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Paris: A Destination Guide

Introduction

Paris – it’s known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world – and in so many ways as well. It is a hub of culture, with the renaissance being born from this very city. Some of the most beautiful and iconic architecture can be found within kilometers of each other in this city. This is also the city that has been awarded the most Michelin stars in the world so you’ll never starve of amazing food. Then there’s the intangible – the joie de vie of the city that one just can’t explain but feels every single time you roam the streets and explore the beautiful city.

Each person has a different take away from the city given the sheer diversity of not only Paris but her visitors as well. Here’s our take on the City of Lights and what you might want to indulge in whilst you explore one of the iconic cities of the world.

Know Before You Go 

  • Currency: As with many countries in the European Union, the currency used in France is the Euro (€).
  • Airport: The main international airport is Charles de Gaulle (CDG), though some international flights (non-Schengen) also fly into Orly Airport (ORY).
  • Language: French is the official language in France, though many people in Paris will speak English – particularly in highly touristy areas. Even so, don’t be surprised to find yourself in a quaint restaurant in the heart of Paris where the menus are in French and no one speaks a word of English.
  • To/From the Airport:
    • Taxi: Metered taxis are available at the airport, and charge between 50-55€ for transit between CDG and the city. ORY is a bit closer to the center of Paris and should cost between 30-35€.
      • If you are paying with a credit card, be sure to have the taxi attendant assign you to a car that accepts these (“carte de crédit”). If paying with an American Express card, be sure to specify – Amex is not particularly popular in France.
    • Uber: Ubers are able to pick up and drop off from the airport, but an UberX can cost about the same or about 10€ less than taking a metered taxi.
    • Public Transportation: If staying in or near the Opera area, the Roissybus is a good option for getting to or from CDG. Tickets cost 11.50€ each way and must be purchased before boarding. The bus serves all terminals at CDG and runs every 15-20 minutes.
    • Other Options: The new Le Bus Direct service (which replaced the old Air France bus service) served both CDG and ORY and is a good option for  those staying in the Eiffel Tower, Etoile, Gare de Lyon or Gare Montparnasse areas in Paris. The bus also runs between CDG and ORY. Rates cost between 12-17€.
  • Getting Around:
    • The subway system in Paris is incredibly well-designed and goes to most places in the city that you’ll want to visit. Stops are typically named after a major landmark or a neighborhood, so it’s fairly easy to identify where you’re going. Tip: While you don’t need your ticket to exit the station, the Paris Metro Police occasionally patrol station exits asking to see tickets. Make sure to have yours handy – they may stop you to swipe and see how long ago the ticket was used to ensure you paid for your ride. Failure to present your ticket could cost you 30€.
    • While Ubers are ever-present, the taxi commission in Paris is not a fan of the system. Even so (and perhaps to your advantage), you’ll save yourself at least a few euros by taking ubers (plus no requirement to speak French to the driver if you don’t know how to).
  • Tipping: Tips are not expected, though it is not unusual to round up on your bill.
  • Credit Cards vs Cash: Chain stores, hotels, and restaurants will accept credit card, though expect that very cute creperie to only accept cash. American Express is not widely accepted (read: the metro system and McDonalds do not accept Amex), so we recommend bringing a Visa credit card that does not change foreign exchange fees.
  • ATMs: Popular retail banks in Paris include Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Société Générale. If you have a Bank of America account, you’ll be able to withdraw money from BNP  ATMs without incurring an ATM fee (though beware the Foreign Exchange fee, which will usually run you about 3%).
  • Neighborhoods – Paris’ neighborhoods (or arrondissements) are divided numerically (1st arrondissement, the 2nd, the 3rd, and so on). The easiest way to figure out which neighborhood a spot is at is to check its zipcode – the last 1-2 numbers dictate its neighborhood. So an address with a 75006 zipcode is in the 6th arrondissement.
  • Museums – On the first Sunday of the month, several of Paris’ museums are open to the public for free. If you happen to be around on this weekend, check out this list to see if your favorite museum offers free admission.
  • Must-Try Food: The French are known best for their pastries like macaron, tarte au citron (lemon tart), croissant, and pain au chocolat – there’s no denying this. But those for who lack a sweet tooth, there’s plenty else to sample and savor – try some Pâté, Raglet, Bouillabaisse, and of course – cheese.

