Falling in Love with Paris Again: My Recent 4-Day Trip

July 04, 2024 Travel

I initially thought of skipping Paris since I had already seen it. With limited time and budget, exploring new destinations would be a better choice. But I decided against it. I remembered that years ago, I really wanted to return to Paris. So, I decided to leave France from Paris after I toured the French Riviera and completed my pilgrimage to Lourdes.

I stayed in Paris for four days, and that felt too short. Come to think of it, you could spend a month in Paris and barely scratch the surface. But what I had in Paris, 4 days, was more than enough to make me fall in love with the city all over again.

Day 1: A Scenic Tour of Paris

I spent my first day in Paris on a Hop on Hop Off (HOHO) Bus. I was not yet supposed to be in Paris, but I missed my train in Lourdes, which would take me to Nevers. So, I just decided to take an overnight bus from Lourdes to Paris, giving me an extra day to explore the city. A lovely couple from the US staying in the same hotel as I allowed me to take an Uber with them to the Louvre. I decided to explore my chances of seeing the Louvre because I had never been inside, but the lines were too long.

So I just looked for a HOHO Bus and got on board. I took a Tootbus and got to see the facades of Paris' well-known attractions, such as the Opera, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Orsay Museum, Concorde, Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Grand Palais, and many more.

I only had two stops because it was mostly raining in Paris. My first stop was the Latin Quarter. I wanted to see Notre Dame up close, explore the bustling neighborhood, and go inside Shakespeare and Company, a meeting place for writers and readers, becoming a Left Bank literary institution. It is located on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre Dame. 

I also saw the Fontaine Saint-Michel and explored a pop-up market around it.

My second stop was the Eiffel Tower, one of the world's most recognizable landmarks and the ultimate symbol of Paris. I walked from there to Trocadéro, a popular Eiffel Tower viewing point. My hotel, People Bercy, is only one train ride away and a few minutes walk away.

Day 2: Faith and Art

After starting my day with flaky croissants and hot coffee from my hotel's breakfast buffet, I retook the train to Sèvres – Babylone to visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

The entrance is discreet. It is not like other famous pilgrimage sites with impressive facades. 

Built in 1815, the chapel was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1830, a novice of the Daughters of Charity, Catherine Labouré, experienced apparitions of Mary and received instructions to have the Miraculous Medal made. 

The chapel carries the incorrupt body of Catherine Labouré and the wax effigy containing the bones of Louise de Marillac and the heart of Vincent de Paul, the founders of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.

After getting miraculous medals for friends and attending mass, I walked to my next destination – the Musée Rodin. 

Before coming to Paris, I asked friends what their must-not-miss sites were. One of those I asked recommended this museum. This is a very underrated Paris attraction. Unlike the other popular sites, you can walk in here, and the crowd is not overwhelming.

The museum is in the handsome Hôtel Biron, surrounded by a lush garden. 

Musée Rodin was once the home of Auguste Rodin, a famous French sculptor generally considered the founder of modern sculpture. 

You will see here some of his famous works, such as "The Thinker," "The Kiss," and "The Gates of Hell," which were inspired by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. 

It also has some works of Van Gogh, which can be admired without the crowd.

From the museum, I walked to Les Invalides, a 17th-century complex in Paris built for disabled veterans. It now also houses museums, a church, and Napoleon's tombs. I did not go inside anymore; I just admired the façade and the garden. 

From there, I walked back to the Eiffel Tower.

That evening, a friend from Dijon joined me. We walked to St. Martin Canal, Paris' lesser-known body of water, where we chanced upon an anti-Israel protest. From there, we walked to the fashionable Marais district for exploration and dinner.

She planned the rest of my Paris itinerary. She asked me what my must-visits were. I said none. I wanted to see Kippie's Paris.

Day 3: Libraries and Museums

My two new favorite Paris sites are Musée Rodin and the first place we visited on our third day there. 

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France is the national library of France.

My jaw dropped at the first sight of their new reading room. It goes by a nickname that couldn't be more apt: the Oval Paradise. 

The Oval Paradise has become Paris's newest architectural attraction. It features a monumental glass ceiling that floods the majestic space with natural light and houses 20,000 books on French art, history, and literature.

This and Shakespeare and Company are two of the best places to read in Paris.

The library's other reading spaces—reserved exclusively for accredited researchers—are equally stunning. Since we were already there, we also went inside the museum and the exhibit.

It rained heavily that day, so we took refuge in a ramen shop and had to cancel our other plans. Then, from there, we took an Uber to Musée d'Orsay. This museum is the other Paris attraction my friend recommended. 

The museum gets much social media attention because its giant clock overlooks the Seine.

It is located at the center of Paris and was installed in the former Orsay railway station. 

The building itself could be seen as the first "work of art" in the Musée d'Orsay, which displays art collections from 1848 to 1914. The museum holds mainly French art from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the most extensive Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces by painters including Claude Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Van Gogh.

It's too bad "Starry Night Over the Rhône," one of Vincent van Gogh's paintings of Arles at night, was not on display when we visited. 

The museum also displays Rodin's Gates of Hell.

From the museum, I took a train back to my hotel, grabbed my things, then took an Uber to Montmartre.

I spent my last night in Paris at the Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre (Sacred Heart of Montmartre), commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur.

I stayed at their guesthouse (formerly Ephrem House), which adjoins the Basilica.

 Hotel guests can participate in perpetual Eucharist adoration, which is the mission of the Basilica and the first church I've known to have this. Every evening after the doors close at 11 p.m., Eucharistic adoration continues in the Basilica, participated by those who have registered for the night.

By the way, when I told friends I was staying here, most of them were curious. Was it scary? It was not. My room looked like a typical guest room, with white sheets and its own shower room. The only thing is that the toilet is located outside. Breakfast was included in my booking, and I added a small fee for dinner.

Day 4: Last Day in Paris –Views, Shopping, and Leisure

On my last day in Paris, I started the day exploring the Basilica. 

This 19th-century Basilica is the second most visited monument in France. Its ceiling is adorned with the country's largest mosaic.  It houses a magnificent pipe organ built by the most renowned organ builder in 19th-century Paris. 

The Basilica's interior is encircled by a series of chapels decorated with sculptures, reliefs, and tapestries.

Outside the Basilica, I was greeted by one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the capital from 130 meters above ground. 

After, I explored more of Montmartre, renowned for its rich artistic heritage and unique village-like atmosphere that sets it apart from the rest of Paris. Despite the rain limiting our exploration, we still admired its undeniable charm.

I took a train from Montmartre to La Grande Epicerie de Paris to buy butter. This is the best place to buy because they have a vacuum sealer. 

Afterward, I explored more of Montmartre, renowned for its rich artistic heritage and unique village-like atmosphere that sets it apart from the rest of Paris. Despite the rain limiting my exploration, I still admired its undeniable charm.

I took a train from Montmartre to La Grande Epicerie de Paris to buy butter. This is the best place to buy because they have a vacuum sealer. 

After that, I spent my final afternoon in Paris, embracing the leisurely Parisian lifestyle at Jardin de Luxembourg, a peaceful garden with greenery, fountains, and paths.

I spent four days in Paris. It was well spent, and I have many reasons to return. As they say, Paris is always a good idea.

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