THE ULTIMATE PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE:
It is with great pleasure that I am able to share with you my Paris Travel Guide!! This trip was a dream come true for me and every step of the way I made sure to take notes to share with all of you for your next vacation to Paris. It was an action-packed trip with over 5000 photos to sort through and edit. Each day we got to see breathtaking places and enjoy the Parisian culture.
To keep this guide as short and concise as possible, I’ll touch on all the topics in this post and write in more detail on future posts including Best Instagram Spots in Paris, Touring the Palace of Versaille, Paris in 6 Days, etc. Today’s post is an overall Paris travel guide is here to help you select the best places to see, stay and eat during your trip. It also includes helpful tips to help you navigate through Paris. I’ll likely update this post as the questions come in so make sure to check back for changes/updates!
PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE – THE BEST PLACES TO SEE:
This one is obvious. I mean who goes to Paris and doesn’t make time to see the Eiffel Tower? Taylor and I picked up sandwiches and drinks from a local market and sat beneath the tower in the park on our first day in Paris and watched the sunset. It was amazing.
If you’d like to get photos without tourists, I recommend going to the Trocadero at 7-8am. Not even joking. Do it for the Gram! That is how we got these amazing photos of the Eiffel Tower without any obstructions. There will be a lot of wedding photos happening, but there is plenty of room for everyone.
Two other amazing spots to see the tower are along the Seine River where the photo above in the gingham dress was taken and in the grassy area in the Trocadero Gardens. It’s even a great opportunity to get the carousel and the tower in one shot!
PONT ALEXANDRE III
Another amazing spot to see early in the morning or late evening! It is the most ornate most and extravagant bridge in the city. Excellent spot for photos. We arrived Friday around 6 pm and the area was packed with local Parisians for their evening picnics. We found a spot just below the bridge to take these photos. Afterward, we picked up crepes at a food truck and sat down amongst the crowd to enjoy the perfect evening weather.
Address: 6 rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France. Is a former royal palace located in the 1st arrondissement (district) of Paris. The inner courtyard is where you’ll find the Insta-famous Les Colonnes de Buren (the black and white columns) that everyone is so fond of photographing.
JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG aka LUXEMBOURG GARDENS
Address: 75006 Paris, France. Created by Queen Marie de Medici in 1612. 25 hectares of land and split into French gardens and English gardens. Perfect spot for an evening picnic, leisurely walk, early morning run or photos!
PALACE OF VERSAILLES:
This place is so massive that we easily could have spent 2 days here to take it all in! I may have to write an entirely separate blog post about Versaille because, well, frankly it is so magnificent that it deserves its own blog post! It’s about a 40-minute train ride from Paris and once you get there the tour is literally a full day excursion. We recommend reviewing a map ahead of time and getting there as early as possible. We were a bit behind schedule, arrived at 10 am, had to wait in an hour line to get in and then shuffle through each room with a crowd of people. Once you get out to the gardens there is much more room to move around. You can either pack a picnic or pick up a sandwich or sit down for lunch at any of the restaurants located in the garden. We walked all the way down to the water and sat in the grass. Next time we’ll take a canoe ride! You can rent bikes to walk to the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet. But the walk is not bad at all.
Highly recommend touring each additional spot after the Palace. The Queen’s Hamlet is incredible and barely anyone was there as we walked around the buildings. You cannot go inside of them, but just viewing them from outside I felt like I was in Disneyland looking at the miniature buildings.
After walking all day we had an Uber take us back to our hotel in Paris for about $50 USD (totally worth it as we were exhausted. The idea of walking 30 minutes back to the bus or train station was not ideal. There is a trolly that will take you to the bus station, you have to wait in line and pay about 4 Euros. Not a bad option either.
**We also recommend downloading a self-guided tour on your phone to avoid having to wait for a cheap audio guide. Just make sure to download all of the apps and tours within each one before leaving your hotel while you still have wi-fi!