See & Do

You’ll often hear Paris referred to in two sections – Left Bank vs Right Bank. We’d liken this something to New York’s Uptown vs Downtown stereotypes – where you’ll find swanky Fifth Avenue shops and high powered business headquarters Uptown, while Downtown is a more laid back, artistic vibe. Something similar can be said for Paris’ split between its two areas; the Right Bank – where you’ll find the historic upper crust palaces, high end shopping on Champs-Élysées and business centers at La Defense – and the Left Bank – with quaint cafes in Saint Germain and students and artists in the Latin Quarter. Since Paris is broken up this way, we’ll split up our guide accordingly.

Right Bank

Walk the Axe historique – For any first time visitor to Paris, we highly recommend walking on Champs-Élysées, starting at the Louvre Museum and ending at the Arc de Triomphe (or in reverse, depending on what’s convenient for you). The “historic axis”- a series of landmarks that are built on a straight line through Paris’ Right Bank – technically does not hit the Louvre – instead, it intersects with a statue of King Louis XIV. The straight line crosses through Paris all the way through to La Grande Arche in La Defense. Even if you don’t walk the specific axis, you’ll hit several major sights on this route – and maybe even get some shopping in on Paris’ main shopping street (though we’d suggest passing on the overpriced cafes you’ll find in and around this area).

On this walk – which takes about an hour without stops (though we recommend taking your time!) you’ll see the following:

  • Musée du Louvre – The world’s largest museum, this museum is home to over 70,000 pieces of art (including perhaps its most famous resident, the Mona Lisa). The Louvre Palace, where the museum is housed, was initially a fortress, then between 1546-1682 served as a residence for Kings. The Louvre Palace has been open to the public as a museum since 1793.  The iconic Pyramid was added to the complex almost 200 years later in 1983. If you plan on entering the museum, we highly recommend purchasing your tickets online (and print at home) to avoid long wait times at the ticket counter.
  • Jardin des Tuileries – Commissioned by Queen Catherine de Medici to resemble Italian Renaissance gardens in 1565, the park was a private park for almost 100 years, before opening to the public in 1667. After the French Revolution in 1799, the space became a public park.
  • Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel – Initially built as a gateway to the Tuileries Palace, which served as the Royal palace until it was burned down in 1871 during the Paris Commune, today, the Obelisk and the Arc de Triomphe can be seen clearly from the arch.
  • Place de la Concorde – This large public square in Paris, completed in 1755 has played a notable role in French history over the years. Some major French figures were executed by guillotine in the square, including King Louis XVI  and Queen Marie Antoinette. The square also features the Obelisk, which once stood at the entrance to the Luxor Temple in Egypt, and the two fountains, built during the reign of King Louis-Philippe I.
  • Grande Palais – Completed in 1900, the exhibition hall has hosted numerous notable events over the years – from a Henri Matisse exhibit after his death to annual Chanel fashion shows.
  • Petit Palais – Right across the street from the Grande Palais is (appropriately) the Petit Palais, home to the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Avenue des Champs-Élysées – Before becoming the fashionable avenue it is known for today, it was nothing more than fields and gardens. These days, you can find stores from luxury French brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel and an interesting mix of international stores.
  • Arc de Triomphe –  Standing at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, the arch was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806, though was not completed until 1836. Upon Napeoleon’s death in 1840, his remains were carried under the arch en route to his final resting place –  at Les Invalides. Walking around the base of the arch is free, however if you’d like to go inside (and up the 40 steps to the top), you’ll have to pay an admission fee.
L-R: Musée du Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries in the spring, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Grande Palais

