Yay! The city of love, the city of light, the city of crepes and champagne and croque madams and rose and onion soup and macarons and bordeaux. The home of the Eiffel Tower, Louve, Notre Dame, Arc de trionfo, Montmarte, Luxemborg Gardens, Museo D’Orsay… You get it. And I get it too. Planning a trip to Paris is overwhelming to say the least.
Even writing this post is a daunting feat. Paris is too.. multidimensional. There’s a cafe for everyone, a bistrot with your name on it, a side street that tickles you, an artwork that shakes your being.
Alas, Paris won’t be conquered in one trip… and you shouldn’t try to cram too much into your short visit. Instead, do as the Parisians do and just enjoy life. Settle into your surroundings as you sip wine and leisurely nibble on a charchiutere board with whomever you deemed worthy enough for companionship to the most chic city in the world. Remember this while you pour through blog after blog, jotting ideas into your ever growing itinerary. Paris is infectious, you’ll be back… believe me. Save some for the next trip!
10 tips for Planning your trip to Paris: Before you go.. read here.
PARIS IN 4 DAYS
You flew from America and you are beyond exhausted when you arrive between 6-10 am. By the time you make it into Paris you feel like a zombie extra in the Walking Dead. But you’re so excited to see the city of light that you can’t dream of wasting a precious moment napping! Fear not, I’ve got you covered.
transfer to hotel/airbnb by uber (50 euro) or prebooked van service. Let’s be real about a few things. You are spent from your overnight flight, you severely overpacked and your suitcase weighs 49.5 pounds and it is miserably difficult to lug around. Plus you look…. well, let’s just say you’re not particularly up to French standards of dress (or even scent). Skip the noble quest to conquer the metro, there will be plenty of time sans suitcases to zip around underground later in this trip, believe me. Take the uber.
Get to your new Parisian home and do me a favor. Relax. Really. Fight the urge to head straight to the Eiffel. Because quite honestly, it’s not going anywhere… and you are not going to want the haggard photos you snap there if you don’t take a minute to unwind. Instead, grab a croissant from your neighborhood bakery, take a long hot shower and a power nap of 2 hours max. You’ll be so happy you did that you’ll be sending me a thank you box of macarons by the end of your stay. (Speaking of Macarons check my “what & where to eat in Paris guide here!)
When you venture out in the afternoon, get the obvious over with and head to the Eiffel Tower. Now, I wouldn’t go up it. Why? I’ve waited in the hour (plus) line and been to the top. And let me tell you… The view is beautiful… But SPOILER ALERT you can’t see the Eiffel Tower, because you’re standing on top of the damn thing. Wouldn’t you rather have a photo from another vantage point with the Eiffel in the skyline? Yes. Yes you would. So here’s what you’re going to do: get your selfie stick out and snap away at the Eiffel. Get a banana Nutella crepe and sit at the bridge and marvel the beauty. Then move on! we’ve got a lot to see and believe me this is not our last encounter with the Eiffel. Promise.
Head over the bridge and see the 8th, The Beverly Hills of Paris. Pick up a salted caramel macaron and wander the streets towards the Arc de Triomphe. If the lines not too long, climb to the top for an amazing view of Paris. Take it all in, but resist eating here and hop the metro back to your home base. Eat somewhere near your place. I highly recommend the st Germaine district’s Le Jacobin for a casual dining experience with amazing food. Get the French onion soup, quiche salad, and escargot with a glass of Bordeaux. Get to sleep right after so you can catch up on all those hours you lost!
Grab a chocolate croissant and your espresso at a different neighborhood bakery and savor every delightful bite. Next, off to the Louve in the AM, followed by lunch at the restaurant overlooking the louvre, Cafe Marly. Get champagne, the croque madam, and a fig tart. Hop on a bike tour in the afternoon, preferably one that doesn’t require you wear a neon vest. (Advisory, the owner of this blog does not condone segway tours, only bike or walking tours.) I would visit this site prior to your trip to see what is available. After your tour de Paris, grab another macaron and head back to your hotel to shower and get ready for your life changing dinner reservation at Septime. Add the cheese board dessert, it’s a Parisian must. Make like a local and get one more glass of wine at Anthony Bourdain’s watering hole: La Palette before heading home.
Get inside whichever tourist attractions was your ‘must see’ from yesterday’s bike tour. I suggest Museo de Orsay, but there’s also Notre Dame, Pantheon, Invalides, the opera house, and about one trillion other museums and monuments. For sunset, you’ll head to Montmartre to marvel at Basilica Sacre Coeur and wander the adorable cobblestone streets. Resist the urge to eat here by indulging in a cup of hot cocoa and a crepe instead. After the street lights have kicked on and you’ve gotten your skyline photo, wander downhill and call an uber to the 7th to see the Eiffel Tower in all its twinkling glory. If you’re going to ride up it, this is the time… But I suggest resisting the urge. Stroll through the 7th (Karl lagerfields residence!) and dip into a little restaurant like Les Cocottes for dinner and wine.
Wake up and have your moment of despair that this is your last morning in Paris. Wash down your panic with a croissant and cappuccino and map out one last thing to do before you head off to the airport. Like, may I suggest… get your toosh to Berthillon for creamy heavenly gelato that rivals any scoop you’ll find in Italy. This entire neighborhood is a hommage to the great Berthillon and his ice cream dynasty. Grab a few souvenirs and do a bit of shopping here before you say your au revoir to the magic of Paris.