Paris is everything to everyone. Look at notebooks in Target or talk to the Olson twins about their first big movie if you don’t believe me. As a society, we have long glamorized and idealized the city as the epitome of everything romantic and beautiful in the world. After my first trip to Paris, I left not understanding it. To be honest, I felt like the city was overrated. But on our second trip to Paris this spring, I left completely in love, counting the months until we can go back. It was as if my first trip with Paris had been a terrible first date, and on this second date, Paris had pulled out all the charm and romance, and won me over (apparently, Paris and I are living in our own romantic comedy of sorts). Today, we’re breaking down the city in one of our helpful guides to help you accomplish a lot in a little time, and come to love the city as much as we do.
Where you stay in Paris is important. On our first trip, we tried to be frugal and stayed somewhere to which the word “sketchy” would be a kindness. Our lesson learned, on this last trip we spent a little more money and stayed somewhere that we felt safe. It payed off, because we loved our hotel on this last trip, as it was spacious (which hotels in Paris aren’t generally known for), comfortable, and incredibly convenient to everything we needed. They also had complimentary espresso and very friendly hotel concierge that spoke English, which was a huge bonus considering how useless I am at French. We highly recommend the Citadines Apart’hotel Les Halles Paris.
I consider myself a fairly easy traveller. I don’t bat an eyelid at the London Tube, or the New York Subway. I have even taken canoes into villages in Panama. But there is something about the Metro in Paris that scares me, guys, and I’m not afraid to admit it. It’s definitely the most cost efficient way to travel, but we don’t recommend it. Spend a few extra dollars and take Uber (especially if you’re travelling with someone else). Plus, the views of Paris while driving around are breathtaking. And aren’t the beautiful views the reason you came to Paris in the first place?
Guys, I have a confession to make that might make you think I’m unsophisticated and uncultured. But I’m not – I promise. My parents tried really hard – they sent me to Prep Schools and private colleges. Hell, one of my favorite Gilmore Girls characters is Emily (AKA the epitome of sophistication). But here it is: I HATE MUSEUMS. I think they’re boring, and dull, there is nothing I want to do less on my trip to Paris than spend five hours (which is how long it will take you to get through The Louvre), looking at sculptures and paintings of naked people. So, now that we’ve established that ground work, we do recommend going to The Louvre, I just don’t think you should go inside it, especially if you’re on a tight schedule. The grounds are absolutely beautiful though, and something everyone should see. For us, Paris is a place that should be walked and experienced; more than a place where you just go from cultural landmark to cultural landmark. Walk the gardens, especially the Tuileries, and spend some time just sitting near a pond. Head up and down the Champs-Élysées, and if you have time, climb to the top of the Arc de Triumph for a breathtaking view. Stroll the banks of the Seine River, crossing over love lock bridges, old churches, and painters capturing passersby’s. Head to the top of the city for a panoramic view (and leg workout) like no other at the Sacred Heart. And, for an iconic moment like no other, end your day at The Eiffel Tower, watching it gleam and glow, like a bottle of champagne spilling over, making you truly feel like you’re in the most romantic city on earth.
We have several favorite places in Paris that we’re obsessed with (but it’s easy to be obsessed with the food in Paris because French food > all other food). Le Potager du Père Thierry is by The Sacred Heart, and is everything a French restaurant should be. It’s affordable, delicious, tiny, and so romantic that you feel like you’re going to burst. Order the Duck Foie Gras and send me thank you cards later (we accept cash as thank you’s as well, just a thought). The restaurant specializes in all kinds of Duck though, so you can’t go wrong. For a picnic lunch, we always recommend picking up a variety of treats from the different shops on the Rue Clare. Plus, it’s within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, which is the perfect picnic stop if you’re basic like us. If you’re in search of the perfect French Pastry, head to Le Boulanger Des Invalide. I’m operating under the theory that in the effort to beat all other French Pastry shops (and there’s a ton), this place is holding Keebler Elves hostage as their bakers. But, considering they have the most delicious concoctions we’ve ever tasted, we’re okay with it. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, and the atmosphere is adorable.
What are your favorite things to do in Paris? Is there anything in Paris left on your bucket list?
Want to see more of our trip? Check out Day 1 of Our European Spring Getaway