Paris Travel Guide.
Paris really is one of the most romantic cities on earth. I know, I know, it's cliché, but there's just no where else quite like it. I love all of the stunning art in the museums, Parisian fashion, and pretending like I can understand French. I'm that person that repeats all the names of the stops on the metro after the voice recording says it, haha. Audrey Hepburn knew what she was talking about when she said, "Paris is always a good idea." Macarons, endless croissants, the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night!!! It really doesn't get any better than that.
Use the bike share service: Using Paris's bike share service and biking around the city is probably the cheapest way to get around the city. But make sure you return the bikes to a station every 30 minutes to keep them free. It might seem like a hassle, but it isn't a big deal because there are stations all over. It actually makes it more convenient, because you can bike from a museum to the Eiffel Tower and then dock your bike and explore around the area without having to worry about where to lock up your bike. Also, some hotels, like Hotel Balmoral, have free bikes for you to use!
Ride the Metro: Taking the Metro is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get from place to place. It can also be pretty pricey if you're not careful. Instead of buying one pass at a time, get the book of 10 or 20 passes, because it makes the price of each pass significantly cheaper. And then you don't have to keep going to buy a ticket every time you need to get on the metro.
Download Citymapper: Citymapper is the best app we've found for getting around various different cities. It tells you how long it will take you on the bus, the metro, walking, or taking an Uber. It will also tell you the estimated cost of each mode of transportation. It seriously the for saving time and money.
Take the Big Bus Tour: Sometimes a hop-on hop-off bus is a relaxing and stress-free way to get around the city. If you do this, we suggest making sure you dedicate your entire day to using the bus tour as your mode of transportation and don't try to fit too much in or else you won't get your money's worth.
Best Views of the City:
Eiffel Tower: It seems obvious, because well, duh, it is, but you really can't miss it. The Eiffel Tower is just as magical as everyone makes it out to be. It lights up every hour on the hour from sunset until 1 a.m. (2 a.m. in the summer) and lasts for 5 minutes. It's honestly one of my favorite things I've ever witnessed. The line to go up the elevator can be ridiculously long, so *tip: take the stairs. It's cheaper, there's no line, and you can stop and enjoy the view as you go up. You will have to pay to take the last elevator all the way to the top, because there aren't stairs for the last stretch, but you'll save time, and it doesn't cost as much. Also, the view from the top is so incredible and definitely worth it. We went up right after sunset, so we got to see the city change from night to day, and we were even able to be at the top when it lit up for the first time that night!
Arc de Triomphe: The top of Arc de Triomphe is probably our favorite view of the city. Be prepared to walk up a lot of stairs to get to the top, but once you're up there, it's the most picturesque 360 degree view of Paris. I'm dreaming of going back in the fall, because could you imagine the view with all those trees changing colors?!
Notre Dame: Whether you just spend your time walking around the façade of Notre Dame, go inside the famous Gothic Cathedral, or go to the top, Notre Dame is incredible from all angles. The view from the top is probably one of the most iconic views of the city, but that also means there are some crazy long lines to get to the top. While you're in the area, make sure to pop into Shakespeare & Company for the cutest little book store.
Sacré-Coeur: Go to the top of Sacré-Coeur. We haven't done it, but I've heard it's really pretty.
Printemps: I think my other favorite view of the city is from the top of Printemps. It's a department store, but it has this beautiful terrace view. I swear it's the ultimate hidden gem of Paris. Grab lunch at the cafe up there and just relax and look out over the city and stare at the Eiffel Tower (have I made it obvious I'm obsessed with it yet?). Plus, afterward you can go shopping in one of the most beautiful department stores of all time.
Best Places to Eat:
L'As du Fallafel: I love falafel. Ever since I lived in Jerusalem, I've been obsessed, and L'As du Fallafel has one of the best falafels I've ever had. It's in the Jewish quarter of the Le Marais neighborhood in France. Also there's a little shop a few doors down that sells chocolate rugelach!! (If you've never had it before, it's like a mini chocolate-wrapped croissant covered in honey. It's delicious. I promise you'll love it.)
