After several trips to Paris over the last few years, I thought it was only necessary to share a full travel guide of all the things to do and see. From where to stay, where to eat and must-visit neighborhoods that you won’t see in most travel guides. Paris and I had a rough start to our relationship. My first visit was a mess with so much rain and no rainboots, no cell service and not enough hours to explore. But now, it’s a city I cherish, love and so desperately want to spend an extended period of time in. Here are all the things I recommend doing plus some essential tips to exploring this romantic city.
The Ultimate Guide To Paris
How to Get To Paris
There are two airports you can fly into, Charles De Gaulle and Orly. CDG is probably the one you’ll fly into it. It’s a disaster of an airport so when leaving Paris, give yourself ample time to navigate the millions of terminals and confusion. Once you land in CDG, you’re about a 40-minute drive to the city depending on traffic. Uber and taxis are readily available. You can also take the metro which is really easy and only about 10 euros. This is a really affordable way to get into the city. Metros are really easy to navigate, too.
Where To Stay In Paris
This was across from the Tuileries and highly recommend staying here. The location is incredible since you can pretty much walk to everything from here.
My most recent hotel stay which was right in Montparnasse which is walkable to Latin Quarter, St Germaine and Luxembourg gardens. We had a slight issue with noise and had to change rooms due to it. While I loved the hotel itself, it was clean, adorable, very boutique-style, it was very small and not in the center of the action. This was fine for me because I didn’t need to see all the touristy stuff on this visit, but something to keep in mind if you’re planning on staying in the 1st arrondissement which is where the Tuileries are, the Louvre and so on.
Best Restaurants In Paris
The thing about Paris that I just love are all the cafes and brasseries on every single corner. All the little bistro tables and chairs face outwards towards the street. You just grab a spot and enjoy while you do some people watching. You can find a lot of the same things on the menus at brasseries and cafes and they’re typically open most of the day from breakfast until late in the evening. I’ve divided these out as you can’t really go wrong at a brasserie and you can find them all over the city.
For breakfast lunch and dinner restaurants that aren’t brasseries and cafes, I’ve listed them separately. These are more typical restaurants or quick bites like my favorite crepe in the city at Au P’tit Grec. In addition to brasseries on every corner, so are boulangeries or patisseries. You will never be without an option to grab a quick sandwich or croissant. Both will also be the best you ever eat in your life and it’ll be so simple and incredible.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Au P’tit Grec – best crêperie located in the Latin Quarter
Chez Nennesse – incredible steak frites and there will be a wait so be prepared, but it’s worth it
L’as Du Falafel – best falafel, located in Marais
Verde – a more vibey spot for dinner and drinks
Hanoï Cà Phê – great Thai food if you’re ready for a change of scenery
Brasseries & Cafes
Cafe Du Marche – on 32 Rue Cler
Cae de L’Ompia
La Rotonde – located in Montparnasse – this is a classic cafe for breakfast, but has more of a seafood focus for the rest of the day.
Le Saint Medard
Best Bars & Sweets
Little Red Door
Whether you’re in Paris as a blogger or a tourist, I truly believe it’s great to work with a photographer to capture some beautiful photos and memories of your trip. It’s an hour or two of your day with pictures you’ll cherish forever. Plus, local photographers always seem to have the best recommendations.
Best Museums, Parks And Monuments In Paris
Home of the Mona Lisa, but fun fact turn around when you’re looking at her to see a stunning masterpiece.
Tuileries Palace & Gardens
Louvre is located inside the Tuileries and is a stunning park to sit and relax. The Tuileries is also a stunning garden to explore. Spend a couple of hours here walking around, resting your feet by a fountain in a chair, and take it all in.
Pack a picnic and watch it light up at night on the hour. The Eiffel Tower can also be viewed at the Trocadero which is where this photo was taken.
Arc de Triomphe
Visit this gorgeous arch in the middle of the wildest roundabout in Paris. Be sure to take a pic at the crosswalk in front of it like we did here!
Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
An english bookstore that opened in 1919. This place is small but packed with books. You could totally spend an hour here browsing. It’s also right across from Notre Dame.
