When I visited Italy back in 2013, I made one wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome; I wished to visit Paris one day. Years passed and I kept putting the trip on the backburner! When I turned 27, I made it a goal to wake up in Paris before I turn 28. That’s it, no more excuses! A part of me felt like this trip was long overdue, but to be honest, it really couldn’t have happened at a better time. Every single thing was perfect and I mean it — I knew exactly what I wanted to see, do and, eat! Most of all, I knew I wanted to experience this beautiful city during my favorite season ever: Fall!
Here’s a guide for some of the amazing things you can do while in Paris:
Obviously, Paris is filled with amazing museums but these are my top three.
Le Marais, hands down, was my favorite neighborhood in Paris. It reminds me so much of the West Village in New York. There are so many cute shops and restaurants along with beautiful side streets filled with hidden gems. This is also where I spent the bulk of my shopping money! If you visit the Marais, be sure to check out COS, ZAPA (no, not Zara), and all of the perfume and beauty shops.
Take a day trip.
Visit Versailles and try to visit another country if you have time. I went to the Netherlands to visit a friend in Amsterdam which was amazing (more on this in another post)!
Skincare/Beauty – Head to the Pharmacie and rack up! To spend less time in the shop, ask for help. Alternatively, you can read up on a few French brands and make your shopping list before your trip.
Perfume – It’s best to buy brands that aren’t sold in the U.S. or exclusives, everything else you can just get at home. Or buy the more expensive options and get your tax back (more on this at the end of this post). My suggestion: Skip Sephora for the fragrance shopping and check out shops like Penhaligon’s London & L’ Artisan Parfumer.
Galeries Lafayette – This shopping mall is simply gorgeous and has a variety of brands you probably haven’t heard of. Take a trip it’s totally worth it — even if it’s just for an Instagram pic!
Where to Eat
Café de Flore – you can’t go to Paris and not dine at Simone de Beauvoir’s and Pablo Picasso’s favorite eatery during their times. Go as soon as they open as the wait could be long.
Les Ombres – fancy dinner with an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower. Ed’s note: Make a reservation before your trip!
Au Bourguignon du Marais – found this gem in my trusty Fodors Paris book. The food is so delicious. I had the Boeuf Bourguignon which is their special beef stew dish. I found my new favorite red wine here, sadly they didn’t have it at duty-free at the airport 🙁
Good to Know:
Plan your trip day-by-day before you arrive! I am such a maniac when it comes to this; I always plan my trips in advance.
The train is your friend! Use über if it’s late at night, you’re tired, or in a sketchy area. Otherwise, Paris is pretty safe! Download the RATP app for help with the subway system.
Buy your museum tickets ahead of time to skip the long lines or just go super early.
Most shops are closed on Sundays.
Most museums are closed on Tuesdays.
Detaxe – if you spend 175 euros or more in a single store, ask for detaxe! They’ll fill out a form and you’ll get your money back at the airport. Don’t pack your goods in your suitcase as they may want to see the items in order to get your tax money back.
Mustard – try the mustard and thank me later (and buy some to bring home, too!).
What I’ll Do During My Next Visit
Pack less and shop even more!
Visit the Picasso Museum
Go to Merci & Colette
Visit Notre Dame
Check out Officine Universelle Buly
Stay tuned for part 2!