Last year I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in Paris. Christmas in the city of lights, it had to be worth it. And yes, it was! I went there for three days and it is nearly impossible to see everything in such a short time.
We decided to act like a tourist and stick to the highlights. The best way to travel to Paris: Thalys. It will only take one hour and a half to get there. The train arrives at Gare Du Nord, which is basically in the middle of the city. Tip: if you are under age 25, make sure to visit on weekends and public holidays. An unlimited ticket for metro will only cost you 1,85 euros per day. Metro is the best way to travel around in Paris. The city is so big that it is almost impossible to travel by foot (unless you’re a hiking fan with a lot of time). The connection is very smooth and you will only have to wait about 4 minutes to get on the next one. Our hotel was within walking distance of Gare de l’Est. This is a big station with connections to highlights all over the city. Our trip started in the early morning and for me, it started just ‘great’. Thalys leaves in Brussels so I had to take a train to Brussels first. The traffic was awful and I nearly missed the train. As I came running up the platform, completely out of breath, the train was ready to leave. Apparently the train conductor was in a pretty good mood that morning and I was allowed on board. As I was waiting in Brussels, I got into an argument with someone from Thalys. It had something to do with our seats and the man wasn’t exactly helpful – no further details. Finally, we were ready to leave. Our itinerary:
Day 1: Notre Dame, Jardin du Luxembourg, Eiffel Tower, la Statue de la Liberté
Everyone knows the Statue of Liberty in New York and until 2 years ago I didn’t even know there was one in Paris (more than one actually). It is much smaller but I wanted to see it anyway. Unfortunately it was a pretty long walk. It was getting dark and we were getting hungry. We thought we would never make it, but we did. It was all good until we realized that we had to go back as well. We ended up having dinner at a nice restaurant close to le Notre Dame (and yes, still alive).
Day 2: Galeries Lafayette, Montmartre, le Louvre
Les Galeries Lafayette is a famous shop like Harrods in London. The Christmas decoration was just stunning. Montmartre is my favorite neighborhood. It’s a small, artistic neighborhood with nice shops and restaurants. Le Louvre is a famous museum, even though I’ve only seen it from the outside.
Day 3: La Défense, Place de la Concorde, Avenue des Champs Elysées
La défense is the business district in Paris. Tip: if you’re visiting in December/early January: the Christmas market in La Défense is definitely worth a visit. Not many tourists know about this so it’s not too crowded. La place de la Concorde is the perfect spot to see the Eiffel Tower. There’s also a Christmas market at the famous street les Champs Elysées.