7 Days in Paris: A First Time Experience

We had 7 days in Paris celebrating our 15-year anniversary in January. Here’s a peek at Paris through our eyes and wonder of a first-time experience in the City of Lights.

Day 1: Eiffel Tower

After arriving around noon to the CDG airport, we were able to with the help of the information desk locate our metro line to our apartment. Upon arriving to our apartment, we hit the ground running. First stop, Eiffel Tower. With only a 10 minute walk from our apartment and the excitement of being in Paris for the first time we were ready.

We even climbed all 669 steps to get to the top!

Our impromptu trip to the Eiffel tower left us hungry. A quick stop to eat on our way back to the apartment before settling in and getting ready for a full day of sightseeing.

Day 2: Louvre, Notre Dame, Montparnasse Tower + La Petite Chaise

What can I say about the Louvre?! Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe how awesome this place is. We didn’t even realize how long we were in there until I happened to look at my phone and realize 4 1/2 hours had gone by and we still didn’t even see all the Louvre has to offer.

THE LOUVRE

What we thought was the line to enter the Notre Dame Cathedral was actually the entrance for going to the top towers. We said why not, and climbed the 387 steps. Along the way we got to see the bell towers, gargoyles, as well as amazing views of Paris.

NOTRE DAME

We stopped off for a quick coffee before trying to head into Saint Chapelle. Although our Paris Pass said the Saint Chapelle was open, it was closed. Off to plan B!

With plenty of time still left in the day to see Paris, we decided to check out the Montparnasse Tower and the breathtaking views from the top.

MONTPARNASSE TOWER

After a whirlwind first full day of seeing some amazing views of Paris, we headed back to our apartment for a quick change and late night dinner to celebrate our 15 year anniversary. A friend recommended some restaurants to us and we really wanted to have an authentic French cuisine. One recommended restaurant was A La Petite Chaise, Paris’s oldest restaurant.

It was everything we’d hope for. I’d recommend at least knowing a little more than basic French phrases before going, our waiter told us he would not speak english. Lol! When you do go, OHHHH it’s so worth it! Everything was delicious.

Day 3 in Paris: Montmarte, Sacre-Coeur, Moulin Rouge, Saint Sulpice, Pierre Herme + Arc de Triomphe

One of my favorite days. Montemarte in the morning, city is barely waking… We roamed the streets and watched the city come to life, everything was beautiful, magical, and a wonderful way to begin the day. We headed up to the Sacre-Coeur first.  Being one of the first people there, we got caught in the scam where gentlemen will say hello to you reach for your hand to shake it quickly wrap a yarn bracelet around your wrist and want a lot of money for it. I got away from mine, but my husband was stuck and five euros later for a yarn bracelet! Lesson learned, but it did not deter us from our day in Montemarte.

SACRE-COEUR

We visited Artist Square and had breakfast while watching the street artists open for work for the day. By the end of breakfast this place was bustling full of artists and people.

We even found the Sinking House.

Then strolled on down through Montemarte some more finding streets with locks on them.

And onto the Moulin Rouge for a quick picture.

Saint Chapelle was on my must do list so we opted to head back that way and try again. We stopped for lunch at a cafe across the way from Saint Chapelle and had our first Croque-Monsuier.

We were excited to see people going into Saint Chapelle and after lunch waited in line to only find out it was closed and we could view from the outside only.

Pierre Herme + Saint Sulpice

It was on the top of our list to locate famous macaroons. Off we went to search for the nearest Pierre Herme shop. Our maps led us down to Saint Sulpice, so we decided to take pictures and walk inside the chapel. I took AP Art History in High School and again in College. It was a surreal experience to see in real life all the beautiful architecture I learned about years ago. Saint Sulpice was in the center of a beautiful courtyard and surrounded by shops that I could have browsed and shopped all day long.

After locating our yummy deserts we headed home for dinner in and then a night out to the Arc De Triomphe where we again climbed another daunting set of stairs, 287 to be exact to see the view from the top.

Arc de Triomphe

We climbed right in time to view the Eiffel Tower lit up with a sparkling light show and saw more amazing views of Paris at night. Then a walk down Champs de Elyesses.

Day 4 in Paris: Latin Quarter, Pantheon, Luxembourg Gardens + Musee D’Orsay

Another perfect day in Paris and right up there with Montemarte. I was slightly obsessed with finding a fromagerie to sample cheeses. We found Androte, which led us to our first street market and I was in love. Cobblestone streets, Boucheries, Patisseries, flowers shops…

We spent a little over an hour going back up and down the street with a quick stop for coffee before heading off to the Pantheon on foot.

