Paris! The City of Light! The popular tourist hot spot that folks come to see from all over the world. Is it overrated? Did we love it? Was it worth the miles and money? To answer this, I did a travel segment The Arizona Mix morning show…
Paris Recommendations & Booking Links Listed In Order Shown In My Morning Show Segment…
The Train We Took To Paris
The Hotel We Stayed In
We chose to stay at the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel that is located in the bustling heart of Paris. Located close to popular Parisian monuments such as the Champs-Elysées, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, this property is comfortable, centrally located and includes a tasty on-site restaurant called Solis Bar & Restaurant. The Renaissance is part of the Marriott Bonvoy list of participating hotels, so we also received membership points for our paid stay at the hotel. The rooms are a bit small, but that is typical of Paris hotel rooms. The employees are fluent in English and are nice to work with, going above and beyond more than once to help us with transportation and other recommendations.
The Seine River Sightseeing Dinner Cruise that includes a 3 course meal & champagn
This is an incredible experience that I highly recommend. We booked our 2 hour 3-course dinner cruise along the famous Seine River though the Get Your Guide app at this link. Our tickets cost $73 euros ($78 USA dollars) and that fare included a glass of champagne and a delicious French food 2-course meal plus a decadent dessert. The glass enclosed boat gave us views of multiple famous Paris monuments that include the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and more. We were spoiled by the boat’s attentive wait staff and we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful singer who sang familiar tunes and invited guests aboard the boat to sing along. She also led a group in an onboard dance towards the end of the journey. We adored everything about this incredible French experience cruising along the scenic Seine River. I absolutely recommend the Seine River Sightseeing Dinner Cruise!
The Eiffel Tower Tour!
Do what we did…go on the Seine Dinner River Cruise the night before you go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. My daughter and I found doing the experience in that order to be absolutely magical! Seeing the Eiffel Tower from the river the evening before and then going to the summit the next day was absolutely unforgettable! We booked our tour through Viator and we specifically purchased tickets for the The Eiffel Tower Skip The Line Summit with Host tour and we quickly discovered that going to the top of the Eiffel Tower (called the summit) through this booked tour was worth every cent. Our individual tickets cost us about $115 each and it was money well spent because we truly skipped the very long lines of tourists from all over the world who waited 2 to 3 hours. We only had to wait 15 minutes! Our tour guide shared interesting tidbits and historic facts about the Eiffel Tower and he escorted us to the first level. Once he completed his discussion and answered questions, those who wanted to go all they way to the summit went on their own. We did and the elevator ride was crowded but moved smoothly up to the very top. Once at the top, we truly felt like we were on top of the world. We purchased champagne and macrons and had the time of our lives! Don’t miss this! It is not overrated!
*The Champs de Mars is also a must do! – This grand park, that is rich with French history, was once an agricultural area for Parisians to grow food to then sell in the markets. The expansive area has also been the place of famous bloody battles as well as historic celebrations like the world’s very first launching of the hot air balloon. The massive gorgeous green park is the place to capture a photo of yourself with the Eiffel Tower in the background and also provides the inviting picnic areas and perfect photo ops. This is one of the nicest places in the world to get your walk, run or bike ride in!
*The Louvre – A Paris point of pride for sure, The Louvre is a world famous national art museum that was first established 230 years ago. The expansive art museum that houses the Mona Lisa, world famous sculptures, historic renowned art and more. Take in the stunning Tuileries Garden on the outside before or after the expansive museum visit. We bought our Louvre guided tour tickets through the Viator booking app at this link. We booked the small group tour as that was cheaper than reserving a private tour guide and we got lucky because the group didn’t show up, so we had our tour guide to ourselves. I recommend doing it this way because the museum is massive, so she guided us through the exhibits in a relaxing sequence while sharing incredible historic facts and interesting stories about what we were viewing. It was a terrific experience.
*Palace of Versailles – We booked our day at the stunning and massive world famous palace through the Versailles website at this link. Doing it this saved us a significant amount of money, but I didn’t purchase tickets this route by choice. So many of my friends and family recommended booking a pricey and private tour of the palace that also included transportation from our hotel. Unfortunately, all of those private tours were sold out so we easily took an Uber to Versailles and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but found the palace to be quite crowded inside. Folks who were able to get the private tours get to arrive early in the morning before the majority of the rest of the day’s visitors enter. Versailles does do a good job of assigning timed entry so we didn’t have to wait in a long line, but it was still quite busy inside. The Versailles Musical Fountains and lovely large gardens are not to be missed. If I’m ever lucky enough to return to Paris, I would book a day back to Versailles to just enjoy the gardens that offer boat rides, picnics and more. But do make time to enter the palace as well because seeing Marie Antoinette’s chambers and King Louis XVI’s grand rooms are fun to view and the grandiose Hall of Mirrors provides the perfect photo op.
*Fashions Dos and Don’ts – I include this section because standing out like a tourist can make you a target for the Paris pick pocket criminals. The big fashion don’ts are to not wear flip flops, ball caps and clothing with logos. A nice pair of white tennis shoes will take you far and will leave you fitting in with the Parisians. Stylish clean white sneakers are aplenty and are worn with both casual and dressy outfits. Simple elegance is the name of the game with folks dressing up to attend the popular Paris theatre productions.
A Few Other Notes That Weren’t Covered In My Morning Show Segment
Dining in Paris – I was so surprised to learn that many of the cafes feature almost identical menus. Most of the cafes are quite charming but if you want to try different foods, then do your restaurant research before you land in Paris. Stay tuned for my upcoming article showcasing the Paris restaurants we recommend.
Helpful Paris Notes –
*Greet everyone with Bon Jour. That is absolutely the polite universal greeting in France.
*Ubers and taxis both worked well for us, but at times we experienced delays in the arrival of both, so plan ahead when you need to get to the airport or train station. Don’t order your ride last minute.
*Pack a change purse as Euros under $5 is in coin.
*Beware of pick pockets as I mentioned in the fashion section above. Keep your purse securely around you in the front. Don’t put wallets and phones in your back pocket.
*Travel to Paris in the shoulder season before the busy time and before school lets out for the country’s official holiday.
*See my international travel tips checklist here to get the complete list of what to do before you leave the country for Paris and for Europe! That article covers foreign currency, international health insurance, language translation apps and more. Definitely read that before you plan, pack and go!
There is so much more to cover when visiting the City of Light, but since this was my first visit, I wanted to see and try the popular tourist attractions to experience it and to share if I believe what we selected is overrated. That is a hard no! Paris is not overrated and was worth every mile traveled and euro spent! I can’t recommend the above attractions enough! My daughter and I both agree that each visit from the Seine River dinner cruise to toasting champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower to exploring the world famous Louvre and getting our exercise seeing the majestic Palace of Versailles was all magical. I dream of returning to France’s magical capital to venture to areas off the beaten path. I have started my travel savings account again with hopes of doing just that!
In the meantime, please share your favorite Paris places and tips in the comments section!