyone else out there attended this Midnight Mass & a Show?
Take the metro as much as you can! It was super convenient and if you have a great sense of direction, it’s really easy to get around. If you do not have a great sense of direction, pay attention to the maps prior to deciding which platform you want to go to.
Want to get that great shot of the Eiffel Tower in the background? Take Metro line 6 or 9 to Trocadéro and head on up to the scenic view of the same name in order to get that worthwhile selfie.