• Bridget Donaldson

Half a day in Paris

With less than a day to spend in the romantic capital of the world, it is simply impossible to tick every item off the list, though you can certainly give it a good try!

Recently I spent just 6 hours in Paris with some friends, ahead of catching a flight to Geneva to start my new job at CERN, but managed to squeeze in some of the major highlights. With a few little tricks, you can also make the most of a short stop in Paris, should you ever find yourself pushed for time!

A lot of what we managed in Paris was simply ‘sightseeing’ and not experiencing. So if you find yourself with more time on your hands, it might be worth spending more than just a few moments seeing the sights and instead, experiencing them.

As we had been staying at my boyfriends home in France, we were only around a 1.5 hour drive away so took advantage of this and ended up taking a car straight into the centre of the city, driving up the Champs-Élysées - a beautiful avenue stretching through the centre of Paris, and parking just nearby the Arc de Triomphe - an arch commemorating those who fought and died in the French Revolution. From here we planned to head straight to Notre Dame Cathedral - A 13th century gothic cathedral renowned for its rib vaulting, flying buttresses and stunning stained glass windows, as well as its many carved stone gargoyles, and create a sort of circle around the city, working backwards from Notre Dame. Soon we realised that if we were to walk all the way from the Arc De Triomphe to Notre Dame and basically back again, we were really limiting ourselves. Then just like magic we stumbled across some electric LimeE scooters so took the initiative to download the app and away we went. This honestly made a tremendous difference and if it wasn’t for the scooters I think we would have struggled to fit as much in as we did.

So we were off! We picked up the discarded LimeE’s on the pavement and floated along the southern side of the Seine river towards Notre Dame Cathedral. Due to the recent, tragic fire, much of the area surrounding Notre Dame was cordoned off. Nevertheless we were still able to observe the wondrous site from afar, whilst standing on the Petit Pont bridge.

Notre Dame Cathedral from Petit Pont

After a few minutes of observing and picture taking, we decided to ditch the scooters and walk back down the northern stretch of the Seine, taking everything in before arriving at the Louvre - a museum famous for housing the Mona Lisa. Here we took a walk through the eccentrically stunning courtyard before arriving at the front of the museum adjacent to where the iconic glass pyramid is situated.

Apparently it would take 3 weeks to appreciate the entirety of the collections on display within the Louvre. Unfortunately we had less than 10 minutes so didn’t get the chance to go inside at all, though it was magical to be able to take a look at all of the glorious architecture on the outside of the building.

A quick stop at the Louvre before bundling into a taxi which would take us to the Eiffel Tower. At first we went right upto the tower and walked through the surrounding parks. This area was packed with tourists so we decided to venture a little bit further out until we discovered a little street called Rue de L'Universite. This was the perfect spot to get a great picture of the metallic structure, framed by stereotypical french balconied buildings and leafy luscious trees.

The Eiffel Tower from Rue de L'Universite

Fair to say we spent a good amount of time making the most of this epic picture spot before sitting down for late lunch at a nearby restaurant, still in full view of the tower. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced meal near the Eiffel Tower, definitely check this area out! Generally restaurants around the tower are pretty expensive but we stumbled across some little gems here.

Lunch overlooking the Eiffel Tower

Unfortunately by the time we finished lunch, the only thing left to do was run to Paris Orly Airport for my flight. However, pretty pleased with the amount we managed to squeeze into our little trip. I will definitely be back in the future to fully immerse myself in Parisian culture.

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