Helpful articles for navigating a day at Versaille:
OTHER PLACES TO SEE:
Although we did not get to visit these during this trip, they are already on my list for next time!
- Notre Dame
- Arc de Triumph
- Region of Champagne
- Lavender Fields
- Sacre Coeur Basilica (a great article on all the cathedrals of Paris here.)
A quiet and delicious breakfast at Hotel Square Louvois Hotel. Bloggers a note: please be mindful of the amount of food you take for your photos as someone is working hard in the kitchen to prepare this meal for you. The staff thanked us for only taking what we ate and mentioned that some people waste a lot of food for a simple photo. Please be considerate.
The beautiful bathtub at Hotel Square Louvois Hotel.
Picnic on our rooftop patio of Hotel Eiffel Blomet (yes- we eventually ate everything you see here)
From our room at the Hotel de la Reine looking into the courtyard.
From the courtyard looking into our room at the Hotel de la Reine.
PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE – THE BEST HOTELS:
We stayed at 3 hotels during our time in Paris (2 nights at each) Each one had it’s own unique charm and personality. Some would say they like to stay at one hotel, unpack and get comfortable. I can understand that. For us, it was also nice to be able to experience different areas of Paris around each of the hotels we stayed at. We booked the breakfast at each hotel and it was worth it! All we had to do was roll out of bed and take the elevator down to fresh fruit, yogurt, croissants, eggs, coffee and freshly squeezed juices! It seems to be a custom for the hotel to make eggs with cream if you prefer without, simply ask and they’ll take care of you. These hotels are listed in the order of which we stayed.
HOTEL SQUARE LOUVOIS:
Address: 12 RUE DE LOUVOIS 75002 Paris ; 2nd arrondissement
Phone : +33 (0) 1 86 95 02 02
Our first hotel was chic and refined with contemporary design and incredibly friendly staff. Our room was compact but had everything we needed. The bathroom had the most beautiful tile and the dining area was charming and well designed. There is a pool on the very bottom floor which we did not get to take advantage of this trip.
The hotel is in a very quiet neighborhood and within walking distance to Opera Garnier and Boulevard Haussmann, Palace Royal, The Louvre Museum, & lots of restaurants and little shops.
HOTEL EIFFEL BLOMET
Address: 78 Rue Blomet, 75015 Paris, France; 15th arrondissement
Our second hotel, the Hotel Eiffel Blomet resembled Art Deco style of the 1930s. The lobby has an honesty bar and a very welcoming staff. We stayed in the magnificent Junior suit during our two-day stay. Our balcony ran the entire length of the room with a small table and chairs (photo above.) It was definitely my favorite part of the hotel as it was on the ninth floor and you could see the Parisian skyline from here. If booking a room, request a room that faces the street if you don’t mind a bit of background noise and sunshine. If you prefer a quieter room and don’t mind a bit less light, request a room facing inward looking down to the quiet courtyard. We stayed in a Junior suite and my favorite part was the balcony that overlooked the Parisian rooftops. We could see the very top of the Eiffel Tower from our spot. Our first night there we sat out and enjoyed a picnic and wine. They also have a pool in the basement.
This hotel is located in a less touristy, more residential neighborhood of Paris. I felt like a real-life Parisian living in the city surrounded by markets, grocery stores, fish stands, bakeries and flower shops. We were able to pick up everything for our picnic within a half mile radius.
There is an authentic French restaurant Les Artisians within walking distance from this hotel and a popular recommendation by the staff. Order the lamb soup and a charcuterie board while you wait!
HOTEL LE PAVILLION DE LA REINE
Address : 28, Place des Vosges, 75003 Paris – France; 8th arrondissement
Phone: +33 1 40 29 19 19
This beautiful recently 5-star boutique hotel renovated hotel as a ton of history. A French Queen once stayed in the area and it is across the street from the first plaza in Paris.
