I’ve been to Paris loads of times now– whenever a friend is in town from the US, they want to visit. Then there are the times that I want to go on my own, or for an exhibition or concert. Crazily, its both quicker and easier to get to than most places in the UK, and the conversion rate from pounds is really, really good. Plus, Paris is beautiful and there’s always something to do!
Since I’ve been several times before, I won’t go in to the in’s and out’s of my adventure- as with my trip to Austria, I’m trying more impactful entries that give you tips and facts that could help you plan your trip! So without further ado, here are my top five recommendations for a trip to Paris.
Eat lunch at a Parisian bistro
One of my favorite activities during the apres midi? A long, lazy lunch (or, if out late the night before and having had a cheeky lie in, brunch) at a Parisian bistro. There’s nothing quite like them: small, cozy and quite typically colorful.
The bistro in these pictures is Le Petit Pontoise in the 5th.
Check out the Galeries Lafayette
I’m a pretty big shopper, but I tend to stay with the cute little boutiques in Le Marais if I’m actually going to buy something. That being said, Parisian grand magasins- Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette, in particular- are fun to walk around. The ceiling at the Galeries Lafayette is particularly noteworthy, and worth a pop in just to take a look.
Visit Shakespeare and Co.
Facing Notre Dame on the Rive Gauche, the view from the front of Shakespeare and Co. is worthy of the trip in and of itself. However, this bookstore, which mainly offers English language books, was a favorite haunt of authors such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald. I went during my first trip to Paris and its somewhat of a tradition to go and buy a new book each time I’m in town.
Eat at Klay to detox a bit
Klay is a health club with an AMAZING restaurant at the front. When I walked in I was a little confused- there’s a salon, people clearly coming and going from exercise classes and a greenhouse full of tables, with a beautiful bar off to the side. Kind of multipurpose, but it seems they aren’t distracted with the multitasking. After all the heavy French food I ate during my trip, this brunch- a lentil salad and green juice- was just what I needed. If you’re worried about keeping with the culture, as I sometimes am, you’ll be happy to hear that I felt it was still Parisian in style, and clearly a trendy place to go, so I didn’t feel too much like I could have gotten the experience anywhere else.
Try a Kir Royale at a sidewalk bistro or cafe
If you find yourself at an awkward hour where shops are closed, but its too early to eat or retire to your hotel, take a seat at any one of the millions of cafes or bistros with sidewalk seating. The people watching is amazing. I often treat myself to a kir royale, my fave French drink, to sip while watching the world go by. I even do this whilst on business calls (sans the kir, obviously) or even if I just want to get out my hotel and work in front of my computer for a few hours.
See Paris at night
When I first was in Paris, I was alone and often too afraid to walk around alone at night. During later trips, I typically found myself holed up at a restaurant or bar until the wee hours, after which I had no capacity to enjoy Paris for its true beauty in the nighttime hours. This is the first trip that I really enjoyed Paris by night. I can understand why they call it the city of light.
Treat yourself to a nice hotel
There’s nothing like a lovely hotel after a day of touristing. Although I typically have stayed with or at friends’ places in the past, or rented Airbnbs, there’s nothing like a beautiful room in the middle of town with a bubbly bath and a good glass of champagne at the end of a day walking around one of the world’s prettiest cities!
I stayed at the Hotel Original in the Bastille, just a few minutes’ walk away from Place Vosges.
Whatever you do in Paris, enjoy!