A Few Moments In Paris

the Louvre

Paris is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Romantics like myself dream of spending a few moments in Paris with the one we love, strolling hand in hand along the Seine, admiring the beautiful architecture and then enjoying a meal at a quaint French bistro.

As I write this, the world is shut down and borders are still closed to travelers but I’m lucky to have memories, wonderful memories of Paris to share with you. Paris is at the top of bucket lists of millions of people wishing to spend time in the fabulous city at least once in their lifetime. There is the elegant Parisian architecture, the romantic gardens, famous museums, world class shopping and all the delicious French food we yearn to experience. There is so much to see and do that many of us want to return again and again.

Being one of the world’s most amazing cities to spend time in, Paris is best explored on foot. However, the French capital is enormous and trying to see all that Paris has to offer is not easy. There never seems to be enough time to cover everything on your wish list, especially if you only have a few days to try and take it all in.

Paris Michelin map
Paris Michelin Map Is Arranged By Arrondissements

Before you venture out to explore Paris by foot, ask the concierge at your hotel if he can furnish you with a map that is arranged by arrondissements so that you can orient yourself wherever you happen to be in the city. Ask him to point out where the nearest underground metro stations and bus stops are in relation to the major attractions you plan to visit. However you decide to get around Paris, I would suggest taking a hop on, hop off bus tour shortly after you have checked into your hotel for a great introduction to the city. 

always carry a map when traveling
Always Carry A Map When Traveling

When my husband and I visit a new, large city such as Paris, Berlin, Barcelona or Vienna for the first time, we feel there is probably no better way to learn the layout of the city as well as its centuries of history and most famous sights than from the open top of a hop on, hop off double decker bus.

You’re given headphones with an audio guide describing what you are passing by. The bus drives around the city on a set route and makes multiple stops along the way at many of Paris’ major monuments. You can get off a bus as often as you wish, perhaps to visit a museum, then get on another bus to continue your tour. You can also stay on the bus for the entire tour, taking in all the highlights, before returning to your starting point or anywhere in between.

On a past visit to Paris, we took a bus tour on a beautiful sunny that lasted about two and a half hours where we enjoyed seeing the Eiffel Tower, Champs du Mars, Opera Garnier, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Musee D’Orsay, Champs Elysees, Grand Palais and the Trocadero. We got some great photos, hopping off a few times to get a closer look and then getting back on. If you wish, you can also combine your tour with a boat cruise on the Seine. The boats have glass roofs and open areas so you have great visibility and their stops are not far from some of the major highlights such as the Eiffel Tower, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Champs-Élysées. 

We thought the hop on, hop off bus system in Paris provided a good overview of this large city. We felt it was a comfortable way to see a lot of the top Paris sights in a short period of time, especially for people who might have issues with walking long distances or just too tired from jet lag to do a lot of walking. We enjoyed the experience, both seeing and learning about the history of this remarkable city at every turn. Once we finished the tour, we had a sense of where the landmarks, galleries, shopping and dining areas were in relation our hotel. For the next few days, we felt comfortable exploring Paris on your own in much more detail. While the rest of our stay was overcast and drizzly, we enjoyed our visit to Paris and dream of returning some day.

****

Walking all day in a large city like Paris can not only be exhausting but sometimes even a little intimidating. While you may not be a fan of an all day excursion on a bus filled with tourists, taking a couple hour tour on a hop on, hop off, open top bus designed for taking in fantastic views is a fun way to get an overview of Paris before you venture out to explore on your own. While perched high above the streets and over the heads of tourist filled sidewalks, you have the opportunity to take photos of some of the iconic monuments of Paris. I hope my photos from an open top bus convey how a few moments in Paris can create memories that will last you a lifetime.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

40 thoughts on “A Few Moments In Paris

  1. I so agree, we almost always take a hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus when we visit a large city. My hubby, due to back operations, can no longer walk very far, so this is the best option for us. In fact, whenever I go to Barcelona, I take one as there are so many stops I want to make. I get off at different stops each time. Such a great way to get to know a city! I love Paris and the only time I visited, three years ago, we were lucky enough to be shown around by friends who lived there!

  2. Love Paris! So much to see and do, and of course the food (and wine!) is superb. Great suggestion to do a hop on, hop off bus tour — great way to orient yourself. And of course a great way to get from one point to another in the city. We’ve seen a lot of Paris, but really have just scratched the surface. Don’t know when our next visit will be, but wanting to go again. Fun post — thanks.

  3. I’ve been to Paris many times though not for years now. The hop-on hop-off buses are a great idea and I agree that it gives you a good overall view of a city you’ve not been to before, allowing you to orientate yourself and have a better idea where you want to go back to look more. And in Amsterdam you can do hop-on hop-off canal boats!

  4. Paris is truly the city of light and walking around and exploring each part of it is a wonderful experience. What I is a better excuse to sit at a cafe and order a snack and some wine because you need to get off you feet.