Neighborhoods

  • Montmartre – Located further away from the center of Paris, this area is a bit of a treat since it can be a bit of a trek to get to – and doesn’t look quite like the rest of the city. We’d be wrong if we said it was notably less popular than other famous sites in the city – the Sacre Ceour draws quite a crowd. It’s very unique compared to other parts of the city and worth checking out if you have the time.
    • Sacre Coeur – Located at the top of the hill (or butte Montmartre) is the highest point in the city of Paris. The cathedral is uniquely different from other famous churches in the city (like the Notre Dame) in that its exteriors are white – that’s because it’s built of  travertine stone which exudes calcite, ensuring the basilica maintains its ivory coloring despite the weather and pollution. Visitors can access the dome for a stunning view of the city. Access the dome on the left side of the Basilica, and up 300 steps to get to the top. Admission fees vary.
    • Rue des Abbesses – The heart of Montmartre, this lively road is filled with restaurants and shops, and bonus – is open (mostly) on Sundays (when most of Paris is closed). Off Abyssess on Rue Lepic is Café des Deux Moulins, known as the the filming location of the movie Amelie – they’ve preserved the interiors to look the same as the movie, so it’s worth stopping by if you’re a big fan. Another notable – at Place des Abesses is the colorful carousel – a popular stop for kids, but overall a relaxing spot to sit and take in your surroundings.
      Café des Deux Moulins – 15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris
    • Moulin Rouge – World famous even before the movie of the same name popularized the cabaret house, the Moulin Rouge is known as the birthplace of the can-can dance. Right off the Blanche station on the 2 Line, the Moulin Rouge was known for its extravagant shows in its early years in the 1890s. Today, the notable red windmill still stands on its roof, and while you likely won’t experience the level of extravagance and debauchery of yesteryear, it’s still a famous spot that draws thousands of tourists in every year. If you’re so inclined, you can make reservations to see a show but know that you’ll have to pay at the time of booking.
      82, Boulevard de Clichy 75018 Paris
      http://www.moulinrouge.fr/
L-R: Moulin Rouge, Rue Norvins in Montmartre, Sacre Coeur
  • Bastille – The area’s name stems from the jail, known best from the Storming of the Bastille that took place during the French Revolution. Today, nothing remains of the former prison, and the Place de Bastille marks where the building once stood.
    • July Column – If you’re wondering if you’re in the Bastille area, the July Column will confirm it, which was erected to commemorate the Revolution of 1830.
    • Marché Beauvau and Marché d’Aligre – This is actually two markets – Marché d’Aligre being the outdoor market, open from 9am-12:30, where you can find fantastic local produce. Right next door is the covered market, Marché Beauvau, where you will find an eclectic mix of items sold – from wild game to pate, fresh fish to suckling pig. This market is no doubt any aspiring chef’s dream (or anyone staying at an airbnb). Open on sundays, and incredibly affordably priced.  
    • Promenade Plantée (Coulée verte René-Dumont) – New York has the Highline Park, but before that project came into fruition, Paris has had its own elevated park since 1993. Sitting on the former structure of the old Vincennes railway line, the park begins east of the Opera Bastille and ends near the Bois de Vincennes. Walking through the park may be a little confusing – at times it seems the park is ending – it cuts through apartment buildings, goes above ground and under tunnels. The end of the walk will lead you to a metal spiral staircase which takes you to Boulevard Carnot. The nearest stop at the end is the Port de Vincennes station on the 1 line. See a map of the park here.
