When I originally set out on this trip it was suppose to be “24 Hours in Paris”, but due to a pesky ash cloud hovering over the Atlantic, I was stuck an extra two hours in Paris and this is now my “26 Hours in Paris.” Here is my recap from an extreme whirlwind tour of the City of Light.
9:19am: I landed down in Paris at Orly Airport Saturday morning ready to go. I flew on OpenSkies, which is owned by British Airways and is an all business-class carrier. I must disclose that the round-trip tickets were given to me from a contest I had won with OpenSkies last year as part of their birthday promotion.
9:51am: Paris is served by two international airports: Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to the north of the city, and Orly (ORY) to the south. Chances are when you fly to Paris, you will be using CDG, but if you happen to land at Orly, use the convenient and far less expensive Orly Airport Train (aka ORLYVAL). The fare into Paris cost me 9,85€ and 35 minutes later I was walking out of the Chatelet-Les Halles Station.
10:55am: A quick wander and I found myself by the Seine, which is the city’s famous slow-flowing major river and commercial waterway. The weather was a bit odd at times, because one minute it was bright and warm and then it rained a little and got chilly. Definitely was not properly prepared for all the different changes in climate during the quick stay.
11:45am: After gazing at the Seine and people watching for a bit, I made my way to the Eiffel Tower. There was no way I was going to stand in the long line and go inside. This trip was never about getting too deeply engaged in any one attraction, as I only had a few hours to see the sites. So I walked up to Eiffel, said “what’s up”, snapped a few pictures and was on my way to the next stop…the Louvre.
12:51pm: A 40-minute stroll along Quai d’Orsay and I found myself standing outside the Louvre. Again since this was going to be a rapid fire trip of Paris, there was no time to wait in the long lines and gawk at art work today. Mona Lisa and I were unable to meet this go around.
2:01pm: Another 40 or so minute walk (by the way all this walking was a great way to fight jet lag) and I was standing by the Arc de Triomphe. This Paris monument stands strong in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle.
3:03pm: Even more walking was on the agenda and oddly I was not a bit tired. When I asked readers last week about what to do when in Paris, many told me to get to St. Germain and dine at a cafe. I actually came across one of those quintessential corner not because I was hungry, but because I needed a bathroom break (lots of bottled water will do that to you). Cafe de Flore, located at 172 St. Germain, was bustling with tourists and locals. I ordered up some coffee and a few croissants, that were both very delicious and a bit on the expensive side. But since I had been frugal so far on this trip, it was time to splurge a little.
4:44pm: Time was flying during my trip, but I guess when you only have a day in a completely new city that will happen. So far I was pretty happy with how much I got done by foot in about eight hours, but I was not done yet.
5:09pm: A short walk from the cafes of St. Germain and I found myself at Notre Dame de Paris. Also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, it is an impressive Gothic cathedral that I will most definitely revisit on my next trip to Paris.
6:17pm: Yet another short stroll and I was standing in line at L’as du Fallafel on Rue de Rosiers for what I heard was an out of this world fallafel. It delivered, as I am still drooling over how good it tasted. Ranks right up there with a kebab I had last year when traveling through Krakow.
9:09pm: With night falling in Paris, I truly felt like the sands in the hour glass were running out. I found myself back by the Seine and with the weather decent, I stopped and sat for awhile to take just it all in. While I rushed through most of the day, I felt that I had accomplished what I set out to do and that was to see as much of a new city as possible in a really short amount of time. I am not one for rushed trips, but it was definitely a new experience and one that I would definitely do again…but maybe a little closer…like in Boston or Chicago.
10:30pm: A bottle of red…a bottle of white…eh perhaps just a beer. While I do enjoy a glass of crushed grapes from time to time, when I stumbled across an Irish pub in Paris, there was no way I was going to pass up checking it out. Just a short walk from Notre Dame and located at 28, rue St-Andre-des-Arts in the Latin Quarter is a hell of a watering hole called Corcoran’s. I had a few pints of Guinness, chatted it up with a few tourists from the United States and then exited before I got too sidetracked. I wanted to get up early before heading back to the airport, so it was not going to be a late night for me this go around.
12:41am: Hit my pillow in a 2-star dive that is not worth mentioning. Let me just put it this way, you will never see it in the hotels section of my website.
5:02am: Before heading back to Orly, I just wanted to wander the streets of Paris when it was not as loud and bustling. One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city is to check it out really early in the morning when most of the people are still sleeping. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back to the airport.
11:45am: Two hours late, but my plane finally was ready for departure. “Au revoir” Paris, next time I swear I will stay a little longer…I promise. One thing I noticed, and many people pointed out to me before I took this trip, is that Paris is extremely simple to navigate on foot. I recently took a trip to London and was constantly on the Tube, but with Paris I enjoyed walking everywhere and nothing felt too far away. Definitely can not wait to return and check out more of one of the most visited, interesting and beautiful cities in the world.