I've dreamed of visiting Paris for as long as I can remember. Finally getting to go was beyond exciting. There were many moments as we were walking the streets of Paris I would take a deep breath and say to myself "I'm in Paris." It was as if I still didn't believe it.
I love traveling whether it's a day trip or across the world. I also love to research and plan for those trips. For Paris I researched like I've never researched before! So here is my list and tips for your future trip to Paris.
Obviously there are tons of museums to visit. We got the Paris Museum Pass. Highly recommend it to get your moneys worth. Here is the website - parismuseumpass.com/
Museums and such:
Louvre - One of the most crowded museums in Paris. The lines at the main entrance by the pyramids are the longest. Most people don’t know there are other entrances. Try the Porte des Lions or Carrousel de Louvre entrances. The museum stays open until 9:45pm on Wed. and Fri. It's closed on Tues. Most museums in Paris are. Remember that!
Musee D’Orsay - Another great museum housing important pieces of work. Thurs. they are open until 9pm.
Notre Dame - You will find more crowds here. Best to arrive early before they open at 10pm. It’s free to see the chapel. You have to pay (unless you have the museum pass) to go up the tower or down in the crypt. The entrances to those are outside of the chapel. Also, you must be dressed appropartly to enter the chapel. No hats.
Eiffel Tower - We didn’t go up the eiffel tower on our trip. We were satisfied with just looking at it from the ground. The tower sparkles after sunset every hour for 5 minutes. We went our last night to catch the sparkle and enjoy a crape. It was the perfect ending to a magical trip.
Catacombs - This was one of the things we were most excited to see! We bought tickets online which allowed us to skip the line. I think it took us over an hour to get through the whole thing. It was amazing!
National History Museum - Another place I was really excited to see. It was also the most confusing place. The property is large and it houses a zoo and a bunch of other buildings. Each building is a different museum, and you have to pay for tickets at each one. They don’t cost much. I would love to go back someday and explore more buildings.
Paris Opera House - I highly recommend taking the tour. This place just goes on and on and its AMAZING! My dream is to go back and see the Opera.
Arc de Triomphe - Bring some water. You will be glad you have some by the time you get to the top.
The Palace Versailles - The perfect day trip. About an hour out of Paris by train. Make sure you research the stop to get off for Versailles. There are several, but one lets you off about a 10min walk away. Also be prepared to look up the whole time. The ceilings!!!
Those were my favorite, but of course we visited many more museums and gardens. If you get the Paris museum pass they will guide you to even more.
I believe most people think the French are rude based off of restaurant service, and not understanding cultural differences. For one you don’t tip in Paris. For that reason they don’t care if you stay all day and enjoy yourself. In fact they expect you to stay awhile. That doesn't really effect their pay. I also quickly learned that if you want your server you have to wave them over. That feels rude to do in America, but its not considered so in France. I found this article that I think is really helpful and explains it further. Trip Savvy
Food and Drinks:
Le Bar Du Marché - Cozy, casual, and cocktails
Crêperie Genia - Because crepes. Open late
Breakfast in American - In case you are craving some America.
Starvin’ Joe - Burger joint that also delivers.
Pause Cafe - We really liked this spot. Great classic French food and cocktails.
Chez Julien - I’m only putting this on the list because I want you to go for me. A pricey spot, but so PRETTY! Someday I will go!
Cafe de I’Industrie - Classic French food in a casual setting.
Fragments - Coffee and brunch spot. They also have a cinnamon bun that people rave about.
Le Peloton Cafe - Coffee, and breakfast spot. We split the waffles, and it was great!
L’as du Fallafel - Paris has many Falafel spots, but I hear this place is the one to try.
Le Voltigeur - Classic French casual spot, and apparently they have the best hot chocolate.
Une Glace à Paris - ICE CREAM!
Pink Flamingo - PIZZA!
Breizh Cafe Le Marais - Some of the best sweet or savory crepes in Paris.
Le Mary Celeste - Oyster bar in a pretty setting.
Ob-La-Di - Coffee coffee coffee
Candelaria - In case you are in the mood for Mexican.
Cafe Charlot - Classic French food. One of our favorite meals.
Harry's New York Bar - Hemingway use to hangout here and they invented the Bloody Mary.
Nanashi - In case you are in the mood for Asian.
Les Chouettes - So very French and pretty!
Season - Super cute spot. Photogenic food.
Cafe Chilango - More Mexican never hurt.
Le Sésame - Sandwiches and salads.
Holybelly 5 - Cute breakfast spot. Get there early.
Pancake Sisters - Brunch spot.
Le Comptoir Général - Unique and super funky bar.
Ten Belles - Coffee and pastries in a cool setting.
Liberté - Pastry spot!
Le Tricycle - VEGAN FOOD. In case you need some.
KB Cafeshop - More coffee.
Le Reguge des Fondus - We never made it here, but wanted to go! I mean drinking wine out of a baby boddle is weird, but why not!
Chez Louisette - A classic French restaurant thats like stepping back in time.