    • Bois de Vincennes – Technically no longer in Paris’ bounds (nor in the Bastille neighborhood), but given where Promenade Plantée ends, it seems logical to mention the Bois de Vincennes. This large park is located on the edge of the city and is easily accessible by the metro. The park features 4 manmade lakes, a floral park (Parc floral de Paris), an arboretum (Arboretum de l’École du Breuil), and the Paris Zoological Park (which was closed in 2008 and recently reopened in 2014).
L-R: St. Marché d’Aligre, Marché Beauvau, Tunnel in the Promenade Plantée, Walkway in the Promenade Plantée
  • Republique/La Marais – One of our favorite areas in Paris, you’ll find plenty of amazing bars and clubs in the Republique area, and the most charming streets in the Marais area.
    • Marché des Enfants Rouges – Tucked away in Paris’ 3rd arrondissement is the Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris’ oldest market. While it was historically a typical market for produce and such, today, it’s an eater’s market (though you can still pick up some raw goods if you are in need – including some of the freshest seafood in town). You’ll find an interesting range of food here – from crepes to Japanese bento boxes, to Morrocan couscous, to a damn good burger. Bonus – they’re open on Sundays, though each stall dictates their own hours (we suggest going earlier in the day if you’re inclined to visit on a Sunday).
      Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
    • La Marais – Narrow streets, tiny boutiques, remarkable restaurants – there’s not a lot to hate about the Marais area (other than the crowds). Falafel lovers should check out L’as Du Fallafel, the most popular falafel spot in the area (you’ll know you’re there – the snaking line is hard to miss). Stop by La Droguerie du Marais for a crepe to enjoy while walking around this postcard-worthy neighborhood. 
      L’as Du Fallafel – 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris
      La Droguerie du Marais – 56 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris
L-R: Entrance to Marché des Enfants Rouges, Poissonnerie at Marché des Enfants Rouges, La Droguerie du Marais, Rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais
  • The Islands on the Seine – Though they sit on the Seine, they are part of the 4th arrondissement, so they fall part of the Right Bank.  Easily accessible from either side of Paris, both are definitely work a visit.
    • Île Saint-Louis – This tiny island on the Seine (one of two), is accessible to both the Left and Right bank by four bridges. Easily one of the most charismatic areas of the city, it’s an absolute must-visit for those looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Paris’ major landmarks. We love the Café Saint-Régis for beers and a bite (fantastic for brunch too). Top it all off with local favorite, Berthillon, known for their sherbert and ice cream made right on-site (also worth checking out – their hot chocolate!).
      Cafe St. Regis – 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris
      Berthillon – 29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris
    • Île de la Cité – Neighboring island, Île de la Cité is a quick walk over from Île Saint-Louis, and is home to Paris’ most famous cathedral, Notre Dame. Known for its architectural design (one of the first buildings to use flying buttresses) and intricately designed gargoyles. Several bridges link the island to both banks, but the most famous is Pont Neuf, the oldest in the city (oddly though, it’s name means “new bridge”).
L-R: Tomato and burrata salad at Café Saint-Régis, Chocolate ice cream at Berthillon,  West facade of the Cathedrale Notre Dame, North Facade of the Cathedrale Notre Dame

