Paris in a Day - Make Your Own Shore Excursion from a British Isles Cruise with Princess Cruises. Where to eat, what to see, and what to do to make the best of a short trip to Paris!
This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises. All opinions are 100% my own.
I was recently given the chance of a lifetime to take a British Isles cruise with Princess Cruises to Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France – and loved every single second.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit the British Isles, but you weren’t sure where to start or how to plan one, Princess has already done the hard work for you with fabulous itineraries including tons of top rated and even some exclusive shore excursions you won’t find anywhere else.
Touring with Princess can help you get a taste of Ireland, Scotland, England, and France like no other vacation can!
To read more about Why To Book a British Isles Cruise read here!
Paris In a Day - Make Your Own Shore Excursion
Book Paris On Your Own Shore Excursion
To get to Paris from Le Havre, it is a bit of a distance. Since it would be risky to take a train or chance your return on an outside company, I suggest booking a Paris on Your Own shore excursion with Princess.
Princess guarantees your return to the ship if you're late - so booking direct through them is essential!
If you don't want to go in a big group, you can arrange for a private tour with a driver, which will also help you see much more of the city as well. Tours also have a guide who speaks English (many languages were available) to get the most out of your time in Paris.
A stop in Paris just isn't complete without visiting the Louvre - even if you can't spend much time in the museum, you can visit many notable works, visit the mall at the Louvre, or just walk around the museum grounds and take a photo by the pyramid.
If you're visiting the Louvre, I would recommend asking the tour guide (or even the excursion desk) for tips or to pre-coordinate a skip the line ticket, as the line to buy tickets does get exceptionally long in summer and early fall months.
Plan your route before you go, so you can see the works highest on your list (and just know the Mona Lisa is packed, hard to see behind throngs of tourists, and quite a distance from where you'll be allowed to stand) to ensure you can spend enough time there.
There are Louvre tours available, so if art is a greater priority for you, you might want to book an excursion specifically to the Louvre.
Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero
If you're looking for a quintessentially Parisian photo backdrop, the Trocadero offers the best view of the tower from across the Seine - if you'd like to take photos with the whole tower in the frame, you'll need to go across the Seine, and possibly up the Trocadero steps, for the best shot.
There is a carousel right underneath the Eiffel Tower that is fabulous in photos - and another smaller one across the street at the Trocadero which is easier to get in the frame with the tower.
Right behind the carousel at the Trocadero is a crepe stand whose nutella and ham and cheese crepes are NOT to be missed - they are amazing, quick, and cheap!
If you have your heart set on heading up the Eiffel Tower, I suggest skipping the Paris on Your Own Tour and booking an Eiffel Tower excursion instead as the lines are so long it would be impossible in the window of time available during a shore excursion.
Shop and Stroll Along the Seine
One of my favorite places to shop, stroll, and watch tourists gathering is along the banks of the Seine, where vendors sell antiques, tchotchkes, books, art, and souvenirs from small lockers that pop up into mini storefronts right along the river.
The stores are all open at their owners whims - and offer lots of different and unique items worth perusing. Some booths offer souvenirs that are a little less cheesy and "Americanized", making it a good place to stop for something special.
Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
If you're a fan of Hemingway or Joyce, a stop to visit Paris' home of traveling writers is a must.
The small bookshop, featuring titles in english, was opened in the 1920's and was known for hosting novelists residing in Paris - including Hemingway and Joyce.
In 1941 it closed under Nazi occupation and never re-opened at the original location, but later re-opened in it's current location across from Notre Dame in 1951 where the tradition of fostering a literary community by hosting writers staying in Paris right inside the shop.
Writers still stay at Shakespeare and Company for free as they write - and work in the shop while creating masterpieces.
The shop itself is packed to the rafters with amazing titles and unique finds - and as you stroll through the shelves you can hear the gentile clacking of typewriters from some of the resident writers.
Be sure to get books you purchase stamped with a Shakespeare and Company stamp!
Notre Dame Cathedral
To visit Notre Dame, a pre-booked skip-the-line ticket is essential - or you won't have enough time.
Walking around the Cathedral is completely stunning without visiting inside, however, and I strongly recommend a trip to see the jaw-dropping carvings and architecture alone.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris' most iconic landmarks - and a great place for photos as cars whiz past.
To visit, a pre-booked skip-the-line tour is essential - but you can also walk under it and take tons of photos after strolling the Champs Elysses, making it an easy to visit spot along your self guided tour.
If you're looking to shop up a storm in Paris, a stop along the Champs Elysses should be the top of your list - you'll find numerous big name luxury shops, restaurants, and patisseries along Paris' iconic street leading to the Arc de Triomphe.
There is nothing more fabulous in Paris than spending an afternoon at a quaint Parisian bistro, watching the city walk past, as you dine on French favorites - and for me, I always have to have escargot!
If you haven't tried escargot, don't be afraid to - it is rich, delicious, and perfect to share with wine at lunch. Be sure to have plenty of french bread to soak up the extra butter!
The Escargot at Le Petit Chateau next to Shakespeare and Company bookstore is amazing - and affordable - but many French bistros offer up delectable versions of the famously French snails bathing in butter.
Sample Crossants and Treats at ALacroix
Croissants and almond croissants in Paris are divine - and one of the very best indulgences to take in if you only have a few hours off the ship.
Numerous patisseries line Parisian streets with heavenly and flaky croissants - but I love everything from ALaCroix (just across from Notre Dame).
If they have the fig tart when you visit, it is a MUST EAT - one of the best tarts I've ever had, loaded with juicy fresh figs.
Their macarons are also fabulous, and the english speaking staff moves lines quickly, so it is easy to visit after viewing Notre Dame!