Oh, Paris. A city I never thought I would visit, yet alone come to love. I heard so many different opinions about it: Oh it’s the most romantic place on earth. Oh no, it’s too americanized. French people are rude, food is bad… on and on. Well, it’s now my turn to contribute my own opinion and reflection on Paris.
This trip, was one I will remember forever. As a 21st birthday gift, my Mom took me to Paris and it was the first time for both of us visiting this magical city. On top of that, my cousins came along too and it was our first family trip together; which made it even that much more special. We spent a total of 6 nights in Paris and stayed at Le Burgundy Hotel; just minutes away from Place de la Concorde and all your luxury shopping destinations.
My mom and I are pretty much the same when it comes to traveling and visiting somewhere new. We pre-plan everything months in advance including all tours and restaurants. The best way to see and explore a new place is to simply WALK the streets. Explore the little streets (with of course, caution and reason), stop by a local café and people watch, ask locals for recommendations, etc.
With all that being said, our 6 nights were LONG, our feet were SORE, our eyes were WIDE, and our hearts were FULL. We got to see so much of Paris and its outskirts and experience its old and modern charm.
If you are planning on booking a trip to Paris, have one coming up, or simply curious to see what Paris has to offer, continue reading to see images from our trip, plus are 6 day heavy itinerary.
We got off the plane at 8am, and the first thing we did when we got to our hotel was hit the spa for a nice travel detox massage. To ensure we were well rested and not jet-lagged for the rest of our trip, we hit the bed for a snooze to feel refreshed for dinner and the days ahead.
Dinner: L’Absinthe // The perfect first dinner to kick off our trip! Our waiter was so sweet and patient with us and gave us the best recommendations! You MUST get the Veal dish here as well as the small ravioli with langoustine cream sauce.
TIP 1: Leave your American eating habits behind! If you are used to eating dinner earlier than 8pm, be prepared to be the only ones dining at the restaurants. At least in the Summer time, the Sun doesn’t set until 9:30pm, so 90% of the people within the city, will start going out around 8:30/9pm.
TIP 2: An American coffee, when ordering, is café Americano; otherwise if you ask for a coffee, you’ll be handed a really strong shot of espresso.
TIP 3: Tip is already included within your check 🙂
Wake up: 7:30am
Stop 1: Musee D’Louvre.
We spent from 9am-1pm with a private walking tour guide at the Louvre (please e-mail me for her contact info). Make sure you get your tickets to the museum in advance to avoid an uncomfortably long line! Also, to save on time, don’t go through the main entrance. To the left of the famous glass pyramid, you’ll find another entrance located within the large alley 🙂
Stop 2: Lunch.
We were starving, as you can imagine, after spending nearly 4 hours at the Museum. We didn’t care where we ate, so we stopped by a café that’s across the street called Le Café CPR Palais Royal (not the best food, but #foodisfood)
Stop 3: Eiffel Tower.
Honestly, not going to lie, I think the Eiffel Tower is hyped up (as I should’ve expected). It really is more beautiful to admire from a distance because up close, it’s just too crowded, dusty, has construction all around it, and the grass isn’t even green (do not believe the images you see on IG!) Perhaps, it was just the time of year, but we were hoping to sit down on the grass area and just relax, but it wasn’t the most comfortable or pleasant environment. But of course it’s definitely worth a visit because it is the Eiffel Tower.
Stop 4: Dinner @ Il Carpaccio.
Be prepared to drop $$$$ but have the most pleasant experience ever! They are strict when it comes to confirming your reservation so make sure to 1. make a reservation 2. confirm it when they call/e-mail you! The outdoor seating is just absolutely fabulous and will give you all the #Europe lux vibes.
The staff was extremely professional and provided a memorable dining experience (I’d hope so since it is a Michelin Star). I got the Beef Carpaccio appetizer and for main course I got Ravioli filled with creamy cheese and eggplant on tomato coulis and salted ricotta (to die for).
Stop 5: Arc de Triumph.
Just a short walk from Il Carpaccio, this was our only visit to the Arc during our trip. It really is quite beautiful at night. The Arc is also located right on Champs-Elysees, which is equivalent to Times Square (we skipped it).
Wake Up: 8:30am
Stop 1: Jardin de Luxembourg.
This is a beautiful stop, that won’t require too much time, to admire beautiful scenery and is walking distance to the Latin Quarters. Bring your favorite book, a fresh baguette and have a seat somewhere on the grass to unwind.
Stop 2: Brunch @ La Crêperie.
This little slice of heaven is so chic and has the most delicious menu! The food was mouth watering and we loved that it wasn’t a tourist spot! It truly felt like a Parisian local café. Its vibe is similar to that of the Butcher’s Daughter…but with crepes. Delicious crepes.
Stop 3: St. Paul Metro.
This is a great center point for exploring the Le Marais region. We explored all of Le Marais with the same private guide we explored the Louvre with. She was the sweetest lady who knew so much and gave us a totally different perspective of the streets we were roaming. You’ll find the Jewish Quarters near by and they’re definitely worth strolling through!
Stop 4: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.
After spending some time walking around Le Marais, we walked to Cathédrale Notre-Dame. Make sure you have tickets in advance as the line is tremendously long…as you can imagine.
Make sure you stop by Berthillon Glacier for the best ice cream you’ll ever have. The original location will have a long line BUT, on the opposite side across the street from it, you’ll find a little window that is also Berthillon Glacier (just not the original location), which will serve the same ice cream minus the line.
Stop 5: Dinner.
This is the one stop I did not remember/save from the trip but we stopped at a local French Restaurant that wasn’t anything special, so you’re not missing out.
