Funny thing about Paris is, I didn't even want to go! I know that sounds crazy, but I had this perception of what I thought it could be. Another typical tourist trap, a cool (photo worthy) building and good tasting crepes that I have already had. Truth is, I was one hundred percent, without a doubt WRONG. There is something about Paris that is indescribable. I know you've heard it before and it sounds corny, but there truly is something so captivating about this city. People don't talk it up for no reason.
Recently myself and my fiancé (mark), along with our two best friends (Justin & Danielle) set out to do Paris right. We wanted to take it all in without missing any of the little local spots that you don't necessarily hear about on google. In saying that, we shut down trip adviser, opened up some of our favourite blogs (my favourite being Pastel and Pastries) and searched high and low for unique things to do while away. I owe Danielle A LOT of credit for all the amazing places we saw on our trip! She searched high and low to curate an amazing travel guide for us. She even searched high and low for the worlds best bread, when she is allergic to gluten – respect! After all the research, we quickly noticed how big Paris was and how a quick trip just wasn't going to cut it! In fact, while doing my research I actually read that if you were to spend each day of your life visiting a different Parisian café it would take you a total of 30 years!!!! Without having 30 years to spare, we decided on 6 days in Pareé for our first time over there and I'd say we made a good choice. Check out some of our favourite recommendations and spots here:
Don’t miss the sights!
Eiffel Tower – This is a must! Even though it is a tourist trap it is one of the coolest monuments I have laid eyes on. To get the best view, visit Arc du Triomphe. This is where we took the majority of our engagement photos. I will do a separate post on those shortly! Best time to visit is early morning or evening. The views are priceless.
Side note: ‘Midnight in Paris’ is actually a thing, a thing you don’t want to miss. The Eiffel Tower lighting up at night will make all your Paris dreams come true. There is something so captivating about watching it Glitter up. Full disclosure– I cried the first time I saw it sparkle.
Notre Dame Cathedral // Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is not the biggest, the tallest, or the oldest cathedral in the world, but it is certainly one the most well known. Seeing it in its flesh is truly remarkable and worth a stop. Fun Fact – The bell for the Cathedral weighs 13 tonnes!!
Louvre // You have seen it, heard about it and watched people venture through it in all your favourite movies, you have to go! It’s famous triangular glass structure at its entrance way is iconic and it houses one of the most famous paintings in the world, the Mona Lisa. Note – the Louvre is HUGE and you can spend hours or days getting lost in all the exhibits. Do your research, know what you want to see and beware of tourists.
Arc of Triumph // Beautiful Arc in Paris. I still can’t seem to get over the incredible detailing of the Arch ways in Europe, they are breathtaking. Here you can also enter the Arc and Climb up to the top. This is one of the only places in the city where you can get a full 360-degree view. Once your up there, you’ll be surprised to see how ginormous Paris really is. Note – Super nice at sunset, worth the climb!
Pont Alexandre Bridge // Historical bridge that connects the Grand Palais and Invalides Square. We went at Sunset and enjoyed the view of the Eiffel Tower over the bridge.
Neighbourhoods to Explore
Le Marais + Beyond
Le Marais is a great area! It has everything you are looking for while away – easy transportation, incredible food, great shops, photo worthy streets and an endless amount of nightlife options. We actually stayed at an Airbnb in this neighbourhood. You can check it out here.
o Hollybelly // Insanely good breakfast. They do not take reservations and are known for line ups, so be sure to get there early! Mark and Justin ordered ‘The Champ’ and said it was the best breakfast they had!
o Noglu // Danielle loved this place, because she could eat EVERYTHING they had. I didn’t actually stop in, but she brought treats back to the room. If there was a Guinness World record for consuming a brownie at top speed, I think we may have bet it!
This is such a special part of Paris! It really takes you away from the hustle and bustle and up into the quaint area of winding old streets and little shops. Some of my favourite points up here were:
o La Maison Rose // If you haven’t already seen this adorable pink café on Instagram, you are following all the wrong people. It is pastel and Coble stone heaven.
o Artist Square // Here you can find Parisian artists painting one of a kind pieces, cute coffee shops (although touristy) and really unique souvenirs.
o Sacré-Cœur, Paris // This is a really beautiful church right at the top of Montmarte. It has an incredible view and there was some great live music when we were there.
o La Goutte de Lait // Probably the most adorable Crepe window you’ll find! Nutella crepe is off the charts!!
