Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in more ways than one! You’ll find stunning landscapes, one-of-a-kind art pieces, delicious food and incredible fashion. Let’s see how you can get the most out of this city, without overdoing yourself and needing a vacation from your vacation. Check out our Paris travel guide!
Most of the time, if you’re coming from North America, you’ll be flying into Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport, which is about 35km from the city centre. Personally, I’d say Paris is a great introduction to the country. However, you may find that the capital is lacking in warmth and a sense of welcome — Parisians have a reputation for being snotty and impatient (if you think they honk a lot in New York City, wait until you’ve driven in Paris). Nevertheless, Paris is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world and truly deserves to be visited. It is also GIGANTIC, and would truly take months (if not years) to explore all of it, however with this guide you can get away with seeing the highlights in under a week!
First things first, let’s talk accommodation. While Paris is on the higher end in terms of cost, there is a range of options for accommodation. As I mentioned, Paris is huge, so it’s a good idea to narrow down what you’d like to see/do in the city and base your accommodation around that. There are so many different neighbourhoods (20 arrondissements to be exact), all with their own vibe so it’s important to choose the right area for your lifestyle.
Arguably one of the best neighbourhoods of Paris, Le Marais is located in the 4th arrondissement and is known for its liveliness and style. It’s the perfect mix of traditional Paris (think cobblestones, narrow streets and art collections) with a modern, funky vibe. Le Marais is also the centre of Paris’ gay life! It’s super accessible on foot or metro to most attractions, but one downside of Le Marais, is the cost, as it’s definitely on the pricier side compared to other neighbourhoods.
If you’re looking for a fun arrondissement that is centrally located, then Bastille is the place for you! Named after the former fortress that used to be here, Bastille is known for its bars and restaurants. It has great nightlife and is very popular among young travellers!
Saint Germain is one of the best places to stay if you’re looking to escape the craziness of the city! If you are travelling with your family, this arrondissement might be a great fit. It houses the world-famous Luxembourg Garden, which is arguably the best spot for a picnic, as well as numerous shops and museums to keep the whole family entertained!
Now that you know where you’re staying, how are you going to occupy your time?
Picnic in Jardin de Luxembourg
Although Paris is home to some of the most high-end restaurants of all time, there’s nothing like grabbing some fresh bread, stinky cheese, and a bottle of wine and heading down to the largest public park in Paris for a picnic!
Explore the Catacombs
While this won’t be for everyone, the Catacombs are underground tunnels that were used as burial sites in the 18th century, after an overflowing of cemeteries caused enormous health concerns. The remains of over 6 million Parisians are laid here — it is one of the coolest (and freakiest!) things you’ll see in Paris.
Climb the Arc de Triomphe
While many people are climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the summit of the Arc de Triomphe is sometimes overlooked. Standing under it is quite incredible, but 284 steps later and you can be at the top, getting some of the best panoramic views of the city!
Known as the art capital of the city, Montmartre is one of the most romantic and dreamy parts of town. The iconic Sacré-Coeur basilica sits on top of the hill, and you’ll get to see the hangout spots of Hemingway and many other starving artists of the time!
Sit at a cafe for the day
By far my favourite activity — sitting on the terrace of a simple, French café and people-watching. You’ll hear some of the most beautiful jazz music (and lots of honking), but it’s one of the most memorable things you can do.
I hope these recommendations can help you enjoy the City of Light! Bon voyage!
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Written by: Sacha Vincent-Toskin