It’s hard to experience everything that’s great about Paris in three days, as the French capital has so much to offer on so many levels (#food #culture #fashion to name a few)! I’ve visited the city a couple of times now and there are still parts of the city I’ve yet to explore. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be tempted to rush around, trying to see an do it all. While on the other hand, you’ll want to do as the locals do and relax at a cute café of park. To truly appreciate Paris’ magic, I feel it’s important to visit some of Paris’s top landmarks while leaving some time to actually experience the city. I hope my Paris Travel Guide helps you plan your own memorable trip to the City of Lights.
Admire the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most iconic landmark in Paris and a must-see while there. It was built in 1886 by Gustav Eiffel for the World’s Fair. I have been admiring the building every single time I’ve been to Paris, but actually never made it up. There are a lot of spots from where you have a beautiful view upon the tower, so I don’t really feel the need to actually climb it. You can find the best views from the Rue de l’Université, Avenue de Camoëns, the Bir-Hakeim Bridge and the Champs de Mars.
See the Notre Dame
The Notre Dame is one of the finest examples of Gothic French architecture. It dates all the way back to 1260, although construction began 100 years prior. I was lucky to see the Notre Dame in its full glory way before the fire of 2019. As they are currently trying to repair the damage the fire has done, the church is closed to visitors. You can still walk around the building and admire parts of the exterior, which I believe is a must during your trip to Paris.
Wander around the Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter will give you a glimpse of Medieval Paris. With its charming cobbles streets it’s the perfect place to wander around. Fun Fact: this area is called the Latin Quarter because students of the Sorbonne University spoke exclusively in Latin during the Middle Ages.
If are interested in discovering a different side of the city, make sure to visit the Grande Mosquée de Paris. It’s such a hidden gem! The gardens are extra pretty in the spring as the wisterias are in bloom. Unfortunately we were a week late to experience the full peak, but even then the garden was absolutely amazing. There’s also a lovely Tea Room where you enjoy a delicious Mint Tea and Moroccan sweets. Just around the corner you will also find the Jardin des Plantes, one of the largest gardens in Paris.
The Pantheon used to be a church, but was later turned into a mausoleum. I’ve only checked it out from the outside, but I think it’s really cool to see the Fouquet Pendulum, which was built to prove the earth was round or enjoy the view from the dome.
Chillax at the Jardin du Luxembourg
One of my favorite things to do while going on a city trip, is seeking out a bench at local park and simply watch the world go by. Sometimes I even bring a book and some snacks and totally lose track of time. When I think about it, it’s crazy that I didn’t end up at the Jardin du Luxembourg sooner, as it quickly became one of my favorite spots in the city. The park was created in 1612 by Queen Marie de Medici, the 25 hectare park consists of French and English gardens, a fountain, a large pond where people sail remote controlled boats, a forest and over 100 statues.
Explore the Saint Germain des Prés neighborhood
Saint Germain is one of my favorite parts of Paris and another area I could wander around for hours. I’s the chicest neighborhood in the city. Over here you will found many designer stores, great cafes and cute book stores. A lot of the cafes are iconic here because of their history and ambiance. Back in the days it was quite the lively literary cafe scene here.
Visit the Louvre
If there is one museum in Paris that you should visit it’s the Louvre! The museum started out as a medieval palace during the 12th-century and has since been transformed into a Royal Residence and finally a museum with famous art works such as the Mona Lisa from Leonard Da Vinci and the Venus by Milo, to name a few. With its 60,600 square meters of publicly viewable exhibition space you can wander the hallways for months and still run into different pieces of art every time… The Louvre is one of the top landmarks in Paris, and so worth a visit. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance, because the lines can get super long. Oh and a fun fact: on the first Saturday of each month, the museum is also open from 6 PM to 9.45 PM and admission is free for all visitors, so that might be something you want to take in consideration while planning your visit.
Explore the sights of the 1st & 8th arrondissements
Just around the corner from The Louvre lays the Palais Royal, which was once the home of Cardinal Richelieu and later a childhood home of Louis XIV. While you can no longer visit the palace, you can enjoy the gardens and the square that houses a unique striped art installation by Daniel Buren.
Stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries or along the Rue de Rivolo to Place de la Concorde. This famous square is full of French history. This was the spot during the French Revolution where King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette & Robespierre were executed by the guillotine.
From Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe it’s a 30 minute walk along the famous Champs-Elysées. And although some window shopping at Louis Vuitton and Dior is tempting, I would suggest to make a little detour and pass by the Petit Palais and Pont Alexandre III for another amazing view upon the Eiffel Tower.
Shop at Galeries Lafayette & Printemps
Paris breathes fashion and although I usually don’t do a lot of shopping while in the city, I can’t help but visit the ‘Grands Magasins’ at Boulevard Haussmann to visit Galleries Lafayette and Printemps. Although both department stores sell a lot of luxury and designer items, and I still have yet to win the lottery, I love wandering around the stores. The views from the rooftop restaurants over the Eiffel Tower and Opéra Garnier are amazing and worth a visit. Both Galleries Lafayette and Printemps have the most gorgeous (window) decorations, especially during Christmas time. A couple of years ago Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann was turned into a fantasy beehive with a giant Christmas tree under the famous dome. Pure Christmas magic!
Wander around Montmartre
Montmartre is on everyone’s Paris must-see list. During the Belle Epoque (the end of the 19th Century), it was the center of Parisian bohemian culture. Although the neighborhood is less chic and more touristy today, it remains a lovely and vibrant part of Paris. I honestly can’t visit Paris, without spending some time there. It truly is my favorite neighborhood in the French capital. Montmartre was the home base to a number of the world’s most famous artists – Renoir, Degas, Modigliani, Picasso, Pissarro, and of course van Gogh. If you want to learn about the history of art in this district, a visit to the Montmartre Museum is a must.
