Here’s a little tutorial in case you ever find yourself with 24 hours to spend in Paris…at least it’s what Ellen and I found to be a good itinerary:
11:30 AM- Arrive. Note the lack of lanes on the major road into the heart of town. Swerve to avoid bicyclists. Enter the tiniest driveway and wait for the steel door to rise in order to park under the hotel.
12:00 PM- Try to purchase 2-day metro tickets at the super convenient stop near the hotel. After the machine fails to accept your card for the fifteenth time politely ask for help from the attendant. After she rolls her eyes, says “Non!”, and walks away shaking her head, pull out cash- cash always works.
12:30 PM- Stare in awe at Notre Dame inside and out.
1:15 PM- Walk to Musee d’Orsay. It will be the longest walk of your life. You’ll curse the decision to skip the metro, and feel like you might die. The map says it’s only 1.2 miles from Notre Dame but that is a lie, it must be a lie!
2:30-6:00 PM- Soak in the delights of Musee d’Orsay. Take an illegal photo or two (cameras are not allowed) and check out the iconic clocks.
6:30 PM- Check in at hotel, freshen up, realize you skipped lunch and are now famished. Head to nearby cafes to compare menus.
7:00 PM- Relax at a fabulous cafe. Share the fromage plate (it’s Heaven on earth.) Split an entire bottle of wine. Get slightly tipsy. Wonder aloud if it might be getting too late to visit the Eiffel Tower, then go there anyway.
8:30 PM- Get in the longest line imaginable at the Eiffel Tower, not even being sure the ticket window will stay open long enough for you to purchase a ride to the top. People watch. Haggle with the guys selling light up Eiffel Towers, then buy a couple. Freeze to death, all under the spell of a full moon. Ah, Paris!
10:30 PM- Buy a ticket just as the windows are closing! Travel to the top of the tower. Mentally note this as one of the coolest things you’ve ever done.
12:00 AM- Barely get back to the hotel before the metro stops running. Stay awake basking in the awe of the Eiffel Tower.
6:00 AM- Get up. You feel like a ton of lead, but it’s Paris! You’ve got to get going!
7:00 AM- Visit the best Boulangerie in Paris, which happens to be only a block or two from the hotel. Enjoy coffee and pastries in the warm cozy interior.
7:30 AM- Ride metro to the Arc De Triomphe.
8:30 AM- Ride metro to Sacre Coeur. Slowly climb the thousand steps to the entrance, stopping once because the area has been roped off as they shoot a “made for tv French film,” and once to yell at the men hassling tourists to buy bracelets. Tour the inside noting the watchful face of Jesus and the unusual stained glass patterns.
10:00 AM- Walk through Montmarte admiring the artwork. Shop for souvenirs. Enjoy the beautiful crisp day.
11:00 AM- Stop at a cafe for mulled wine, a sandwich, and a crepe. It’s the perfect spot to rest while staring at the glory of Sacre Coeur.
12:00 PM- Return to hotel area. Walk around visiting the many adorable shops. Buy cheese for the drive home. Buy wine. Buy jewelry. Stop buying!!
2:00 PM- leave for the 4 hour drive back to Germany. Carry Paris with you in your heart.