A First-Time Visitor’s Guide to Paris

With so much activity buzzing around, deciding where to begin can be the first of many challenges. My advice is to head straight to the center of the city and branch out from there. The city’s metro system is a little tedious, but very user friendly with some patience and a good map. It will get you where you need to go.

Being rated as one of the top five most expensive shopping avenues on the planet, Avenuedes Champs Elysées is a must see. Not necessarily to be seen, which won’t score any points if you don’t know people in Paris anyway. It is a beautiful avenue lined with quaint shops, large trees, and is nicely manicured. It’s the perfect place to bring your bucket list and fulfill a one-in-a-lifetime moment. Spend $20 on a single cup of coffee.

If the underground has you frustrated, there is a wonderful alternative. Paris has an endless array of water taxis properly referred to as Bat-O-Bus. The water taxi locations are well-marked and can easily be found along the River Seine. They are inexpensive, reliable and offer frequent stops. It is a perfect way to rest tired feet while seeing the city from a water perspective.

One of the main water taxi routes through central Paris takes you right to the island that hosts Cathédrale Nortre Dam de Paris. The ‘Our lady of Paris’ cathedral is one of the most amazing buildings in all of Europe offering more than 1,500 years of history. Inside you will discover towers, crypts, paintings and sculptures, a massive organ and some of the most breathtaking stained glass you have ever laid your eyes on.

The Catacombs of Paris should not be missed during your city tour. This remarkable underground tunnel is completely lined with human bones, consisting of approximately six million Parisians. This famous burial place was established in 1786. During World War II, these tunnels were used as bunkers. With so much history, this intriguing site is well worth the visit.

The Arc de Triomphe, which is home to the Unknown Soldier, and the Eiffel Tower are two of the most famous sites to see when visiting Paris. They are spectacular and will definitely wake your senses to realize that you are indeed, in Paris. Even though they are mainstream tourist attractions, both city icons are very easily found and should not be left out of your tour.

Other Paris recommendations are local pubs. The young Parisians love to dance on tabletops, making it rather impossible not to join in. If you are seeing the city on foot, keep your eyes open for a street side crepe maker. To this day whenever I think about Paris, I remember the taste of that sticky, fresh lemon crepe.

A few buildings worth mentioning are Moulin Rouge and the Paris Opera house. If you enjoy the buildings on their own, do your best to take in at least one live show. Tickets are a little pricey but well worth it!

There are also the museums of Paris, namely the Louvre, Modern Art, and the Rodin Museum to take in amongst many great parks, shops and other monuments. If you are planning on visiting Paris for the first time, enjoy it. See it. Live and breathe it. It’s a magnificent city!

Websites:

Notre Dam

The Catacombs of Paris

Arc de Triomphe

Moulin Rouge

Paris Opera House

Museums of Paris