5 Mistakes I Keep Making in Paris

You know those destinations that, no matter how many times you visit, you feel like you just haven’t seen everything you wanted to see? Well, that’s Paris for me. It’s my own fault, really. I keep making the same mistakes, every time I go there!!

Every time I’ve left Paris, I’ve left it a little disappointed because I missed things I knew I wanted to see and made stupid mistakes that slowed down my days. I have loved both my visits to the city of love, but I’m hoping the third time is the charm – because the first two visits did not go as planned.

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OVER-PLANNING 

Let me just tell you this…visiting the Louvre will take a full day. Exploring Notre Dame and surrounding area WILL take a full day. Do not try to cram these two iconic things into the same day, or into a day where you’re also visiting the Catacombs. Because you will be disappointed. (In my case, twice.)

I’ve made this mistake both times I was in Paris, mostly because both times I had less than 48 hours to explore. Strange enough, the Louvre and Notre Dame are the two things I’ve wanted to see THE MOST, and they are the two things that I didn’t have time to see (both times!)

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GIVING IN TO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE WANTS

Okay, so I understand that when you’re traveling with other people, compromises need to happen. I get it. I’m not a demanding traveler. I’m more of a pushover, and that’s a big part of the reason why I’ve missed out on the things I’ve wanted to see. Whether it’s agreeing to my boyfriend’s plan of WALKING everywhere when we only had 30 hours in Paris, or agreeing to visit the Catacombs (which are outside the “normal” tourist limits”) – I seem to give in to what the people I’m with suggest, instead of making what I want clear.

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TRYING TO DRESS STYLISH INSTEAD OF COMFORTABLE 

It’s Paris! The first time I went to Paris, I was relatively new to traveling and wanted to look cute (baret and all). Ridiculous, I know. This just so happened to be the trip where my boyfriend wanted to walk everywhere instead of taking the tourist bus or taxis, so I was trapsing around Paris in high heels, skinny jeans, a shiny top and a cute baret. Not ideal. Don’t do this.

NOT STAYING AT THE EIFFEL TOWER LONG ENOUGH AT NIGHT 

Okay, so by the time darkness rolls around, I am utterly exhausted from the travel day. Granted, I usually spend about 2 hours in front of the Eiffel Tower, watching the pretty lights – I still don’t feel like 2 hours is enough!! The Eiffel Tower is beautiful during the day, but at night…there’s something so magical about it, and I always leave Paris wishing I had soaked up as much time in front of those sparkling lights as I could. Who needs sleep, right!?

EXPECTING TOO MUCH 

This is a very common problem with a lot of travelers I think, especially when visiting destinations you’ve already seen. It was so fantastic the first time, that you build it up in your mind so that when you finally get there again, it can’t possibly live up to your expectations. I do love Paris, but given the fact that I haven’t seen HALF the iconic sites (Louvre, Notre Dame, Lovers Wall, etc) – I really shouldn’t be THAT obsessed with it yet, right? WRONG. I am in love with Paris, and each time I go I expect it to blow my mind – which usually it doesn’t because I keep making these silly mistakes!

Notre Dame Paris, France

 

It seems like the only thing I’ve done RIGHT in Paris is somehow managing to take some stunning shots! 

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Notre Dame Paris France

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Paris, France

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Travel Pray Love

Canadian travel & immigration blogger.

14 Replies to “5 Mistakes I Keep Making in Paris

  1. Oh yes, you’ve brought up a bunch of things I can relate to, especially trying to look stylish over comfortable. These days I think I’ve found a happy medium, but it’s hard to look the part and not kill your feet!

    1. Exactly! The first time I went I was so excited to look cute in the fashionable city but I ended up hating most of the day because my boyfriend insisted on walking everywhere and my feet were NOT pleased. :p It’s possible to be cute and comfortable – so I hope I’ve learned my lesson for next time 😉

  2. Your photos are amazing! I’m in the exact same boat as you, visiting Paris for the 3rd time in January because, like you, I just felt there had to be more to it! I’ve made all the same mistakes as you, including trying to walk everywhere. This time I’m going to slow down a bit and soak up the Parisian atmosphere!

