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Trocadero Gardens

The best way to commemorate a trip to Paris is to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower (obviously!). The Trocadero square is the place you ought to be, in order to take the perfect shot! This lovely square has a lot of fountains and flowers and it is another vibrant touch in Paris’ magical canvas! You can just sit around and relax with a cup of coffee, some wine or a beer and wonder at the people, the colors and the scenery, taking in all the essence and romance that the city of light is wrapped in! There are a lot of cafés and restaurants nearby, a bit pricey, but full of spirit and finesse! The right time for taking photos is during the afternoon when the sun hits the tower just right, or during sundown when the light is not that “hard” (a small photography tip). Check out our Tips for the best spot for this task! It is worth mentioning that the only downside is the rude persistence of certain street merchants and beggars…

Suggested visit time: 2-2.5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Napoleon wanted the gardens to be constructed according to the English standards, so that they give off an air of serenity and relaxation!

Sacre-Coeur

Pay a visit to the wonderful Sacre-Coeur Basilica that looks over Montmartre! You can use the special lift to get to the top (costs approx. 2€), or you can take the steps for free! Going with the hard way, you will see how the view keeps getting better with every step you take. The images of green gardens, numerous benches and, of course, an amazing view are all you’ll be left with (along with sometiredness). The cathedral’s main space is open every day from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm and entrance is free for everyone. There is a small cost for visiting the dome (300 steps) and the crypt. Watch the service and enjoy the serenity and peacefulness. Watch out for aspiring pickpockets and hustlers and avoid politely anyone that tries to approach you, because there might be police patrolling, but these guys are professionals.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Every day 06:00-22:30 (main space). Crypt-Dome 08:30-20:00, May-September & 09:00-17:00, October-April.
Cost: 3-5€ for the dome and the crypt. Free for the Basilica’s main space.

 The know it all says: In damp weather calcite leaches out of the stone, keeping the appearance of the Basilica chalky white!

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

The bald hill, as it is called, could be described as the artificial earthly paradise, as it has been formed entirely of artificial means. It is the perfect place for an excursion on a sunny day in the city, offering options for relaxation, exercise, walks, coffee, picnics and endless hours of play for families. It stretches over 61 acres and it is the 5th largest park in Paris. Its most distinctive feature is the Roman Temple de la Sibylle, which is mounted on an (artificial) rock 50m tall. The park also includes an artificial lake, lots of pathways (total length 1,5km), waterfalls, suspension bridges, green hillsides, benches, and lavish colorful vegetation with thousands of trees. The landscape is idyllic and perfect for romantic moments, all year long! Devote a few hours and leave full of unique images!

Notice: Since the end of 2012, the park is being renovated, so as to become more convenient and charming. This is why a few spots, such as the Temple de la Sibylle, the waterfall and others, might be closed.

Suggested visit timeς: 1.5-2.5 hours
Open: Every day 07:00-20:00
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: For its construction they needed 1,000 workers, 100 horses, 450 trucks, 2 steam engines and many kilograms of…dynamite!

Get a taste of the delicious French croissants

Delicious in taste, inviting appearance and irresistible smell…all in one drool-worthy package; the French croissant! For the French it’s like Coca Cola…it goes with everything! They have croissants for breakfast, with their coffee, at brunch, after lunch, in the afternoon and after dinner! They prefer it without any fillings, or filled with chocolate. Bear in mind that if you order chocolate croissants, they serve them with real chocolate pieces (which, if you’re in luck and your croissant is hot, will be melted)! Sweet, salty or plain, croissants come in all sizes and prices on Paris’ every corner! And the best part is that they were always fresh! We would never get a stale one. We bet it sounds tempting! The difference with croissants that we tried in other countries lies in their distinct buttery taste.

Suggested visit time:
Open: Always
Cost: 1-6€ a piece

 The know it all says: The original croissant was called Kiphel and originated in Austria in1683! It became a French national product in 1920!

