Your Paris Guide! The Essentials!
Paris is an amazing city…full of architectural, cultural, and artistic treasures. We recommend you stay at least 3 nights in order to discover or re-discover this city - the maximum you should stay is just unlimited!
There is always a new pop up exhibition showcasing the best artists, a new restaurant or bar to try, gardens to explore, and monuments you want to see again and again! It is a city that never stops surprising us, and we love it for that reason.
But how do you decide what to do, see or where to eat? We have put together this handy Paris travel guide to help steer you through the plethora of options - so that you can worry less about missing out on some of Paris’ best attractions and concentrate on having a great vacation instead.
When to travel to Paris…
We recommend you to go to Paris all year long! Why? Because as we say in France “Ajoutez deux lettres à Paris : c'est le paradis” (Jules Renard) “Add two letters to Paris you get Paradis(e)” There is no bad time to go there, just not enough time to explore it all!
Where to Stay In Paris?
There really is no ‘best area to stay in Paris’ - it all depends on what your preferences are. Paris is a place where pretty much all of the areas are great and each have their own unique & vibrant feeling. Whether you want to stay within arms reach of the main sights: Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Opera and Champs Elysees or hidden more within the narrow streets of Saint Germain des Pres, Latin Quarter and Montmartre or perhaps even in the trendy areas of Bastille, Montparnasse or Nation we can help you to find the best apartments or hotels to suit your needs.
We have personally visited and stayed in a range of great accommodation options within Paris that we can recommend- from studio to 4 bedroom apartment and 3* hotels to Palaces, staying in Paris just got easier.
What to Do in Paris?
There are an unlimited number of things to do in Paris, and to help you make the most of it, we often give tips according to the season to help our travellers to be at the best place at the right time. Below are some of our top picks amongst the many of Paris’ attractions:.
Summer must-do activities:
- Wandering and exploring on foot
- Rooftop bars and restaurants
Winter must-do activities:
- Museums and art galleries
- Hidden bars and restaurants
But in reality, all year round you can enjoy all of these activities because Paris “est une fete” and the weather doesn’t matter as it is as beautiful and lively under the sun as it is under the rain.
Museums we LOVE:
Numbered amongst the top things to see in Paris, there are a lot of museums within the Capital and it can be difficult to make a choice…so we will give you a few of our top picks:
Grand Palais: We love its central location in the 8th arrondissement, its architecture (as it was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900), but mostly importantly the exhibitions at that it holds the Grand Palais are ALWAYS amazing and diverse. From fine arts, fashion, photography, music, dance, cinema, theatre and sport, there is something to interest everyone. It is recommended to always check what’s on at the Grand Palais during your stay to ensure you don’t miss out.
Palais de Tokyo: If you like modern and contemporary art, this is the place to be! Located next to the Trocadero, check out its exhibitions during your trip in its monumental yet beautiful building.
Quai Branly Museum: Definitely one of our favourite museums. Firstly because of it vegetation walls which are quite impressive in the middle of Paris, but also because this museum hides artistic masterpieces of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania as well as showcasing surprising exhibitions with interactive tools.
Musee d’Orsay: We love it, firstly because it was a train station transformed in a museum. But mostly for those who like the French Impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, etc). You must go there!
Musee des Art Decoratifs: Would you like to learn more about fashion advertising? Check the exhibition of the moment at this museum. You might get lucky and see some of the masterpieces of Louis Vuitton, Dior and other Haute Couture names or see some great exhibitions about advertising of famous brands!
Kids: Travelling with kids, we haven’t forgotten about you! Discover the Jardins d’Acclimatation which always offer activities, plus kids will love seeing the birds and plants there. The other option is Cite des Enfants (from 2 to 12 years old) in the la Villette area, kids can learn while playing and experimenting - a great place to go to if you are visiting the city with children.
Where to eat & drink in Paris: Restaurants, Bars, Patisserie & Dinner Show
Enjoying a trip in Paris involves lots of food & wine. From rooftops bars, boat bars and French patisseries to Michelin-starred restaurants…there are plenty of places to eat in Paris where you can relax, spend time and enjoy the Parisian lively lifestyle. We recommend you go to all of the places below!
