Spending ten days in Paris was unexpected. But it was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time (more on that to come!). I’ve been to Paris about five times so I had already done the tourist attractions. This trip, I took the time to visit old favorites and explore new spots. I wanted to share my favorite places in Paris with you in case you’re planning a trip to France in the near future. I hope you enjoy my Parisian city guide!
I know it sounds crazy but my favorite meals in Paris have always been on the Seine and in the gardens. I simply pick up a baguette at a local shop (salmon and salami are my two favorites!) and sit on a bench and enjoy. That was my daily lunch when I was by myself for a few days. Once my boyfriend joined, I enjoyed more proper meals. I narrowed it down to my top five:
If you love French onion soup as much as I do this place is a must! I could have gone every night for soup and a desert souffle (the Grand Marnier one was my favorite).
Every morning I walked over to the patisserie to pick up croissants and chaussons aux pommes (French apple turnovers). Croissants are delicious all over the city but I was absolutely addicted to these! I’m not a hot chocolate person but supposedly theirs is killer as well.
The restaurant at Costes is my favorite people watching spot. It’s a great place to meet friends for drinks and if you’re eating there definitely wait for a table on the patio. Also definitely get the pavlova for desert! If you prefer lunch, their sister restaurant, L’Avenue, has equally fabulous people watching. My favorite dish at both restaurants was the Tom Yum sea bass.
Bar de la Croix Rouge
While we were shopping in St. Germaine we stumbled upon this local bistro. We were the only Amerians in the restaurant (always a good sign!) and dined at a corner table by the window, which was just charming. If your’e looking for an authentic French lunch spot I couldn’t recommend this place more. Their tartines are some of the best I’ve had!
I spent the first two days sketching in museums. While the Louvre may be the most famous, these are my two favorites:
Musée de l’Orangerie
This small museum in the Jardin des Tuileries has two rooms of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. There’s something so tranquil about sitting down and taking in a 360 degree view of the artist’s masterpieces.
My absolute favorite sculpture in the world is The Kiss. I spent half a day sketching Auguste Rodin’s masterpiece in this magical museum. Even if you’re not an art enthusiast, the gardens are spectacular. The sculptures are accented by roses of all colors and you can sit at the cafe and grab a cafe au lait or ice cream to soak it all in.
With the dollar being the strongest it’s been in a while, I let myself splurge while I was in town. My new bags are worth every penny! Here’s where I shopped:
This is my favorite department store because it combines two of my favorite things: art and fashion. I bought my new YSL bag there, attended a gallery party (the exhibition is open to the public) and was continually mesmerized as I looked up at the stained glass dome.
Even if you’re not buying anything, visiting Chanel while you’re in Paris is a must. The shop on Rue Cambon has so much history. I was lucky enough to see the steps where Coco Chanel herself lived and hosted fashion shows!
This concept store in Le Marais has something for everyone. In addition to women, men and home there are delicious cafes and an Instagram worthy courtyard. There are also some other really cool shops around the area if you have time to explore.
This was by far my favorite mens store (and we visited many!). If you’re looking for men’s shoes it’s a must. After my boyfriend fell in love with a pair of brown boots, we were able to customize the same pair in black. The shop on Boulevard Malesherbes has such a homey feel I was happy to sit and sip my cafe as his new shoes were impeccably polished.
I stayed at two different hotels in Paris and thoroughly enjoyed my experience at both. Depending on your budget and what you’re looking for, I’d highly recommend these two spots:
Westin Paris Vendôme
The Westin is in quite possibly the best location. I walked almost everywhere! The service was incredible and it doesn’t get much better than waking up to a view of the Eiffel tower every morning. I definitely recommending spending a little extra money on an upgrade so you can see the spectacular view from sunrise to sunset.
Hôtel du Temps
When I decided to go to Paris, I had less than 24 hours to book everything. Doris and Dicky recommended this boutique budget-friendly hotel and it was absolutely charming! I felt as if I was in a friend’s Parisian apartment, complete with friendly staff I chatted with over cafe au laits and croissants downstairs at breakfast.
My friend Jacey (see her Paris suggestions here) recommended Hana Lê Van of Journey into la Ville Lumière and I couldn’t have been more thrilled (she took the photo above in front of one of my fave Paris restaurants). Whenever I’m traveling in a foreign city, I love hiring a local photographer to do my blog photos. They always know the best spots.
I can’t wait to share our Parisian photos with you soon! In the meantime here are some photos from my iPhone to help illustrate some of my favorite places in Paris…
Where to Eat
Grand Marnier soufflé at Le Soufflé
Delectable pastries at Angelina
The most delicious pavlova at Costes
Yummy Cesar salad and salmon tartine at Bar de la Croix Rouge
Where to Visit
Taking in the water lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie
In bloom at Musée Rodin
Where to Shop
The stained glass dome at Galeries Lafayette
Coco Chanel’s famous steps at Chanel Cambon
An Instagram-worthy moment at Merci
Customizing boots with Allen at Manfield
Where to Stay
Taking in the view at Westin Paris
Waking up at Hôtel du Temps
I hope to go back to Paris very soon. It’s such a magical city! Let me know if you have any must-sees or must-dos for my next trip!