Left Bank

Paris’ Left Bank (the south side of the Seine) is historically known as the more artistic side of the city. While modern-day Left Bank is not quite as bohemian as it used to be, you’ll still see the difference between this area its neighbor to the north.

 

Major Landmarks:

  • Eiffel Tower – Hardly needing any introduction, the world-famous representation of Paris is located in the 7th arrondissement, with (pricy) restaurants on the first and second level. Cost of tickets vary (depending on how high up you’d like to go and if you’d like to use the lift or the stairs), but here’s a tip – you’ll likely find a lengthy queue to purchase tickets to go up the tower, but be sure to check the automated kiosks – tickets cost the same as buying from the usual ticket window and there is rarely a line. If you’d rather not pay to go up to enjoy the tower, the Champ de Mars park on the south east side or the Palais de Chaillot on the north west side are both great spots to snap a picture of the iconic landmark for free.
  • Invalides – Opened in 1670 as a home for unwell soldiers, today, some of the buildings on the compound remain as the home of the national instituion of disabled war veterans (Institution Nationale des Invalides), several museums (Musée de l’Armée, e Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine) in addition to two chapels – the Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides and the Dôme des Invalides. Invalides is best known for housing the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. If the history and museums aren’t of interest to you, the lawn leading up to the buildings is a great place to people watch and relax.
  • Pont des Arts – Technically not on either side of Paris, this pedestrian bridge that crosses the Seine was once known as the love lock bridge – where couples would latch on locks with their names on it as a symbol of love. The bridge, however, was not built to carry the massive weight of the metal locks, so in 2015, the city finally cut off the locks. Lovers have since continued to try to find nooks to leave their locks, but the city continues to work to prevent this. If you’re on the hunt to find love locks, you won’t find them here (at least the city of Paris hopes) – but you’ll likely find them on at least 11 other bridges that crosses the Seine (like the Pont de l’Archevêché).
L-R: Eiffel Tower, Pont des Arts and L’Institut de France, Locks at the Pont des Arts, Invalides
  • The Catacombs – Built in response to a series of cave-ins in 1774, plus a dwindling amount of space for cemeteries within the city, bones were moved to this series of underground tunnels between 1786 and 1788. Run by Paris Musées, the section of the underground ossuaries open to the public is only a small portion of the passage that exists. Admission begins at 10 AM (closed on Mondays), and we recommend getting there earlier than that – wait times can be up to 2 hours.
  • Jardin de Luxembourg – Not as popular among visitors as the Tuileries, the 23 hectare garden is known for its manicured lawns, picturesque promenades, and sailboat basin. Built on the directive of Marie de’ Medici, the widow of Henry IV, in 1611, the ornate park today is a public space for locals and visitors to enjoy the relaxing scenery. Notable features include the vintage carousel, the basin (used by most locals for sailing toy boats on a sunny summer day), the Fountain of the Observatory (Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde), and the Luxembourg Palace. Park hours vary, but is generally open between sunrise and sunset.
  • Musée d’Orsay – At the banks of the Seine lies the world-renowned d’Orsay Museum, the building of which was initially built as a railway station (Gare d’Orsay). The short platforms rendered it out of use once much longer trains came into operations, and after a brief stint as a post office and a backdrop for a couple of films (including 1962 film The Trial, directed by Orson Welles), the space was eventually commissioned into a museum, opening its doors in 1986. Today, the museum is home to several notable works of art, including several paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, and James Abbott Whistler’s  Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 (commonly known as Whistler’s Mother). Tickets can be purchased online and are valid for 3 months (which we recommend doing), or get there early and get in line.
L-R: Walkway into the Catacombs, Entrance sign at the Catacombs, Luxembourg Palace, Luxembourg Gardens

Neighborhoods:

  • Saint Germain – Located in Paris’ 6th arrondissement, this lively neighborhood is known both for its great shopping and fantastic food scene. You’ll find tiny boutiques and international shops in the neighborhood’s charming narrow roads, but also Le Bon Marché, the first modern department store in Paris.  The food is one not to miss – there are so many local hidden gems that make up this fantastic neighborhood.
    • Abby of Saint Germain des Pres (Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés) – The most iconic landmark in the neighborhood and is one of Paris’ oldest churches (first built in 558).
    • Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore – Located right by the other, these two (rival) cafes are known for hosting some of Paris’ elite intellectuals during the post-war era, including Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Bataille. You might recognize Le Deux Magots as the cafe in the film Inception, where Leonardo di Caprio and Ellen Page share their first dream at a cafe. Both cafes as quite similar (though locals certainly will have a favorite between the two), but you can’t go wrong at either – both have your standard Parisian cafe fare and darling sidewalk seating, which allows for optimal people watching. If you opt for Cafe de Flore, their hot chocolate is a must-try!
      Les Deux Magots – 6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris
      Café de Flore – 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
    • Le Relais de l’Entrecôte – While this probably belongs in the food section, a visit to the Saint Germain area is not complete without stopping at this famous steak+frites spot. Open at noon for lunch at at 7 PM for dinner, you’ll want to arrive at least 15 minutes early to avoid a lenghty wait. Once seated, the process is quite quick (and French) – no menus, just let the waitress know how you’d like your steak served – and shortly after, a plate of perfectly cooked, expertly sliced entrecote and fries will be served. Once you’re done, your meal has a second half – and your server will gladly bring this over if you are so inclined to have a second piece of steak (and more fries! and more sauce!). Once the meal is over, a dessert menu will be brought over, with an array of gorgeous looking desserts. Warning – the sauce is a highly guarded secret recipe (right up there with that of Ikea’s meatballs), so if you’re concerned about any allergies, I wouldn’t expect them to dish out what’s in it.
    • Arnaud Lahrer – Okay, again, possibly belonging in the “Eat” section, we absolutely had to mention this spot, which is a favorite of ours. Not only are their desserts gorgeous but they arguably have the best lemon tart (tarte au citron) in the city. Don’t walk, run, to this amazing bakery. Tip: the staff working the front will likely only speak French and would prefer cash for smaller purchases, so Google Translate and some spare Euros would be handy to have.

