17 May Paris Travel Tips
Paris was never on my top 10 list of places to visit. Just keeping it real. So why did we end up in the City of Light for our first ever overseas trip? Well, when you have a 21 year old niece who decides to move to France for a semester, Paris and France suddenly catapult themselves to the #1 list, that’s why. So, Mike Miller and I packed up and left the kids—with a ten page print out of school and activities and practices and baseball games for the grandmas—and we headed to Paris! Here are all our Paris Travel Tips and coming soon I will be doing a post on Southern France and the Cote de’Azur.
First off, I have to recommend some must have items you are going to want to pack when going to Paris. Let’s just say I was super unprepared and I want you to learn from my mistakes. We went to Paris in mid May and we were really cold at times. Neither one of us were prepared and didn’t bring a single jacket. What the heck? Typical Miller planning right there. You need to have a light to heavy jacket—trench coats, leather jackets, and blazers seemed to be all the rage. You also need rain gear. It rained and drizzled off and on a lot and we had to buy a travel umbrella once we got there. Finally, comfy shoes are a must. You will do A LOT of walking. I think we sometimes walked 8 to 10 miles a day if not more. Packing a scarf is a good idea because it’s a Parisian thing to wear and also, who doesn’t love a good scarf? You will blend right in with Paris fashion culture your scarf AND it will help you stay warm on those cool mornings or evenings so it’s a win win.
Disclaimer: I will probably be mispelling French names, streets, and destinations throughout this entire post so if that offends you, I would just go ahead and skip reading this and look at the pretty pictures. What a beautiful language but seriously, who can pronounce all those secret vowels and I’ve never seen so many accents in my life.
Disclaimer #2: I forgot my camera battery (typical CC) so the first 48 hours of this trip are bought to you by my iphone (insert eyeroll emoticon here).
Paris Packing must haves: trench coat, scarves, comfortable but cute walking shoes, rain gear
Ted Baker Umbrella | Olive Trench Coat | Burberry Check Scarf | Adidas White Superstar Sneakers | Adidas Gazelle Sneaker | Villa Tile Silk Scarf | Adidas Samoa Shoes | Halogen Ring Geomtric Scarf | Heritage Trench Coat | Stripe Organic Cotton Scarf
Day One – The Louvre, Musee de Orsay, Walk down the Seine River, Eiffel Tower.
We made it into Paris in the morning and after making it through customs we took our luggage to our Airbnb, then we went straight to the Louvre. Now, admittedly, we aren’t huge museum people but when in Paris you have to see the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo, right? Truth be told, you could make a week long trip out of just going to museums in Paris but we just went to two of the most famous museums and then decided to spend our time elsewhere. We prefer exploring the city more than we do exploring museums. Just a personal preference. I do, however, recommend buying a Paris Museum Pass. It gets you into so many different attractions in Paris and is worth the money. It also gives you shorter lines to wait in. Oh! Also make sure to check the days you will be there and plan accordingly because the museums aren’t open on Sunday and Monday.
The Louvre is massive and you can spend an entire day in it. We walked through it in 3-4 hours but that is all our jet lagged bodies could handle. The Musee de Orsay is also highly recommended and is more Impressionistic Art. It is in a really cool train station and this shot from the clock is a really cool one to get for photographers. You’ll want to get there early if you want to get this shot before the museum gets crowded. (Photo via Kent Charles)
After the Louve, we made our way outside and walked down the main street that has the large carousel, past the Arc de Triomphe, strolled down the Seine River, then made our way to the Eiffel Tower area. It is nice to stop at a market along the way and get some French bread and cheeses – my favorite cheese is comte and the saucisson (a dried meat) is amazing. Pick up some olives, a baguette, and some fresh fruit at the market, then a bottle of wine or champagne, and you can have a picnic on the steps across the street from the Eiffel tower where you will have an amazing view of sunset. Stick around for the light show every hour on the hour after dark.
That was our Paris Day One in a nutshell. We were spent and jet lag was setting in so we were off to our Airbnb after seeing the Eiffel Tower.
Day Two – Montmarte, Le Marais, Luxembourg Gardens, Latin Quarter, then Evening Eiffel Tower Light Show
OK I Seriously will probably have to do an entire post on Montmarte, which is the 18th arrondissement of Paris. I litereally cried at one point when we were walking around the streets. The picturesque little cafes on every corner, the artists in the square painting, sculpting, drawing, sketching, and the live musicians walking around playing accordians…It just hit me. Needless to say, I fell in love with Montmarte. Plan a half to full day to explore this district, have a drink at a café, buy some local art, and see the Sacré-Coeur. Here are some pictures from our day in Montmarte.
These little cafes in Montmarte were to die for.
Next up we went to the Le Marais district, which is in the 4th arrondissement. Look at these gorgeous doors on our walk from Montmarte to Le Marais. Paris architecture is so gorgeous! I liked all the vintage shops in Le Marais. Pop in and see if you can find a cool leather jacket, or maybe even score a vintage designer handbag. We also ate Falafel at this little Falafel shop which was highly rated and is supposed to be the best Falafel in the world.
This falafel shop in Larais was a huge hit. It was yummy!
I loved shopping in the vintage stores!
From Le Marais we walked to the Luxembourg Gardens. They were gorgeous and worth a trip to walk around.
Our Last stop on Day Two was to walk through the Latin Quarter. We walked through in the evening and there were a lot of people dancing to music in the streets and it was just a fun vibe. We stopped and had gelato at one of the fun little sweet shops too. We headed to the Eiffell tower after that to watch the nightly light show which happens every hour on the hour after dark.
Day Three – Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, Montmarte – yes we went again we loved it so much.
On day 3 we met up with my sister and brother-in-law for a Paris rendezvous. It was so fun! We saw Notre Dame (gorgeous)—make sure to get there early if you want to climb to the top to see the gargoyles and gorgeous views because the lines were oh, so long—, Sainte Chapelle—such a gorgeous chapel—and we went back to Montmarte again.
This cool little book store is walking distance from Notre Dame and is worth a stop. It was so amazing.
Day Four – Market for the Morning
we just had a relaxing breakfast at a café then went to the Market before heading to catch our train sure you don’t miss a Paris Market experience. I love watching how the people stop to buy fresh meats, veggies, fruits, cheese, art, books, etc…
So there you have it! CC and Mike tackle Paris and give you all our Paris Travel Tips and Recommendations. Next up, we will be sharing about our trip to Nice and the French Riviera!