I was fortunate. I lived in Italy between for seven years until I was 16 and during that time, I was able to visit several countries and cities. One of those cities was Paris during a Spring Break trip when I was 15 years old. If you were to ask my 15-year-old self if she enjoyed Paris, she would say, "meh."
Fast forward several decades and my husband and I decided that our next European trip would be to Paris. We booked our Delta flight as well as a Marriott branded hotel and the next thing we needed to do was plan what to do. We debated breaking up our trip to take a train to England, Amsterdam, Germany or maybe even Belgium but instead, we settled on doing all six days in Paris.
So ... what do I do? I googled "how to spend six days in Paris" and stumbled across a blog post by World in Paris. And voila ... we had a plan! We didn't follow it exactly but it was pretty close. We also had to re-arrange some of the days based on museum and tour availability but it all worked perfectly.
We landed in Paris that morning and much like any of our other international trips, we attempt to push through the day without taking a nap. This day wasn't an exception. After checking into our hotel, we headed to the Metro station to go to Montmartre. Montmartre was a charming town and one that anyone should add on their must-visit list if they ever come to Paris. Final day step count: 15,042 steps
My husband was a former Army Ranger at 2/75 and at Ranger Regiment, so there was no question that we would take a trip to Normandy. We booked a small group tour, no more than eight people, with Blue Fox Travel called Normandy D-Day Tour from Paris. If you love history, Normandy is a must. It was tragically beautiful. Even getting up at the crack of dawn was worth it since the meeting spot was right around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe and there were no cars around it. Final day step count: 12,308 steps
Louvre Museum is always top of everyone's lists to visit and even if you do, there's no way you'd be able to see it all in one day. We heard that if you were to look at every piece of artwork for only 30 seconds, it would take you six months to see it all! After spending several hours at the Louvre, we walked to the Tuiileries Garden and then through Rue de Rivoli and along Rue Castiglione to Place Vendôme. We finished the evening with a Seine River Dinner Cruise. There are multiple cruises to select but we went with La Calife since their menu matched what we were looking for. What was perfect is that the cruise timed itself to be next to the Eiffel Tower at the exact moment of the nightly light show. Final day step count: 15,842 steps
Ile de la Cite is an island in the river Seine in the center of Paris. The most notable thing to see is Notre Dame but there are other things to see and by far my favorite two were the Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie. Notre Dame was still under reconstruction from 2019 fire and the Archeological Crypt was closed the day we went. After leave Ile de la Cite, we crossed Pont d'Arcole to visit Le Marais. Walking back to the hotel, one of the most surprising and gorgeous finds was the La Madeleine church. It has a classic Greek design from the outside and just absolutely breathtaking on the inside. We finished the evening with a birthday celebration and six-course meal at L'Arome. Final day step count: 16,827 steps
I vaguely remember going to the Orsay Museum when I was 15 years old since I remember that it was a highlight of my trip. I still am in love with this museum. From the museum, we strolled over the massive Alexander III Bridge to the Petite Palace but unfortunately, the Grand Palais was under reconstruction, like so much of Paris. Afterwards, we walked along the Seine River to see the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero Gardens, but the gardens were also under reconstruction. Final day step count: 16,262
There's no picture that truly captures the awe of Palace of Versailles. This was a short train trip ride from Paris and the only thing I wish is that I could see this during the Spring or Summer to truly get a feel of the gardens. Once again, there was reconstruction and only one of the fountains outside was on but it was still a lovely place to visit on our last day in Paris. Final day step count: 20,978
My 15-year-old self truly missed out and no wonder she thought the trip was "meh." This was a completely different experience and despite the numerous construction and restoration as the city begins preparing for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, it was truly a magical city. Although I came to Paris at the age of 15, I can say that I truly visited Paris in 2023 the right way. There was so much more of the city that we didn't get a chance to explore and we look forward to returning one day.