As Audrey Hepburn would say, “Paris is always a good idea.” I could not agree more. City of light and love, Paris is perhaps one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the entire world, and home to the best pastries, bread, and cheese that a person could ask for. Whether it’s walking down cobble stone streets admiring the gorgeous architecture, having an espresso and pain au chocolat at an outdoor café overlooking the Eiffel Tower, or cuddling with your French Beau, Paris is an incroyable place to be.
Activities overview: Eat pain au chocolat, learn French, museums, enjoy the historic beauty, photography, eat more pain au chocolat, art galleries, flea markets, food markets, street markets, ogle over the French Accent, fall in love with a person or the city
There are three main airports that serve Paris.
Charles De Gaulle
RATP– is the main Paris transportation app and is super helpful when trying to find your way.
Paris Metro- is a really good transportation app for the Paris Metro (only in the city.) It costs 99 cents, but is so worth it, because you can use it without internet/ data.
Favorite Things to Do:
Fall in Love– There is no doubt that it is fun to fall in love wherever you are in the world; however why not fall, at least temporarily in love, in the city of love. French accent, French chivalry, French culture, do I need to say more?
Drink Wine By the Seine- is one of my favorite things to do in Paris. Pack a picnic, the ambience is amazing, people watching is even better, and there is usually live French music. It is the thing to do when the weather is nice. Don’t forget the wine bottle opener! Also, there is a new law that you aren’t allowed to by alcohol from super markets
Museums- Paris houses some of the most beautiful artwork and museums in the world. The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée de L’Orangerie, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, are a few of my favorites. You can purchase a Paris Museum Pass, to avoid lines and save money on famous museums and monuments in Paris.
Visit the Open Air Markets– Paris is home to so many wonderful open air markets. From antiques, to clothes, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to old Polaroid cameras, you can find so many cool and interesting things in Paris’ many open air markets. A list of open air markets in Paris that I have found useful is here. Wandering through open air markets, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy anything either. They are just so fun to enjoy and photograph, if photography is your thing! The Marché aux Puces is a huge open air antique market that is amazing if you are a fan of old french antiques and furniture.
Wandering Parisian Streets– There is something about wandering Parisian Streets that I absolutely love. If you get off the beaten track, there are lots of little antique shops, random knit-knac stores, and art galleries you can discover too. If you want to wander down a cool street in Paris, I highly recommend clicking the link, and discovering a few for yourself ! Rue Crémieux, known as the knotting-hill of Paris, and the street by Saint-Germain-des Prés with the whimsical hanging lamps are two of my absolute favorites.
Notre Dame Cathédrale- The Notre Dame is one of Paris’ oldest architectural feats, and is also perhaps one of the most beautiful. Famous for it’s many spires and beams, it would be a shame not to see the incredible architecture. I love climbing up the Notre Dame, for some incredible views of the city. Who knows, you may even spot Quasimodo at the top!
Le Tour D’Eiffel– Or more commonly known to most non-French people, as the Eiffel Tower, is one of the most frequented monuments in the world. In the day it is phenomenal, at night it sparkles, and you can climb to the top of it too! Pourquoi pas?!
L’Arc De Triomphe– Located at the end of the Champs Élysées, is another famous Parisian Monument that one must see while in Paris. It was built to honor those who died in the French Revolutionary War. Interestingly enough, below the arch, is the tomb of The Unknown Soldier in I would recommend going to the top, then finishing, by coming back down and strolling down the Champs Élysées, enjoying some of it’s beauty, over-priced food and shopping. I love the street because it always reminds me of the “Aux Champs Élysées” song!
Marchés aux Fleurs– The Marchés aux Fleurs is a beautiful flower market located just of the Cité Metro Exit, and very close to the old “island” as the Notre Dame in the middle of the Seine river. It is open everyday from 8am to 7:00pm. On Sundays, it turns in to a beautiful bird market as well.
Bercy Village– Right off the métro stop: Cour Saint-Émilion, Bercy village is where the locals go to hang-out. A cute and cozy, cobble-stone lined village, full of delicious restaurants, bars, pâtisseries, a biscuterie, chic boutiques, and even a movie theater. Bercy Village is a great place to go if you want a modern and classy hang-out spot void of tourists. Don’t miss Bercy Village at Christmas time, as there are Christmas lights and festivities galore.
Ducs des Lombards– $$ Duc des Lombards is were the Parisians go to enjoy a night of live Jazz music and shenanigans. The atmosphere is inviting and très chic. Enjoy dinner or drinks while being serenaded all night long. If you get there after 12pm, entrance is free.
Pâtisseries and Boulangeries:
Ladurée– $$ is known for having some of the best macarons in Paris. The French take their pastries seriously, and if you haven’t had a macaron from France, you probably haven’t tasted a true macaron!
Éric Kayser– $-$$ Eric Kayser is a French baker and food writer, who has boulangeries all over Paris. Everything is good, however I love the pain au chocolat here!
Gérard Mulot– $ is another one of the amazing pâtisseries in Paris. Again, you cannot go wrong with what you decide to take, however, I am also prone to one of my personal favorites, “Tartlette aux Framboises.”
