Paris Travel Guide
I try to visit Paris on every trip to Europe, and it never disappoints. The City of Lights is such a fun place to explore and eat and escape from your everyday life. I hope this guide answers your questions about where to stay, where to eat, and what to explore whether it’s your first time to Paris or you’re a regular visitor like me.
Where to Stay in Paris
Hotel Providence Paris
On your next visit to Paris, I highly recommend a chic boutique hotel stay at Hotel Providence Paris. I have stayed in a few different neighborhoods in Paris, and so far this one is my favorite. The area called Haute Marais is an up and coming area just north of the ever popular Le Marais district. New boutiques, restaurants, and galleries are drawing more and more attention to this little hidden gem. Upon arrival, I was immediately drawn to the classic cafe front patio where I planned to drink many cappuccinos. Immediately inside, is a stylish hotel bar and restaurant adding to the trendy neighborhood dining scene. Upstairs in our room, the luxe interiors, private balcony, and quiet of this hidden side street ensured a relaxing stay each day after wandering the city of lights. This surprisingly affordable hotel is a less than five minute walk to three different metro stops.
Terrass Hotel Montmartre
A few years ago, we stayed at Terrass Hotel Montmartre because I wanted to take advantage of the rooftop bar’s stunning view of the Eiffel Tower. We had been too jet lagged on previous trips to stay up for the sparkling tower lights after dark. Staying at the Terrass Hotel allowed us to watch the show from the comfort of our own room, as well as, from the convenient rooftop bar. The hotel offers unusually spacious rooms with very modern, luxe interiors. We enjoyed the L’Occitane bath products, the huge tub, and the incredible breakfast buffet each morning on the rooftop. Unfortunately my camera broke on this trip, so I don’t have photos of the hotel, but I can assure we enjoyed our stay. We also love the Montmartre area, which you can read more about here.
One Fine Stay
I have not had the opportunity to stay in Paris for longer than a few days at a time, but if I ever stay for a longer period I will book one of the gorgeous apartments rentals from One Fine Stay. These luxurious properties allow you to experience Paris like a Parisian and to have more space, especially if you are traveling as a family. One Fine Stay also provides concierge service to help facilitate whatever you need during your stay, including babysitters, dinner reservations, and laundry. Learn more about One Fine Stay apartment rentals here.
Things to Do in Paris
Visit the Museums
Is it bad that I have never been to the Louvre on any of my visits to Paris? I just love the Musee D’Orsay and L’Orangerie so much, I keep going back. Of course, I’ve taken the classic photo in front of the glass pyramids out front, but hopefully someday I’ll actually make it inside.
I always find that it is more entertaining to visit a museum where you already know what you want to see. In this case, I’ve always had a love for impressionist art and the D’Orsay is a stunning venue inside an old train station.
All of these museums are conveniently located near each other, connected by the Tuileries Garden or across the Seine by the Pont Royal. You can easily buy your passes online, and the Musee D’Orsay and Musee de L’Orangerie allow you to bundle your tickets together. Next time, I hope to visit the Picasso National Museum as well, and maybe I’ll finally visit the Louvre. You can see more of my visit to these museums here.
See the Eiffel Tower from Every Angle
Ah, the Eiffel Tower. Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting this iconic monument? It is hard to believe that it has only been in Paris for a little over a century, and yet who doesn’t picture the tower when they think of Paris? As one of the tallest structures in France, the Eiffel tower can be seen from many aspects in Paris.
The classic first view for most visitors is from the Champs de Mars, a long public greenspace, perfect for taking a picnic below the tower. Another popular vantage point, especially for photographers, is from the Trocadéro Gardens. This park space allows for an elevated view of the tower behind the garden’s dreamy fountains.
One of my favorite views of the Eiffel Tower is from Pont Alexander III, an ornate bridge with a lovely view of the tower across the Seine. I highly recommend visiting this spot at sunset, before the tower begins to sparkle at sundown. Finally, you have to visit the Sacre Couer in Montmartre for one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower, especially at sunset. This is another great spot to take in the sparkling lights.
Historically, Montmartre is known as the bohemian neighborhood where famous artists like Renoir and Van Gogh would live and work. Today, it’s a little more touristy, but full of adventure offering fun cafes, caberets, and stellar views of the city of lights. Some must see spots include La Maison Rose, which literally means the pink house, the Sacré-Cœur, a stunning Roman Catholic church which stands as the highest point in the city, and the Moulin Rouge, the famous cabaret known for introducing us to the can-can.
Shop for luxuries native to Paris like Chanel, Sezane, Maje, Lauduree, Officine de Buly, Dyptique, and more. Find high end designers along the Champs Elyses, shop until you drop for your favorite brands along the Boulevard Haussmann in the Opera district, and find hidden gems like the ornate candles from Officine Universelle de Buly 1803 in Saint Germain.
Picnic in the Parks
The park space in Paris is reason enough to stop by your favorite boulangerie to pack a picnic of bread, cheese, and wine for a lazy day outside. Which park should you visit? All of them, but each one has its own character. At Champ de Mars, you’ll find plenty of green space for laying in the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower. In the Tuileries Garden, you’ll find the most gorgeous gardens, a view of the ferris wheel, the famous orange trees below the Musee de L’Orangerie, and of course the Louvre. At the expansive Luxembourg Gardens, you’ll find the popular fountain where children are known to sail model boats and a view of the Palais de Luxembourg.
Visit the Palace of Versailles
Visit the former palace of the royal family, including Marie Antoinette’s personal estate. The Palace of Versailles is about an hour away by Metro, or about thirty minutes away by car. We found Uber to be the most convenient method to get there.
Arrive early, because you will have to wait in a line to enter the palace. Alternatively, you could just rent bikes or explore the gardens on foot. I do think the palace is worth a visit, though, to see the Hall of Mirrors and to see how the royal family lived.
The landscaping is absolutely breath taking with patterned hedges, stunning fountains, and a maze of gardens. I particularly loved Marie Antoinette’s estate, especially because I find her story so interesting and tragic.
Where to Eat in Paris
I am ashamed to say, I truly have not prioritized dining on some of my original Paris trips and have settled for whatever is around the area I’m staying. On this last trip though, I did venture out to some highly recommended places. See below for some dining spots I would definitely head back to and some that I hope to visit next time. I found most of these through Jamie Beck’s Paris Eats guide.
Candelaria is a taqueria in Haute Marais that offers truly authentic Mexican tacos. After your meal, head back through the kitchen for a drink in the swanky speakeasy.
A Charleston native brings southern hospitality to Paris at this beautiful establishment across from the Luxembourg Gardens. Try the not-fried chicken and biscuits if you’re feeling a little homesick. See more from our visit here.
The Big Mamma restaurant group has a few trendy spots around the city. Go to Pink Mamma in Montmartre for pizza and pasta and the perfect Instagram photo. The food is fun and indulgent, and the aesthetics bring the gardens indoors.
Hotel Costes is a place to see and be seen, but also a place that still offers that old world glamorous vibe we look for when we go to Paris. Kim K goes for the cheesecake, so I’ll have the cheesecake, too.