If you know me, then you know how much I love Paris. From the food, the fashion, the culture—I’m obsessed with it all! Because it’s one of my favorite cities, I’m so excited to be sharing my travel guide with you today. I’m obviously not an expert (I’ve only been three times), but if you’re planning a trip I would definitely give this guide a read!
But before I jump into my Paris travel guide, let’s talk outfit. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this sequin dress from Chicwish! It’s so feminine and delicate and I felt so pretty wearing it. I love that the sequins make out little starfish—it’s the perfect print for summer without going over-the-top beachy. It’s also perfect for summer because even though it has long sleeves, the fabric is sheer and lightweight! Side note: the dress is a bit more low cut than I like so I pinned it to keep it closed!
If you read my previous post (dressing like a French it-girl), then you know that kitten heels are a must in Paris. Of course, I had to buy some and pair them with this dress. I love kitten heels because they are so easy to walk in, but still add a glamorous touch!
Anyway, now that the outfit is out of the way, let’s get into the guide. Just a warning, this is going to be a looooong post.
What You Need to Know Before Arriving
If you’re flying into Charles de Gaulle airport, which I assume you would, you should know that you won’t be right in the middle of Paris. You’re going to need transportation into the city and it’ll take about an hour.
There are a few different options for you to take but here are my suggestions: either call an Uber or take Le Bus Direct. Depending on how many people you’re traveling with might make the decision for your price wise. It costs about €20 per person to take Le Bus Direct and you’ll make quite a few stops along the way (increasing your travel time). Plus, once you get to your stop you still need to navigate to your hotel.
My parents and I decided to take an Uber which cost a little under €60, which would have been the price for all three of us to take Le Bus Direct. I liked taking an Uber because we didn’t have to worry about stops and we went straight to the hotel.
You could also call a taxi and there are other buses that are less expensive, but more time consuming. Regardless, just know that it’s going to take a little bit of time to get to your hotel.
Where to Stay
Because I went with my parents on this last trip, we stayed at a nicer hotel than I would have if I was on my own. We stayed at the Westin Paris in the 1st arrondissement. It was a beautiful hotel, very close to the Jardin des Tuileries, but also in one of the wealthiest areas of Paris. Location wise it also wasn’t that close to other attractions we wanted to see. But, don’t let that stop you because Paris is easy to navigate!
When I was in Paris almost two years ago with just my mom for the weekend, we stayed at an Airbnb which we loved. I would definitely check into this because it might be easier to find a place in the neighborhood you want to be in.
Paris has quite a few tourist attractions that I definitely think are worth a see, at least on your first visit. Because there are so many, I’m not going to go into detail on each one.
- Eiffel Tower (the most obvious one! Go as early as possible to beat the line or order a ticket ahead of time)
- Arc de Triomphe (great view of Paris)
- Louvre (also super crowded so go early. Be warned, it’s a very overrated museum. I like the Musée D’Orsay 10x better)
- Palais Royal
Trocadéro (go here for infamous pics with the Eiffel Tower behind you)
- Moulin Rouge (I still haven’t made it for a cabaret show, but it’s on my list!)
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Jardin des Tuileries
- Sacre Coeur Basilica
- Catacombs (also still on my list of things to do)
Honestly, I could probably find at least 10 more attractions to add, but these are definitely the top!
Paris is comprised of different neighborhoods (arrondissements) that all have different things to offer. Here are just some that I think are worth seeing.
If you’re looking for an area of Paris that looks quintessentially French than this is it. The neighborhood is on top of steep hill so getting there can be annoying. At the bottom is the Moulin Rouge. At the very top of the hill is the Sacre Couer basilica. This area has religious ties dating back to pagan times and features a beautiful view of the city.
You can also find the famous Le Consultat restaurant, plus quite a bit of shopping. If you’re into art than this is also the place to go! There are so many street artists and little shops featuring beautiful paintings of Paris, especially the Montmartre area.
When I first went to Paris on a high school trip when I was 15, this is the area we stayed in. It’s the same neighborhood that houses the famous Sorbonne University, so it’s definitely a younger area. It’s also home to the famous Shakespeare and Co. book store! If you’re a book lover like me then this store is a dream come true. I honestly could have spent hours in there!
Besides books, this area also has a lot of cool cafes and a very hip vibe. I would definitely stay in this neighborhood again, especially since it feels so central to other parts of Paris.
This is one of the oldest parts of Paris because it features one of the only areas that Napoleon didn’t try to revitalize in the 19th century. It was once an area where the Parisian aristocracy congregated, but later became an area full of poor, bohemian artists. It is most recently known for being the city’s Jewish quarter.
If you like to shop than Le Marais is definitely the place to do so! My mom and I spent pretty much the whole day shopping while my dad sipped on wine at a cafe. But there is more to Le Marais than just shopping; there are a ton of art galleries, plus a few attractions to see. First is the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in the city. You could also check on Victor Hugo’s mansion which has since been turned into a museum (unfortunately it was closed when I went so I still haven’t seen it).
Where to Eat
I’ll be perfectly honest, a lot of our meals were hit or miss in Paris. There are cafes and brasseries on practically every street, so you will never be without an option. Every morning we started our day with a coffee and croissant and let me just say, there is no better breakfast. Any cafe you go to will serve this and serve it well! Just be slightly more picky when it comes to lunch/dinner.
Personally, I pay more attention to dessert and sweets, so here are some of my recommendations:
- Angelina is a must. It’s known for the infamous hot chocolate that is out of this world. If you don’t like chocolate don’t even bother getting it. It is so rich it tastes like you’re drinking melted chocolate—obviously I loved it! But definitely go here for a nicer brunch regardless.
- Ladurée. Probably the most well known macaron store around the world. You can go here to pick up pastries or have a sit down meal. I will say, Ladurée was my absolute favorite place to go for macarons, but now I have a new favorite. Which leads me to…
- Pierre Hermé. If you want the fluffiest, most magical macarons you will ever taste in your life then this is the place to go. I still dream about these macarons and I know none will ever taste as good.
If you’re going to be in Paris for awhile, I also suggest taking day or weekend trips. If you can, definitely go to Versailles. The palace alone is worth seeing, plus the beautiful gardens. There is also a gigantic open air market and the pace is a lot slower than Paris. We took a train there for €7.50 round trip and spent about half a day there.
If you have a little longer, I would definitely go to Provence. The French countryside is so different from Paris and both are equally enchanting. If you like a slower pace than Provence is a great area. And who doesn’t want to see the amazing lavender fields?
So, there you have it! My complete guide to Paris. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions and leave some comments below!