A popular museum to visit. This is the place that has that famous photo of the clock inside that everyone takes photos with.
Located in the 18th ar, this must visit church is a bit far from everything else. However, it has incredible views of the entire city. It’s also just 2 blocks from the popular Instagram worthy pink cafe, Le Maison Rose.
A free tour, walk inside to see the incredible history and architecture. This is a must visit if you’re in Paris.
Jardin du Palais Royale
This is where all those black and white stumps are. Also home to Cafe Kistune, a must-visit. Be sure to order the chai or matcha latte. Two of my favorites from there.
Jardin de Luxembourg
This is like a mini Tuileries and I loved it. It borders two really great neighborhoods, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter. The classic green Paris chairs are everywhere here.
Best Shopping, Neighborhoods And Non Museum Things To Explore
A predominantly Jewish neighborhood with great food and shopping. A heavy Israeli influence with lots of great Mediterranean dishes to explore and bakeries for traditional fare. Spend an afternoon here shopping and eating.
Home to my favorite creperie. This is a fun little neighborhood walking distance from Notre Dame. Tons of great restaurants, cafes and shops.
We did a pastry class (this one) and absolutely loved it!
Do some shopping in this massive mall full of designers. The malls in Paris feel more like a massive department store with brands having their own little space.
Le BHV Marais
Another great mall that had so many cool brands. I loved this place so much. There were lots of things to shop for from home decor, plants, clothing and shoes. Located in Le Marais, it’s a great place to start before heading to the boutiques.
You can walk up and down this street where the Arc du Triomphe is on, but also go down some side streets to find even more shopping. Lots of high end designer stores as well.
More shopping, more cafes. This is also where you can find Galleries Lafayette. Not far from Tuileries and Palais Royale so add this in to your itinerary if you’re already planning on being there.
32 Rue Cler
A short walk from the Eiffel Tower, this is a pedestrian street that’s lined with restaurants, cafes, and little grocery and flower shops too. Great to find lunch or dinner, or just sit and enjoy a bottle of wine.
Le Bon Marché
Another giant mall that has a cafe inside, a massive shoe section and so many goodies. This is located on the left bank and is the oldest department store in Paris. It’s beautiful and full of incredible finds. Definitely a little pricier, but worth a visit.
Best Day Trips From Paris
The trains in Europe make getting around easy and quickly. Highly recommend taking a day to explore at least one of the below.
Accessible by high speed train. Plan ahead and schedule tours and visits with a car service. Mumm and Pomery were highly recommended, but are quite massive. I recommend just doing Mumm, then visiting smaller ones to just do tastings. I wish I had recommendations on where to eat, but we tried a few spots along the main downtown strip and they were all unimpressive, unfortunately.
Accessible by the Paris subway system. Spend the day in Versailles exploring the chateaus. Skip the main museums if you’re short on time and head straight to the far back right area where Marie Antoinette house is. Lunch at the restaurant was also surprisingly good.
A friend recommended this and said it was one of her favorite things she did in Paris. I believe it’s an hour or so outside the city accessible by train. Because of her great photos, it’s on my to-visit list for next time.
Things To Know Before Visiting Paris
Euro – I always recommend having some US dollars on hand as well as Euro’s. Visa is taken pretty much everywhere though. Check your card before you head out to make sure you aren’t being charged a foreign transaction fee.
We used Uber mostly and if you need to, taxis are available. But Uber just makes it easy while abroad if you ask me. Also, walking is great and the Paris train system is super easy to navigate.
Usually included in the service of the bill. Leave a little extra if they were fantastic.
Learn A Few Words
Anytime I travel to a foreign country, I like to learn a few easy things like hello, thank you and goodbye. It’s nice to be able to say these things to the locals so you don’t look like an ignorant American (it’s painful to watch when you don’t try!). Hello – bonjour // Goodbye – Au Revoir // Thank You – Merci. I also like to use the Google Translate app to learn a few things and how to properly pronounce them. Highly recommend it!