Somehow this travel guide slipped through the cracks and is almost two years late! I am so sorry, hopefully, it was worth the wait. If you’ve read any of my other travel guides, you maybe know that RJ and I take one big trip every Fall. In November 2017, we spent 5 Days in Paris, France & oh my gosh what a dream it was!
We usually aim for a full week when traveling to Europe but RJ had a very busy work season and only had 5 days to get away. RJ actually surprised me with this trip to Paris for our one year anniversary and it’s something I’ll never forget! I am going to break down our 5 days in Paris below + share some things that are on my list for our next visit to this magical city.
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HOW TO GET THERE
We had five days in Paris, but technically about 24 of those hours were spent traveling. Ideal? No. Doable? Yes. I felt like four days in the actual city were plenty but I do wish we could have extended our trip to be a full week and visited another part of Europe. I highly suggest pairing Paris with another city or country, as I feel a week or even longer than 4-5 days would be too much. Once we arrived in the city, we took an Uber to our hotel. One of my favorite parts of Paris over Italy is the fact that they have Ubers. We have become so reliant on them and when we did not have a rental car in Italy, we struggled to find cabs. I actually felt like we explored Paris more than Rome because it was more convenient and we never felt like we may be stuck somewhere without a cab back to our hotel.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed in Hotel Duquesne Eiffel and while it is not my favorite hotel of all time (we have some pretty incredible hotels from our Switzerland trip that will forever be tough to top), I do recommend it and would even stay there again! It was affordable, clean, friendly and in a great location. We had a view of the Eiffel Tower from our room and were able to walk many places. I will never forget laying in bed watching the Eiffel Tower light show as I fell asleep each evening. Truly a pinch-me moment. We easily walked to the Eiffel Tower from our hotel, as well as Rue Cler which is one of the most famous market streets in Paris. I couldn’t help but imagine strolling the street with Doodle picking up cheese for an afternoon picnic. We also Ubered to a few different places around Paris and everything was a very reasonable price.
WHAT TO DO
We arrived on a Friday morning around 9 am, after getting through the airport and heading to our hotel we were finally able to check-in around 12 pm. We have learned that we have to take a 1 hour-ish nap when arriving in Europe. We try to fight it every time and there’s no use! We can’t function without it and gave in. After our nap, we changed and went out to explore. We ate in a cafe near our hotel, walked to the Eiffel tower and soaked up the beauty that is Paris!
That evening we headed out early for dinner at Café Louise and the Louvre + strolling the streets. Just walking through Paris is a dream and the first time you see the Eiffel Tower light show, you’ll be frozen in your tracks! After a long day of traveling, we ended up cuddled up in our room with chocolates, wine and the perfect view of the light show.
We woke well rested Saturday morning and were excited to head to Versailles. Every morning during our five days in Paris, we would grab a coffee and stroll Rue Cler, this was one of my favorite parts of Paris. We ubered to the palace and it was a beautiful drive! I loved seeing the smaller towns outside of Paris. We didn’t buy our tickets in advance and did have to wait in line for about 20 minutes. We then did a self-guided audio tour through the palace and it was so cool to see! One of our favorite parts of the day was having lunch at Ore on the property. The food was delicious and we used Marie Antoinette’s silverware which was very neat! RJ actually had his most favorite bottle of wine ever at this restaurant. After wrapping up the day at Versaille, we ubered back to our hotel. It was no issue picking up an Uber from the palace.
That evening, we attempted to go to dinner at Le Refuge des Fondues. Sadly, they told us we wouldn’t be able to get in until after 10pm and we were starving. It’s on my list for next time we go! You eat fondue and drink wine out of baby bottles! It’s supposedly VERY fun and it was packed, I’m so sad we missed it. We ended up at a random Italian restaurant that allowed dogs and it was so sweet seeing the little French puppers. After dinner we headed to Moulin Rouge!
Day three of our five days in Paris was actually our anniversary day! We started the day with a cruise along the Seine and I highly recommend this. We brought a bottle of wine and drank it while taking in all the sites. It was amazing seeing the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and most of Paris from the water. It was so romantic and fun, the best way to spend our first anniversary.
That evening RJ surprised me with dinner in the Eiffel Tower at 58 Tour Eiffel. I can’t even think about a more magical way to celebrate our first year of marriage. We went up and ate a delciious three course meal, then were able to walk around the tower and go to different levels if we wanted. I highly recommend doing this if you’re able to snag a reservation! It’s on my list for one of the coolest travel experiences ever.
Our five days in Paris were sadly coming to an end. On our final full day we wanted to really explore without an agenda and soak up Paris! After our ritual of coffee on Rue Cler, we headed out to see Notre Dame. We waited in line for about 10 minutes and then were able to see all inside the church. I also was able to grab holy water for my Grandparents because I had an empty bottle. If you’re going be sure to bring a small bottle and they’ll fill it up for you! We spent about an hour and a half in the church and then went across the street to a delicious little restaurant, Le Petit Chatelet, where I had a goat cheese + pesto tart that I still dream about! After lunch we did some shopping and went to a spot to put our Love Lock on a bridge and tossed our key in the river! We ended the day by grabbing macaroons from Ladurée and head a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. Fall is so magical around the Eiffel Tower, all the leaves are changing colors and so so so beautiful.
In the evening, we went to eat at Pink Mamma, an italian place we heard great things about! We love Italian food and tend to seek it out whenever we’re abroad. It was a fun, cute atmosphere and the food was delicious! We ended our final night in Paris by watching the final tower lightshow of the night from our hotel room.
Since this trip was a surprise, I wasn’t able to plan as much as I normally would. RJ told me a few days (weeks?) before we left, so I was able to research but usually I spend a few months organizing our trips to Europe. One of the things I like to do for trips abroad is research different neighborhoods, make note of what there is to do in each, what to avoid, places to eat and things to see. That way we can refrence it while traveling without having too strict of an itinerary. Spending five days in Paris, there were definitely things we missed, but all in all I think we were able to see 90% of what we wanted to see. I hope to return to Paris one day, maybe while visiting London or Amsterdam, and spend more time in the city and not just seeing touristy things.
All in all, I liked Paris a lot! I would not say it’s my favorite place we’ve visited but it was still amazing. Paris was very modern and metropolitan, but due to being our first visit we also did all the tourist things. I would really enjoy going back and experience Paris off the beaten path. I did like that we had access to Uber, the buildings were beautiful and it was so amazing just being in Paris.
If you have any other questions about our Five Days in Paris, please drop them below so I can answer + others can see! You can also follow along on Instagram (@RileySitton), I’m going to add some of my favorite memories to an IG highlight tab for a behind the scenes look. XO