Help me plan my trip to Paris!

HELP! I’m going to Paris for a long weekend as a 5th wedding anniversary celebration in 2 days and I didnt plan one thing yet. NOT ONE THING.

(Photo source)

That’s where you come in: Ideas, restaurants, tips, shopping, flea markets… FILL ME IN! I want to know everything. All I’ve done so far is downloaded the Lonely Planet guide on my iPhone.

Im all about packing it in, so I need to hear everything you all have to say about Paris!

OK, shoot!


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  1. jennifer says:

    make sure you stop by Berthillon ice cream on ile saint louis ( it’s the best ice cream i’ve ever had. lucky you – enjoy your trip!!

  2. Lauren says:

    I went to Paris this exact time last year! First off, make sure you have a light jacket or a heavier sweater because in the morning and at night it’s pretty chilly.

    Clearly go to the Eiffel Tower. If you get a good day or night get food and bring a blanket and eat out there. You’ll love it. Plus once it gets dark the Tower lights up. Also, when (or if) you go to The Louvre there are tons of chairs for you to sit outside. The scenery there is beautiful. So many beautiful flowers and the landscaping is great. In one section there is a big pond with chairs around it. Perfect spot to catch a break and relax. I didn’t actually go inside The Louvre, side note I believe it’s closed on Tuesdays, but the surrounding area is really nice.

    Of course don’t forget Champs Elysées so you can shop! Venture off onto the lesser known streets because there are boutiques and smaller stores on them. I was only there for 2 days/3 nights so my friends and I just did a lot of walking and taking in everything. I can’t recall any specific restaurants we went to.

    I will tweet you later the address to a linen shop that I found on a small side street while walking around. You’ll die. Table clothes, napkins, pillows, etc all sewed in the shop by the woman who owns it. I saved the bag with the address on it because I loved it so much.

    You’re going to love it!

  3. I really loved the Park Hyatt, not traditional french, but the location is so wonderful. I would get a drink at the the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz, it’s like you are stepping back in time.

    I don’t know if you are a bread person — but I have dreams about Poilâne bread. I had a really nice lunch at the Café Richelieu at the Louvre – I had been the the Louvre before and never seen it.

    And I know it’s uncool (I would rather walk until my feet bleed than get on a tour bus) but the Batobus is a really easy/nice way to get around to the major attractions. I have always found getting a cab to be extremely annoying.

  4. Brianne says:

    We just went to Paris in May for 3 days and seriously did not get to do/see a quarter of what is there. We had a lady that has lived in Paris most of her life do a walking tour one day. It was amazing! We learned so much and she took us to all the best places. If you want her info I would be happy to pass it along. FOR SURE do the Eiffel Tower. But I would recommend giving yourself longer than you think. It is spellbinding. We went before the sun went down and sat on the grass mesmerized. Then headed west, where you can get awesome pictures of the vintage carrousels with the Eiffel Tower in the background as you order delicious crepes. You can’t miss the big stairs that are perfect to get AMAZING pictures and watch the tower light up. Seriously, my favorite evening of my entire life. I don’t know how much you love art but if you are like us and trying to pack as much as possible in, here is what we did and loved. We went 2 1/2 hours before the Louvre closed. Hit the Mona Lisa and that hall/room of art. Then we headed to the artifact area. I have a feeling you would love it because it is in the “decorating” realm. So fun to see the amazing beds, china, vanities, crowns and jewels, tables, chairs, etc. etc. I know we missed out on a lot, which is why we will return one day, but I would highly recommend doing it that way (plus we just spent a week in Italy so we were a little “arted” out as horrible as it sounds). I would also recommend a boat tour through the river. We did at night and it was soooo romantic.

    Oh gosh, I could go on forever!!! I absolutely LOVED everything about Paris. Don’t listen to what people say about the Parisians being rude. We were in Italy, Switzerland and Paris and the Parisians were BY FAR the nicest. We had a few people literally go our of their way big time to help us, refusing anything in return. I am so jealous!!! It is for sure the top of my list of favorite places to travel. Enjoy!!!

  5. rararosie says:

    let ur hotel book u a rezzis at latellier du joel rubuchon,and le cocottes de christain constant asap- let them know ur “vegetarian prefference” ahead of time…. that will be a meal to remeber
    fauchon has fancy and yummy everything if u feel like a picnic or eatign by the seine…..i highly recomend a picnic of soemsort shoudl the weather permit.
    u must goto marche aux puce in the clignacourt . get a driver and go – u will die from the antiques and textiles- best flea market ive ever been to …ever.its on saturday though :(
    also- i have my own hellish experiences w pumping in paris- lugging along that stupid pump bag and squishing into bathrooms and bars with a pump making crazy noises is no fun!!! so good luck!
    goto rose bakery for brunch and eat the carrot cake- there are two. goto the one near the marais.not fancy just good…
    eat real merguez at the kosher place near l’as du falafel on rue de rosier in the marais. goto palais du tokyo museum -way way hip

  6. Paulina A says:

    You should definitely try to fit in Giverny Monets garden. It’s a car ride from Paris but totally worth it. It’s Monets house and the garden and pond where he painted his most famous paintings. You will see the most beautiful flower garden and get a tour of the house.

