The river Seine divides Paris into two unequal parts. Paris is a city with a huge history and attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. I also believe that Paris is one of the favourite cities of influencers.
The date I traveled to Paris (March 10, 2022), you had to provide a valid vaccination certificate in order to visit France. In addition I had to fill out a PLF form (find it at https://app.euplf.eu/#/).
Since March 14, the mandatory use of mask was abolished, as well as the certificate check to enter the shops.
Τravel restrictions are constantly changing, so I highly recommend you before travel, to visit reopen.europa.eu.
To return to Greece from 15 March, the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) has also been abolished.
Transportation in Paris
The first thing I did when I arrived in Paris was to buy a metro ticket.
If you are going to walk around all day, you should definitely buy an unlimited day card. It’s better than buy single tickets (single ticket costs 1.90€).
For a visitor who will be returning to central Paris to see the sights, it pays to issue single tickets over 1 day. The same ticket gets you in and out of the metro as many times as you want.
Tickets are expensive compared to ours (17.80€ for one day Zone 1-5 and 65.80€ for five days Zone 1-5).
The sights of the city of Paris are in Zone 1-3, but the airport and the palace in Versailles that I visited are only included in Zone 1-5. So it didn’t make sense to get a ticket for Zone 1-3 and pay extra money for the palace and airport.
The ticket to Versailles is about 7.50€ round trip, while the airport ticket is around 13-15€.
Metro very frequent routes (every 2-4 minutes during rush hour) and it takes you everywhere. Under no circumstances is it advantageous to drive, as the traffic on the roads is chaotic.
Accommodation in Paris
Hotel de l’Empereur
Hotel de l’Empereur is a comfortable and charming small hotel, with stunning views. It’s located in the heart of Paris, very close to the metro and the Eiffel Tower.
No fancy luxury, but undeniable elegance. Everything in this hotel seems to have been designed for the guests’ pleasure and greatest comfort.
The room was spacious with a nice bathroom and had two small balconies with great views. The breakfast had enough choices for all tastes.
Hôtel Relais Bosquet
If you want to stay close to the Eiffel Tower, then Hotel Relais Bosquet is the perfect hotel for you. The room we stayed in was quite big with stately decor. Best of all of course was the view from the window where you could see the Eiffel Tower.
The location is perfect, next to the metro and a pedestrian street full of restaurants and just a few minutes walk from the Tower.
The staff were very polite and willing to help you with anything you needed. I asked to have breakfast in my room because I was working and was immediately asked what I would like to eat.
The decor in the waiting area and dining room was lovely with pink and green details.
Hilton Paris Opera
If you want the ultimate luxury experience in Paris, then Hilton Paris Opera is the perfect solution for you.
I stayed in the Executive Room, which was literally huge. Room was gorgeous with minimal decor and a heated floor in the bathroom! The windows in the room were very large so there was plenty of light coming into the room.
The hotel area, especially their restaurant, Le Grand Salon, is like a palace. Breakfast had countless options to choose from. From fruit, cheeses and cereals, to croissants, crepes, pancakes and of course delicious scrambled eggs. I didn’t know what to pick first!
The hotel is right next to the metro and Saint Lazare train station (which is where we went to Versailles).
At Le Grand Salon you can enjoy your meal, but also have a drink or their wonderful cocktails.
Hotel Fabric Paris
I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Fabric Paris. The room I stayed in was modern with green details on the bed and curtain. I also loved their spacious bathroom, which had a huge bathtub with great lighting.
Breakfast was served downstairs in a beautifully decorated room. My favorites were the hot pancakes and scrambled eggs.
What to see in Paris
Paris has countless sights to visit. So if you’re planning a trip to the capital of France, I recommend staying at least four days to make sure you get to see most of it.
First on the list obviously it’s the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous spot in Paris. It was built in 1889 by engineer Gustavo Eiffel and is now one of the most popular buildings in the world.
Eiffel Tower has three levels that can be visited, each accessible by stairs or lift. It takes 302 steps to climb up to the first level (and the same for the second). The third and highest level is accessible only by elevator. Both the first and second level have a restaurant.
Tickets for the Eiffel Tower
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe is located in the centre of Paris on the Place de l’Étoile, now called Place Charles de Gaulle. In my opinion, the view from the Arch is spectacular.
The monument is engraved with the names of the victories of the French troops as well as the names of 660 personalities (the underlined names indicate those who died in the battle).
Arc de Triomphe has four columns on which the arch rests are decorated with very large reliefs, which depict: The Exodus of the Volunteers in 1792 (therefore called La Marseillaise, the work of François Rude), Napoleon’s Triumph of 1810, the work of Jean-Pierre Cortot, the Resistance of 1814 and the Peace of 1815, works by Antoine Etex.