The Luxembourg Gardens

These gardens are a special touch in Paris’ center. They are located in Paris’ 6th district, 500m away from the Montparnasse Tower. In the gardens that spread across 55 acres, you will find exquisite flowers and tall trees, large stretches of grass in geometrical patterns, a large fountain and a small octagon-shaped lake (though it may be murky and dirty from time to time), which stands in front of Palace Luxembourg. All of these will make you feel like you are outside of the city! Don’t rush your visit; stick around and explore through the many pathways that are also great for exercising. Rest while lying on the grass or on the chairs that are placed in a lot of different spots. Unfortunately, picnics and generally bringing food in the gardens is not allowed. The best time period to visit the gardens would be from May until October.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Open: From 7:00 until one hour before sundown during the summer & from 8:00 until one hour before sundown during the winter.
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: There are 106 statues placed inside the gardens!

Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle is a quaint royal chapel, located in the city center. On a normal sunny day, you may have to wait in line for about 30-40 minutes (unless you have a Paris Pass card, in which case you can just get right inside). Although the chapel is pretty small, it is divided in two floors. The ground floor is really small and poor in artifacts and displays. Nowadays it operates as a museum and a space where religious events take place. On the other hand, the first floor is impressive, to say the least. Instead of walls, it is surrounded by large, colorful pieces of stained glass. The atmosphere is peaceful, because even though there are lots of people, they are all absorbed in silent awe. There are some tourist guides, written in various languages that provide some basic pieces of information about the chapel and the stained glass windows (they are placed in stands, next to the staircase on the 1st floor). Be sure to visit the chapel ONLY when it is sunny, as the sunlight that passes through the stained glass makes for a magical sight and fills the whole space with wonderful colors, creating a sense of absolute serenity.

Important note: Don’t bother visiting the chapel on a cloudy day; it is not worth the time and money.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Open: Open: March-October 09:30-18:00 & November-February 09:00-17:00
Closed: January 1st, May 1st, December 25th
Cost: Standard ticket 8.50€- reduced ticket 6.50€

 The know it all says: The pictures on the stained glass windows are animated verses from The Bible. They are divided in arcs and are read from the left to the right side and from the top to the bottom!

Cruise along the Seine River

The romantic cruise along the Seine River is kind of an unattainable dream for Paris! The cruises are mostly a tourist gig, lacking in all aspects of romance that is suitable for this city, as the agencies seem to only be interested in filling their seats. Nonetheless, you have the chance to admire the Notre-Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, many bridges and a lot of other historical sites from a different point of view, while the tour guide informs you on the most interesting facts about each one. A simple cruise lasts for about an hour and the best starting point is the Eiffel Tower. As for the best time…that would be in the evening! You should board the closed* ship during autumn-winter and the open* one during spring-summer. Prices vary… A simple one-hour cruise costs 14€ per person, but if you’d like to have a romantic dinner and some wine as well, you might have to spend up to 150€. It is best to take it during the first days of your trip, while everything is still new.

*You will find the closed ship on the right of the Eiffel Tower station and the open on the left. There are two cruise stations; Eiffel Tower and Point Neuf-Notredame.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Open: April-September, every 30 minutes 10:00-22:00 (except 13:00 & 19:30). October-March, every 30 minutes 10:30-21:30.
Cost: 14-150€

 The know it all says: Swimming in the Seine’s waters is forbidden since 1923!

Stroll through the Bastille Market

Is it Thursday or Sunday and you are wondering what to do? Well, say no more! We’ve got you covered! The Bastille Market is the place that can provide you with literally anything! From roasted chicken and other kinds of meat, cheeses, fish, cured meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, crepes, cookies and any other food item that comes to mind! You can also buy books, flowers, jewelry, paintings, antiques, fabrics, clothes and so much more! The market spreads to Paris’ most folksy district’s square, Bastille, where you can enjoy your coffee or brunch, if you go on a Sunday. It’s always a great idea to spend a few hours in the Bastille market on either day; if you would like to avoid large crowds, you should go on a Thursday…But, if you’re okay with overcrowding, visit it on a Sunday, around 11-12. (Watch out for pickpockets, avoid close contacts.) We only have one piece of advice that you should not ignore…go on an empty stomach!

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Thursdays 07:00-14:30 & Sundays 07:00-15:00
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: It has even more products than large supermarkets!

