Okay. This is laughably bad, y’all. For those of you who have been around here a while, remember when I commented on how it had taken me over 4 months to get my Edinburgh Travel Guide posted? Weeeeelllllll I think this post might take the cake as the most delayed post yet.
Y’all. It’s been over a year since I started promising a Paris Travel Guide. And a London Travel Guide, for that matter. But hopefully now that I’m finally getting this Paris city guide up it will light a fire under my tush to get London posted ASAP. Keep your fingers crossed for me. But do us all a favor and don’t hold your breath haha.
Plus, what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by launching my Paris Travel Guide? It is the city of love after all!
Soooo Paris. Not to sound basic, but I absolutely love Paris. I have the most magical time every time I visit – even when I’m stuck in an apartment with my overly dramatic best friend who claims he’s so sick he can’t move when in reality he has a runny nose and we only end up leaving the apartment once a day. Still magical. Because it’s Paris.
I’ve now visited Paris five times. The first time was in seventh grade on a family trip and, more recently, I spent Christmas 2017 and a week in summer 2018 in Paris with friends. And no matter what time of year or who is accompanying me, I love Paris.
– Paris Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Paris –
The past two times I’ve traveled to Paris, I’ve opted to book apartments via AirBNB. When my friend and I spent Christmas in Paris in 2017, we stayed in Le Marais district, which is one of my favorite areas of town. It has so many fun restaurants and shops… plus it’s still relatively close to all of the more touristy bits of Paris.
On my most recent trip, I was traveling with a bunch of friends. While the boys stayed in a hotel a ways away, my friend and I wanted something budget-friendly and a bit closer to everything fun Paris has to offer. We ended up booking this tiny apartment near the Eiffel Tower. Our walks home at night has the most gorgeous views of the famous Paris landmark!
I personally love staying in apartments while in Paris – it gives the trip a feeling of having an authentic Parisian experience. On my next trip to Paris, I’d love to book an apartment through OneFineStay. They have so many gorgeous properties listed. I’d particularly love to stay in this Le Marais stunner or finally stay near the gorgeous Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre.
But say it is your first time visiting Paris. In that case, I recommend staying in a hotel near the central part of town. A few years ago, I stayed at the Hotel Louvre Montana. It was centrally located and quite beautiful (albeit tight quarters). Yes, any hotels in the general vicinity of the Louvre will be a bit pricey… but they’ll place you right in the heart of Paris.
– Paris Travel Guide: Where to Eat in Paris –
Restaurants in Paris have some of the best food in the world. Whether you’re looking for a fancy night out after the opera (I love Bofinger!), the most delicious brunch in Le Marais (Benedict is great), or you’re after the best falafel in the world (L’as du Fallafel, anybody?), you’ve come to the right place.
Since an in-depth discussion of each of my favorite restaurants in Paris would make this Paris Travel Guide about 8 pages long, here are my faves, in bullet form:
- Angelina – I think their macarons are better than Ladurée’s!
- Benedict – their brunch is the best!
- Bofinger – great spot for a fancy(ish) dinner, particularly if you’re looking for a late dinner after the opera (it’s across the street from Opéra Bastille).
- D’Chez Eux – adorable traditional French restaurant.
- La Coupole – famous art deco brasserie, pretty touristy.
- L’as du Fallafel – legitimately the best falafel I’ve ever had. Ever.
- L’Imperial Rivoli – touristy but close to the Louvre.
- Le Moulin de la Galette – one of my favorite spots in Paris, only steps from Sacré-Cœur.
- Le Petit Cler – traditional French bistro and super precious. Plus, their escargot is great.
– Paris Travel Guide: Things to Do in Paris –
One thing I love about Paris is that it has something for everybody. Whether you love to peruse ancient Egyptian antiquities in a museum or you’re more into enjoying the outdoors, Paris will keep you occupied for days, weeks, or even months on end.
Side note: I’m so eternally jealous if you have weeks or months to spend in Paris. Please take me with you.
– Museums in Paris –
Musée de Louvre:
There’s no museum in Paris more famous than the Louvre. I’d be remiss to create a Paris Travel Guide without including it. If it’s your first time in Paris and you only have the time (or willpower) to go to one museum, make it the Louvre.
The Louvre Museum is so ginormous, I promise there’s something in there to awe and inspire everybody. It’s legitimately impossible to see all of the Louvre in one day. It has 8 departments, one of which (paintings) has over 7,000 pieces of art. Yep, that’s a lot of paintings. And it’s just one part of the museum – there are 7 others. Told you it’s impossible to do it all in one day.
My favorite departments in the museum are the Egyptian Antiquities and the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities. Yep, I’m an antiquities and ancient mythologies nerd. Don’t worry about it.
The Musée d’Orsay is by far my favorite museum in Paris. Not only is it slightly less busy than the Louvre, but it’s also set in the old train station. AKA it’s absolutely stunning.
I personally love portraits, and d’Orsay has so many gorgeous ones to see. Plus, if you love impressionist art, d’Orsay has a beautiful collection (with tons of Van Gogh pieces!). While I’m not crazy about sculptures or furniture, d’Orsay has both… in spades. And, again, may I point you to the fact that it’s an old train station and therefore friggin’ stunning? Cool.
Musée de l’Orangerie:
This past summer was my first time ever visiting Musée de l’Orangerie.
I friggin loved the main collections. Monet’s Water Lillies, in all their grandeur, are mesmerizing. I could’ve sat and stared at them for hours. The other main collection is chock-full of impressionist paintings by the likes of Renoir, Monet, and Matisse.
Seriously: it’s all so gorgeous. Plus, you can save money by buying one ticket for both Musée de l’Orangerie and Musée d’Orsay. You can easily fit both into one day (Musée de l’Orangerie can be seen in full in only an hour or two) and they’re just a short stroll across the Tuileries from one another.
– My Other Favorite Things to Do in Paris –
Not feeling the museums or feeling museumed-out? I gotchu.
Whether this trip marks your first time in Paris or your tenth, I recommend getting out and exploring around the city. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Paris:
- Play pétanque (bocce ball) in the Jardin du Palais Royal.
- Go high-end shopping on the Champs Elysees or wander through Le Marais district and shop in all of the chic boutiques.
- Have a glass of wine and watch the Eiffel Tower light up at night.
- Wander around the small alleyways of Montmartre and go tour Sacré-Cœur before watching the sunset from the steps of the cathedral.
- Stroll along the Seine and peruse all of the boquinistes (little shops), full of tchotchkes, books, old maps, and gorgeous prints.
- Walk the length of the Île de la Cité (the oldest part of the city) and the Île de Saint-Louis (they’re both pretty small) before touring the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris.
- Take a day to visit Versailles – I recommend also touring the Petite Trianon and the Grande Trianon while there! Just make sure you pick a day with nice weather as rain can really dampen ability to enjoy the grounds (pun intended).
- Just wander aimlessly and see what you’ll find! That’s the best way to explore Paris, in my opinion.
What are your favorite things to do in Paris? Any restaurants you’d recommend I include in my next trip to Paris? Let me know by leaving a comment below!