PANTHEON

Inside the Pantheon, we descended down into the crypts. Walking into our first crypt, I swear I felt an eery presence, my husband too, so we quickly exited and stayed on the outside of the tombs versus entering them to look at the marble coffins.

Our plan was to have a picnic lunch at the Luxembourg Gardens, but we ended up going on a day that was pretty chilly.

LUXEMBOURG GARDENS

After a walk around the gardens, we ate at the cafe inside the gardens and had another Croque-Monsuier, which they called the Luxembourg on their menu. It was delicious and my favorite one so far.

Our day went quicker than we planned with us not doing a picnic lunch in the gardens. We opted to head over to the Musee D’Orsay to look at famous Impressionist Art to end our day. The coolest part of the Musee D’orsay is not only all the art and sculptures, but that the museum itself used to be a train station.

MUSEE D’ORSAY

On the steps of the Mussee D’Orsay there awas a band playing and we stopped to listen for a few before heading back in for the night.

Day 5 in Paris: Bastille Market, Amorino, Eiffel Tower + Trocadero Gardens

We had conquered most of our top to-do’s for Paris and were looking at things to do on a Sunday in Paris since our day 5 was a Sunday. I stumbled upon the same question on trip advisor and all answers said the Bastille Market. The best decision we could make!

BASTILLE MARKET

We went hungry as suggested. Hubby opted for fresh oysters and a sausage and onion sandwich. I ate the meat Falafel at the Lisboneise stand. Oh my! So good! We purchased smoked salmon to take with us and were able to find most of our souvenirs for the family. They had a wonderful silk scarf vendor and tee shirt vendor with Paris on them.

I feel like Day 5 was a day of markets. We opted to stop off at an earlier metro stop since our maps kept leading us to it, but our apartment host said to us another. On a whim we exited the station our maps said to and wow, another market!We happened upon this one at the close of it so did a quick walk through, shopped a little more and found dinner for the evening all already cooked!

Amorino

I had been wanting ice cream since we began our adventure, but the days had been cool and the idea of ice cream wasn’t as appealing as a warm coffee. Finally, today was warmer. We hadn’t seen the city streets on the other side of the Eiffel Tower and had heard of a few Rues with a market-like feel to it, plus ice cream! We headed to Amorino and devoured this delicious treat.

By the time we were there most shops were closing for the day. With an evening still a head of us, we headed in for our fresh dinner from the markets then off to view the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero Gardens at night.

EIFFEL TOWER & TROCADERO GARDENS AT NIGHT

There are no words to describe the beauty of Paris at night. It is absolutely breathtaking and we enjoyed seeing the city in the evening just as much as the day.

Day 6 in Paris: Big Bus Hop on Hop Off Tour, Wine Tasting, Getting Lost

BIG BUS HOP ON HOP OFF TOUR

Our plan was to take the Big Bus Hop on Hop off Tour to use our guided tour pass to the Palais D’Garner then off to wine tasting. However, when we arrived at the Palais D’Garnier they were all sold out of guided tours for the day. We hopped back on the bus to head over to our wine tasting early.

Wine tasting with Les Caves De Louvre was fabulous. Tour was included in our Paris Pass, but we opted to upgrade to the premium wines for 13 euros. Our Sommelier was knowledgeable and funny, he  made our tour enjoyable and we learned so much about french wine. This was an item not necessarily on my top to do , but after having done the tour I will be back for sure. Our tour took a little over an hour. We sampled three delicious red wines as part of the premium wine selection. All three were wonderful.

LES CAVES DE LOUVRE WINE TASTING

The best part of our trip was getting lost in it and roaming the streets of Paris. We hopped off our bus early since I had been searching for a church that I had learned about in high school during AP Art History and college many, many years ago. The problem is, I can’t remember the name of the church, only what I vaguely remember it looking like. It became an adventure every time we’d find a new church.

As we were passing by this one on the Big Bus Tour, I yelled that’s the one! Our driver stopped around the corner and we jumped off to take a look. I’m pretty sure it’s the one, but whether it is or not, it was a great adventure just to go with it and see what more we could explore in Paris.

Dinner time was approaching and we found this special treat to eat around the corner of the church.

Then we got lost. We weren’t quite sure where we jumped off at since it wasn’t a scheduled stop on our Big Bus Tour. It took us a while roaming the streets of Paris to figure out where we were at. We made it back to Notre Dame and I was abe to get this photo of it at night.