Latin Quarter – Known for its scholarly roots, the Latin Quarter is a fantastic neighborhood for finding tiny cafes, unique eateries, and great watering holes. Home to the Sorbonne, the area is known for its bohemian beginnings. So many one-of-a-kind finds amidst the medieval monuments.

  • Pantheon – The temple was originally built as a tribute to St. Genevieve, but has since become a resting place for many notable French citizens. The building was modeled after Pantheon in Rome and was completed in 1790. The Pantheon serves as a burial place for several remarkable players in French history, including writer Voltaire, novelist Victor Hugo, educator Louis Brail, and scientists Pierre and Marie Curie.
  • Eglise Saint-Etienne du Mont – The church was built in 1222, as a small space of worship. By the 1300s, the community had outgrown the small size of the church, thanks to the nearby schools and growing population. Over the next 300 years, the church saw expansion and upgrades to what you’ll see today – and the evolving style can be seen in the design – from the Gothic vaulting to the Renaissance-inspired round pillars. The church is open daily, though visitors are requested not to wander around the inside of the church during service.
  • Rue Mouffetard – Just south of the Place de la Contrescarpe on the Rue Mouffetard, you’ll find plenty of hole in the wall restaurants, including a number of creperies like Au P’tit Grec, and Crêperie Oroyona (many of which are open on Sundays). The line outside Au P’tit Grec (which many will claim to be one of the best places to pick up a crepe in Paris) can become quite long, but the line moves quickly, so don’t be overwhelmed. Definitely worth stopping by if you’re in the neighborhood.
    Au P’tit Grec – 8 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris
    Crêperie Oroyona – 36 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris
L-R: Tarte au Citron from Arnaud Lahrer, Pantheon, Eglise Saint-Etienne du Mont, Crepe from Crêperie Oroyona

Palace of Versailles

Okay, so if you’ve managed to do everything you want to do in Paris, you’ll probably want to trek out to the Palace of Versailles. From 1682 to 1789, it was the seat of political power in France, though most are familiar with the palace thanks to the notoriety and extravagance of Marie Antoinette and the famed Hall of Mirrors, who, along with her husband King Louis XVI, were forced to flee the palace during the French Revolution. Beginning the 1950s, the palace was restored to its state during the period of opulence and luxury when the French Royal Family took residence there. You’ll have to take the RER train to Versailles (which costs under 8€) on a 45 minute ride to visit the palace but it’s a fun excursion, if you have the time.  The base tickets cost 18€ and can be purchased online to avoid having to queue once you get there. Give yourself at least half a day to get to the grounds, walk around the extensive gardens and explore the palace grounds. 