  5. Thank you so much, Karen, for teaching me a new word! I’ve never read or heard the word “arrondissement” before!
    I’ve only been in Paris for three hours. I had a three-day meeting in Lyon, and to get home, I caught a train to Charles de Gaulle Airport and then flew home.

  6. They said on the news this morning that Europe is reopening travel there for fully vaccinated Americans – don’t remember if it was everywhere or just some parts. Sounds like you can start making plans to head over the pond.

  7. We really enjoyed Paris when we were there. We spent a week there. Loved their metro system.

  8. Paris is wonderful, but honestly I’m not a fan of huge cities. They have so much to offer, of course, in so many different ways, but also noise and traffic and congestion of tourists…. I feel it’s important to see all of the big cities, but then, go to the country! It’s such a different experience. My daughter lives in NYC and I only go because she lives there. It’s another city that I don’t need to see again. Great post.

  9. I miss Paris, and I missed the three-weeks we were supposed to spend there last October. But your photos perked me up and we are excited for the time to try again. Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  10. Wish there was a LOVE button on wordpress. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to wake up to this travel post. something to look forward to. We have been to Paris many years ago but there never seems to be enough time and want to go back and really explore the Louvre again. I could not agree more about the hop on and hop off busses are a great way to ground yourself in a place you have never been. Next time you go there are all kinds of phone apps for Paris to help with navigation.

  11. I do love Paris as well, have been there numerous times but I discovered a similar city with the same vibe, Budapest. For me its like Paris in a budget, very under rated. If I have more moolah, then Paris is the way to go specially with the museums and art works but if I am feeling stingy, Budapest would be my bet. Regardless, both are great cities, I just wish someday, I visit it in winter as all of the times I had been there was summer.

  12. I hope to create some memories there one day! Thank you for sharing the photos and the tips and the memories.

  13. Thank you so much, Karen, for bringing us Paris, especially now ! It’s such a breath of fresh air to see a travel post ! I hope we’ll soon be able to go around Europe… Some countries, like Greece, are already open for vaccinated travellers, so I cross my fingers ! I have free internet in the EU, but when I go outside of Europe, I always rent a pocket wifi. Extremely useful!!!

  14. Doing a bus tour to get to know a city is a great idea–wish I had done that when I was on a short trip to London years ago. Would love to visit Paris one day!

  15. Excellent tips here, Karen! Paris is still on our bucket list of places to visit. Like you, we discovered the advantages of the hop on-hop off bus. Whenever we end up in a new (larger) city, we always do the same as you. Take the hop on-hop off for a full tour. Then we end up using it like a taxi for the rest of the trip. Thanks for helping me escape my little office for a few minutes here – one day we’ll be able to return to traveling! 🙂

  16. You know, I’ve never taken one of those bus rides, in any city! Maybe I should. I guess that when I think about it, it doesn’t surprise me that you’d learn a lot. In Chicago, where I live, there are river and lake architectural tours. I’ve learned a lot about my own city from taking visitors on those.

  17. Gish, we haven’t been to Paris since 1998 and how we long to get back. And we can not agree with you more, hop on and hop off the bus – is the way to see the city. Great tips Karen, as always!

  18. I’ve only been to Paris once, half my life ago — and I’m so grateful! I loved it so much and hope to go again one day. It’s magical! Your photos bring back wonderful memories of a beautiful city. 🙂 ~Valentina

  19. My cousin and I have been discussing our next trip to Paris. She and her husband always do the hop on / off bus, but we never do. We walk everywhere and have spent hours walking around Paris. We are hoping to go and spend a week on a barge there, as soon as possible. Thanks for the virtual visit 🙂

  20. Such a beautiful city! I would definitely take advantage of the hop on, hop off. I hope you get to return soon.

  21. Your photos remind me of the need to return to this city I only have had a brief interaction with for a few days …. wonderful memory of running in Luxembourg Gardens… and the chamber music concert in Sainte Chapelle (soaking in the beauty of the sunset through those incredible stained glass windows as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” played …!) Hoping we have the opportunity to return!

  22. I love Paris!….I always walk around, and I agree that it is never enough!!….every corner in Paris is a discovery….I love Sainte Chapelle!….we need to travel again!….beautiful picture!!……Abrazotes, Marcela

  23. i would love to visit the art galleries and museums there Hubby has been there years ago but i didn’t go with him. i manned the fort at home, while he gallivanted with his dad and sister. one day …

  24. As much negative as can be said of the Hop on, Hop off buses, they do let you see a lot quickly. Took note of your Notre Dame photos too. I think everyone ran out and pulled out their old photos when the fire hit. Someday…

  25. As someone who has directional dyslexia (and can’t read maps!) I am pleased to say that as a native Parisian, I rarely get lost. Paris is so logical to get around (unlike London!) and as you say, it’s so easy with the “arrondissements.” It certainly is one of the most beautiful destinations, and I miss it like crazy!

  26. We always do the hop on hop off tours when we visit a city for the first time too! Last time we were in Paris we did a boat tour too, it was lovely. We’re still in lockdown too, although we have both been jabbed (second jab is in August!) can’t wait for this horror to be over.

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