I was super excited to go to Paris, mainly because of how iconic it is. You know, it’s that city that everyone goes to on holiday in your favorite book; the place that was home to “that ancient artifact;” the city of macarons! The list could go on and on if I didn’t pick out my favorite parts and the best highlights of the city.
First of all, the macarons there are spectacular and have the perfect textures with so many flavors to choose from. Second, the Tour de Eiffel is indeed the spectacle, though, I advise that the best way to view the whole city is to take the stairs all the way to Level 2 (musceles and limbs willing), and stop to have a drink or frozen treat.
The vibrant and elaborate history of Paris is so unbelievable that you should definitely experience it by taking at least one tour—whether by bike, on foot, by boat or through your taste buds—but trust me, one tour won’t be enough to experience all this city has to offer; why else would Paris have 20 arrondissements?!
OK, Paris…everyone knows Paris. After the UK, France is the most visited destination in Europe for US travelers, which (usually) is exactly what makes it unappealing to me. Besides, I already had been to Paris. I went for just three days in my 20s, during a 7-week-long Eurail trip.
Back then, three days was enough. It was enough because I‘ve always been an off-the-beaten-path kinda traveler and Paris is anything but off the beaten path. Also, it’s expensive—especially on a backpacker budget—and finally, it’s a BIG city and, traveling by yourself, big cities can be hard to connect with other travelers in. I hadn’t been back to Paris since.
Fast forward 35 years, increase my travel budget significantly and take away (what felt like) 80% of the people and you‘d have the trip to Paris I just experienced. I think it spoiled me so much, I may not go again 😏
Le Tour Eiffel, an iconic monument usually so busy you have to book timed tickets—sometimes weeks in advance—even to climb the stairs up. Not this year. We still did have to stand in line to pass through the new, airport-level security entrances but the line was extremely short and once through, we had no problem securing tickets On-site to visit the 1st and 2nd level viewing points.
The Louvre, and specifically therein, the Mona Lisa. In this case, because of controlled numbers due to COVID restrictions, we did have to book timed tickets ahead of time but we did so the morning of the day we visited. Again, we effortlessly passed through security, obtained audio guides, proceeded to the Denon Wing, waited 10 minutes in a very organized line and viewed the masterpiece. Box checked. We spent the rest of our five hours there wandering crowd-free collections.
So if you’re wondering when the best time to visit Paris might be, sadly, I’d say now, when there are absolutely no crowds. Granted, there is a global pandemic restricting a lot of travelers from getting there but if you can find a way, travel safe, travel smart, wear a mask and journey on!