L-R: South west facade of the Palace of Versailles, Palace of Versailles gardens and park, North east facade of the Palace of Versailles, Hall of Mirrors

Drink

  • Harry’s New York Bar – Okay, bear with me on this one, it might sound like an odd choice, but this bar is known as the birthplace of the Bloody Mary. If you ever have engaged in biting the hair of the dog, you have this venue and chef to thank for the help in overcoming your hangover. The genius behind this place is cocktail connoisseur Fernand Petiot, who later went to work at the St. Regis in New York as head bartender until retirement. The St. Regis Bloody Mary has also gone on to be a legend in its own right, with each property around the world offering its own unique version of the iconic cocktail, with local ingredients incorporated into each unique recipe.
    5 Rue Daunou, 75002 Paris, France
    http://www.harrysbar.fr/
  • L’Avant Comptoir This very casual spot in the Saint Germain area might seem unusual, with it’s standing room-only style set up, but it’s one of our favorites for charcuterie and wine. But the calories consumed having to stand are happily weighed out by the delightful aperos on offer with such an extensive and high quality charcuterie menu that pairs to well with their wines on offer.
    3 Carrefour de l’Odéon 75006 Paris
  • Little Red DoorGreat speakeasy-style cocktail bar for delicious drinks. The dark, intimate space is a one of our favorites to relax after a day of exploring the city of lights. Sometimes it feels as though a transport back in time, but that could just be the beauty and charm of Paris affecting us as well.
    60 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France
    http://www.lrdparis.com/

Eat

  • Frenchie and Pirouette – Frenchie and Pirouette are probably two of the most popular restaurants in Paris – at least for visitors. According to the concierge at the W Paris, they are the two most requested reservations at their hotel. While they’re different, they both hit at the same price point and appeal to a similar crowd. Both serve up tasting menus and you won’t be disappointed with either. Rather than choosing between the two, we highly recommend visiting both and decide which on you like better!
    • Frenchie is a bit more casual in atmosphere, though the food is absolutely tops. They’ve got an impressive wine list (and run the wine bar next door too), and you won’t be disappointed with what you’re served. They offer a tasting menu, which changes regularly – so it’s tough to say what you’ll be served. Reservations are a bit difficult to come by – we recommend having your hotel concierge book them for you as soon as you intend on going. Expect an early (6:45 PM) seating time due to popularity – but it’s well worth it! If you can’t snag a dinner reservation, don’t be disheartened – you’ll get the most value for your buck at lunch, so consider. If prix fixes aren’t your thing (or reservations are impossibly to come by), we recommend checking out Frenchie Bar a Vin next door – they take guests on a first come first serve basis come early!) or grab some food and eat it elsewhere via Frenchie to Go.
      5 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris
      http://www.frenchie-restaurant.com/
    • Pirouette  – Located in the Les Halles area, this fantastic gem serves up amazing dishes with a monthly rotating menu. The menu consists of 5 starters, 5 main courses, and 5 desserts, and guests can pick and choose between a 3 course meal or a 6 course meal  (at 45€ and 65€ respectively). Pirouette is slightly larger and would be a better choice if dining in groups. There’s no better way to describe the food at Pirouette than directly quoting our server who brought us a small bowl of mashed potatoes – “it’s 50% potato… 50% butter”.
      5 Rue Mondétour, 75001 Paris
      http://www.oenolis.com/mods/pirouette-en-2/
  • Le Petit Marché – This tiny spot in the Marais/Temple area looks like any Parisian cafe, but this French bistro with Asian influences is anything but ordinary. Absolute must-have: the millefeuille de thon. It comes as a starter and as a main, so there is no excuse not to indulge in this fantastic dish. If you happen to decide to pass on this dish, not a problem since just about everything else on the menu is delicious. Warning – the menu is only in French, so you may need to whip out Google Translate for this one. Reservations accepted (you’ll have to call), and we suggest it – the place was jam packed on a Monday night.
    9 Rue de Béarn, 75003 Paris
  • Le Maison de la Truffe – Truffle buffs unite, and head to the mothership of mushrooms. Le Maison de Truffe offers an extensive menu of dishes accompanied by truffles. For those who don’t love mushrooms, some truffle-based dishes can be served sans truffle (but we wouldn’t recommend that). Popular menu items include the must-have scrambled eggs (with truffle of course), and the duck foie gras.
    9 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris (2 other locations in Paris)
    http://www.maison-de-la-truffe.com/
  • Septime – This fantastic restaurant in the 11th arrondissement is a gem among Paris’ many top restaurants. Stop by for some of the city’s finest dishes – which change seasonally, offering only the freshest, best ingredients. Snagging a reservation can be a challenge – they don’t take reservations from hotel (or credit card) concierges, and reservations for tables only open up 3 weeks in advance. Try your luck online booking a table online or call them directly. PS – Only open Monday-Friday
    80, rue de Charonne 75011 Paris
    http://www.septime-charonne.fr/
  • The Beef Club – Beef lovers, rejoice! Pop over to the Beef Club and let your red meat-loving tastebuds fall in love with a fine piece of steak. We recommend accompanying your meal with a couple of sides (we loved the Mac and Cheese and the Gratin Dauphinois) to top off the experience. And while you’re there, don’t forget to cap your night with a cocktail at the bar downstairs.
    58 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris
    http://www.eccbeefclub.com/
  • Angelina – Worth mentioning for its reputation (and proximity to the Jardin des Tuileries), since Angelina opened its doors in 1903, it’s been a popular tearoom for Parisians and visitors alike. The big menu item here is the hot chocolate, which is so rich, it’s almost impossible to finish. Also popular is the signature pastry – the Mont Blanc – sure to cure any sweet tooth’s sugar craving (maybe a little too much, if we’re being honest). The line to dine goes out the door, but we recommend stopping by and grabbing a pastry and hot chocolate to go and enjoy while you explore Paris. You can skip the queue and order from bakery counter on the right side, or, on a warm day, order from the cart, stationed right outside the entrance.
    226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
    http://www.angelina-paris.fr/en/
  • Ladurée – We don’t think we have to tell you to stop by one of the world’s most popular macaron houses, but it would be irresponsible to leave it off the list. With locations all over Paris, there is no reason to skip this dessert haven. Other worthy macaron mentions include Pierre Hermé and Gérard Mulot.
L-R: Millefeuille de thon at Le Petit Marché, Ravioli with Truffle at Maison de la Truffe, Mont Blanc pastry and hot chocolate at Angelina, Macarons at Ladurée 