Au P'tit Grec: Sure you can get crepes from anywhere while you're in Paris (and you should eat as many as you can in my opinion), but if you want the best crepes in the city, make sure to go to Au P'tit Grec.
Angelina's: Angelina's is an adorable Parisian café. There's one right by The Louvre, so it's perfect for an afternoon snack after a morning exploring The Louvre. Make sure to get their popular hot chocolate. It probably the thickest, smoothest, richest hot chocolate we've ever tasted. And get some of their adorable and delicious treats as well.
Ladurée or Pierre Hermé: You can't go to Paris without eating macarons. We won't even judge you if you have 15, because they're seriously all so good. Some of our favorite flavors are Rose Petal, Orange Blossom, and obviously Chocolate.
Get waffles from the stands at the top of Trocadero: One of our favorite things to do in Paris is to grab nutella and banana crepes and waffles from the stands at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and sit and eat them as we wait for the Eiffel Tower to light up at night. But it doesn't matter what time of day you go, nutella and banana waffles are always delicious.
Museums you can't miss:
Check out the Paris Museum Pass. Depending on how long you're planning on being in the city, it could end up saving you a ton of money. The pass gets you into over 60 Museums and attractions, including some of our absolute favorites, like The Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Musée de l'Orangerie, and the top of Arc de Triomphe.
Musée de l'Orangerie: Musée de l'Orangerie is one of my favorite museums in the city, because it has the circular Monet room. It's incredibly peaceful and I could honestly sit in there and stare at all the beautiful Monet brush strokes forever. Once you leave, walk through Tuileries Garden and have a picnic on one of the benches under the beautiful trees.
Musée d'Orsay: If you love Impressionist artwork like I do, then make sure to visit Musée d'Orsay. It houses some beautiful works by Monet, Van Gough, and and Degas. The museum is in an old train station has a beautiful terrace and an incredible giant clock on the upper level.
The Louvre: The Louvre is one of the largest museum's in the world, which also honestly makes it pretty overwhelming; however, it's also iconic, so it's definitely worth going to. You might have a hard time getting to the Mona Lisa, but you can't go to The Louvre without seeing her. And luckily there are tons of other stunning works of art for you to admire along the way. If you're under 26, it's free on Fridays after 6 pm, and it's free to everyone the first Sunday of every month from October to March. It's also closed on Tuesdays, so make sure to plan that into your itinerary.
Versaille: It'll definitely take a few hours, so plan to spend at least half the day here, but it is absolutely beautiful! It's only about a 30 minute ride on the train outside of the city. It's probably best to go in the morning to avoid long lines and to be able to have the most time possible to explore the gardens and stare at the chandeliers and yourself in the magnificent Hall of Mirrors.
Montmartre: Montmartre is like the cutest little area ever and so classic Paris. Walk around getting lost in the windy streets, watch the incredible artists paint, or grab lunch and sit on the steps below Sacré-Coeur.
Sainte-Chapelle: Sainte-Chapelle is a seriously stunning church with the most insane stained glass windows. We haven't had time to make it there during either of our trips, but it's at the top of our list for next time!
Palais Royal: Palais Royal is the perfect place to explore and take pictures and pretend like you're Parisian royalty.
Jardin du Luxembourg: Spend the afternoon getting lost in the Luxembourg Gardens and enjoy a picnic in front of the beautiful palace.
Love Lock Bridge: Sure it's a little cheesy, but it's one of those things that you have to do when you're in Paris.
Go shopping on Champs-Élysée: Because shopping in Paris is probably one of the better ideas you could have.
Stroll along the Seine: There are few things more romantic than strolling along the Seine. Walk across Pont Alexander III and take in all the stunning views of Paris.
Obviously there are a million other things to do, but these were our favorites. Watching the Eiffel Tower light up at night really is the most magical thing. It gives me chills just thinking about it. I told Ryan it's my absolute favorite date night we've ever had. Hahah, all it costs is just one plane ticket to Paris. Okay, and a nutella, banana crepe. Obviously.
If you're under 26, you might save some money on entry into museums and sites, so bring your ID along with you.
Where to Stay: Hotel Balmoral
Check out our full review on Hotel Balmoral, the best place to stay in Paris, here.
What to Pack: