I first traveled to Paris during summer break in college when I was invited to visit a friend in London for several weeks. I studied French the previous semester, and I was eager to travel to Paris to practice my new language skills! I planned a quick three day solo trip to experience the city first hand. If you haven’t experienced Paris yet, you must find a way to visit. I guarantee you’ll fall in love.
Love is often associated with Paris, and for good reason. It is a romantic city, and has clearly earned its nickname, “The City of Love” for countless reasons. But love is more than a feeling shared between two people. You can love animals, foods, beverages, and in this case places. It is important to remember, that love is not easily defined, but it most accurately describes my feelings toward Paris. I might be perpetually single in the traditional sense, but I am fortunate enough to experience the feeling of love in many other areas of my life, especially when I travel.
Paris is also an expensive city, like most major european cities. As college students do, I managed to make this dream vacation affordable and fell in love with the city. And I have a few tips to share with any first timers or veteran travelers looking to rekindle their love affair with Paris.
How to Get to Paris: XL Airlines France
Booking flights can be the most stressful part of planning a trip, especially an international trip. So many factors influence the prices of flights, and the prices can change daily. You never know whether to book it or wait while hoping for a price decrease. I recently discovered a new airline with direct routes from the US to Paris, which will make your getaway even more affordable and convenient!
XL Airways now offers affordable fares from several cities in the US direct to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
- NEW!! Los Angeles (LAX) June 1st – Sept 28th 3x a week!
- New York City (JFK)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Miami (MIA)
And the best part? The ticket price includes baggage and meals are provided on the flight. I travel carry on only style sometimes, but when I am going somewhere as beautiful as Paris I need a LOT Of luggage space for my beautiful dresses, shoes, and hats…ladies understand.
Where to Stay in Paris: Hotel Amour, 3 Star
Where else would you stay but a hotel that translates to Hotel Love?
When I was searching for last minute affordable accommodations in Paris, I wasn’t having much luck. I stumbled upon this cute boutique hotel where I snagged a single room for under $100/night. Current prices are only $120/night for a double room.
Aside from the adorable name, this hotel is in a very convenient location, only a short walk from St. Georges train station. It has bright colorful decor and a terrace cafe. You don’t go to Paris to sit around your hotel room, I picked mine for the convenience of getting around this charming city!
What to See in Paris:
I only had three days on my first trip to Paris, and I had a lot to see. Aside from major tourist attractions, I was committed to experiencing the local food and wine. I made sure to have plenty of time to experience several different french cafes and enjoy their food and beverage selections each day.
Most people would recognize the iconic glass pyramid set in front of the palatial museum known as the Louvre. What they might not know is that inverse pyramid can be found underground, functioning as a skylight in the museum’s gift shop! Ok, maybe everyone knew this except for me! Nevertheless, it was a fun surprise.
Once you finish gazing at the amazing classical and futuristic modern architecture on the outside, don’t miss the masterpieces inside. In case you aren’t familiar, the Louvre houses these famous pieces:
- Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci
- Raft of the Medusa, Theodore Gericault
- The Dying Slave, Michelangelo
This museum is massive, and we all have different art preferences, so take a little time before your arrival to figure out what else might interest you. Islamic art, Flemish painters. There are no shortage of things to see, but if I had to bet, you might be a little short on time, so have a plan in place.
Affordable Tip! The museum is free for children under 18, EU citizens under 25, the first Sunday of every month from October to March and Bastille Day (July 14th)! Check the official list of qualifications for free entry here, to see if you qualify!
The Eiffel Tower
This historic landmark built in 1889, faced many of the same criticisms as the Louvre Pyramid. Like the pyramid it is an iconic spot closely associated with the city of Paris, and is now the most popular paid monument in the world. At 81 stories tall, it is the tallest structure in Paris, and was the tallest man made building in the world until the Chrysler building was built in NYC.
Affordable Tip! While the experience of going to the top is amazing, there are several other ways to enjoy the Eiffel Tower. Grab a picnic blanket, some croissants, a bottle of red wine, and a good book and lounge about on the lawn, and just take in the beauty of the city.
Palace of Versailles
I love castles and gardens, so even though Versailles was a bit of a trek from the city, I knew I couldn’t leave Paris without seeing this famous palace. I took the train and planned to spend the day touring the palace, wandering the gardens, and enjoying a tea in the cute cottage coffee shop.
Affordable Tip! Check the website to see if you qualify for any reduced tickets. Even getting to the site requires an additional train ticket, so it was by far my priciest excursion. I still recommend letting this be your splurge for your Parisian experience.
What to Eat & Drink in Paris:
- Chocolate Croissants
- Red Wine
If nothing else, be sure to indulge in at least one of these three things daily in Paris. It’s ok. There’s no counting calories, and if you walk the gardens, wander the louvre, and climb the steps at the Eiffel Tower, it will all balance out! Just make sure you do it in an open air cafe and make the most of people watching in the city of Love.
What to Read: Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Having recently read the Da Vinci Code, I also snuck in a quick Da Vinci Code tour. If you haven’t yet, read the Da Vinci Code or download the movie for your flight! It’s a captivating story to get you excited about your adventures in Paris. It’s perfect for those long trans-Atlantic flights.
And the good news, if you do happen to fall in love with Paris, like so many before you, you can now easily return thanks to XL Airways France and its ever expanding direct routes from the US. This post was brought to you by XL Airways France.