The Palace of Versailles

The massive and monumental Palace “covers” the whole city of Versailles with its size and grandeur and takes you on a journey to some glorious times. But, truth be told, the externally imposing palace lacks in interior beauty. A lot of pros and cons will leave you feeling neutral about it. It is neat and tidy on the inside, but also empty and poor-looking, as most of the artifacts were transferred to the Louvre and other museums and that makes it look a bit sad, compared its previous glory and prestige! Furthermore, the wait is really long, both for getting tickets and for entering the palace (more than 1.5-2 hours). Click HERE to find out how to save some time. It is best that you get the 1-day passport, spend less time in the palace so that you can spend more hours in the gardens. You get a free narrated tour guide with your ticket and can choose from 11 different languages. Remember that checks are conducted at the entrance, so you are not allowed to carry any food items.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Palace: November-March 09:00-17:30 & April-October 09:00-18:30. Closed: Mondays.
Cost: 15€ for the Palace, 18€ for the Palace+Gardens (passport), 10€ for the Gardens, 25€ for the Palace+Gardens (2-day passport).

 The know it all says: 36.000 workers were brought in for the palace’s and its gardens’ construction! It could host 5.000 people at once!

The Montparnasse Tower

The Montparnasse Tower, located in the 15th district, is a quite overvalued attraction, 59 stories tall…You hop in an automated elevator, which gets you to the 56th floor where you will find a café and lots of stands, so you can relax and enjoy the 200° view. Then, you can ascend (via stairs) to its terrace, which is protected by sheets of glass and offers a wonderful panoramic view, a few seats and a mini cocktail bar. The downside is that we couldn’t take some nice photos from up there, as the glass and the surrounding iron bars cut off Paris’ magnificent view. The best time of the day to visit the Montparnasse Tower would be during sundown, when the horizon’s orange-red color pallet paints the city’s most wonderful portrait! Still, the amount of money that you are asked to give for this is totally unjustified…Don’t bother visiting it if the weather is ugly…it will be money thrown out the window.

Suggested visit time: 2-2.5 hours
Open: Every day 09:30-23:00
Cost: 15€

 The know it all says: In 1995 the French “urban Spiderman” Alain Robert climbed the building and reached its top without any safety ropes!

Bike rides in Paris

Either you are a fitness enthusiast, like Nick, or not so much, like Elena, you should definitely rent a bike! It is the best option for exploring the city, even though the long distances and uphill routes of northern Paris could be a bit discouraging. Combine exercise with serenity and sightseeing, as you ride along various places and monuments! Paris’ infrastructure is top notch, when it comes to both riding and parking. Bike riding in the city is also very safe, as car drivers respect the cyclists and are very patient and mindful towards them. You can ride around all of Paris and see all of its beautiful and diverse parts and neighborhoods. Of course, riding along the Seine just has to be on your bucket list! There are a lot of shops from which you can rent safe bicycles, so prices vary and may be 10-25€/per day. You should probably make reservations online* .

*At this particular shop, booking is not binding (so your card won’t be charged if you don’t get the bike), while you won’t need to pay for a security deposit.

Suggested visit time:
Open: Every day 09:30-18:30
Cost: 15-20€ per day/person

 The know it all says: Public bicycle sharing system in Paris, is the third-most-extensive system of its kind in the world!

Use the Metro

When it comes to the number of stations, Paris’ metro, a.k.a. “Métropolitain”, is the largest in Europe. Even if it is not your choice of transportation, it is still a pleasant experience. . It is the most comfortable, fast and easy means of transportation in this enormous city. It can take you anywhere, as it consists of 380 stations and 16 lines, fully automated or not, giving you the chance to explore Paris’ every corner easily! Its frequency is extraordinary, as one train is followed by another (during morning hours), while ticket checks are constant. Ticket costs are high and it is fairly clean, considering the thousands of people that use it every day. You should be extremely aware of your personal belongings, keeping them close and tight, especially during rush hours. Metro passes come in 1/2/3/5-day options costing around 12/20/27/39€ respectively, with the cost of the single ticket at approx. 2€. It is worth making at least one trip on it, if it doesn’t end up being your sole choice for transportation.

Suggested visit time:
Open: 05:30-01:30
Cost: 1.80€ for 1.5 hours (zones 1-3)

 The know it all says: It carries 1.5 billion people each year!
 


Travelen.eu is regularly updated on ticket costs and operating hours, but you should always visit your choice of destination’s official site for confirmation.