Stay

  • W ParisOne of our favorites, it’s a tiny property compared to just about any other W which makes the location unique and all the more personable, especially in busy Paris. Their service is fantastic and attentive, and staff are eager to help and please. Best yet, the property is conveniently located to public transportation which makes sightseeing a joy. Check out our review here. Room rates range from 300€ – 500€.
    4 Rue Meyerbeer, 75009 Paris, France
    http://www.wparisopera.com/
  • Park Hyatt Paris VendomeLocated right by the Tuilleries gardens, this property is easily one of the top Hyatt properties from their portfolio. Between the excellent service, beautifully appointed rooms, and great location makes this a top pick for Paris. Room rates range from 500€ – 700€.
    5 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris, France
    https://parisvendome.park.hyatt.com/
  • The Westin ParisLocated at the former building of the Hotel Continental, the largest hotel in Paris at the time it was built in 1878, the Westin maintains much of its old world Parisian charm with updated rooms to give you all the modern amenities and technology you would need. It’s also a special feeling to stay at a structure with as much history as this one – read up on the Hotel Continental before you check in – you won’t regret it, and you’ll savor every moment just that much more during your stay. Room rates range from 400€ – 600€.
    3 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris, France
    http://www.thewestinparis.com/
L-R: Superior room king sized bed at the Westin Paris, Superior room sitting area at the Westin Paris, View of the Palais Garnier from the W Paris, Wonderful room at the W Paris
2 Comments
  • Laura Roberts
    Posted at 03:20h, 24 February

    Great guide, very helpful in planning my time in Paris! I would recommending the ‘secret’ Louvre entrance through the Caroussel de Louvre mall, lines are much much shorter!

    • Joey
      Posted at 13:18h, 25 February

      Thanks for the feedback and the tip!