Yes, we know you will stop at Fauchon and La Durée but please don’t forget the local ones below:
- Patisserie Cyril Lignac – Cyril is a famous chef in French, known for his Southern France singing accent, but mostly for being a renowned Pattisiere! Stop in one of his patisseries…we recommend the Tarte au Citron Meringuée.
- Huré Boulangerie in Le Marais – all the pâtisseries are amazing. We ordered 7 and they were all yummy!
- Éclair de Genie – You must stop in one of their shops as we are sure you’ve never seen this kind of patisserie dedicated to éclairs! Savoury or sweet, you can have it all and taste some fancy éclairs as you have never done before!
Our top 3 for Rooftop bars:
- Le Perchoir Marais - The place to drink and enjoy great views, live music, good pizza and great wine after your shopping at BHV.
- Le Sardignac Sur Le Toit - If you want a simple fun place outside central Paris, go there and enjoy good food and great cocktails!
- Le Nuba - The place to drink if you like vintage, stylish, ‘green’ places. Very good cocktails and music. You can also enjoy the Café Oz next door if you feel like you are missing Australia and you need to speak to English-speaking waiters or waitresses and dance!
Bars we love to stop at:
- Rosa Bonheur - One of the most epic bars to go to is Rosa Bonheur, famous for its atmosphere in the heart of Buttes Chaumont Garden, you will love it! One of the Parisians’ favourite after work place to go to. You can sit outside and have a drink, or you can dance - you can have it all there.
- Baranaan - If you want some great cocktails, cool atmosphere, and Indian food, this is the place!
- Frenchie Bar à Vins - For those who like a good bottle of wine, chitchat and some good cheeses or snack food to accompany your drink! We love the atmosphere and the quality. Perfect for a couple who wants to spend some romantic time together in an intimate space.
As you would expect, there are a whole host of amazing places to eat in Paris. Some of the best restaurants in Paris include:
- Train Bleu - If you are waiting at Gare de Lyon go to Train Bleu restaurant, you will be surprised by the luxury of this place and the amazing food and coffee there! (Note: it is expensive but worth it!).
- Huguette Bistro de la Mer - For those who love seafood, Parisian atmosphere, Saint Germain des Pres and great wines, this restaurant is a must! Book your table on the terrace or inside. Listen to the live DJ, order your oysters and white wine and enjoy!
This list wouldn’t be complete without some of the more opulent places to eat in Paris. Whilst more expensive, both the food and wine you can experience at these restaurants are worth it!
- Jules Vernes restaurant - Famous for being located on 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower and also boasting 3 Michelin stars, you will be amazed by this experience in one of the most famous monument of the world in the city of love. From there you can see the lights of Paris and enjoy a fabulous French cuisine meal.
- Epicure restaurant - Located at Le Bristol, 3 Michelin stars. If you want some delicious food and a luxurious experience in the middle of Paris, this is the place to go to!
- Alain Ducasse Plaza Athenée
- Shangri-La restaurant
Dinner & show
A must-do in Paris is a dinner show. Some people will say it’s a touristy thing, we say IT IS NOT! It is a fabulous experience and unforgettable night. We are in love with both the Lido and the Moulin Rouge. We have spent beautiful moments there and 100% recommend that everyone experience it.
Book a Moulin Rouge or Lido show and dinner for an authentic Parisian experience. Or if you want to combine your accommodation and a Moulin Rouge or Lido show, we also offer various packages. We also offer a 3-night package at Le-Six Hotel which includes a Lido show & bottle of Champagne for 2!
Monuments to visit:
Paris is a museum in itself so it’s not difficult to wing-it and just go! There are monuments that we recommend you go to, even if as a first-timer you wouldn’t think it’s important to go.
Discover French history, culture and art with our Paris sightseeing tours. You can also try the Paris Museum Pass for unlimited access to more than 60 museums such as the Louvre, Orsay Museum and more! We also offer skip-the-line tours for some of Paris’ best attractions, including the Eiffel Tower!