Our room was two levels in a loft style. The bathroom and living space downstairs with a staircase leading up to the bed. The huge French window looked out onto the quiet courtyard. We ordered Uber eats for dinner both nights we stayed at this hotel and the delivery did not take longer than 25 minutes. It’s in proximity TONS of shopping in Paris. Honestly, you could get lost among all of the streets lined with both local, and well-recognized brands.
If you’re traveling with a larger group, it’s not a bad idea to look into an Airbnb, HomeAway or a Paris Perfect Rental.
PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE – PLACES TO EAT
There are so many beautiful cafes in Paris. While we only got to try a few, here were the ones that stood out:
Le Select is a 1920’s style restaurant is in the Montparnasse area of Paris. This entire street lined with beautiful cafes & restaurants. We ate at dinner at Le Select with my family and everything was delicious! They also offer vegetarian options as well. Address: 99, boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris
Les Artisians: This is a small authentic French restaurant within walking distance from the Hotel Eiffel Blomet and a popular recommendation by the hotel staff. Order the lamb soup and a charcuterie board while you wait!
My personal favorite meals were picking up picnic supplies (sandwiches, a bottle of wine, fruit, croissants, etc) and finding a spot with a nice view to enjoy our meal. You’ll notice that a lot of people in Paris like to sit down by the Seine River in the evening and have a small picnic.
PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE – THINGS TO KNOW
Uber is great for traveling to and from the airport. I usually do Uber pool when heading to my hotel to save a bit of money and get to see more of the city on a slightly longer ride. Once you’re in Paris, don’t be afraid to use their public transportation system. The trains, metro and bus system are all well kept and easy to use. A bus is a great option as you are above ground and get to see more of the city. In 7 days we used over 30 bus/metro tickets between the two of us.
*Be aware of plane, train, and other transportation strikes and plan ahead. There was a train strike the day we went to Versaille so we had to make sure to catch a particular train and the destination was slightly altered.
Although a lot of people in Paris speak a bit of English, it is ALWAYS a good idea to associate yourself with everyday words and phrases. I listened and practiced with a few YouTube videos before and during my trip. The Google Translate app is an excellent want to learn and translate words and phrases while you are on the go. These are the terms I used the most:
Hello: Bonjour (daytime) Bonsoir (good evening), bonne nuit (goodnight)
Thank you: Merci
Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup.
How much: Combien?
Do you speak English?: Parlez vous anglais?
Goodbye: Au revoir!
I notice this in all places that I travel to, but Americans tend to speak a bit louder than other nationalities. Not everyone cares to hear your conversation to take heed to keep your volume to a comfortable level.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get lost or don’t understand something. Asking a stranger “parlez vous anglais?” or “Do you speak English ?” is s great way to get help from an English speaker.
We were unbelievably lucky to have near perfect spring weather during our time in beautiful Paris. 70-75 degree days with not a cloud in the sky. Mind you, on days when it was 60 degrees, it definitely required trench coat. It’s never a bad idea to pack an umbrella and water resistant clothing when you travel, just in case. Find out what I packed in my Paris Packing List post.
I left all of my valuables at home: nice jewelry, handbags, etc. My most important items were iPhone which I was careful not to pull out in public unless I needed to (pickpocketing is a real thing in Europe!) I’ve even heard stories of people having it snatched out of their hands! My laptop, external hard drive, and passport I kept locked in the hotel safe while we were out. I was happy with my little $28 black bag
WI-FI + MOBILE SERVICE:
Make sure to check with your cell service provider before you go to know what your options are! I paid a little extra ($25 for 7 days) on my Sprint plan to have wi-fi while we were touring around Paris. Totally worth it!!! Try to get everything set up before you go so that you’re not stranded at the airport trying to find a wi-fi signal to call an Uber.
WHAT TO PACK:
I covered what I packed in my Paris Packing List here. Feel free to comment or email me with any other questions you might have or suggestions about Paris!
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All photos by Taylor Schroeder