Paris was always a bucket list destination. The photos and movies of Paris always made it appear so dreamy and surreal. I knew at some point, I had to venture there. I hadn’t planned on visiting this year Paris, however, my best friend was having a birthday as well and her husband arranged for us to surprise her…but in ROME! Well, my best friends sister, Cheryl, made the recommendation to fly to Paris before Rome since it was so close. Omg… I thought…Perfecto! I’m going to Paris AND Rome! A small piece of me melted with excitement of course. We immediately started planning!
I knew Paris was pricey so I tried to keep costs as low as possible. I flew Lufthansa to Paris. We stayed in a very cute, budget friendly hotel, called Hotel De Paris. It was $52 a night and literally steps to the metro. The metro was 2 euro per trip ($2.30 usd) and we were able to get to Eiffel Tower in about 10 minutes. I thought it was perfect. We were in a residential area, (which I didn’t mind) close to restaurants and grocery stores. We were able to get fruit from a farmers market steps from our hotel. We also dined at relatively inexpensive restaurants that had GREAT food. We weren’t in a touristy area so I guess it was a bit more affordable.
I booked my room through Hotels.com because when you collect 10 stays, you get a free stay. (Your free room amount is based off an average of all of your stays). During my search I noticed that most of the hotels were small and only offered a double bed or 2 twin beds. I chose the hotel with the best reviews on Trip advisor and Hotels.com as well as the most affordable. Cheryl and I each booked our own room and we were content with our choice. (However, I’m going to talk more about how to “Finesse” this better and get more bang for your buck.)
Upon landing we were exhausted from the long commute from Chicago so we took a 2 hour nap, woke up refreshed and ready to see Paris! We immediately got our metro tickets and headed to Eiffel Tower!
We were WOW’d. It was so beautiful and massive in real life. We immediately began snapping picture after picture. Lol. I’m not sure that it can ever get old! I’m born and raised in Chicago and Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago skyline never gets old to me. We decided to hang out for a bit in the park in front of Eiffel, drink wine and take it all in. After an hour, we took the tour allllllllllll the way to the top of the Tower. Even MORE stunning. The ticket was 25 euro. ($30) The lines were LONG however, we giggled, laughed and were so excited that the time flew by! We spent about 3 hours inside of the tower, Walking around and going to the different levels. We wanted to have dinner in the restaurant, HOWEVER, it was 155 euro (approx $185 US) per person, you needed reservations and dressy attire. So we opted to just munch on pretzels and beignets instead. We were just so darn excited to be in Paris that we were happy with that! “I just ate a pretzel…in PARIS, at EIFFEL!!! POW!” LOL **Our little never ending insider joke.**
After being inside Eiffel, we HAD to see it light up at night..aka..twinkle. It twinkles on the hour for 5 minutes at night. Guys…omgggggg SO PRETTY. It gave me butterflies. It was so pretty, we sat for another hour to watch it light up again! Lol. We found a grassy spot, had our wine, got tipsy, watched an engagement, hustled the hustlers…lol. It was perfect! We finally decided to make our way back at about 1am! Day 1 in Paris, perfection!
Day 2 We felt like professional metro riders! Lol We got up and headed to Eiffel again! This time, we did the hop on, hop off bus tour. The tour bus company we went through called “Open Tour Paris” went to about 20-25 stops. It definitely hit the highlights of Paris. We hopped off at the Louvre, walked around nearby, did more shopping, more sight seeing and more picture taking!
Day 3 We took a relaxing sight seeing boat ride through Paris on the Bateaux-Mouches. The tour gave us better insight on the beautiful city, its rich history and architecture. But, it also gave us the chance to relax and take it all in. The boat ride was only an additional $10 with our hop on, hop off bus tickets! This was our shortest day because we had a 930pm flight to Rome but we made the most of it for sure! The day started off perfectly but we ended up in the middle of a hail storm! Lol check my YouTube vlog for the footage. (At the bottom!)
Here are 10 things to consider when traveling to Paris.
1. Pick pocketing is huge. I recommend a Fanny pack or a close slung purse.
2. In Paris, there were some places that charged to use the restroom. Make sure you keep Euro coins with you.
3. There were no face towels. Consider bringing your own if this is a deal breaker. I think the US is the only place where face towels are standard.
4. Walking around the Eiffel Tower got pretty dirty. The paths are unpaved. We looked like we had been playing in dirt all day. Bring comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Ladies, ditch the heels and wedges. We saw so many girls almost break their ankles and/or were walking like their feet were gonna fall off at any moment.
5. Pre book your transportation to and from the airport in advance. Uber is very expensive. It cost us $100 to get approx 20 miles. (The way there was about $50) Viator is a great option for round trip transportation.
6. If you’re on a budget here is something to consider with your hotel stay…the hotels near the airport were cheaper and seemingly nicer. They are also larger which makes sharing a room a little bit more manageable. Many of them also included breakfast and a free hotel shuttle. CDG airport has a metro. Again, it’s approx 2-3 euro. You could potentially save yourself a lot of money by just staying near the airport. The con is that it’s not necessarily close to the action per se. However, if you took the metro into the city, you could plan on staying all day. Nobody uses their room on vacation!
7. Everyone sells the same souvenirs. You can talk them down to super low prices. When you start walking away, they go even lower.
8. If you want to dine in the Eiffel Tower, Make reservations way in advance.
9. Exchange your usd for euros at your local bank. It’s free and saves you money because you don’t have to pay the commission. I bank at Chase and was able to get Euros before I left at a downtown branch.
10. I heard the walking tour given by the locals was highly beneficial. (We didn’t have enough time for this unfortunately) They give you more insight into what the locals consider important, as well as leads you to great restaurants and neighborhoods to visit.
I hope this was helpful! Comment below and let me know your thoughts.
Nikki Lee ❤️