Day 7 in Paris: Palais D’Garnier, Pont Neuf, Exploring Paris on Foot

This was originally not on my top to do list and I’m not sure why it wasn’t. With our Paris Pass we were able to get a guided tour of the opera house and I am so glad we decided to do this. It was absolutely beautiful! The history and architecture was stunning, definitely worth the visit.

PALAIS D’GARNIER

After our amazing tour of Palais D’Garnier we headed over to Pont Neuf.

Pont Neuf has taken the place of the Pont De Arts Lovers Bridge. With the Lovers Bridge being taken down in 2015 we didn’t think this was something we could do. Another bridge has continued the tradition, we decided to add our lock and try to find it again when we take our kids to Paris in a few years.

LOVERS (LOCKS) BRIDGE

We spent the rest of the day exploring Paris on foot. Look at this beautiful street and cafe.

And ended our day with a bottle of wine at the bar around the corner from our apartment.

Paris was everything I could have hoped for and then even more! Our 7-day itinerary gave us a chance to explore all the major sights of Paris and even have time to go unscheduled for the day to just see where life took us.

Want to know more about budgeting and planning for Paris in January? Read Planning for Paris and get detailed budgeting for Paris and making the most of your first time experience.

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27 Comments

  • Missy March 21, 2019 at 5:08 pm Reply

    Wow, what an incredible trip. You got to visit so many wonderful locations. I appreciated the organization. That helps with planning and to maximize our time when we visit.

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:32 am Reply

      Thank you! Yes, organizing and lots of planning to get the most of our 7 days.

  • hera March 21, 2019 at 7:12 pm Reply

    Our niece and her hubs just returned from their Paris/Rome trip yesterday and their itinerary was very similar to yours in Paris. We went in 2016 and loved it!

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:31 am Reply

      Very cool! I’d like to go to Rome next.

  • jen March 21, 2019 at 8:35 pm Reply

    My first and only time there I was on a bus. I was so exhausted but forced my eyes to stay awake as long as they could to take in as much as they could… It’s a stunning city.

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:30 am Reply

      It is! Loved every moment.

  • Brianna March 21, 2019 at 10:32 pm Reply

    Paris is my absolute FAVORITE place on Earth.

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:30 am Reply

      Mine too!

  • Heather March 21, 2019 at 11:43 pm Reply

    Looks amazing!! I was there in 1999 with friends, but I need to experience this with my husband.

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:30 am Reply

      It was a great experience for us! Next time I’d like to go back with all the kids.

  • Briana March 22, 2019 at 1:23 am Reply

    Looks like such an amazing experience! I hope to visit there someday!

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:29 am Reply

      It’s wonderful!

  • Janine March 22, 2019 at 2:14 am Reply

    Paris has long been on my bucket list and this makes me want to go all the more! Oh the jealousy…

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:28 am Reply

      YES! Just writing this post I am so ready to go back.

  • Kat March 22, 2019 at 2:36 am Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed all the food pics! 🤤 Was that crème brûlée? Because it looked sooo good! 😍

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:27 am Reply

      Yes and so delicious!

  • Lara March 22, 2019 at 4:46 pm Reply

    Wow, you did so much in your 7 days. Amazing! Happy Anniversary too! I didn’t know you could go up into the Arc de Triomphe. I love the shot of the spiral staircase. I learned so much from your post. Thank you!

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:27 am Reply

      Thank you!

  • Julie Gazdecki March 22, 2019 at 10:21 pm Reply

    What a great itinerary. Pinned for reference. Love all the pictures!!

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:24 am Reply

      It was! Thank you

  • Heather March 22, 2019 at 11:38 pm Reply

    I am definitely going to look at your budgeting plan. How did you get the hop on, hop off bus? We went to Paris two years ago and did everything on foot, but are going again this summer. We want to definitely find a market.

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:23 am Reply

      We used the Paris Pass for hop on, hop off bus and all our attractions. It saved us so much money for all that we wanted to do, plus gave us more ideas for things we necessarily didn’t think of at first. Bastille Market was such a great experience.

  • Shirley March 23, 2019 at 12:33 am Reply

    It looks like Paris has it all! I love the pics and will be bookmarking this post for future travel plans!

    • Kristi Ortiz March 23, 2019 at 2:24 am Reply

      Yes it does!

  • Amanda Howe March 24, 2019 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Such beautiful photos and information. Thanks for sharing. I have never been, but excited to go!

  • T.M. Brown March 24, 2019 at 11:52 pm Reply

    Oh, my gosh ~ so much to cover and so much to experience. What a dream trip for you guys.

  • Amanda March 29, 2019 at 9:45 pm Reply

    This is such great information! We are planning to go next year so I’ll definitely keep this!

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