I will always love Paris and the City of Light (as she is lovingly called) will never cease to amaze and surprise me. What I love the most about Paris is that no matter how many times I visit, I always see something new. I had the luxury of living in Paris years ago in my early twenties as an exchange student at the University of Paris -Sorbonne, and ever since it has been my dream to bring my own daughter Sophia to Paris and show her my most favorite city on earth. Thankfully, I was able to bring her to Paris this past summer on a mother-daughter trip along with my own mother, sister and niece. It was a whirlwind trip exploring London, Lille and Paris all within a little over a week but I accomplished my goal. Sophia fell in love with Paris just like I did the moment I laid eyes on its beauty.

Sophia on top of the Eiffel Tower

Priceless. Sophia on top of the Eiffel Tower daydreaming about Paris below.

We only had three full days in Paris and given the large amount of amazing things to do and see, I had to carefully craft a plan of action of what I felt should be the highlights for Sophia and my niece Hanna. Since all of us grownups have been to Paris many times, we wanted to ensure that the trip was focused exclusively on the girls meaning it was important to not spend too much time walking around museums or at fancy places to eat. I wanted to give the girls an overview of the best of Paris, all that we could squeeze into three very long, full days.

The list was long and I had to cut it down based on how large and how spread out everything is in Paris. I needed to also ensure that we had enough time to get to each destination without killing our legs from all the walking. The metro helped us get around, yet I soon remembered how much walking there is even inside the metro and how many stairs! Our legs ached and throbbed by the end of our three days but we sure gave the girls a taste of Paris, hitting these must-see destinations along the way:

  • The Louvre
  • The Notre Dame Cathedral
  • The Eiffel Tower
  • Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur
  • Champs-Élysées
  • The Arc de Triomphe
  • Jardin du Luxembourg and the Latin Quarter
  • As many outdoor cafes as we could possibly find for a coffee or a glass of wine for the adults and a kiddie cocktail for the girls.

I would have loved to show Sophia where I lived at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris way out in the 14th arrondissement but alas we ran out of time. I also would have loved to go to more museums but even the Louvre didn’t last long with two tween girls. I decided to save the rest for the next time.

We purchased metro passes as well as a Paris Pass Lib’ Mini which included a reserved entry time/date to see the second level of the Eiffel Tower (the top floor was already full months before!), tickets for a day of the hop on hop off bus (which we never used and chose the metro instead) and an hour ride on a Bateau Parisien where we would get to see Paris by looking up from a boat floating along the Seine. It ended up being a great deal, saving us a lot of time and unwanted disappointment (It was so crowded at the Eiffel Tower in early June that all the passes had sold out by 9 am so if we hadn’t reserved our spot months beforehand we would not have been able to go).

After a little cafe time and lunch near the Eiffel Tower, it was time for us to walk over to the Port de la Bourdonnais where we would be catching our afternoon cruise along the Seine.

Once again, given the mid-June crowds, we were quite pleased we had our tickets in advance. One thing I’ve learned about Paris and travel throughout Europe in general is that July and August are only worse in terms of crowds as it is high season and also it can be very hot that time of year.  I was grateful that we had chosen a less busy time and only one day in Paris was exceptionally warm reaching almost 90 degree F (out 32 C). It was brutal trying to sleep in our top floor, sun-filled apartment that night (of course they had no air conditioning).

We were first in line to board the bateau but soon realized that getting the front seats on the boat wasn’t worth the effort as crowds of tourists stood in front of us the entire ride guiltily snapping selfies. One Italian man even recorded multiple selfie videos of himself right in front of my view. He was really starting to get on our nerves as he was so focused on himself that he was clueless how rude he was being to the rest of the passengers. Instead of get annoyed, we decided to just keep looking up and that made all the difference. The view of Paris looking up from the Seine is quite unique and we gained a completely different perspective of this architecturally amazing gem of a city.

Bateaux Parisiens Map of Route

Map of the route. Credit: Bateaux Parisiens

As we cruised down the Seine heading towards Les Invalides and the Musée d’Orsay, I craned my neck up and snapped away.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I adored the views of the infamous Notre Dame Cathedral, one of my favorite places to get a view from above of Paris and of the gargoyles.

There was also the fun people watching shots of all the locals and tourists hanging out down by the banks of the Seine. I even saw a man fishing!

Seine Paris

ParisWe passed by more of Paris’ most beloved landmarks and bridges. People from above stopped to wave as we floated by.

