The Ultimate Paris Travel Guide: How To See The Best Of It
I finally put together my version of the ultimate Paris travel guide & how to see the best of this magical city. Paris can seem overwhelming at first because there’s so much to do and see. So in this guide I break down what’s worth seeing, how much time to spend at each place, where to stay & eat & party, where to take pics (duh), and other important info to know before going. Keep scrolling for the ultimate Paris travel guide…
The Ultimate Paris Travel Guide
WHAT TO DO
Arc de Triomphe
One of the most famous landmarks in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. This beauty was commissioned by Napolean to celebrate & commemorate his victory at Austerlitz. You can actually climb to the top of the arc for a lovely view. Make sure to buy a skip the line ticket in advance here. It’s the same price and you can use it anytime for a year.
Okay now it’s time to shop, or at least window shop. Champs-Élysées is lined with every luxurious designer store you can imagine, making it the second most expensive street in the world. I love walking through Champs-Élysées just for the architecture and window displays.
Walk Along The Seine River
Walking along the Seine is one of the most romantic walks in Europe. It’s quiet in some areas so you can take a stroll with a view of the Eiffel Tower and just soak it all in.
The Eiffel Tower
It wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower at least once, but it’s also pretty tough to miss. A couple of my favorite views of the Eiffel Tower are from Trocadero Square and the Seine River. For my 21st birthday (which was my first time to Paris) I had dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower which was a wild experience because you take an elevator all the way up. Honestly, as cool as it was, I prefer the Eiffel Tower from a distance because you can take it all in.
We spent almost an hour at the Trocadero Gardens on our first morning in Paris this trip. They are so beautiful, vast, and full of life. You have the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, stunning water fountains, and of course plenty of foliage. We saw an older gentleman hand watering some of the plants, and it was so charming to see actual people tending to the gardens rather than just a sprinkler system, ya know?
Even if you don’t have time to go into the Louvre, you should at least check out the area surrounding it. As you can imagine, the line to get in is horrendous, but you can purchase a ticket online ahead of time here. I recommend buying the earliest possible so that you can be one of the first people in the museum before it gets overcrowded. Show up about 30 minutes early and you’ll thank yourself later. You could spend days at the Louvre since it is the world’s largest art museum, but I recommend 1-3 hours. Or just visit the grounds for an hour and keep it movin’.
Jardin des Tuileries
Walking distance to the Louvre is Jardin des Tuileries. Lined with trees, landscaped to perfection, and public benches you can use to just hang out, this garden is definitely worth a stroll. This is a great place to read, have a picnic, and just chill out. Parisians are great at taking life at a slower pace and enjoying everything around them. This is one of those places where you get a feel for that.
Jardin Du Palais Royal
Right by the Louvre is also the Jardin du Palais Royal which is one of the less crowded places in Paris. Sit by the fountain and soak it all in.
Le Marais District
We stayed in the Marais district for a few nights and it was such a luxe & romantic vibe. This is definitely the hippest & richest place in Paris, it’s kind of like what Soho is to NYC. Chic shops & boutiques, trendy bars & restaurants, and galleries galore. We rode the Bird scooters around this area and it was such a blast. Definitely my favorite place to shop in Paris. It’s also very LGBT friendly!
Place des Vosges
Our hotel Pavillon de la Reine was right across the street from Place des Vosges so we spent a couple afternoons in the park just people watching and relaxing. This is the first planned square in Paris so there’s a lot of history to this place.
I’ve had been wanting to visit Montmartre for years! I had heard great things about how charming, unique, historical, and artistic this area of Paris is. Plus, like every other basic bitch, I had saved the famous pink cafe as a place to take a photo for IG. We all have our downfalls, shrug. But, if you are going to go to the pink cafe, at least spend some cash. We enjoyed some hummus, sandwiches, and tea before snapping a quick couple of pics here… Right after I made fun of the 12 year olds jumping in the air with their matching outfits who were told to leave by the staff. Told, not asked. I digress.
Montmartre is quite far from the center of Paris, so we took an Uber to the top of the hill and then slowly made our way down. It’s located on a small hill in the 18th arrondissement and is famous for being the home to Van Gogh and many other artists. The district has kept a small village atmosphere which is part of what makes it so charming. The most iconic landmark of Montmartre is the Sacre Coeur Basilica – an entirely white basilica dedicated to the heart of Jesus.
As you make your way to the base of Montmartre, you will come across the famous Moulin Rouge which is an extravagant, lively, and fun cabaret show. Moulin Rouge was founded in 1889 but has consistently evolved over the years. If you have time to go to the show, do it!
Versailles is such a mesmerizing place. It is the most ornate, over the top, rich, & beautiful palace in Europe. The Palace of Versailles was the principle royal residence of France from 1682-1789. I highly recommend buying tickets online in advance to see the palace because the line is monstrous. We spent about 2 hours here but I could’ve stayed longer if it wasn’t so hot & crowded in summer.
WHERE TO STAY
WHERE TO EAT, DRINK, & PARTY
- 42 Degres, Le Faitout, Sol Semilla, Cloud Cakes, Vegan Folie’s, Le Potager du Charlotte, Le Comptoir General for cool drink vibes, Apeti (vegan), Love Juice Bar for amaze acai bowls, Wild & the Moon for quick healthy bites & smoothies, Maisie Cafe – vegan quick bites, Health Inside, jah jah by le tricycle, Four Seasons for tea, Yem’a, VG Pâtisserie for vegan pasteries
- Le Syndicat bar, Little Red Door, Bisou, The Ritz Hotel- Bar Hemingway, La Rooftop Lounge at the Shangri-La Hotel
- Crazy Horse cabaret, Hotel Costes, Supersonic
OTHER COOL SPOTS TO CHECK OUT
- Shakespeare & Company – book store
- Atelier des Lumières – cool museum
- Big Wax Records
- Notre Dame – I’m not a huge church person which is why this wasn’t a highlight, but if you are then check it out.
- Musée d’Orsay
HOW LONG TO GO FOR
You can spend months in Paris and still not see it all, but I recommend 5 days to get a feel for the city and see a good amount.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING
- Parisians aren’t that fond of Americans, and honestly I don’t blame them. They really appreciate when you attempt to speak French instead of English – so make an attempt.
- We got around by Bird scooters and Uber – I find that Paris is pretty easy to get around your second time there, but is a bit intimidating the first. You can also hire a driver for a day which is the most convenient.
The Ultimate Paris Travel Guide
3 Day Sample Itinerary
- Arc de Triomphe
- Trocadero Square & Gardens – best view of the Eiffel Tower
- Parc du Champ de Mar
- Walk the Seine river
- The Louvre
- Jardins Tuileries
- Place Vendome
- Hotel Costes for dinner & drinks
- Le Marais district – shop & eat – make sure to stop by Galleries Lafayette
- Place des Vosges
- Canal Saint-Martin
- Le Crazy Horse Cabaret
- Montmartre – check out Sacre-Couer & La Maison Rose
- Moulin Rouge – right at the bottom of the hill of Montmartre
- Luxembourg Gardens
- Printemps Rooftop Cafe and Terrace or Le Terrass en Haut for a grand view of Paris
Ultimate Paris Travel Guide
So that is my version of the ultimate Paris travel guide. These opinions are all my own. If there’s a place I left out that you think I should add, let me know in the comments section below or email me. Au revoir!
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The Ultimate Paris Travel Guide