There are so many resources out there with wonderful itineraries and recommendations for visiting Paris. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m qualified to join in. While we had a fabulous weekend there in February and walked 31 miles over two days exploring the many different neighborhoods and museums of the City of Light, someone who has spent meaningful amounts of time in the city (like Solo Sophie, for example) will have far more insight and knowledge.
For Paris, I’ll skip my usual format. Instead, I’ll share some photos and tidbits from the wonderful places we visited, the delicious food we ate and the beautiful sights we took in during our weekend there. I appreciate the city much more now than when I visited a decade ago during my semester abroad. Paris is beautiful and I see more clearly now how it has inspired so many!
Though this is an unpopular opinion, I was pretty disappointed in Paris upon my first visit ten years ago. Expecting the beautiful city everyone raved about, I felt London had more beautiful qualities. In addition to its beautiful buildings, London was cleaner with better infrastructure and a far politer populace. While these things still hold true, I have a much greater appreciation for Paris after our recent visit. It is well worth your travels to explore this incredible city that has enchanted the world!
My best friend (who we visited in France here) gave us many recommendations of what to see and do in Paris. Her top recommendation was to walk and wander, eat and drink, shop – take it all in at our own pace. So we did, along with many touristy sites, and that’s what you’ll see pictured here.
We arrived on the Eurostar on Friday evening and headed to our Airbnb in Le Marais to drop off our stuff before our later dinner reservation. After a good long while trying to find our way out of the Châtelet metro stop, we finally got to street level and to our adorable studio flat for the weekend.
Andrew booked us dinner at a lovely little restaurant on the other side of Le Marais. Though we were early, they were able to seat us almost immediately. We had a fantastic meal at L’Ange 20 (complete with creme brûlée!). Highly recommend.
The next morning we set off on our ambling walking tour of Paris. We walked past hotels that looked like monuments and shops selling berets 4 for €10 on our way to Notre Dame.
We waited in a brief line to enter the cathedral and spent a few minutes walking through the whole thing. It is beautiful, but to be brutally honest, the Notre Dame in Reims is far more impressive. If you have a longer stay in Paris, a day trip to Reims is well worth the train fare, especially if you like champagne!
From there, we walked through adorable St Germain to Jardin de Luxembourg.
Paris is home to a swath of fabulous entirely gluten-free bakeries, so you better believe I was all over that! We stopped for an early lunch at Noglu in St Germain and I had my first ever Croque Mousieur. It was delicious.
We wandered some more through St Germain to the Church of the Miraculous Medal, which came highly recommended on an expat Facebook group. We felt it was worth skipping.
From there, we walked along the Seine, past the Musée D’Orsay. This is our friend (and talented artist) Thibaut’s favorite museum in Paris, buuuut we didn’t stop in. We probably would have enjoyed it, but we knew we’d be heading to Louvre the next day and needed to take advantage of the daylight hours.
We did however stop into Les Invalides for a quick visit not long after. This imposing and beautiful beautiful was so intriguing we had to go see what it was.
After learning that Napoleon was buried underneath the golden dome, we stopped in to check out a couple exhibits and see his tomb. We’ve learned a lot about the World Wars from the perspective of the British during our time here, so it was interesting to see how the French presented their role in the conflicts.
After checking out Napoleon’s resting place, we walked ever closer to the Eiffel Tower. I was surprised to find that the park and underneath the Tower are now either blocked off to the public or require ticketed access. We asked a stranger to take an obligatory Eiffel Tower photo and though she spoke no English, she was happy to take one for us. She immediately crouched down to a strange angle and snapped this shot. I have to say I really appreciate her art – it is always a gamble asking a stranger to take a photo for you. This time, we were in good hands!
We checked out the views from Trocadero, where they seemed to be setting up a stage, which I imagine was for Paris Fashion Week.
From there, we walked up to the Arc de Triomphe. We joined the traffic dodgers for a photo opp and decided to skip going up to the top since the line was so long. I’ve heard its an excellent view of the city.
We walked a long the Champs-Elysees and did not enjoy the crowds and commercialism one bit. We were thankful to make it to the end!
After that we embarked on a mission through adorable neighborhoods to pick up gluten-free baked goods at two more lovely bakeries, Sitron and Helmut Newcake. [Side note: During this time I took advantage of a tip I learned during my first visit to Paris – use the loos at the Ritz. They are spectacular!]
On our way back to our AirBnb, we stopped for a glass of wine outside and admired the sunset.
We booked dinner on a recommendation from friends at Poulette. It was so cute and so delicious. A great end to a lovely day in Paris!
The next day we woke up early for the main event. We had tickets to the Louvre for opening. It was remarkable and I’ll speak more about our experience there in a future post.
After touring the museum for a few hours, we headed towards Montmartre. I had gone up there to see Sacre Coeur on my previous trip to Paris and remembered it being a really cool spot.
We stopped for lunch along the way and I got duck confit. Now I know I love duck confit.
Up we climbed to Sacre Couer. The views were lovely and the vibe was chill and happy on a sunny Sunday morning.
From there, we made our way back towards Le Marais through cute neighborhoods to Sainte-Chapelle. We had tried to see it the day before but the line was long.
When we arrived at Sainte-Chapelle, we found the line was even longer, but since this was our last day in Paris, we waited it out. It moved quickly and the interior was definitely worth it.
I would recommend visiting at midday when the sun shines into both sides of the church to see all of the windows illuminated. Though it was only shining through a few, it was still remarkable to behold.
We went back to our Airbnb to make dinner and pack up. The Seine was gorgeous in the evening light.
Our plan for Sunday night was to roam along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower and watch the light show. It took us a bit longer to get there than we anticipated, but our timing was impeccable for seeing the show up close. Wandering Paris at night was peaceful and beautiful.
The Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes every hour on the hour after sunset. It is special to see and was worth the walk! The perfect end to our trip.