The view from Arc de Triomphe
There is also the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, whose altar bears a flame that was first lit in 1921 in memory of the fallen of the First World War. The arch is a national monument – a symbol of French philanthropy – from which the parade of the French National Day on 14 July always starts.
Tickets cost 13€ and admission is free for children under 18 and young people 18-25 who are residents of the European Union.
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
The “Avenue des Champs-Élysées” is a large avenue that starts from Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located, and ends at Place Concorde.
It is famous for its theatres, cafés, department stores, cinemas, but also for the military parades that take place every year on 14 July, France’s national holiday.
The Musée du Louvre is one of the largest and oldest art museums in the world. It is huge and in order to explore it – without seeing all the exhibits in detail – takes a minimum of three -four hours.
Museum lovers could easily spend a whole day in there.
It’s located in the centre of Paris and exhibits 35,000 works of art – 8% of its acquisitions, estimated at 445,000 pieces. The museum’s permanent collections occupy a total area of 60,600 square metres and among them are the Greek collections, covering 25 rooms or spaces.
Of course, the most famous exhibit is Da Vinci’s painting “Mona Lisa”.
The ticket costs 17€ and admission is free for children under 18 and young people 18-25 who are residents of the European Union.
The museum opens at 9:00 and closes at 18:00, however from 17:20 they inform the public that they must leave by 17:30.
Arc de Triomphe of Carousel
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is a triumphal arch, in the Place de Carrousel. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon’s military victories of the previous year. You will find it opposite the Louvre pyramid.
The Petit Palais, is an art museum in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France. You’ll find it almost next to the Alexander III Bridge.
It was built for the 1900 World’s Fair to house a large art exhibition and now houses the Paris Museum of Fine Arts. I didn’t go inside, but it’s a beautiful building that you can see on your way to the Alexander III Bridge.
Alexander III Bridge
The Alexander III Bridge is an arched bridge that connects the two sides of the Seine. It connects the Champs Elysees to the Invalides (palace of the abbots) and is considered one of the most ornate bridges in Paris.
Built between 1896 and 1900, the project was completed and inaugurated in 1900 during the International Exhibition where it was designated as a historic monument of Paris.
A work of art with many bronze statues (nymphs, winged horses) featuring gold details and also in the classical lanterns with which it is decorated.
The Palais Royal, originally called the Palais-Cardinal, is a former royal palace located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.
It is located on the square of the same name, directly opposite the Louvre and is a monument of great historical and architectural value.
Today the Palais Royal houses the Council of State, the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture. At the back of the garden, to the north of the building, on rue Richelieu, is the building of the National Library of France.
Tickets costs 12€ and the admission to the garden is free.
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris is the metropolitan Roman Catholic church of the city of Paris and is one of the most admired architectural monuments of the city.
It is located on the Isle of Ile de la Cité on the Seine River, in the centre of the French capital.
The church is still under construction, after the devastating fire in 2019, and is expected to reopen to the public in 2024, when the country will also host the Olympic Games.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Le Jardin du Luxembourg is a beautiful public garden located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.
In the garden you will find tourists and locals alike enjoying their free time. I was amazed by the fact that there are many children camps there, playing difference games throughout the park. It’s also a famous spot for picnic.
The Pantheon, of Paris, from the Greek word, meaning “all the gods” is a 19th century building, located in the 5th arrondissement, of Paris in the heart of the Cartier Latin.
Its façade is modelled on the Pantheon in Rome and was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genovieve (Genevieve), the patron saint of Paris, to house the reliquary containing her relic.
Over the centuries, this building has been used for many different purposes.
However, after many modifications, it now serves as a non-religious mausoleum containing the remains of those who have left their mark on the history of France.
Built long before the Eiffel Tower, this gem of neoclassical architecture now contains 67 tombs and vaults of Distinguished French citizens (and a few foreigners). Famous writers, scientists and politicians such as Voltaire and Victor Hugo, Jean Moulin and others.
The inscription above the entrance reads:
AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE
(‘To her great men, the grateful fatherland’).
Tickets cost 11.50€ and admission is free for children under 18 and young people aged 18-25 who are residents of the European Union.
Next to the Pantheon, you will find the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. It contains the shrine of Saint Geneviève, patron saint of Paris.
Galeries Lafayette is perhaps the most famous mall in Paris, founded in the late 19th century. It is undoubtedly a paradise for shopping lovers.
Every year, millions of people visit its main store on Haussmann Avenue, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.
A visit to Galeries Lafayette is not just about shopping. The department store is an attraction in itself with its magnificent glass dome.
Tip: You can even go to the roof of Galeries Lafayette, and enjoy (free) stunning views of Paris.
Montmartre is one of the highest hills, an old suburb of Paris and considered one of the most picturesque districts of Paris.
