This post highlights some awesome places to visit when in Paris, made all the more beautiful when the sun is shining. There are a couple of ‘off the beaten track’ gems, as well as the usual suspects. I hope you find it useful!
1. Marche d’Aligre (Place d’Aligre, 75011):
This is an amazing local’s food market located not too far from the central tourist areas. Yes, you will probably have to get the tube, but it’s worth the 20-minute journey to see a genuine Parisian market in full flow. The market is open daily from 9am-1pm, and 3pm-7pm, and sells a whole range of fresh, delicious produce. Michael and I ambled around slowly taking in all of the colours of the fresh fruit & veg at the grocery stalls;
the rainbow of sweet smelling newly plucked flowers;
the warm, soft, freshly baked bread that smells of home & comfort,
the not so pleasant smell of a well-stocked cheese shop (I said I don’t like cheese!!!);
as well as an excellently laid-out indoor area offering fresh meat & fish and delicatessen-like items;
where Michael picked up some beautifully smoked salmon fillets for a little munch.
The market is also encircled by cafes, even more bakeries, patisseries & chocolatiers. It is a real feast for both the eyes and tummy, so make sure you go hungry! We stopped for a cheeky cappuccino before exploring further afield, which I must say was one of the best of my life!
^ ‘Scuse the milk tache!
2. Place des Vosges (Place des Vosges, 4th Arrondissement, 75004):
Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris and is truly stunning. It is located in the Marais district, which I have already wildly expressed my love for in My Favourite Places to Take a Stroll, so is an easy place to check out when wandering around.
It wasn’t even sunny when we stopped by, but that didn’t detract from my falling in love with the grand fountains & statues, emphasised by the clear-cut paths & well-trimmed grass. The stark red brick of the surrounding buildings and epic old-school lamp posts make the square incredibly charming.
It’s also not a tourist hot spot and thus gives you the opportunity to appreciate its beauty away from the overwhelming crowds.
3. Musee du Louvre (Musee du Louvre, 75001):
Yes, an obvious must visit. However, if you’re not the museum-type or simply want to walk amongst some amazing architecture, the Louvre is a really beautiful place to visit when the sun is shining as well as being a Cool Thing to Do when it’s Cold & Rainy.
The palace buildings around the Louvre are very ornate, with gorgeous large windows.
They form a symmetrical square around a large, impressive fountain, before leading you through a narrow passageway and face-to-face with the infamous glass pyramid.
You can’t leave Paris without getting THE ‘classic’ snap:
Once you’ve fully rested, the Jardin des Tuileries are right next door if you fancy a stroll, as well as the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which I like to think of a cute ‘mini-me’ of the larger and more famous Arc de Triomphe, and is definitely worth a look!
4. Le Palais Royal (8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001):
A former royal palace opposite the Louvre, this building is now home to the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture. Although the palace is not open to visitation by the public, what I love about it is the beautiful, exotic, hidden garden tucked within it, which you can read more about in My Favourite Places to Take a Stroll, which appeared very much to Michael and I to be a genuine well-kept secret, and is a definite must-see!
The palace also has a very intriguing and unusual courtyard, which consists of 280 B&W striped columns of various sizes, which makes for a unique photo opp!
5. Petit Palais (Av. Winston-Churchill, 75008):
The Petits Palais is a gorgeous building opposite the Grand Palais, which now houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts. Although I have yet to venture inside, I find the architecture and exterior of the palace unbelievable. The tall pillars and windows, which symmetrically frame the mind-blowling-ly beautiful central front entrance, with its intricate domed roof and many ascending steps that lead up to the detailed wooden doors, makes the Petit Palais one of my favourite buildings in Paris.
6. Grand Palais (Avenue des Champs Elysees, 75008):
Located across from the Petit Palais, this palace is a large historic site, now home to an exhibition hall and numerous museums. Interestingly there is actually even a massive police station in the basement on stand-by to protect the exhibits on show.
It’s a very grand building with ornate decoration, featuring stone facades and a gorgeous glass vault.
7. Arc De Triomphe (Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008):
Aside from being an absolutely stunning monument in and of itself, this beautiful structure was actually created to honour those who fought and died for France. Upon closer inspection, you will see many names of French victories inscribed into its walls. I love the history behind it and the effort that has gone into the detail of the structure to make it so impressive.
If you can manage the walk to the top it also serves as a vantage point for magnificent views of Paris, looking out in every direction. An awesome thing to do during both the day and night, to give you different perspectives of the beautiful city.
8. Pont des Arts:
Also widely known as ‘the lover’s bridge’, this bridge has an estimated 700,000 padlocks attached to its railings. The tradition began 7 years ago when couples began writing their names on a padlock, attaching it to the bridge, and throwing the key into the River Seine, as a sign of their eternal love.
When Michael and I first visited Paris 3 years ago, the padlocks were plentiful but there was still space for us to attach our own cheeky lock:
^ I cannot believe this was 3 years ago!!! Unfortunately, however, in 2014 a large section of the bridge collapsed due to the weight of the love locks and the local authorities decided to cover the sides up with wooden boards, to prevent any more locks being added. These have now been sprayed with graffiti, ruining the beauty of the bridge, but I still find it a really romantic place to be and if you lean over the edge you can still see all of the future promises full of hope clinging on to the metal railings.
9. Notre Dame Cathedral (6 Parvis Notre-Dame, Place Jean-Paul II, 75004):
I love this cathedral so much because I was utterly obsessed with the film, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, as a child. I find the Gothic architecture with the gargoyles that once haunted many years of my night’s sleep utterly mesmerising and, now, incredibly beautiful.
The circular rose windows and distinctive stained glass make it a very unique cathedral, and one that you owe yourself to take the time to appreciate fully!
10. Eiffel Tower (Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France):
The iconic Eiffel Tower is the centrepiece of Paris, and one that most of us are familiar with from the very earliest stages of childhood when our biggest dreams revolved around a trip to Disney Land. Although the iron lattice structure alone is perhaps not the most beautiful attraction there is out there (I do feel sorry for the much less loved Leaning Tower of Pisa!), the great photo fun that can be had and superb views from the tallest structure in Paris, overlooking every direction, fully explain the world’s infatuation with the Eiffel Tower.
Since the queues on a beautiful clear blue skied day can become a little too much to bear, for those up to the challenge you can walk the 669 steps to the second level instead of waiting for the lift, although I warn you that if you choose to do so on a day where it is 30°C+, you are going to sweat, A LOT!!!
However, the promise of a champagne reward available on the 3rd floor should be enough incentive to keep everyone moving.
Plus, bubbles provide the perfect fuel for spontaneous snaps.
With love, from Paris xoxo