Some of you may remember, at the beginning of the year I got the opportunity to study abroad for a month in Europe. Similar to the program I joined last year to Japan, I spent three weeks studying one subject. This year I picked an arts and literature course focusing on Americans abroad, studying the literature of American authors and how their experience influence 19th-century writing. I was excited for this course because it was heading to 6 cities in France and Italy! I am not going into details about what I learned from this class but more so into my traveling experience–the fun stuff. For this trip, I was challenged to bring only one medium suitcase with one month’s worth of clothing and shoes. That leaves me to pack minimally and only to bring things I need. You will see repetitive outfits, but its ok because exploring is more fun when you are less fashion conscious!
The first stop on my journey was Paris, France. Words cannot express the beautiful experience I had here. Everything was absolutely stunning. Spending one week in Paris was not enough time to savor the delicious rich-flavor meals and desserts. It was definitely not enough time to explore everything that the city had to offer. With that being said, I am only sharing things I’ve done and places I recommend you to visit.
If one of your concerns is transportation in the city, don’t worry. The metro here in Paris is great and easy to use. You’ll eventually get used to it after getting lost ten times though. We stayed in Hotel Claude Bernard which was in the center of Paris so many of our destinations were nearby. Traffic in Paris is horrible, so you’re better off walking and using the subway. I recommend buying an unlimited pass for convenience, but Uber is also an option.
Definitely go to all the art museums & cathedrals or as much as you can. Even if you don’t have an interest in art, you will love the architectural buildings and be wowed by the beauty of it. Best of all, you’ll never stop taking pictures. Be careful where you take pictures, some places are restricted! The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and Palais Galliera is a must!
Visit the icon of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. You can dine in here (reservation has to be made early in advance) and climb to the top of the tower. There are many great places you can see the tower from, but the most common and iconic area is this one near the Arc de Triomphe and on Champs-Elysées. However, I love the area in Champ de Mars park best! The tower is even more beautiful at night. Don’t miss out on the flashy light that lights up every hour!
At least dine in at a local restaurant and try their three-course meals WITH WINE. Every restaurant I’ve been to have their own ambiance which makes the meal even more incredible and tastier! Paris is diverse in food restaurants, so if you don’t want to have Parisian meals, you can eat at a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant. If you don’t want to spend money on a 3 course meal then spend it on street food. Everyone knows street foods are the best, especially gyros with french fries!
If you want to do some shopping, the main street Champs-Elysées is known for their high-end brands and chic boutiques. I heard that some places offer wine when you buy something from them. I didn’t do much shopping in Paris, besides buying small souvenirs. However, there are many shopping malls you can spend your day at also and are much more affordable if you are on a budget.
Another thing you can experience culturally is to attend an Opera show. It was quite an experience, and just FYI, expect at least SIX encores! Last but not least, don’t forget to go on the Ferris wheel and be mesmerized by the beauty of the city while you go round for a good 10 minutes. Make sure to be quick at having your camera or phone out!
Thank you for reading and checking out my blog. I hope my experience inspired you to travel and visit France. Let me know if you have any questions or comments!