Is it possible to love Paris more the third time than the first and second? Of course, it is!
As we live and learn and gain different perspectives of the world each day, cities we visited 10 years ago, or even just 1 year ago can look completely different. That’s how going to Paris was for me this year.
First of all, this trip we had a family visitor from the U.S. who had never been to Europe before. She flew in on Friday so we took the weekend fairly easy because we all know how frustrating jet-lag can be! What a cool first trip though, right? A weekend in Paris, then a week in Amsterdam. So, having her here also helped me see Paris in a different light.
When it’s your first time in Paris, the touristy things are a must. Even if you don’t enter the major monuments, you have to see them, at least! Of course, you should make things easier on yourself by knowing the best tips for Paris.
Get on the Bus
Figuring out how to see everything we wanted to see in a short weekend was a challenge. But we accepted it and decided to grab a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket! What a great decision. On a sunny day in Paris, it’s a perfect way to hop around the city. We took the Paris L’Opentour buses because it was right by our apartment and they had multiple routes you could use with one ticket. I figured that could come in handy…and it did!
Watching Paris go by from the top of a bus was refreshing. It’s a completely different perspective than I’ve had before. Sometimes it’s nice to see things from the outside looking in, and when you’re on a bus, that’s exactly how it feels. The cool part was that we got to see a lot of major sights in one trip. Perfect for a Paris first-timer! (If you’ve done the main stops already, maybe it’s time to explore something a little more…quirky 😉
At the point where we were near a famous macaron store, we hopped off. I love sweets, so a quick stop into Les Marquis de Ladurée was a must. It’s a fairly quick process, so I suggest you get a good look at the menu before you start ordering your macarons. Step #1: Know how many you want. Step #2: Know which ones you want. Step #3: List them off to the attendant behind the counter as quickly as they can pick them up. Then all will be happy. I wouldn’t suggest photos in this place as it moves so quickly and nobody will be thrilled if you slow them down.
How I see Paris Now
Paris isn’t just a tourist attraction, I think we all know that. It has a huge variety of neighborhoods. Densely populated spaces, large parks, waterways, monuments, museums, lots of shopping, great food, and so much more. No matter how you see Paris, whether by foot, bus, metro, etc, don’t forget to look up, look around, and take it all in. See it as it is: a truly metropolitan city that has something for everyone if you’re only willing to look for it.
For me, Paris is a place for sweets. It’s a pretty cool place for a haircut. It’s a place to wander the streets. It’s a place to find houseboats. It’s full of discoveries, though I know I will never discover it all.
Paris taught me a few things on this trip. Though I don’t like being the obvious tourist, sometimes you get the best views and experiences by embracing that persona/mentality. A new city can be a lot to take in, so why not do the first thing that comes to mind? Whether it’s to take a stroll, eat a macaron, or say “Bonjour!” to the first person you see, do it!
As travelers, our interests vary, and fun means different things to each of us. Travel the way that’s best for you and gives the most enjoyment. If it’s pretending to be a local — as we try to do — go for it and blend in! If it’s doing the weirdest things you can find, more power to you. Maybe it’s booking a walking tour and taking selfies with your phone, enjoy the experience.
What I’ve learned most is that you have to do what makes you happy. And finding a different side to Paris each time I’ve visited has helped me do exactly that.
Have you traveled anywhere that opened your eyes to something new, something different that you could discover? We’d love to hear about it!