j’aime Paris

Yes, I love Paris.  Here are a few suggestions to help you love it as well.  Do as much research, book tours and buy tickets on line NOW – it gets busy!

Summer – particularly July – is a great time to visit Paris.  It’s warm, there are sidewalk cafes everywhere and Rose’ wine is both inexpensive and delicious!

Bastille Day is July 14th.  If you can plan your trip to be there, it’s well worth it!  Locals and tourists alike arrive EARLY at the Champ de Mars, the official site of the Bastille Day (French independence day) festivities.  Take a picnic and plan to spend the day.  We were actually on the other side of the river (both sides were lined with watchers) and as long as you have a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower, you are in for a treat!  The fireworks, set off from the Tower, are breath-taking!

Bastille Day, Paris

You can’t visit Paris without a visit to the Eiffel Tower.  On any given day, you will find the lines to buy tickets to visit the tower staggering!  Behind the scenes at Eiffel TowerThere is a fee so you will have to pay anyway, but the option I’m suggesting will cost you only a little more, give you a ton of fascinating information AND let you skip the line!  There is a tour offered called “Behind the Scenes at the Eiffel Tower”.  Buy your ticket up to 3 months in advance and print them at home.  You’ll get to see an underground bunker, the machinery that operates the elevators and learn the history of this iconic monument.  Once on the 2nd level, you can purchase a ticket at a kiosk to go all the way to the top if you want.

Very near the Cathedral of Notre Dame is Sainte-Chapelle.  Without a doubt, the most spectacular stained glass in all of Paris.  Due to the narrow Sainte-Chapellestairs by which you enter and the security, the line is always down the block.  Here’s my next “skip the line” suggestion.  On a board near the front of the line you will see posted flyers for concerts.  Check the dates – it will be in French so just look for the numbers for both time and date.  If there is one taking place during your time in Paris, ignore the line and ask the guard at the front how you buy tickets to the concert. He will send you in through security to a courtyard where a ticket kiosk sits.  Bring Euros!  When I was last there they didn’t take credit cards.  Get your concert tickets and go on with your day.

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris

Later, return about 30 minutes before the concert.  There will beConcert in Sainte-Chapelle 20 or so  people in line with you, you will have all the time both before and after the concert to wander the sanctuary taking photos without being jostled by other tourists.  Then enjoy the way the setting sun bathes the room in colorful light as the  classical concert fills this majestic setting.

Of course there are a couple of more “must do” items you might miss so I’ll have to devote next week’s blog to Paris as well.  Time to go open a bottle of Rose’!

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