I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Paris a couple times. During the first visit, I did my usual thing of running around to see as many sights as I could during my short visit. This included making sure I could see the Eiffel Tower during the day and while lit up at night! I have a tendency to do that, run myself ragged on “vacations.” But the second time I visited Paris was completely different. The itinerary wasn’t nearly as ambitious, and I discovered that I enjoyed the experience much more. There are a number of ways to spend a day in Paris, but I learned that in Paris less is more.
All the Things to Do in Paris
Of course, I understand that if you’ve never been to Paris before that you will want to stop by some of the major sights. It would be silly not to pop into the Lourve, the Museum de Orsay, or Notre Dame. And if you are a fashionista, then I hardly imagine that you will skip out on the opportunities to shop.
Lastly, if you haven’t been up in the Eiffel Tower, then you should try to fit it in (for a unique perspective, read my post about taking the stairs up the Eiffel Tower!). But my best piece of advice is to resist the urge to cram as many sights as you can into your day, because the very best way to experience Paris is to do nothing.
Yes, that’s right…nothing.
The Best Way to Enjoy Paris is to Do Nothing
I was exhausted after my first trip to Paris, because I filled every moment with something to do. If fact, I don’t think I relaxed for a moment, except to sleep each night (and I really didn’t do much of that either!). During my second visit, I hardly made any plans; which is quite unusual for me. Mostly this was because my second visit to Paris was at the very end of an exhausting two week tour, showing my parents all my favorite places around Europe. So honestly, I was a bit sick and tired of planning!
However, when I arrived back in Paris it felt refreshing not to have any plans! I was tired of rushing around, and this new found freedom allowed me to see Paris in a whole new way. I took long strolls down grand boulevards and got lost in the maze of narrow cobblestone streets. While you can take a cruise on the Seine, I opted to sit along the Seine with locals who were basking in the early summer sun.
Paris is one of those places that exudes a special vibe; one of romance and absolute beauty. When you take your time and just look around, that is when you appreciate it most.
Everything is a Work of Art in Paris, Including the Parks
Everywhere you look in Paris, you see beauty. Whether it is the grand boulevards lines with trees, the gold that adorns bridges and buildings, or even the perfectly sculpted gardens. These parks are like the living rooms for city dwellers in Paris. On a beautiful day, you will find them full of locals visiting with one another, playing music, games, eating and drinking, and just loving life. And who wouldn’t when you live in a beautiful city with parks that looks like they are straight out of a fairy tale. Spending time in the parks all around Paris is a great way to get to know the city and get a feel for the local culture.
I Found the Perfect Place to Relax in Paris – Under the Eiffel Tower
While I had the opportunity to enjoy many parks throughout my second visit to Paris, I must say that my favorite was under the Eiffel Tower. In fact, I didn’t even go up the tower on my second visit to Paris. But I spent a lot of time at the park that sits beneath it. With the view of the tower high above me beyond the trees, this is the perfect spot to sit and watch Parisian life happen.
In fact, on my last day in Paris I actually sat at this park for most of the day. All day long, people would come and go from the park. But I noticed that mostly, they would say for very long periods of time. People would show up with bags of delectable food, freshly baked baguettes, a variety of cheese and wine. This was no ordinary picnic in the park. It seemed to be a culinary feast complete with wine glasses! All day long this scene would take place around the park. I watched Parisians living the good life and enjoying the moment. This is what I love about Paris.
I Did Nothing in Paris and Loved it!
When my last trip to Paris came to an end, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. Even though I spent much of my time strolling through parks and napping in the grass, I felt full of the Parisian spirit. In fact, my favorite memory of my visit is laying in the grass, gazing up at the perfectly blue sky, and seeing the iconic Eiffel Tower in my view. Breathing in and out deeply, I was fully relaxed and present in that moment. No rushing around, no museums, just peace. So different than my first visit, and I realized that this is how Paris should be enjoyed.