I’m often asked, “Hey! I’m coming to Paris soon! What should I do?” If I don’t know the person really well, this is pretty tough to answer. One itinerary doesn’t fit all and there’s just so much to see in this city.
This is not necessarily my guide for a first-timer’s trip, but what’d I do if I ever moved away and were to visit Paris, say, 30 years from now. It is a list of my absolute favorite spots in this beautiful city.
- In the morning, I’d head over to the Saxe Bruteil market and pick up a tradition baguette, some cheese, a small bottle of red wine (and plastic cups), figs, and a little charcuterie. You can see the Eiffel Tower from the stalls of the market, and it’s just a short walk away from Champs de Mars for the perfect picnic. I’d bring along a nice picnic blanket and book to sunbathe the entire afternoon.
- Afterwards, I’d head over for some delicious beef bourguignon at one of my favorite French restaurants, Au Vieux Comptoir. When I first moved to Paris, a local friend Thomas took me here and whenever I go back, I have fond memories of how I felt during my first week wandering this new city.
- At night, how about a classical music concert at Saint Chappelle? I took one of my good friends to see Bach on the violin for her birthday. It’s a really intimate space, with only ~20 people in the audience, so the musician can tell you his/her backstory (often in both French and English) and you can meet him/her after the concert.
- No trip to Paris would be complete without a day spent in Etretat, my favorite place in this country so far and just an hour’s drive away. Read more about my Normandy trip here.
- For dessert, one of my best places I’ve stumbled upon is Crêperie des Arts in the Saint Germain area. Nutella banana all the way. They don’t make the crispy types, but the soft fresh kind.
- Lastly, I’d head over to one of the discount pharmacy stores til closing to pick up my favorite French beauty products.
- Rise and shine with an almond croissant or some other tasty pastry. There are so many good places in Paris (nearly every corner), and Eric Kayser makes some of the best breads. Even though it’s a chain, I still love it.
- Next, I’d head over to Jardin des Plantes, which is near Jardin de Luxembourg but not nearly as crowded or as touristy. Jardin des Plates has a zoo, a natural history museum, a hidden garden, and you guessed it- lots and lots of plants. It’s very peaceful to stroll around the garden and people-watch. It’s also the setting of a great book about WWII, All the Light We Cannot See.
- For a pretty snack, I’d stop in at Angelina’s tea salon, less popular than Laduree but just as beautiful. Try their famous chocolat chaud and mont blanc, but don’t expect to finish it all since it’s extremely rich. My cousin Tiffany (an aspiring pastry chef) took me here and I’ve been going back ever since.
- Dinner calls for a planche and wine. To top the night off, I’d see a ballet at the Opera Garnier, home of the original Phantom of the Opera.
- I’d start the day early to board a 45-minute train to Giverny to visit Monet’s Gardens.
- After the day at Giverny, I’d head for a light dinner and fancy drink at a rooftop bar (here are some of my favorites). The romantic day ends watching the sunset over the Eiffel Tower.
- The morning would start up with a yummy matcha tea latte from Cafe Kitsune and a stroll around the gardens of Palais Royal.
- I’d save the best for last- an afternoon at the impressionist museum, L’Orangerie.
- My final meal would of course be a dinner picnic and sunset stroll by the Seine, a relaxing end to a vacation in Paris.