Paris is a city where you want to come back over and over again. We have been three times and still have so much left to see. It is a big city, but has a great transportation system to get you where you want to go.
If you want to see a lot in a short amount of time, you might want to consider getting the Paris Pass . This pass gives you free access to many of the attractions, fast track entry, and the Big Bus Tour. On this bus you can hop on and off at different attractions and can save you money and time. The great thing about it this pass is that you can get it to suit how long you plan to stay. They have passes for 2 to 6 day durations.
Another pass to consider is the Museum Pass . It has over 60 museums that you can visit if your more into that. Along with any pass, you will also receive the Travelcard that will allow free transportation in zones 1-3 for buses, RER, trams, and the metro.
Cathédrale Notre – Dame de Paris
To start off the day, head to the Cathèdrale with your camera and without your bag, since bags are not allowed in. Admission is free and they are open everyday 7:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Except on Saturday’s and Sunday where it is open earlier at 7:15 a.m. Go early to avoid crowds. It is also a great place to grab a snack or just sit and watch what’s going on around.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is only a 18 min metro ride, or if you prefer walking, which we actually did, then it will take you about 60 minutes. We always enjoy walking the streets as much as we can, which allows us to stop and snack whenever.
You can use a pedestrian underpass to cross over to the Arc and go online to buy tickets adult tickets for €12 each to climb to the top.
A short walk from the Arc de Triomphe and only a 20 min walk from Cathèdrale Notre-Dame de Paris. This is a must see when visiting Paris. It is also something that no matter what you try, you won’t be able to see everything, since it is so large.
We have been to Paris a few times and each time we continue to make our way to the Louvre to try to see more of the exhibits. It holds the Mona Lisa (Denon Wing), as well as the Venus of Milo (Sully Wing). There are countless other art pieces in the three wings: the Sully, Denon, and Richelieu.
You can get information and by online tickets so that you won’t have to wait in the lines to get in. The two best days to go are on Wednesdays and Fridays, since they stay open till 9:45 p.m., instead of the normal 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you plan out what sections and rooms you wish to see beforehand, then you will save time.
If your lucky enough to find yourself in Paris for the first Sunday of the month, for October to March, then get over to the Louvre, because it’s free. Otherwise, a ticket for an adult will cost you €15 at the door or online for €17, which will guarantee quick entrance. Anyone under 18 is free.
Catacombs of Paris
Over 6 million people were moved from different cemeteries in Paris in 1786 after the Les Innocents Cemetery started to experienced corpses overflowing into neighborhoods due to heavy weather. The problem of the overflowing cemeteries was solved by moving bodies into over 200 miles of old mine tunnels,over a course of 12 years. Most of these tunnels are closed off to the public today, except a small portion where you can see history for yourself.
This is an attraction that should be planned in advanced, otherwise you could be standing in line for quite a while. We made the mistake of not buying tickets in advance and the line was already 2 hours when we arrived around 11 a.m. Click here to go to their official website for info and tickets. The catacombs are open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The tour is only 45 minutes long and at the time of this post, tickets online were €5 for under 18 w/out audio guide, €29 for adults with audio guide, and both included the fast pass entry. Otherwise, entry can cost you €13-17,depending on if you add the crypt.
They only allow 200 people down at a time and it is more cramped, so be careful on the size of backpack you bring. Your bag will be searched at the end, so don’t try to steal bones. Yes, people still try to.
The catacombs are dark and damp. They do not allow flash photography so be prepared. The tunnels have a constant temperature of 57°F with no areas for water or bathrooms.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Who doesn’t want to go walk around a cemetery, right? Well in most cases, I would say no thank you, but this cemetery is one that you want to visit. A few of the famous people who are buried here is Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Molière, Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde to name a few. It is free to walk around and on Saturday’s as well as Sundays, they have guided tours.
You can go to the Paris Tourist Office to download a detail map. Word of advice is to download the map beforehand. The cemetery is very big and can be hard to find certain areas without a map of where they are.
The hours that you can visit for November to mid-March are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for Sunday. The rest of the year, it is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.
This is an attraction that is a must see for everyone. We have seen how over time, security measures have increased to protect it. The new measures they have now make your wait time a little longer with a security checkpoint before you get under the tower. It is best to not take bags if you can, makes the security process faster.
Once you pass the security gates, you will either go stand in line to buy a ticket to the top or present your ticket you bought online to skip the long lines. The time of day should be considered. For us, we suggest to know when sunset will be and plan to go up the tower when it’s just getting dark. This way you will be able to see the views of the city in the light. As you wait around the sun will go down and you will be treated to a bright view of the surrounding area. Afterwards, head down to the Trocadero Fountain where you can sit and enjoy a bottle of wine, looking at the Eiffel Tower light up.
The elevator ride is very cramped, so with my Tourette’s, it was beneficial to have family and friends surround me to help with tics. Unfortunately, people look at you rudely when your shoulder keeps moving next to them, so it helps to plan in advance if you need any extra help, whether it’s from the attraction you’re visiting or who you’re traveling with.
Other Things To Consider
Have you been to Paris? What was your favorite thing and what would you recommend to see or do? Let us know if there is something else we must try.