Our Parisian adventure started with the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour which took roughly an hour. We passed attractions such as Notre Dame, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Conciergerie, National Assembly, Palais Garnier and the Eiffel Tower. I really enjoyed the Hop On Hop Off bus tour and would definitely recommend it as it was a quick and easy way to see the main attractions of the city.
Once we finished the tour we walked the streets of Paris, getting our bearings and experiencing first hand local life by enjoying ice cream and fresh bread whilst window shopping. Eventually, we made our way back to our hotel which was situated in the Latin Quarter. Here, we showered and slept off the remaining jet lag.
An early start this morning. We caught the metro to the Eiffel Tower where we only waited in line for a few minutes - the Paris Pass really helps to skip those hour long queues! We decided to only go up to the middle floor as my mum has a great fear of heights. The views were nonetheless spectacular.
Afterwards we caught the metro to the Musée d'Orsay - one of my favourite museums, featuring French art dating from 1848 to 1914. The building was once an old railway station built in the 1890s and features a spectacular giant clock hanging from the ceiling in the main hall - check out the photo below. The museum is mostly known for having the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist art in the world. Some of the artwork featured are by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh.
After a sit down lunch at the museum we then walked to Notre Dame where we stood beneath giant stained glass windows, and sat in the pews to reflect on the grandeur and holiness of this gothic cathedral.
Later in the day we hopped on another metro train, this time taking us to the Arc de Triomphe, where we caught the elevator to the observation platform to see more city views. We were pretty tired from walking all day but nothing a hot meal along the Champs-Élysées couldn't fix. And some shopping of course!
On our way home, around 7pm, we passed through Tuileries Garden where we sat for an hour or so, enjoying the warm sun whilst people watching.
The day started at the Louvre. An incredible museum hosting some of the worlds most famous art and sculptures. Although we didn't have time to see everything in the 3hrs we were there, we did get to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Nike, and the Liberty Leading the People painting.
Next stop, Place de la Bastille. As a French history enthusiast this was something I was dying to see. Place de la Bastille is a square in Paris where the Bastille prison once stood until it was stormed and destroyed during the French Revolution. However, it was a letdown as only a statue stands in its place. I would not recommend seeing this, although there was a quirky chocolate factory in the area which made the journey slightly worthwhile.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a cute little jewellery store where we both bought hand crafted rings. A stunning souvenir that will hopefully last a lifetime.
After a much needed rest at the hotel, we eventually got back out of bed and walked to the Panthéon, the resting place of many philosophes and revolutionaries. I quite enjoyed seeing this and it wasn't too long of a walk from our accommodation.
At end the day we walked to Luxembourg Gardens for some more people watching and evening sun bathing.
Versailles! The favourite day of the trip by far. The palace was so beautiful. My history lessons from school certainly came in handy as I acted as the tour guide for my mother, pointing out and explaining the significance behind such rooms as the Hall of Mirrors, and even Marie Antoinette's quarters.
We got lost a few times wandering through the never-ending enchanting gardens (known to be one of the largest gardens in the world). Life here would've been very relaxing and opulent. No wonder there was such discourse between the aristocracy and the lower classes.
We waited in line for 2 hrs to eventually go underground and explore the Catacombs. Within these dark and damp tunnels lye 6 million skeletons. This was quite a unique experience and something I can now tick off my bucket list, but I probably wouldn't do it again, there were a few times I felt claustrophobic.
Afterwards we caught the metro to Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre. Spread throughout a block were artists, painting and sketching portraits for paying tourists. I had to get one done so I sat down and within about 20 minutes the kind man had my portrait pencilled on paper. I was surprised to see that the picture actually looked good, despite me not wearing any makeup or doing my hair. I think he may have drawn around the blemishes and acne but I'm certainly not complaining!
Our final visit for the day was to Montmartre Cemetery where many famous people were laid to rest including Alexandre Dumas, Dalida, François Truffaut, Gustave Moreau, Berlioz, and Sacha Guitry.
Today we made the long journey to Giverny located in the region of Normandy (about 1 hr drive from Paris). The train trip was long but it was great seeing the countryside and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Once at Vernon-Giverny Station we took a bus to Monet's Garden and House.
This place was magical. It's clear why he spent all those years painting this marvelous property. The colours within his house and from the garden were stunning, in every direction there were bright floral blooms in season. You can even walk amongst a number of places Monet depicted in his paintings; the Lily Pond, the Japanese Bridge, and the pastel pink entrance.
I would absolutely recommend a visit to Monet's Garden for anyone who loves art or even if you're looking for a day adventure out of the city.
Caitlin is a 20-something broad from Australia with a passion for filmmaking, writing and exploring the world.