I was not expecting to absolutely fall for Paris as I did. I had just endured my wallet being stolen in Barcelona only two days prior, so not only was I strapped for cash, but I was completely emotionally drained as well....yet when I saw the Eiffel tower peak its head above the horizon for the first time, all of my woes and worries seriously fell away like magic! It's like it had this weird voodoo effect on me and I was suddenly living la vie en rose. I hopped off my bus from the airport with absolutely no clue where I was, my giant backpack in tow, put on my favorite red lipstick, and then just decided to start walking towards the marvelous pointy landmark that had me in a trance.
Now let me show you what I got up to around this lovely city for a magical two days!....
My first stop was actually the Arc de Triomphe because I had happened upon it while walking toward the Eiffel Tower. Now naive me had no idea that the Champs-Élysées was actually on the other side of this, so I just snapped a million pictures, stared in amazement at it for a few minutes, and then went back to my mission of going to the Eiffel Tower.
I wasn't entirely wandering without direction while in Paris, I have this incredible app called Maps.Me which enables you do download the map for an entire city with just a couple of minutes use of wifi. I DEFINITELY recommend this app, I have a horrible sense of direction and this app saved me from becoming miserably lost and frustrated. Many large cities in Europe do have a lot of spots with free wifi, but they don't always work well and when you are lost and wander into the wrong side of town....well...good luck. UNLESS you have this magical app that will prevent that from ever happening in the first place.
Just so you know, walking anywhere in Paris just feels like something out of a Woody Allen movie. So, my walk to the Eiffel tower was equally as enjoyable as being there.
I pranced across the Seine in Parisian bliss and tried to absorb my surroundings like a sponge. I recommend just exploring when you get there. Don't rush!!! especially if you will only be there for a short period of time, my favorite part of the two days was this one. That's because I allowed myself to live in the moment. People watching in this city is so much fun and there are so many cool little things to be discovered! Allow yourself to discover them, the things that you could never find in a guidebook! Revel in your own little secret moments. I probably spent a good 3 hours just exploring around the Seine and the Eiffel tower.
After reveling in my wonderment....I made my way to the Metro! Off to my hostel in the 10th arrondissement. Oh, the intimidation of the Paris metro! I was very frightened by all the horror stories I had heard about people getting lost on the Paris Metro, so I made sure to err on the side of caution. I use two different metro apps called Moovit and CityMapper, they are basically the same thing, but for some reason, I like to have both. (because I'm anal like that) They give you very detailed step-by-step instructions and track your location to make sure that you are staying on track. I need this. Very much.
Thanks to my nifty metro app, I arrived at my hostel unscathed. I stayed at The Generator Paris which I ended up really liking. It felt more like a nice hotel than a hostel and the beds felt like a comfy little nook that you could hide out in.
I took a much needed siesta at my hostel and had plans in the evening with some lovely ladies I met through Girls Love Travel (an incredible Facebook travel group of which I am a part of). We were meeting up to have a picnic at a park in front of the Eiffel Tower at sunset *a total dream*. I went to the grocery store across the street from where I was staying and picked up some wine, cheese, fuet and strawberries to add to the mix. PRO TIP: Paris might be an expensive city, but if you buy food at any market it is extremely affordable. Those four items cost me under €10. I was apparently very inept at grocery shopping in Paris, because at the checkout counter I looked like a total dunce while trying to figure out the system. I know zero numbers in french and could not understand what my total was, therefor me while trying to be cool and blend in...did the complete opposite.
The next day I got off to an "early" start and did a 10 am free walking tour that I found through my hostel. I recommend doing these free walking tours in any of the big European cities because they are a great affordable way to get a feel for the city and figure out which areas you want to spend more time in. They are also a wonderful way to meet people! I have made many a friend through these walking tours! The guides are super enthusiastic because it is a tip-based tour, so you pay what you feel it is worth (so not entirely free), but still affordable. The guides are also a great resource for recommendations on things to do and any questions you might have about....well anything really.
As you can see, this walking tour covered a lot of ground! It lasted in total about 2.5 hours, which is pretty average for these types of tours. I went for drinks after with my fellow tour goers and had a very nice time exchanging funny travel stories as weary travelers often do with one another.
My next mission was to visit Sacré-Cœur. My hostel was about a 20-minute metro ride to the Eiffel Tower, but luckily it was only two stops from Sacré-Cœur!