The Conciergerie Paris

The Conciergerie


Paris France

Paris Seine

Before we knew it, our hour was up and we were back at the Port de la Bourdonnais. I was sad our ride along the Seine was over so quickly. There is something so utterly romantic about cruising down the Seine especially if you can do it at night when Paris lights up. But alas, our time in Paris was drawing to a close. We only had one more night before it was time to say our goodbyes. That common pang of sadness about leaving Paris shot through my soul. Yet I know I will be back soon as Paris will always have a special place in my heart.

If you go:

I highly recommend purchasing a Paris Pass Lib’ Mini to get your time and date set in advance for the Eiffel Tower. If you have an extra day, then enjoy the Open Air Bus tour around the city and for sure take a ride on a Bateau Parisien. www.parispass.com

Thanks to my friends and fellow bloggers at WordPress for the inspiration to look up


    1. Thanks Angeline! I just love Paris so much and it was so wonderful to share it with my daughter. 🙂

  1. What a great trip this turned out to be for you despite the crowds. You photos are wonderful. My fave is the one of the yellow bike.

  2. I did the same boat ride my first time in Paris in 1991. I was a tween myself travelling with two other girls with a Renault 5 that belonged to one of them. We saw some of the Loire castles and Cote d’Azure as well, and Lyon. My first adventure abroad without my parents. I’m sure your daughter and niece had a glorious experience as well.

    1. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your adventure. Yes it is so great to get out there when you are young and see the world. My daughter now says she is also in love with Paris. I’m hoping she is inspired now to travel when she is older!

  3. I was excited to see that we hit all the places you had listed during our time in Paris. Your dreamy photos makes me want to return!

  4. What a very special tine for you and your daughter Nicole. I’m sure she’ll cherish the memories. Beautiful photos of a beautiful city. Magnifique.

    1. Merci beaucoup Miriam! Yes, she fell in love with Paris just as I did. I’m thinking she will be back…:)

      1. It has improved a little bit but still not great. He is working about 7 hours now (not a full day) and still can’t travel but it is an improvement. We are going to see my parents for a long weekend on Tuesday and I can hardly wait to see some sunshine. It has been a gloomy, rainy fall which isn’t normal for us. 🙂 Thanks for asking!

      2. Glad it’s improving. Any improvement has to be a step in the right direction. Enjoy your long weekend Nicole. Hope you get some nice sunshine. 😊

    1. I wish I lived in Europe! It would make it so much easier and cheaper to travel. I LOVE Paris yet Europe has so many spectacular special cities. 🙂

  5. Baking in that top-floor apartment sounds quite hellish … I hope you were able to get some sleep? But how wonderful that you found a bit of relief from the heat on the Seine! Many people poo-pooh the river cruises as hopelessly touristy, but I think they’re a wonderful way to see the landmarks from a new perspective and also form a mental map. Thank you for this whirlwind tour of my favorite city.

    1. It was really miserable actually as we had been walking all day long and didn’t get back until 930 pm and the sun was still beaming brightly into the apartment! We got some fans and had the windows open and I woke up the next morning with three spider bites! I have never had a spider bite before and over the next two weeks of the trip my arm swelled so much that I almost considered going to the doctor. I was worried it was infected but the day before our flight it finally calmed down after I iced it and took some unknown Austrian medicine (I went to the pharmacy in a small town and used my google translate app to tell her my symptoms and she gave me something to get rid of the horrible itch). Who would have thought I’d get a spider bite in Paris?!

      1. Wow! That’s even worse than I imagined (which was pretty bad to begin with) — plus spider bites, on top of everything! And you still went back to Paris after that? RESPECT. Also, huge bonus points for getting medical care — or at least an unguent — in a foreign language. You continue to earn my admiration as my travel heroine. 🙂

      2. Ha ….it was pretty bad. I forgot to mention what a show it was for my 11 year old daughter and 13 year old niece. As we were on the 10th floor of a Parisian apartment in the hot midst of summer, we had to have our windows wide open and so did everyone else. I will just say that the girls saw men across the way strolling in their underwear (yes the lights were on, windows open and no shades) and then a naked woman parading around. Oh….c’est Paris! But still it was quite funny.

      3. Oh, goodness … hadn’t even thought about *that* aspect of keeping the windows open! You’re right that the French do have a whole different sense of what I call “P&P” — “pulchritude and privacy.” Well … I suppose your daughter and niece were bound to see men in underwear eventually, eh? LOL.

      4. Ha Ha…yes it was quite “eye opening” to say the least. The girls just giggled.

  6. Nicole if you can believe it we have only passed through Paris and never really explored it. I think I shall come back to your post when we decide to visit. I love seeing a city from the water. A whole unique view in spite of the selfie takers.

    1. Looks like it is time to plan a trip Sue! Paris remains my favorite city on earth. I just love it so much. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.