In this glittering city there is so much to do and see it can be overwhelming trying to tick everything off of your list. The obvious sites that most Gap Mappers want to see are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre art gallery and pyramid, the Arc du Triomphe, Sacre Coeur basilica, Notra Dame cathedral and a walk down the famous Champs-Elysees. However, if you can manage to save some free time to visit the following places you won’t regret adding them to your list.
All Paris photos were taken by my travel companion and talented photographer @caleyg__
Pompidou modern art gallery is an interesting alternative to the Lourve. See famous French works such as Du Champ, Matisse and other very quirky, modern collections. Inside is also a library, a bookshop, a movie theater and a panoramic terrace. The Place Beaubourg square right infront of the museum is always crowded with performers, mimes and street artists.
On the first Sunday of every month there is free entry to the gallery. Otherwise there is a 14 Euro entry fee. Open 11AM to 10PM
Jardin du Luxembourg is probably the most popular park in Paris and is a lovely spot to relax and do some people watching with a picnic lunch. Inside the park is also the Luxembourg Palace which was built for Marie de’ Medici. She requested that it be built to match the Pitti Palace in Florence where she grew up. It is for this reason that both the palace and its gardens were constructed in the Florentine style. It’s beautiful in spring when the flowers are in bloom. Get comfortable on the lawn somewhere near the large pond or one of the fountains.
The historic area of Montmarte is one of the liveliest and most beautiful zones of Paris. Although it is touristy and busy around the Sacre Coeur basilica and Moulin Rouge, many people don’t take the time to explore the rest of the area. Place du Tertre is a busy square where artists from all over Paris set up their eisles and paintings for the public to see. They are often busy working on their most recent pieces and many people come here to purchase their works. The Montmarte cemetary is a quiet place to go for a stroll and escape the busy streets. Here you can find the headstones of the most famous painters, literary figures and composers of Paris who all once lived in this area.
The Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archeveche are two bridges that are very popular for a romantic visit. This cannot be missed if you are travelling with your loved one. Couples attach a padlock to the bridge and throw the key into the river to symbolize their unbreakable bond. Don’t forget a marker to write your initials on it. Sadly in reality it may not be there forever because the city council has recently been removing thousands of the padlocks because they pose a threat to the structural integrity of the bridge.
It is possible to make a day trip to the Palace of Versailles which sits only 20 kilometres out of Paris and dates back to 1038. Once home to Marie-Antoinette, you can wander through the hall of mirrors as she did and admire the extravagant interior and what life must have been like for the royalty. The palace is also said to have the most beautiful and well groomed garden in all of Europe.
Entry to the palace is 15 Euro.
Catch one of the RER Trains from Paris to Versailles (Versailles Château-Rive Gauche station) for only 7 Euro return. The trip is about 45 minutes each way. From the station it is just a short walk to the Palace.
Château de Versailles
Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles
French artist Claude Monet once resided in Giverny just outside of Paris and his house is now open to the public. After living here for over 40 years all of the furniture and interior of the house are exactly as he left it. Monets house can be reached by train from Paris to Vernon. From there, it is possible to rent bikes at the station for an easy ride the rest of the way (about 5 kilometres). Otherwise there is a shuttle bus for 8 Euro. Making this day trip is definitely worth while if you are familiar with Monets paintings. It also allows for a break from the busy city. The peaceful home and garden are a clear reflection of his works. See his water lilies floating in the pond and weeping willow trees that shade the wooden bridge. Experience his paintings coming to life in this tranquil space.
The Vernon station is situated on the main line Paris / Rouen / Le Havre. It starts from the Saint-Lazare Paris station (which has not changed much since Monet painted it). Travel time is less than 45 minutes.
Take the ‘SNCF – Grandes Lignes’ exit. Buy a ticket to Vernon. The Rouen line departs from the right side of the platform, in the ‘Grandes Lignes’ section.
See here for more info.
Christophers Inn is a chain of hostels that are clean and have breakfast included.
Visiting a Patisserie or Boulangerie in France is an activity in itself. There’s nothing better than picking up a fresh baguette, croissant or quiche, from the bakery still warm fresh out of the oven and having a picnic in the park. Don’t forget some French cheese too!
Maoz is where you can get your health kick. It’s a vegetarian self service, takeaway place which lets you build your own pita pockets. They are famous for their freshly fried falafels and great selection of toppings including cous cous, salad and salsas. There are two locations:
8 Rue Xavier Privas, 75005 Paris,
36 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
Au P’tit Grec is the place to go for crepes in Paris. For around 6 Euro you can get huge crepes that are stuffed with all kinds of savory and sweet fillings that will keep you coming back for more.
68 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris.
Chez Hanna is located on a street that’s famous for Falafels and you can get take away Falaffel wraps for just 4 Euro. You will see a place called L’as Du Falafel which always has queues of people outside but it’s a little more expensive. Check out Chez Hanna instead, it’s more of a local’s spot.
54 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris
Foyer della Medeleine does a three-course meal for 8 Euro, which is an absolute steal in Paris. They feed up to 300 people over lunch time daily!
Place de la Madeleine, 8th Paris
Bistrot Victoires is famous in Paris for its big French salads. Treat yourself to a healthy lunch for just 9 Euro.
6 Rue la Vrilliere, 1st arrondissement, Paris.
Ready for a break from European cuisine? You’re in luck because Paris is a city of many ethnicities and the people bring with them their delicious cuisines.
Dung-Huong is a busy Vietnamese place that serves up main meals for 7 Euro. Favourites on the menu are their steamed Vietnamese ravioli and noodle dishes.
14 rue Louis Bonnet, 11e, Paris
Chez Omar is famous for one thing only. Couscous! Dishes range from 11-24 Euro depending on what toppings you choose but they have a long queue down the street that says everything on the menu must be good. They even offer you complimentary second servings to encourage you to stay a little longer.
47 rue de Bretagne, 3e, Paris
Tien Hiang is serving Asian inspired vegan food that is even tempting the carnivors of Paris. Their lunch menu includes a starter, main, side and dessert for 11.50 Euro. This place is offering a lot more than just salad.
14 rue Bichat, 75010 Paris
Urfa Durum wraps up Kurdish style kebabs for cheap and they are so big you might even have to share.
58 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France
El Nopal Tacos is the only place to get Mexican in Paris and it is conveniently located right near the train station. The whole menu is under 10 Euro. Get your taco fix here!
3 Rue Eugene Varlin, 75010
Get a train from Paris to Brussels in Belgium.