The area is very popular with tourists. It’s located in the northern part of the city, and belongs to the 18th arrondissement of Paris.
If art is dominant in every corner of Paris, there is one district that definitely claims the largest share, with many creators who have stamped their presence on contemporary art.
From the early 19th century and into the early 20th century, Montmartre developed into a major centre of artistic activity and a gathering place for many, intellectual, artists, including Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.
In addition to artists, however, it was also a place of hospitality for women of… “free spirits” and various students, almost all of whom, by their way of life, gave a peculiar character to the area, which was called bohemian.
Before the Second World War, the Montmartre district was, because of its hosting of several entertainment centres, with numerous “infamous” cabarets, such as the legendary Moulin Rouge.
Today, Montmartre attracts a large number of tourists, and the entire area with its narrow cobbled streets and squares is considered one of the most important attractions of the city of Paris.
The most recognizable landmark of Montmartre is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart built between 1876 and 1912.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacre-Coeur) is one of the most important tourist attractions in Paris.
The imposing church is located at the top of the Montmartre hill in the 18th arrondissement of Paris and is the second most visited monument in Paris (over 10 million visitors every year), after the Eiffel Tower.
Due to its location on Montmartre Hill, the monument is the highest point in Paris yet higher than the top of the Eiffel Tower.
To get there, you can choose to take the cable car up the hill to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacre-Coeur) or the bus to Montmartre that stops at most of the attractions in the area.
Since opening its doors more than 125 years ago, the Moulin Rouge has set the standard for the world’s most famous cabarets. In October 1889, Paris buzzed about the opening of a new musical theatre.
Owners Joseph Oyer and Charles Zidler chose the name Moulin Rouge (Red Mill) for their theatre, and nicknamed it “Le Premier Palais des Femmes” (The First Women’s Palace), and claimed that the Moulin Rouge would soon become “a temple of music and dance”.
Thousands of tourists daily take pictures of the huge red windmill at the top of the theatre and many visitors book a nightly show.
The Palais Garnier is undoubtedly one of the most imposing buildings in Paris.
It is also called the Opéra Garnier and is historically known as the Opéra de Paris, as it was the primary lyric stage in Paris and also the home of the Paris Opera Ballet until 1989, when the Opéra Bastille opened its doors in the Bastille district.
A ticket without a guide costs 14€, while reduced admission costs 10€. Reduced admission is for young people aged 12-25, and admission for children under 12 is free.
My favorite attraction by far was Versailles, which is a royal palace 20 kilometers outside of Paris, in the homonymous city of Versailles.
Versailles is one of the largest and most luxurious palaces in the world. From 1682 to 1789 Versailles was the capital of France. Today it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It consists of a total of 2,300 rooms, 67 staircases and covers a total area of 67,000 square meters! It contains more than 10,000 priceless works of art.
The total palace area occupies an area of 815 hectares (it occupied an area of 8000 hectares before the French Revolution) of which 93 hectares contain the famous Versailles Gardens – a marvel of architecture and horticulture unique in the world.
Versailles was built by order of Louis XIII in 1623 but took its present form 50 years later during the reign of Louis XIV.
The amount of money spent to create this palace is unimaginable even by today’s standards.
Palace of Versailles’s value is estimated at 250 billion euros, which is about the same as the Greek debt.
The Palace of Versailles is also known for its huge gardens along with many fountains and statues. Palace gardens is the largest of its kind in Europe, created in the 17th century, with a geometric pattern of shrubs, flowerbeds and trees.
The fountains and statues depict Greek mythology, as does the interior of the palace. There was no way I could get around all the garden area. I think you easily need a whole day to walk around.
The ticket costs 22.50€ and admission is free for children under 18 and young people 18-25 who are residents of the European Union. Entrance to the gardens is free.
To get there from Paris you can take a train, which costs about 7,50€ round trip.
You take the train from Gare Saint-Lazare station to Versailles (about 15 minutes walk from the station to the palace).
Otherwise, you can book a one-day tour with a tourist agency to go by bus.
What you need to know before you go to Paris
- Paris is a huge city with very long distances. Be sure to get a public transport card. To see all the sights I believe you need 4-5 days.
- Your mobile call minutes from Greece are valid in France, as well as Mobile Data are available with roaming.
- Beware of thieves! Paris is full of pickpockets who will try to rob you at the first opportunity. Be especially careful in touristy places like the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
- Be prepared to find prices much higher than restaurants in Athens. Before you plan your trip, expect to pay around 15-20€ for the main course in normal priced restaurants.
- If you don’t want to pay for water at the restaurants, you can ask for a jug of water. They will bring you filtered water that you can drink safely and save some money.
If you want to see more about my trip in Paris, visit my profile on Instagram.