Earlier this year, I went back to a country and a city I had previously visited. This probably doesn’t seem like a huge deal for most, but I had a plan for when this was supposed to happen. My plan was to visit twenty countries before I intentionally went back to a place I had previously been. My reasoning for this is simple… it is so much to see and do in this world, it would be very easy to find a country/city you like and spend your money continuing to go back to that place. Thus, missing out on new places you might love just as much or more. However, I was at eighteen countries, so close enough, right? I’ll admit, I’ve been looking forward to going back to Paris every since my very first international trip to Barcelona, Spain and Paris, France in May 2015. There’s just something about Paris that stuck with me. Part of it was this fantasy of the place I had in my head before ever visiting. The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most famous monuments and you imagine what’s it’s going to be like to see it in person. When I finally did in 2015, I was literally just mesmerized by it. It truly is magnificent in person.
I went to the very top of the Eiffel Tower and took great photos of the entire city of Paris from above that first trip.
I probably took thirty pictures of the Eiffel Tower alone. What you come to realize the more you travel is you don’t really know how to travel your first couple trips out of the country. Everything is so new and exciting, but you don’t really know how to research the place, decide what to see and take great photos of the right places. For a place like Paris, it’s helpful to make a return trip when you are more seasoned and have nothing or no one holding you back from fully exploring this truly unique and beautiful city. That’s exactly what I decided to do in January of 2019 – head to Paris solo for a week and try to explore as much of the city as I could and soak in as much of the atmosphere as possible. And of course, take great photos!
If you aren’t already aware, Paris is made up of twenty Arrondissements and each one offers something different. The best way to think of this is like twenty mini neighborhoods within one city. I knew I wanted to be fairly close to a few main attractions like the world famous Louvre Museum (1st Arrondissement) and stay somewhere different than my previous trip (16th Arrondissement), so I ended up staying in the 3rd ARR (short for Arrondissement). I almost never stay at expensive hotels because I would rather use my money on experiences and food, but I also can’t stay at cheap, dirty hotels. I tend to look for 3-star hotels that are centrally located. I’m never in my hotel anyway, so it’s somewhat of a waste to splurge. This time I stayed at Hotel Du Plat d’Etain. The hotel was nothing fancy, but it was clean and for Paris standards offered a decent size room. The best news is it was within two minutes walking of a metro station and that’s really important for getting around Paris. Also if you decide to save on cash and take the train in from the airport (RER) it helps if your hotel isn’t far from a train station. The best way to travel in Paris is by metro and by foot. There is so much to see and the building designs are magnificent, so you want to walk as much as possible (I averaged twelve miles per day) – but the metro helps you get to places that are too far to see on foot.
One of my missions on this trip was to see as close to all twenty arrondissements as possible and get an overall sense of each one and what I felt they offered. This couldn’t be a full assessment due to time and my tight budget on this trip – but I’ll provide the notes I jotted down and share some pictures of the places as well.
Keep in mind, this post isn’t intended to provide great detail of these places, just to share my memories and thoughts from my time there. Hopefully something sparks your brain or intrigues you to want to see for yourself or debate about it (haha).
– The 1st ARR is very fancy and extremely nice. It has many High fashion shops, and beautiful buildings to gawk at and very clean.
- Expensive food options are in the 1st, 8th and 16th arrondissements.
- Visit the 3rd & 4th arrondissements Marais. This area is what I describe as very Paris and has such cool shops. It’s hard to imagine in the states going shopping and seeing such great architecture at the same time.
- The 9 arrondissement is incredible! Awesome shopping (Printemps & Gallery Lafettes) and beautiful buildings all over. Definitely would stay in this area.
- 10th & 11th arrondissements are hot spots now and great spot for Sunday Brunch. Good cocktails too. Also, the 11th is pretty affordable.
- The 13th almost doesn’t seem like you in Paris. Not as nice, a bit dark and grungy – but the Paris Basketball team plays there and Chinatown has some good food options.
- Montmartre 18th must visit for beautiful pictures of Paris. It has its own vibe and lots of fun places to visit. Most notably is the Moulin Rogue.
- The 20th has more of a hipster vibe to it. A lot of graffiti (art), restaurant (cafes) and pretty diverse crowd.
Now for some pictures of Paris I loved… hope you enjoy!
In closing… More Travel, More Life!