Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Paris Museum Pass

The Paris Museum Pass offers free admission to dozens of sites in Paris, including most of the top attractions. Is it worth it?

That depends!

Before you go investigate which sites you want to see and how much those will cost. It could very well be worth it.

The pass also includes a Metro card, so you'll be able to use public transportation at no additional cost.

There is also a savings of time as most attractions allow pass holders to skip the entry line and go directly in.

For our short 3-day visit, we did not get the pass. We spent around 180-200 Euros total for the attractions and transportation we needed. The pass was 155 Euros per person.

It's worth investigating though before you go.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Arc de Triomphe

If you haven't walked enough while in Paris, here's your chance to work out your legs with a 284-step climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

Once you're at the top, you have stunning views in all directions. Stare down the length of the Champs-Élysées, or get a great photo of the Eiffel Tower or the golden-domed Invalides.

In addition, spend some time watching the chaotic traffic below as 12 boulevards feed into one roundabout.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Sainte Chapelle cathedral

I've been fortunate to visit some very impressive cathedrals in Europe, but I was absolutely stunned by Saint Chapelle.

It's relatively small compared to many of Europe's cathedrals, and the 11 Euro entry fee seems high, but it is beautiful inside.

This is a two-level cathedral that was built to house the supposed crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus' head. King Louis IX paid three times as much for the crown as he did to build the cathedral.

The second floor of the cathedral is where you'll find the splendor. Fifteen stained glass windows line the walls depicting more than 1,100 scenes from the Bible. It will take your breath away.

Sainte Chapelle is located on Ile de Cite, a few blocks from Notre Dame. Walls around Notre Dame include pictures and descriptions of the fire that destroyed part of that cathedral in 2019.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Louvre

It would be hard to visit Paris and not go to the Louvre. It's one of the largest museums in the world and, of course, home to the Mona Lisa.

The Louvre frequently has long lines so consider buying a ticket in advance. You will have to wait in a security line no matter what.

We listened to Rick Steves' audio tour, and I would highly recommend it. You'll start in the Ancient Greece area and see Venus de Milo.

You'll also see some key Roman statues, including Winged Victory. The tour continues through medieval and renaissance art, including the Mona Lisa.

Da Vinci's painting draws huge crowds, but they manage those by forming two lines. At the front of the line, small groups of 8-10 are allowed a couple of minutes for pictures with this famous artwork.

After the audio tour, we ventured into the much-less-crowded near eastern antiquities area for a few minutes.

You'll want to allow several hours to visit The Louvre.

Thursday, February 27, 2020


The Champs-Élysées is one of the most well-known boulevards in the world, famous for its broad sidewalks and expensive shops. The two-mile boulevard starts at the Arc de Triomphe and ends at Place de la Concorde.

You'll see high-end shops like Louis Vuitton (pictured above) as well as restaurants, cafes and entertainment. We bought crepes from a street vendor to enjoy during our walk.

You'll pass the Grand Palais and Petite Palais en route to the end.

If you continue on past Place de la Concorde, you'll come to the Orangerie, Tuileries Garden and the Louvre.

Montemarte / Sacre Couer

We began our visit to Paris with a visit to the Montmarte neighborhood and the Sacre Couer basilica located on Paris's highest hill.

Take the Metro to the Abbesses stop where you'll see a plaza and a nearby wall of love. The tiled "I Love You" wall has those three words written in 250 languages.

From there, you can follow the signs to the Sacre Couer, a basilica built in the late 1800s and early 1900s on Paris' highest natural point.

Climb the 200 steps to reach it for a panoramic view of the entire city.

The inside is impressive, too, and is free to visit. You can also pay to climb the dome. Don't forget to visit the cryp underneath.