Paris is of course full of great shopping. If you have time in between visiting museums here are some interesting shops to explore.
Le Bon Marché - The first modern department store built in 1838.
Officine Universelle Buly. A perfume boutique built in 1803.
Kilo Shop - Vintage store that prices stuff by the weight.
Shakespeare & Company - This book store is full of history. I recommend looking it up. I spent a lot of time looking through all the bookshelves. They also have a coffee shop next door.
Au Petit Bonheur - The cutest little antiques store with wall to wall goodies. This was Clarks favorite spot.
Noir Kennedy - Funky vintage shop.
De Bouche à Oreille - A gorgeous home goods store.
Cire Trudon - A candle shop Founded in 1643. The oldest candlemakers in the world. They were the official candlemakers of the French court.
Archive 18.20 - A cool shop full of art, clothes, home goods
Papier Tigre - Stationery store full of pretty paper.
Merci - A huge store full of pretty clothes, home goods and so much more. They also have a cafe next door.
Les Fleurs - This shop is so cute. Full of girly pretty things.
OFR Bookshop - Never too many bookstores.
Jamini - Never too many home good stores.
La Trésorerie- Have I mentioned any home good stores? Maybe bring an extra suitcase.
Madeleine & Gustave - A pretty shop that yes, you guessed it has home goods! Also plants!
Centre Commercial - A little break from home goods with some clothes.
Bensimon - French lifestyle clothing store.
Artazart - Books!
Antoine et Lili - A very colorful clothing store. I hope you like pink!
Pop Markte - A cute gift shop. Another colorful spot.
Colonel Shop - More home goods! Full of beautiful designs.
Astier de Villatte - Glassware and pretty things.
Les Mauvaises Graines - PLANTS!
Paris Flea Market - The perfect spot for any antique lover.
The Passy Cemetery was my favorite!! It’s small and quiet. You wouldn’t know you were right in the city. It also has a great view of the Eiffel Tower.
The most popular cemetery in the world is Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. Lots of famous people buried there. We went to see Oscar Wilde's tomb. Not at all what I thought his would look like.
We didn’t make it out to this one, but my research told me this is a very important place. Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis. It’s out the the suburbs, and has tombs of many royals.
A few other things:
I really wanted to go to a cabaret, but it didn’t work out this trip. Based on my research the best ones are of course the Moulin Rouge and Paradise Latin. Next time I'm for sure going!
As far as where to stay I honestly don't have any suggestions for this question. We stayed pretty far outside of the city. The Marais 3rd and 4th would probably be the best neighborhood in Paris to look to stay. That's where I would love to stay next time.
We visited in the Winter which is the off season. For this reason we didn't really have to deal with too many lines, and never had to wait for a table. Bonus! Flights were also cheaper. Double bonus!! Of course we just had to deal with cold and some rainy days. I would love to go back in the Spring and see all the trees full of color. So, just know that if you go in the Spring or Summer expect places to be crowded, and long lines. If you go in the Winter bring rain boots, warm layers, and a sturdy umbrella. We bought a cheap umbrella there and it was worthless.
This is a given, but learn key French words and phrases. Most people speak English, but you don't want to assume and come off rude.
We used the metro a lot. There is a pass you can get. For the pass you need to get your photo taken. You will notice photo booths around the subway stations. Once you get your photo you will need to take it to an information desks, and they will get you all set up with your card. I believe the 5 day pass ends on Sunday no matter when you got it. You can recharge it at a kiosk. The metro is a bit confusing at times, but you will get the hang of it!
Pickpocketing is a real risk in Paris. I did some research about this and I'm glad I did. One of the situations I learned about happened to us. We had some young kids ask us to sign a petition, and then expect a donation. We said no, and had to kinda get rude to make them leave us alone. They were very pushy. One kid tried to get into my bag, but I immediately noticed. He told me I was beautiful, smiled, and then ran off. It was very annoying, but I was glad I was aware of what was going on, and we didn't fall for it. Other than that no one bothered us the whole trip. There are other tactics people will use to try to rob you. Be aware especially when you are in the most touristy spots. I looked up youtube video of tips on how avoid pickpockets. I suggest you do the same. You don't want your whole trip spoiled because someone stole your wallet right out of your bag.
Apps that were helpful to me. Speak & Translate, Currency XE, and the Paris Metro.
I heard that no one has free wifi in Paris. I found this to not be entirely true. There are a descent amounts of places that do including most museums. This might be a newer thing in Paris. We rented the Tep portable wifi. I got the upgrade with 4G and the backup charger. It worked pretty good, but I did have one day of wifi problems.
I starred everything I looked up in google maps. I do this for every trip I take. It makes it super easy to see what else you might be close to instead of having to look it up every time. Here is a photo of what my maps looks like below.
That's all I got for you! Of course there is so much more to see, do, or eat in Paris than what's on this list, so I always suggest to research even further. I hope this helps you while planning the perfect Paris trip!
Say bonjour to her for me when you go!