Stop 6: Siene River Tour.
The perfect way to end a long day after having walked 10+ miles. This tour, though it’s pretty short in duration, offers some beautiful views of Paris, and you can’t forget the Eiffel Tower that gets lit up at night. Unfortunately, it started to rain as soon as we stepped on board, but my cousins and I embraced the rain and wind, and went onto the outdoor deck to take in the views.
Wake Up: 6:00am (Yep.)
Note: This entire day was spent with a tour guide, which gave us the most out of the day + was really organized. Note, the itinerary for this day could be done on your own, but I HIGHLY recommend doing this trip through the agency we did to get the best experience.
Stop 1: Giverny, France. (Claude Monet Gardens)
We met our guide at 8am and were joined by another family of 3 (it was just my mom and I on this one). Shortly after, we hopped into the guide’s van and drove off to our first destination: Giverny, France (about an hour away) to explore Claude Monet Gardens and his home. Even if you are not a fan of art or care for it that much, this isn’t an “art” stop.
It’s a trip to a small historic, practically untouched village with an occupancy of about 400 (mainly local artists). Imagine just tiny streets where only one car can pass at a time. We had tickets to enter into the Gardens and to walk the premises (the gardens were constructed by Monet himself were his inspo for most of his work).
After you’re done walking through his home and enjoying life in the gardens, about five minutes away by foot, you’ll find Ancien Hotel Baudy (Restaurant Baudy). This charming small hotel, serves some seriously delicious coffee for you to enjoy afterwards. We would of loved to have lunch here, but our lunch brings us to our next stop 🙂
Stop 2: Lunch @Le Moulin de Fourges in Fourges, France.
About 20 minutes from Giverny, our tour guide organized a charming little lunch outdoors at a historic Watermill that was turned into a restaurant; Le Moulin de Fourges. All the small groups had their lunch here and it was included in the price you pay for the whole day. Wine, appetizer, entry, dessert and coffee. Don’t expect the best food, but it’s definitely not bad and the environment adds to the quaint experience!
Stop 3: Palace of Versailles.
This was our last main site for the day with our guide and let me tell you- we were so thankful we went with a guide because we skipped out on lines, stayed away from crowds, and got to see and hear the most fascinating things about Versailles. We went on a Saturday, which is the day they have the Fountain Shows in the garden (3:30pm-4:45/5pm). I would double check to see if this changes based on season. As beautiful as the grounds are, make sure to see the Ballroom Fountain during the show. It’s not like any of the others and in my opinion, it’s the most beautiful one.
Stop 4: Dinner @Le George.
Located inside the Four Seasons, this Michelin Star Restaurant, had some high expectations on our end that weren’t particularly met. The interior and ambiance was gorgeous and very lux, but the food, which to me is the most important, was nothing special. Be prepared to have Truffle on almost every dish. As much as I love truffle, too much can be well…too much. Again, I’m fortunate to have a very spoiled palette, but we were disappointed.
Are you tired yet? Don’t worry, the trip is almost over!
Wake Up: 7:30am. This day was also spent with a private tour guide.
Stop 1: Musée d’Orsay.
This is another Museum you must visit. It was created to store a-lot of the pieces that the Louvre could not hold and has such beautiful pieces on display.
Stop 2: Lunch @ Les Antiquaires.
Just three minutes away from d’Orsay, this chic french-country bistro offers some delicious lunch options and is a nice local spot!
Stop 3: Musée de l’orangerie.
On the smaller side, this museum holds the famous Claude Monet Lili Pond pieces.
Stop 4: MontMartre- Sacré-Cœur.
We took the metro outside of l’orangerie to get ourselves to Montmartre. Montmartre is a MUST on your Paris itinerary. Here, you’ll find small streets, corner cafés, local shops, music on the streets, and a ton of people. It was the perfect way to end our last touring day of Paris. We hit some small local historic points that our guide pointed out, which made Montmartre more special. Of course, we also visited Sacré-Cœur, which was beautiful. My favorite part about it is the amazing overlooking view it has on Paris.
Stop 5: Dinner @Buddha Bar.
After having rested for about 2 hours, we headed to dinner at 9pm to Buddha Bar. If you’re from NY, the vibe and menu is almost identical to that of Tao. It was delicious and definitely a needed break from all the French food! Honestly, your girl here can’t go a week without having Asian cuisine!
Wake Up: 9am.
This was our last full day in Paris and since we saw everything we wanted to and were beyond exhausted (as you can imagine), my mom and I spent this day with nothing on the agenda besides shopping, eating and walking. Our hotel was conveniently located near all the shops.
We ended up having lunch at one of our fav places from the trip, Bistro Francois Felix, which is located across from Buddha Bar restaurant. The food here is so delicious, again, no tourists (very minimal). Highly recommend the rosé here (it’s called Minuty…yes I wrote it down because I don’t joke about my wines). We ordered the Jambon Ibérique as an appetizer and duck skewers in teriyaki glaze for main.
Our last dinner was at a local restaurant tucked away from tourists (except for us). Chez Janou, was one of my favorite places to dine. It was everything we hoped we would find. Cozy, authentic, local with a great crowd and the FOOD! They don’t have an english menu, but our waiter was so sweet and energetic and translated everything for us. If you love seafood, I highly recommend the muscles!
I hope that this blog post has been helpful for those planning a trip to Paris. Coming from someone who wasn’t excited to go, I cannot wait to be back. As always, if you have any questions/comments, please leave it below or reach me via e-mail or Instagram!
Thank you for you reading and I can’t wait to bring you guys on my next adventure!