1. Visit Notre Dame Cathedral
During my time in Paris, I went to Notre Dame twice which was an incredibly moving experience. Notre Dame, sitting on the Seine, made me reminisce about my childhood watching "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and I hummed the songs on the walk to the cathedral. On my first afternoon in Paris, I wandered through the cathedral, looking at the paintings and enjoying the Gothic arches, my favorite architectural feature. With sun streaming through the stained glass windows, I felt as though I was standing inside a multicolored jewel. The next morning, I went to mass at Notre Dame, which I recommend if you will be in Paris on a Sunday. Even though I do not speak French, it was wonderful to experience mass in such an old, sacred place.
My first photo of Notre Dame
The perfect selfie opportunity
2. Visit the Eiffel Tower at night
While in Paris, I was lucky enough to visit the Eiffel Tower both during the day and at night. Let me tell you, there is magic at the Eiffel Tower at night. It was stunning in the daylight (and better to take photos I could really see) but at night it is breathtaking. The lights on the Eiffel Tower light up the sky and at the top of the hour the lights twinkle like stars. Nothing can compare to seeing the Eiffel Tower, Paris's most famous landmark, at night and in my opinion is a must do for anyone visiting Paris. I was able to sit at the Eiffel Tower, put my camera away, and really enjoy the sight.
The Eiffel Tower at night vs. the Eiffel Tower in the afternoon with Ashley, Kat, myself, and Lexie
The boulangerie, or bakery, is imperative to a trip to France. At the boulangerie, you can sample everything from macarons,croissants, and baguettes. I, of course, recommend, that you try anything and everything, which I did. The smell alone of the boulangerie makes it worth a visit. Plus, there is one on every corner in Paris, it would be impossible to avoid finding one.
A bergamot and caramel macaron-The bergamont was to die for!
4.Visit an art museum or three
During my time in Paris, I went to the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, and Musee de l'Orangerie. I wrote a post "How to Conquer the Louvre" where I go into more detail about each museum, if you are interested. I highly advise going to at least one museum during your time in Paris, whether it is one of these, or another museum that strikes your fancy. Museums are full of culture and learning, so I feel it is necessary to visit one if time permits and depending on your personal interests.
5. Spend some time on the Banks of the Seine
The Seine is gorgeous and since visiting the river is free, it is great for people on a budget like me! The Seine, which inspired many writers, artists, and painters is a great place to unwind and relax after a long day of touring the city. One night, I sat on the banks of the Louvre and drew in a sketchbook and it was on of the most relaxing nights I had in Paris. Another night, I visited the Seine to eat frites for dinner with some of my classmates! It is a wonderful location to spend with others or for quiet introspection.
On the bank of the Seine at night with frites
Notre Dame at night from the Seine
While having a plan is nice, budget some time to wander the Parisian streets. Pop into shops, restaurants, anything your heart desires.During my free nights in Paris, I found some amazing frites, some cute graffiti, and a charm for my charm bracelet. As J. R.R. Tolkien said "Not all those who wander are lost." Without my day of wandering, I might have missed something wonderful and I got a chance to relax and not be on a schedule, which is nice after a few hectic days!
Graffiti and Frites
7.Pay a visit to Shakespeare and Company
For book lovers like me, Shakespeare and Company is a great little bookshop to wander around after dinner. It has become quite a landmark in Paris, so it is always a bit crowded. Not only is it a bookstore, but there is a reading library where patrons can spend time reading, which is just lovely. This would be a wonderful place to pick up a Paris souvenir or a postcard!
The exterior and a reading nook at Shakespeare and Company
Other than the entrance fees to the museums on the list or the cost of a loaf of bread, everything on this list is free in Paris, so they can be great places to visit for those of you on a college student budget!