How to do Paris in a day

Written by Guy.

Our first honeymooning day was a bit of wash. We were simply wiped out after  taking a redeye from Portland to Frankfurt, running to make a connecting flight to Paris, and then waiting at CDG for three hours. Although we hustled to make the flight to Paris, my bags did not. It was late evening and we were tired when we finally caught a taxi from the airport to our lovely Airbnb.

We woke up the next morning to a spotlight of sun and countless new sounds cheering in from the open window. Paris was alive and calling us downstairs. Trying to take in all the new sensations, it dawned on me suddenly that this was really our only day in Paris. A train to Nice awaited the next day. One day. It was time to make it count.

Megan has never been ready so fast. We were out the door and heading down THE Parisian streets by 10:30 and eating chocolate croissants at Chez Ribe. Although Paris has many wonders and sights worth seeing, our only concern in the sight-seeing department was the grandaddy of them all: the Eiffel Tower. Given the short time we had in Paris, we didn't want to force the day with one attraction after the other. Just two miles from our Airbnb, we headed north towards the great tower with our eyes wide, soaking in the architecture, food, and people that make Parisian life legendary.

The funny thing is that we saw nearly all the other sights throughout the day, by accident and chance. We marvelled at the Eiffel Tower for hours. Twenty minutes in one spot was simply not enough. Migrating from lawn to sidewalk to bridge, we became more astounded by its brilliance with each angle at which we viewed the Tower. By nearly two o’clock we were walking down the Seine exchanging our impressions of the city and looking desperately for somewhere with a meat-free menu — which was harder than you may think.

Instead of food we found the L’Arc de Triomphe. It stood tall and imposing in the roundabout center like a king. The cars seemed but subjects to the Arc’s rule. We dipped and dodged past cars speeding around the roundabout to see it more closely. Of course, we learned only after arriving in the center that there is an underground walkway that allows for safer travel. But what’s travel without some careless risk of life and limb!?

Excited yet hungry, we left the Arc in search of food and wine using the river as our guide (so Portland). In short time we found the food, some pizza and rosé at a food truck-like spot on the Seine — again, so Portland. Looking up, taking in, we also noticed that the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris was only a short walk away. So we took that walk.

There you have it. The three main Parisian attractions in one day, by accident, with several detours and pit-stops along the way. We saw architecture and fashion and everything you hear about Paris that it makes it sheer romance. What we also found were wonderfully kind people — everywhere. Late that night, while watching the Eiffel Tower now illuminated with flashing lights against the dark sky, we talked of the kindness of Parisians. Throughout the day, from breakfast to dinner and even on the metro — the people were kind and helpful. Merci.