Be it you have a lengthy layover in the city of love or simply want the challenge of soaking up all this city has to offer in one day, Paris, France oozes with fantastic sights for the tourist and the traveler (yes, there is a difference).
From the Charles de Gaulle airport, snatch up a map of the city and take the RER B train (from Terminal 2 or Terminal 3/Roissypole-9.75 Euros one way) to the city center at the stop of St. Michel/Notre Dame. This stop will bring you up to a busy and bustling city which could mirror New York with the amount of city walkers, vacationers, and locals with no time to spare. Before heading on your busy walk, make sure to purchase a loaf of delicious bread to munch on. You’re already looking like a local.
From the St. Michel/Notre Dame train stop:
- From your train stop, take the four minute walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Head west on the Quai Saint Michel and cross the Seine at Petit Pont. The cathedral will be on your right.
- After marking Notre Dame off your list, start your trek toward the famous musuem, the Louvre. Start your way by retracing your steps back toward the train stop.
- Head west past the train stop, following the Seine.
- Cross over the Seine, preferably from the famous locks of love bridge, the Pont des Arts.
- Crossing from the Pont des Arts bridge will bring you right toward the Louvre (home of the Mona Lisa).
- The Louvre will catch your attention upon entrance from such a massive piece of beautiful architecture and, of course, the swarm of tourists.
- TIP: Don’t waste your time trying to examine the Mona Lisa. This famous piece of art is always blockaded by ten feet of tourist. If you must, go early.
- No interest in visiting the inside of the museum? The outside is a spectacle within itself. View the architecture and lush greenery. You have a lot more of Paris to see.
If you love museums, stay on the same side of the Seine as the Louvre and head west toward Musée de l’Orangerie (Monet’s Waterlilies) or cross the Seine to venture around the Musée d’Orsay. If you can only think about the Eiffel Tower, cross the Pont des Arts again and stroll west down the beautiful, modern, and fun path along the left bank of the Seine (toward the Eiffel Tower).
Split up your museum lust or your trek toward the Eiffel Tower with lunch along the left bank of the Seine, preferably at the restaurant La Frégate.
The Eiffel Tower
- Once you reach the Eiffel Tower, feel free to rest on the grassy spots surrounding the tower or venture inside the tower either by the lifts or by the stairs (1,665 steps to be exact).
- After your outstanding experience gawking at Paris’ most famous landmark, head south west to the Rodin Museum.
- By this time, you might be exhausted. No worries, relax in the the Rodin Museum garden which hosts the famous sculpture, The Thinker.
- At this point, you might be exhausted. You could get back on the train by either walking or public transportation. Take the M13 bus from Rodin and then the RER C to get you back at your first train stop, St. Michel/Notre Dame.
- Arrived at your train stop and realized you haven’t had enough Paris yet? Near St. Michel/Notre Dame train stop there is the Latin Quarter.
- The Latin Quarter is named so because university students spoke in Latin until the French Revolution.
- The Latin Quarter portrays student life. Venture around the University of Paris and this surrounding area and you’ll find beautiful gardens, vintage record shops, and more time to get lost in, yet another, museum.
- By this time, the sun should be setting. Catch your train back or head over to St-Germain des Prés (head west from the Latin Quarter).
St-Germain des Prés
- This area of Paris is full of history and eclectic people. Relax at some of the famous cafes (Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore) or stroll around and soak in the beautiful Parisian night.
- RER B train line leaves the CDG airport to Paris as early as 4:56 a.m. at Terminal 2.
- Depending on if you are traveling during a weekday or a weekend, the last train time departing from Paris varies. Always check the train schedule.
- Check HERE to know more about Paris by train.
- The Seine’s banks are referred to as the left and right bank. The left bank is the southern bank and the right bank is the northern bank. Still confused? If you are facing downstream, the left bank is on your left and right bank on your right!
Public bathrooms (translation: toilettes):
- Public bathrooms are always hard to come by for the tourist or the traveler. Expect to pay one or two Euros at some public bathrooms in Paris. Check out this source for all your potty needs while venturing in Paris.
Know the language (kinda):
- Hello: bonjour
- Goodbye: Au revoir (oh ruh-vwar)
- Please: sil vous plait (see voo play)
- Thank you: merci (merr-see)
- Do you speak English?: Parlez-vous anglais? (parlay voo englay)
- Excuse me: Excusez-moi (excuse emwah)
- Bathroom: toilette (toilet)
- Exit sign: sortie
photo source: commons.wikimedia.org