My daughter and I have just returned from 4 wonderful days in Paris.We flew into CDG and got the RER to Luxembourg, found it very straightforward to use the ticket machine. We dropped our bags at our apartment “My Little Home in Paris’ (perfectplaces.com) on Rue Rollin and headed off for a coffee and a walk down Rue Mouffetard, buying picnic stuff on the way.
Our first stop was the Pantheon, where I bought a 4 day museum pass. My daughter is under 26 so was free although she had to show her passport. As we are not very clued up on French history we didn’t find it that interesting so after a while we headed to the Jardin du Luxembourg for our picnic.
In the afternoon we visited the Cluny museum to see the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries then walked up to the Seine for a glimpse of Notre Dame before heading over to the Musee Rodin via St Germain. By the time we arrived our feet were aching so after a quick look round the house we sat in the gardens to rest and enjoy seeing the sculptures among the flowers. The gardens stay open till 6.45 so finally we headed to the metro, bought a carnet from the machine and headed back to our apartment. We both felt exhausted by this time so decided to pick up a bottle of wine, salad and chicken from the supermarket and stay in for the evening.
On Sunday morning we walked to Notre Dame arriving just before 10 for the Gregorian Mass, we found the service to be a moving experience. We then decided to check out the queue for the towers, we waited about 30 mins which was far less than we were expecting. The climb up seemed fairly easy but my legs ached for the rest of our holiday. The view from the top was amazing.
Next we headed over to the Concierge and Ste Chapelle via the flower and bird market. Personally I didn’t find the Concierge worth the visit but a bonus was that my daughters free entrance ticket had a money off voucher for a Seine cruise. Again we were lucky with queues and walked straight through security at Ste Chapelle. The lower floor was impressive but the upper chapel was absolutely breathtaking and we sat for ages just admiring the colours and the detail.
We walked to Ile St Louis and bought picnic supplies which we ate in the little park at the tip of the island before treating ourselves to Berthillon ice cream. Next we headed over to the Marais and spent a very enjoyable afternoon strolling round and sunbathing in Place du Vosges before going to L’as du Falafel to eat. We walked back to our apartment via the Pompidou Centre where we took the escalator to the top for the views. Modern art is not really our thing so we didn’t visit the galleries.
In the evening we got the metro back to Notre Dame and boarded the Vedettes du Pont Neuf cruise at 9.30. The boat had just turned at the Eiffel Tower when the lights came on and we were able to see the tower twinkle, this took everyone’s attention much to the frustration of the guide who kept asking for “your intention please” as she tried to tell us about the other sights we were passing. After disembarking we walked over to the Louvre, seeing the pyramid all lit up was stunning and we spent ages there taking photos.
Monday morning was raining but we had planned to visit the Louvre so headed off on the metro and arrived at about 9.15, we were amazed to find no queue at the pyramid entrance so went straight in through security and down to the ticket booths. My daughter had to get her free entry ticket but there was no delay and we picked up a guide and headed straight to see Mona Lisa. After this we wandered around for about 3 hours, we had made a rough plan of what we wanted to see but both agreed the museum is quite confusing. Highlights for me were the Medici cycle of paintings by Rubens, Napoleons Apartments, Apollo Gallery and Cupid and Psyche. It was also fun to people watch, especially those on a “quick lets take a photo of this and find the next thing” visit, we preferred to sit a while and just soak it all in.
The rain eased off a little in the afternoon and after a delicious lunch in a café in Passage de Choisseul we went to the Opera House. We had to queue for about 20 minutes for tickets, we were amazed by how opulent it was and thoroughly recommend a visit. Next we walked down to the Tuileries and the Orangerie, there was quite a long queue here so we joined the museum pass line which went in quickly and luckily they didn’t seem to mind about my daughter not having a pass and just issued her with a free ticket. It is worth noting that at every attraction we visited except the Musee du Cluny they asked to see her passport and issued a ticket. The way the water lily paintings are displayed is fantastic, you can really appreciate them in the round.
Once we got to the Place de la Concorde we decided our legs just wouldn’t carry us much further so we got on a bus up the Champs Elysees, it was a nicer street than I had expected, it certainly seems to have smartened up but we didn’t regret not walking along it. At the Arc de Triomphe we took the lift to the top but didn’t linger as it was quite a grey afternoon although it was fun to watch the cars on the roundabout. We went back to our apartment on the bus, we were able to use the same ticket on both buses that we took to get back.
Monday evening was our last in Paris so despite the rain we went to the Eiffel Tower. We got there about 9.15 and were at the top by 10pm, it was the thing my daughter had most wanted to do and it was worth it to see her face when we stepped out but personally I think the second level is as good. It was interesting to see Paris lit up and to pick out the landmarks but it was so windy I was happy to get back down. We were back at ground level for the 11pm sparkle.
Tuesday was our last day and we got the metro to the D’Orsay for about 9.15 and were pleasantly surprised to find a fairly short queue and got through security within 10 minutes of it opening. Following the helpful tips on this forum we headed straight to the back and the escalators up which gave us about 20 minutes or so on the top floor with hardly anyone about. We were both in agreement that this was the best art gallery we have ever been to. We spent the afternoon in Montmartre, enjoying a lovely lunch in Place des Abesses before heading up to the Sacre Couer then down to the cemetery to see Degas grave. I was glad I had printed a plan off, its easy to get lost. Our last stop was the Moulin Rouge for a quick photo before getting the bus back to collect our bags and get the train to the airport.
All in all a wonderful 4 days in Paris, tired feet but so many fantastic memories.