Restaurants and Cafés:
Le Barav– $-$$$ This combined wine bar and restaurant is truly one of my favorite, typically french places in Paris. Located in the trendy Marais District, Le Barav is the place to come if you want a cozy, yet classy French atmosphere. You can chose your own, fairly priced, bottle of wine from “la cave”, they’ll open it for you at your table, as well as enjoy delicious mixed meet and cheese platters.
Bob’s Kitchen– $-$$ Known for it’s fresh squeezed juices, and heavenly American- styled pancakes, Bob’s Kitchen is one of my favorite Sunday brunch spots. Always busy, yet sometimes one can always manage to find a seat at their community-styled tables. A must, and affordable too !
Le Pavillon Des Canaux– $-$$ A Bar-Café-Restaurant combined into a renovated house in Paris, if you have ever been to Paris, you realize that a house in Paris is a feat in itself. This imaginative café is extraordinally cozy and quaint. Did I mention you can have your café while sitting in a bathtub? Don’t believe me ? I dare say, go, check it out, and attend one of their monthly soirées while your at it.
Monsieur– $-$$ Located in the 11th Arrondissement, on the Blvd. Richard Lenoir, Monsieur is a cute and trendy Café Restaurant that serves high quality, and reasonably priced food. Their “Chévre frais gratiné, lardons, tomates confits” is divine, and if asked if you want “Les frites” say Oui!
Le Procope– $$-$$$ If you enjoy history, excellent service, and delicious French food, Le Procope is the restaurant for you. Le Procope, founded in 1686, is one of the oldest restaurants in Paris. Literary geniuses such as Voltaire and Danton dined here. Step back into time, and enjoy a wonderful French dinner in a charming atmosphere, walking distance from the Notre Dame.
Happy Nouilles– $ Incredibly affordable, and walking distance from the metro stop, Arts et Métiers, Happy Nouilles is a traditional Chinese restaurant with some of the best Lamen noodle soup I’ve ever tasted. Why eat Chinese in France, you ask? Go try it, and the hand-made noodles will speak for themselves.
Jim Haynes- $-$$ Jim Haynes is a very cool guy who has invited guests, for thirty years, from world-wide to come to his studio and eat a pot-luck dinner together every sunday night at 8:00pm. You can donate how ever much you would like, and eat an amazing home-cooked meal. Even better, you can meet new international friends. People who go, generally all speak English. Regardless of how long you stay in Paris, it is definitely worth a Sunday night.
Maison Blanche Paris– $$$-$$$$ If you want to be wined and dined, Maison Blanche is the place to go. Not only does the food taste absolutely amazing, but your plates will truly look like works of art. The service is also incredible. There are two different terraces, each with sweeping views of the city and Le Tour d’Eiffel.
Thanksgiving- $$-$$$ While it is not cheap, and you’ll cringe if you are American because your typical foods are more expensive and in euro, you won’t care, because you have all your favorite foods that you have been so desperately craving within hands reach. Craving peanut butter? Yes, you can it find it here. Betty Crocker boxed cake? Yep, that’s here too. It’s an American grocery store in Paris! You’ll be thankful you found it! The closest Metro is: St. Paul.
The Kilo-Shop– If you like second-hand stores (in Paris) than you would really enjoy The Kilo Shop. The Kilo Shop has several locations, but the biggest one is near the Marais. It is quite impressive and actually spans 3 different stores next to one another. Make sure not to get stuck in one of the smaller, less organized stores, as I did. The bigger one is super organized. You will know it when you see it. The cool thing, though, is that you pay for your clothes depending on how much they way, and which color tag they are. For instance, a green tag is 30 Euros per kilo. I got a very nice winter coat for only 30 Euro!
The Paris Wife– Written by Paula Mclain, The Paris Wife is a phenomenal book about the beginnings of Ernest Hemingway’s career and his first love, Hadley Richardson. It is an enchanting and heartbreaking tale of their life and love in Pairs. It definitely is worth a read.
Holidays and Special Events:
Le Grand Feu- $-$$ is the largest firework show in Europe, and it just so happens to take place in the Parc de Saint-Cloud, just outside of Paris. It takes place usually around the 13th of September. It is a truly jaw-dropping performance, and worth purchasing the ticket (around 18 Euro) to enter. The show usually starts around 21h (9pm) and lasts for a full two hours. If you want to do it like the French do, then arrive early and bring a picnic to enjoy before hand.
Good Day Trips From Paris:
- The French often have yogurt and fruit for dessert. They put brown sugar in plain yogurt, and Voilá! C’est le dessert!
- You can buy tomato sauce in what looks like a tube of toothpaste.
- The French will go to a Boulangerie almost everyday for fresh bread.
- The French don’t flip over their fried eggs. They are always sunny-side up, and typically eaten for a bigger meal such as lunch or dinner, not breakfast.
- When you are on an escalator it is polite to stay on the right if you are not moving, and on the left if you plan on walking quickly
Words don’t do it justice, and pictures would do you better? Click HERE to see some of my pictures taken in Paris!
**Note about all my “guides”: They are no where inclusive of everything possible to do in a certain city or country. They are simply places and things that I thought were really awesome, and things that I have personally tried or done. I do not put any information about things I have not done or tried myself. If there is different information in between guides, it is because I did unique activities in each place. Please use my guides only as a reference, and then discover your OWN path and Helpless Wanderlust.