Parisienne Dreams: A Guide to The City of Lights
I visited The City of Lights for the first time while studying abroad in Barcelona. The first time I came, I spent 3 days in the city which was simply not enough. I didn’t get to see the Palace of Versailles, which is why I came back this year. I don’t know Paris like I know Barcelona, but I still hope this post helps you in planning a trip to Paris or inspires you to travel there one day.
France is a part of the EU. Their official currency is the euro. Their official language is French..obviously lol. Most people I ran into spoke some English, but it’s always fun to try to speak the language of the country you’re in! They have a great metro/train system to help you get around, but they also have taxis and uber. I recommend walking as much as you can so you can stop along the way. There is free public wifi throughout many parts of the city. Below are some apps, social media accounts, and links I found useful while in France
- Google Translate
Social media accounts
Public transportation in Paris
Paris is divided into 20 different arrondissements (districts/neighborhoods). A friend of mine recommended that I stay in any of the arrondissements 1-9 or 16. The first time I came to Paris, I stayed in a hotel right where Les Invalides was (1st arrondissement). It was a short walk from the Champ de Mars and really cute area. This past trip, I stayed at an Airbnb in Trocadéro (16th arrondissement). Both had a great view of the Eiffel Tower. Where you stay depends greatly on what type of experience you want and who you’re traveling with (if not alone). I knew I wanted to stay somewhere residential and safe for my solo trip. I chose an Airbnb located in Trocadéro because its reputation was just that. This website gives a pretty good breakdown of what each of the arrondissements is like.
This place is an Instagram lovers’ dream….or just anyone’s dream. It’s so picturesque. There’s a reason why it’s so enchanting even for someone who has never been but just looked at pictures online. There’s nothing like your first time in Paris. Below is a list of popular places to visit. I highly recommend walking and taking the metro as much as possible over taxis. The city is gorgeous! Even the street cafe you walk passed will be “Instagram-worthy” so explore!
- 1st Arr.
- Le Louvre
- Le Palais Royal
- Les Deux Plateaux (aka Colonnes de Buren) – This is located inside the courtyard in Le Palais Royal. It’s an art installation by Daniel Buren.
- Place Vendôme
- 2nd Arr.
- 4th Arr.
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- 5th Arr – Known as the Latin Quarter
- Rue Mouffetard
- 6th Arr.
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- 7th Arr.
- Rodin Museum
- Les Invalides
- Musée d’Orsay
- Rue Cler
- Eiffel Tower – This one is a bit obvious, but there are some things you might want to know about the tower. Every night every hour on the hour the tower is covered in golden lights and it sparkles for 5 minutes while the Eiffel Tower’s beam lights up the city. You can also go up the actual tower. You can buy tickets to go to the top of the tower to get a view of the city.
- Champ de Mars
- 8th Arr.
- 9th Arr.
- Moulin Rouge
- L’Opéra National de Paris – Pictured in the above left photo
- Galeries Lafayette – this is a mall with a beautiful dome ceiling. If you happen to be in Paris during the holidays, definitely get a picture of the Christmas tree inside and take a look at the windows outside of Galeries Lafayette. They rival those of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 2016, there was a polar bear theme done by Evian with a storyline and everything. It was adorable! See pictures below.
- 16th Arr.
- Place de Trocadéro – I think this is the best place to see the tower light show. Going during sunrise and sundown is also nice because the sky is so pretty!
- 18th Arr.
- Place du Tertre
- Sacré-Cœur – It’s not only beautiful to look at, it also has a gorgeous view of the city in front of it. I recommend watching either sunset or sunrise from the steps in front of Sacré-Cœur. You can go up Sacré-Cœur to the towers. If you do decide to go up, there are A LOT of steps so wear comfortable shoes.
- Château de Versailles – This trip is going to take up a lot of your time. It’s an hour outside of the city. The cheapest way to get there is by metro/train. A quick search in google maps from your hotel will give you the best directions. If you’re not comfortable using public transport, there are many tourist companies that will take you.
- Catacombs of Paris – I didn’t get to do this (just means I’ll have to return! what a shame lol). I think is really cool. If you’ve done it, please leave a comment below about your experience.
- Boat Tour on Seine River – There are so many different ones you can do, but I suggest doing a night-time boat tour over drinks or dinner because it’s really gorgeous to see the Eiffel Tower light up.
- A food tour & French cooking class – Check out the company below.
To Manger (“Eat” in French):
There are some things that you just need to try (at least once) while in the city of lights! Below are the foods I think everyone should give a go while in Paris! This is just my opinion of course.
Disclaimer: Never eat anything without knowing what’s in it. If you are not of legal age to consume alcohol then this post is not for you. The legal drinking age in France is 16 years for wine and beer, 18 years for spirits and liquor.
- Crepes – there are tons of carts on the street where you can stop and get one while walking. I got one while in Monmarte and another on Champs-Élysées and they were delicious. I think it’s hard to go wrong wherever you get them!!
- Escargot – It sounds scary, but it’s delicious!
- French Onion Soup
- Macarons – Try them from Laduree
- A French Baguette
- Croissant – With chocolate or without
- Cafe Au Lait
- Mousse Au Chocolat
- Crème brûlée
- Crêpe Suzette
Below are some restaurants that I suggest checking out.
- Angelina – Brunch
- La Société – Brunch
- Pierre Hermé – They have really great pastries.
- Ladurée ( the Champs-Élysées location) – This is an entire restaurant.
- Cafe du Trocadero
- Robert et Louise – dinner
- Grazie – Italian
There you have it! My Paris guide! I know it’s not as comprehensive as my Barcelona Diary, but I have only been a tourist in The City of Lights! I hope this was helpful & let me know if you have any suggestions in the comments below:)
City & Chic♥