    1. Awe thank you (about the photos!) I may not have seen everything but I do take my time to take good photos! 🙂
      Ugh, best of luck! I know what it’s like to just feel like you can’t possible have seen everything Paris has to offer! I hope your visit this time goes better – can’t wait to read about it! I highly suggest the hop on/hop off bus – they go pretty much everywhere “touristy” (minus the Catacombs) and it’s decently priced.

  3. Maybe I will be visiting Paris cwith my boyfriend soon. your post was not only delightful to read, but there were some good tips to keep in mind for visiting. luckily i think the louvre will be high on both of our lists.

  4. Totally recognize this, especially with places there is so much to do! I end up being completely exhausted each day.. for me the best solution has been to move abroad, now I can take more time exploring cities in the area!

    1. YES! Moving abroad is definitely a way to make sure you really get the experience of a place. My biggest regret is just trying to pack too much into my travel days. I am always disappointed because I haven’t seen everything I wanted, and exhausted because I’ve been running around like a mad woman. 😉

  5. Wow, I have this EXACT same issue with the EXACT same city… it must be Paris, not us, right?? Heheh. On my last visit, we made it alllllll the way to the Catacombs from the other side of the city where we were staying, and the line was so long we ended up having to leave when we were RIGHT at the front just to make our plane…which we literally ran straight onto.

    1. OMG. That happened to me with Notre Dame. My sister and I chose to put Catacombs as a first for the day, and we got there – ended up with a great spot near the front of the line – but then by the time we got back to the “normal” part of the city where the cathedral is – we stood in line for an hour and then had to catch our cab back to the train station!

      …Maybe it IS Paris! 😉

  6. I find that it’s the mistake most of us make when visiting big European cities. There is no way you can see everything in Paris (or London, or Rome..) in two days. Why not just concentrate on one or two things instead of trying to see it all? And then the next time you go, pick two others… Even if there is no next time, you’ll probably enjoy your visit more if you travel slow.
    We did this the last time we visited to Paris. It was the first time we took our kids there and we knew that there was no way they could walk around the whole day. So we visited the Eiffel Tower and took a scenic boat trip on the Seine. In between we had lunch, had dinner, had ice cream,…. In the evening we returned to the Eiffel Tower and just sat there watching the beautiful lights when it got dark. That’s it! We were still all exhausted after a day in Paris, but we had really great time because we took our time to explore it slower.

    1. That’s just such a better idea! 😉 The thing is, when you go with people who are from outside the EU, THEY want to pack our schedule full.:p I will bring this up next time for sure, because you’re right – slow travel is just better because you’re less exhausted and not disappointed.

  7. As a parisian I will give you a few tips for your next visit 🙂
    First, there is a saying in Paris that states you could go everyday to the Louvre for a year and still not have seen it all, my advice, pick one part of the Louvre you want to see (Ancient Egypt or Greece, the impressionnists,…) and stick to that. Every time you come back you can check another part, and it won’t take all day. Other advice, mostly not known by tourists, to not wait in line at the Louvre, enter by the carrousel of the Louvre, it’s an underground entrance.
    My favorite visit in Paris is the Saint Chapel, in the palace of justice, across from Notre-Dame. Arrive early, because the line can get long,but you can definitely do that and Notre-Dame on the same day.
    As for looking adorably parisian while visiting the city… take a look at the parisians, they walk around the city all day and still look amazing (best walking shoes are the addidas Stan Smith, everyone wears these)… my favorite adress for parisian’s afordable designers : Filles de Saison (it’s a great boutique) !
    Finally, Paris is a city where you walk a lot, there is no going around that and you shouldn’t want to, that’s how you get to know the city, piece by piece. I’ve been living in Paris for 20 years and there are still parts of it that elude me…
    Have fun next time:)

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