On my list of life to-dos is to compile all my Paris recommendations into one comprehensive, all-inclusive Paris travel guide but now I’m thinking that could actually be a book and now I know what I’m doing after my kids go off to college. Sorry, tangent. In the meantime, I’m pulling together all the various e-mails with my Paris favorites that I have sent to friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, people my mom meets at the airport (seriously, this happened), and relatives.
A few things to keep in mind:
(1) In my humble opinion, the best part of Paris is discovering it. It’s wonderful to have recommendations (especially when it comes to food!) but leave time for wandering and finding your own Paris.
(2) This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything I love about Paris. One of my favorite things about Paris is that it’s the one place where I completely forget about my phone and find myself completely in le moment. Sometimes this means forgetting to write down that restaurant with the best foie gras or that boutique with the perfect black trench. Je suis désolé (I’m sorry).
(3) Wandering is wonderful but when it comes to food, not all Parisian restaurants are created equal, just like where you live. Stay off the super busy boulevards and touristy areas to avoid a mediocre Parisian meal, which in my mind, is a crime against yourself. Also, just because throngs of French people are outside drinking wine does not mean it’s a safe bet. They’ll often hang out to smoke and drink carafes of vin but know where they will and will not dine. It’s a better sign if they are eating, too!
(4) Wear comfortable shoes to the Louvre. I learned this lesson the hard way.
(5) A money saving tip – don’t order “un bouteille d’eau” (a bottle of water which is what most Americans ask for and end up paying around eight euros at every meal), just say, “Un carafe de l’eau s’il vous plait,” (which is the same as asking for tap water).
My 100% favorite arrondisement is the Marais because it’s very centrally located to all the major attractions but boasts the tiny, swirling streets of the original Paris and a very local, hip vibe (think West Village NYC). I lived in Republique for a month, which is located right next to the Marais, and also very charming. Most importantly, it’s not touristy feeling at all which I preferred. Staying around the Palais du Luxembourg in the 6th would also be lovely. I always end up over there when I’m wandering. I’ve always stayed in apartment rentals or with friends so I don’t have any specific hotel recommendations, unfortunately! However, you can’t go wrong with those areas. Areas I would not stay in are Montmartre because it’s too isolated (but you definitely need to see it), Opera (too touristy, lots of chain stores), and Louvre/St Germain (throngs of tourists).
Latin Quarter/St. Michel
– Luxembourg Gardens/Palace
– Pont Neuf – grab a bottle of wine in the evening, it juts right out onto the Seine and is a wonderful spot for soaking in Paris at dusk
– Notre dame
– Dinner at Benoit
La Marais (my favorite by far)
– Panfoulia – the best burger you will ever have, sit downstairs on the couches and people watch
– Place de Vosges – grab a baguette and sit on the grass for lunch
– Au Petit Fer à Cheval – order the duck confit
– La Perle – for wine and late night drinking
– Chez Janou
– L’Aller Retour
– Centre Pompidou – I’ve never been inside but just seeing the outside is pretty wild
– Hotel de Ville – there is a charming market outside on certain days of the week
– Chez Janou – Provence style French food
– La Verre Vole – if you like meat!
– Walk along the canal St. Martin
– Chez Prune – cute bar on the Canal
– La Marine
– Bistrot Paul Bert
– La Patache – wine bar and carcuterie
– Hotel du Nord for lunch
– Le Comptoir Général
– Sacre Coeur – best view of Paris from above
– Maison Rose – Instagram gold
– Place Vendome
– Tuileries Gardens
– Musee Rodin
– Musee D’Orsay (my favorite art museum in Paris)
– The Kooples
– Le Bon Marche
– Jimmy Fairly – men’s and women’s sunglasses
– Mon Amour – vintage
– Repetto – ballet flats
Bon Voyage! J’espère que tu es amoureux de Paris!