- Pantheon - Located in the 5th arrondissement this monument is beautiful outside and inside and full of history as the tomb of the Grands Hommes are there (Victor Hugo, Marie & Paris Curie, Emile Zola,…). But also because you get some of the best views of Paris.
- Louvre - (Yes, of course this is on your list) we meant under the Louvre. With foundations dated from the 12th century, make sure you keep yourself warm and discover the history of the monument from a different perspective.
And off course, onto some of the more renowned Paris attractions, which are considered to be some of the best and unmissable things to see in Paris. We recommend the famous spots below, which are a must do every time you visit the French Capital:
- Eiffel Tower - The place not to miss! Make sure you book your skip-the-line tickets in advance so you don’t have to queue! Also be aware that the summit is sometimes closed because of the weather - so check beforehand to avoid disappointment.
- Arc de Triomphe - While walking along the Champs Elysees we recommend to go there at night to see one of the best night-views in Paris, as you can see all the main avenue lit up from there.
- Sacre Coeur - Montmartre the place that reminds you of Paris as a village. We love sitting on the stairs there looking at the view and watching the artists that are always there dancing, juggling or singing! Fun fact: The Sacre Coeur is white because the stones that were used to build it are over 350 years old. These stones have the magic of becoming white when in contact with the rain (same stone as the Arc de Triumph).
- Invalides - Be curious and go to discover Napoleon’s tomb as well as the amazing monument, Qi Regorge d’Histoire.
- Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral - We have to say that we never go to Paris without stopping at this beautiful cathedral. First of all because it is so well located on Ile Saint Louis close but also because it is an amazing Gothic monument that will offer you some of the best views of Paris. Tip: go behind the park to see the bells exposed, then walk a little further and discover another monument worth stopping for, and visit the Memorial of the Deportation - which is free and a really good reminder of the history.
Streets, Gardens & Walks
What about hidden passages, streets that make you feel like you’re in a village, and walks that you would not expect. Our Paris guide would not be complete without recommendations to simply just walk around Paris' and uncover its hidden beauty!
There are the must-do famous gardens to go to; such as Tuileries Gardens and Luxembourg Gardens, and the less famous ones such as Buttes Chaumont and Coulée Verte. We definitely recommend all of them. Tuileries Gardens and Luxembourg Gardens are luxurious and you can see the history, while Buttes Chaumont and Coulée Verte (hidden old rail suspended above Paris) are more local experiences worth a stop. We always go to all of them as we love a mix of walking paths and history. Relax and enjoy the green atmosphere!
Where to Shop?
Shopping in Paris - well, this is pretty easy as you can shop EVERYWHERE! We recommend the brands and boutiques below:
- Galeries Lafayette with their amazing location, fashion show once a week (FREE) and their own affordable collection! Stop at the Terrace for a drink with amazing view, or the famous Angelina Café with amazing patisseries!
- BHV Marais - The new place to shop and everything is available there! After you shopping go join the line to access Le Perchoir rooftop bar.
- Mariage Freres - For authentic French tea! Our favourite teas! We recommend the Marco Polo! You can bring back French tea. Boutique is in Le Marais.
- Jacadi for kids, we love this brand!
- Comptoir de Cotonniers for clothes
- Minelli for shoes and bags!
- Julia’s corner shop for Made in France accessories, (bags, sunglasses, ..) in Le Marais
- Les Partisanes for a French watch.
Where to Take Fun & Memorable Photos?
We could keep this list going for hours! To end our Paris Travel Guide we want to give you 3 tips on where to the best selfies and funny photos:
- Go to Place du Trocadero and hold the Eiffel Tower.
- At La Defense you can walk on the Arch
- At the top of the Pantheon you can eat the Eiffel Tower.
As you can see, Paris is a beautiful city full of amazing things to do and see. It has some of the world’s best restaurants, boasts ample shopping plazas & boutiques and is home to world famous monuments and buildings.
Whether you’re a family away on vacation, a couple looking for a romantic getaway or friends enjoying a city break, our dedicated French travel specialists can help you to find the perfect Parisian accommodation, packages or tours to fit your individual preferences.
Contact us to book your next holiday in Paris or call us to speak to one of our agents for more information. Book today, for a trip that will stay with you for a lifetime.