Last, but NOT least – FOOD:
Paris is every foodies dream! It is almost impossible to even tap into all the food options Paris has to offer, but I will share with you where I went and what I loved!
Le 404 // Best Moroccan Food, best atmosphere! We went in the evening, although it is open all day long. My favourite part of dinner was the North African spreads, but the couscous was also delicious.
Ralph’s // Attached to Ralph Lauren on the Boulevard St- Germain this adorable outdoor space is the cutest place to grab a coffee or a traditional American bite. The best part, when you order a drink or a coffee you get caramel popcorn on the side!
Rose Bakery // The owners are French/British so you’ll find good English speakers! It is small, charming and easy to miss as there is no name on the door, so keep an eye out when looking for it. Here you will find homemade pastries, lunch bites and bakery items. Good for a quick pit stop, although there are no tables to sit and enjoy. I had a yummy slice of their Focaccia, but I think everything we each ordered was delicious.
Kinugawa // Great Japanese food! Mark is super picky when it comes to Asian food and sushi and he is still talking about this place a month later! Great vibe, upscale and worth the splurge.
L’osteria Dell’Anima // My personal favourite! This place is the tiniest little pasta shop you can find. It truly is a little taste of Italy in Paris. We stumbled upon this place after not being able to get into Ober Mamma (which I also heard is incredible!). From the moment you walk through the door you are greeted by Italian speaking servers, who are rolling dough and cutting pasta -what more can you ask for!? The menu is small, but everything was delicious!
Season // Yummy breakfast/lunch spot! Lots of gluten free, vegan options. Photo worthy lattes, glow waters, toasts, salads and bowls. I ordered the Dim Sum and could have had another 12.
Pink Mamma // We didn't actually make it here to fulfill my pizza dreams and my heart broke just a little as we got rejected at the door, but I would totally go if I were you! It has a great vibe and apparently great food. A part of the Big Mamma group in Paris.
Pink Flamingo // Anywhere you can order a pizza, wait in the park and have it delivered to you with a pink balloon is right up my alley. I am a sucker for cuteness!
COFFEE + SWEETS
Café Kistune // Matcha Cappuccino is all that needs to be said! The iconic cups and views nearby make this place even more memorable.
Boot Café // Best coffee we had in Paris! This little blue shop is the perfect pit stop for coffee and snack, two things they do right. Japanese run and inspired – truly top notch!
Laduree // Definitely cliché, but this mint green Parisian paradise is worth a stop for macarons. If you miss this don’t be too disappointed, they now have locations worldwide.
Poilane // There is a reason why Paris is known to make the best bread in the world and this place proves why! The owner was such a sweetheart. She was welcoming, encouraged us to sample and let us ou and aw over everything in her bakery. Secret – Danielle bit a piece of bread here for the first time in 6 years!! If it says it’s the worlds best bread, its mandatory right?
Le George // The Four Seasons will swoon you from the moment you walk through the door. Thousands of fresh flowers are brought in daily to create a mood like no other. The hotel is captivating in so many ways. We stopped at their cozy bar for a coffee and a snack to admire its beauty.
Popelini // The cutest choux shop you will ever see! This was one of my favourite pit stops on the trip. We ordered every flavour that was available at the time because it was too hard to pick just one. I struggle between choosing pistachio or rose as my favourite!
Angelica // Known for their hot chocolate, this place is always busy! We waited in a short line, but the pudding-like hot coco was totally worth it.
Wine Tasting // One of our favourite days in Paris was at O Chateau Wine Tasting and Wine Bar, where we learned about the regions wine and champagne. The sommelier was fun and full of knowledge, we even met friends in the class! You can book the same experience here.
Flytographer // Flytographer captured our engagement photos while in Paris and I have nothing but good things to say about our experience! I plan on sharing a separate post about them soon, so I will leave the details for that.
-Purchase a subway pass for the duration of your trip – this was our life saver! The train system in Paris is so simple and easy to use.
-There are incredible Airbnb’s in Paris! Take a look at them before splurging on hotels. We stayed on Rue di Rivoli in Le Marais and it was a great spot.
-If you are traveling in the winter like us, dress comfortably and warm! There is a lot of walking involved and it does get chilly, especially at night!
-Do not exchange your money at the airport or train stations. The Euro is already quite high, but these two places take an additional tax from you.
-Eat before you go wine tasting, they hand out large portions! Haha
If you have any questions and/or recommendation requests just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. Happy to help!!