Nowadays you can still feel the artistic energy! At the heart of Montmartre you’ll find Place du Tertre, a little square packed with artists painting and mingling with one another. If you’re looking to pick up a unique piece of art in Paris, this would be a great place to support local artists.
The most popular monument in Montmarte is the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. The Roman- Byzantine interior features the largest mosaic work in all of France. As many city trippers solely travel to Montmarte to see this church, it can get pretty crowded here. If you’re interested in the history you can go inside, otherwise seeing it from outside is also pretty spectacular.
Another must-see is ‘The I Love You Wall’, a mural made by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito that features ‘I Love You’ in more than 250 languages. Can you spot your own? The first time it took me a while tough 😉
Rue l’Abreuvoir is one of the prettiest streets in Montmartre. It overlooks the Sacre Coeur Basilica and many of the houses are covered in ivy and wisteria.
This street is also where you will find La Maison Rose, in my opinion the cutest café in Paris. What can I say… I got this thing for all things pink. #sorrynotsorry. La Maison Rose is not just famous for its looks, it accumulated at least 100 years of history amongst the artist of Montmartre. Pablo Picasso, in particular, frequented the restaurant a lot back in the days as he was friends with the owner Laure Germaine.
Enjoy cabaret at the Moulin Rouge
One of the most memorable things to do in Montmartre is to attend a show at the Moulin Rouge. Ever since the opening in 1889, The Moulin Rouge is famous throughout the world for its legendary French Cancan and cabaret show. For sure you might have heard mixed opinions about the show. And you will either hate if or love it… But after watching the movie with Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGreggor, I wanted to go there and experience the extravaganza myself. And honestly I was in absolutely awe with the performances. Of course there were some naked boobies, but in an artsy kind of way. Nothing cheap or trashy. You can either catch a show at 9PM or at 11PM, but one thing is sure; you will have an entertaining night! There are several packages available including dinner and champagne, which will only make you experience richer, but keep in mind that these extra’s don’t come cheap.
Iconic cafés in Paris
Le Consulat – If there is one café you should visit during your stay in Paris it’s Le Consulat. At first I was a bit doubtful about eating in such a touristy spot, but now I’m happy we did, because it was actually pretty good and decent priced.
La Maison Rose – La Maison Rose in the Montmarte district of Paris is a pleasantly pink restaurant famous for its facade and fascinating history as it was a popular hangout spot for some of Paris’ greatest artists – including Pablo Picasso.
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole – Of all the cute Parisian cafes, I doubt that any manage to top Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole! With its winding wisteria and colorful chairs, it’s the perfect spot for an apéro in the sun!
Café De Flore – one of the most famous and oldest cafes in Paris. It’s touristy, but such a classic!
Les Deux Magots – This charming cafe is one of the best places to expierence the Parisian way of life! This café was already popular and the end of the 19th century amongst artists like Picasso and Hemingway.
Bistro Valois – Next to the Savoir agency, but unlike the fictional agency from the Emily in Paris series, the bistro is real. Just like Emily and her colleagues, you can have lunch there. It has a panoramic view of the place de Valois. The bistro is super cute and the food was actually really good.
Italian restaurants in Paris
Pink Mamma – part of the popular Italian Big Mamma restaurant group. They have many restaurants throughout Paris. All the restaurants of the Pink Mamma group are famous for their gorgeous decorations and yummy Italian food. Pink Mamma is considered one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in Paris, thanks to its marvelous staircase with vintage paintings, posters and portraits.
Agata – A recently opened Italian restaurant in Saint Germain de Pres. The interior is cute with a lot of red and pink. Loved the pizza!
Il Duca – A must-do Italian restaurant in Montmartre. The pastas were absolutely amazing!
Must-try sweets in Paris
Elan Café Paris – If you love pink and flower walls, chances are that you have already heard of Elan Cafes. The group has cafes in London, Milan, Riyadh, Doha and Dubai. The Paris venture is located on the fourth floor of the famous Galies Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann. Like it’s other cafes Elan Café Paris offer pink decorations and tables in front of cute flower walls. The food and drinks are also super Instagrammable. A couple of years ago I went to one of the London cafés and really loved it, so I had to check out the Paris one as well.
Odette – the cute sweet shop in the Latin Quarter is easily one of the most Instagrammable locations in Paris. The café specializes in the famous French treats: choux à la crème.
Maison Ladurée – No trip to Paris is complete without a stop at Ladurée for the best macarons. Patisserie Ladurée, was founded in 1862 by Louis Ernest Ladurée. And what can I say, a girl can’t go to Paris without at least having a taste of their macaroons. For me this is a must-visit Parisian destination. When you enter the store, you are plunged into a world of pastel colors and sophistication. From the desserts to the decoration, everything is ‘simplement parfait’ at Ladurée!
Where to stay?
In a city where there are so many hotels it can be a bit hard to choose sometimes. I have stayed in several hotels over the years, but my recent stay at Hotel Le Marquis**** has been the most pleasant one for sure! The hotel is located upon five minutes walking distance from the Eiffel Tower and the same goes for the metro stations. Talking about a convenient location right?! The room was very spacious and the breakfast in the morning was absolutely delicious!
I also really liked my stay at Mama Shelter East a couple of years ago. The hotel is located in the 20th arrondisement near the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. The rooms were super hip and trendy and the restaurants were amazing! It was just a little bit far off from the hustle and bustle from the city.
• Buy a metro card! Paris is extremely walkable, but not all highlights are close to each other and if you want to give your feet a break now and down, this is the way to go! Paris’s metro system is cheap, easy to use and runs super frequently.
• For cheap trains to Paris make sure to check-out the website of Ouigo.
• Currency: Euro (€)