  7. Brandy says:

    There isn’t much time, but you can definitely squeeze some fun things out of my must do list.

    Eiffel Tower & Park
    Siene River Cruise
    Textile Museum
    Interior Decor Museum
    Centre Pompideu
    Versailles – 1/2 day trip
    Arc de Triomphe
    Champs Elysees
    Rodin Museum & Gardens
    Le Sainte Chapelle
    Musee d’orsay
    Sacre Coeur
    Lauduree Macaroons
    Laas du Falafel in Marais – Great and inexpensive falafel!

  8. Brandy says:

    Oh and if you have time for vintage shopping, Fripes Star and Freep’star are amazing shops for 70’s 80’s clothes.

  9. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    This is so hard to answer since we all like different things. Just know that anything you do or eat will be amazing!

    The thing I didn’t really care about seeing was the Eiffel Tower, but then when I went, it was one of the best! Loved going up at night!! I definitely think you should go up at some point and have a picnic in the park. Hubs and I grabbed a bottle of wine, some cheese, crackers, fruit and a shit load of pastries. So fun!

    I also loved climbing the steps to the top of Notre Dame (well, not so much the steps but the view when we finally got to the top. Not for the faint of heart). Unreal city views! Bought crepes from a vendor right outside the church and they were magnifique! Must do that (not necessarily from there but from some vendor)!

    Another favorite (besides all the ones listed by folks above) was Pere LeChaise cemetery. You may not be into that sort of thing, but I love cemeteries and this one was absolutely stunning. Lots of cool headstones, mausoleums, statues, etc. Great photo opportunities.

    I’m really jealous that you are going, Nicole, but so happy for you!! It’s an experience like no other. So many, many things to see and do and never enough time. Pick the 3 most important things, do them and then let Paris tell you what’s next! Enjoy!!

  10. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    Oh, and getting around via the Metro is super simple and very fast!

  11. Calley says:

    So much fun!
    Definitely go to the Louvre and decide in advance what you want to see there because you won’t be able to see it all! On my last trip I spent tons of time in the basement of the Louvre (there is a medieval castle down there!!!!) because it was summer time and the crowds were overwhelming everywhere else. The Musee d’Orsay is also wonderful, and not as overwhelming as the Louvre. Sainte Chapelle is a beautiful church with amazing stained glass windows, and Notre Dame is pretty amazing too. People watching is great in the Tuileries and the Jardin du Luxembourg. I think lots of the shops along the Rue Cler (I think I’m spelling it right) are all really cute, and it feels very “Parisian.” Fauchon kind of reminds me of a Dean and Deluca – yummy and fancy food!

  12. Livi says:

    My top three are:

    Eiffel Tower
    Rodin Museum

    Have fun!

  13. We just stayed at the Castille hotel. Go get falafel and pizza in the Jewish quarter. We also got delicious food for Friday night- I can get u the name of the restaurant.
    Have a great time!

  14. wish i could help, but im dying to go there too!!!! Lucky you. :)

  15. toni says:

    Oh, you lucky lucky girl! Never been, can’t help you, have fun x

  16. Smriti says:

    We went in June there were roses everywhere! :)
    You should go for a cruise on the Seine in the evening.. Try to time it so that you start before the sun sets but end when the Eiffel Tower is lit up.. Another thing I would recommend is going to Tour Montparnasse late in the evening. From the Eiffel tower you can see the city spread out before you but from tour Montparnasse, you can see the city as well as the Eiffel Tower lit up in front of you! The views are stunning!
    There are too many museums and they take a lot of time so see one (Musee d’ Orsay is the mecca for impressionists, the Pompidou is fantastic for modern art and the Louvre is the Louvre..). There are so many more but I think if I had a short time, I would just relax in Marais, sit at a cafe, order a couple of chocolate and coffee eclairs, an espresso and people watch ;)…
    Another wonderful place is the Latin quarten in th evening for dinner or drinks and then you can head to one of the clubs in St. Germain and have a night of moody jazz and jamming.
    Good luck and have a wonderful anniversary! xx

  17. Stephanie says:

    Have dinner one evening at the Hotel Costes….fantastic ambiance and people watching. Gorgeous all around–if you can get a reservation. Grab one of their CD compilations on the way out, as great background music at your next party.
    Oh, and I totally agree with a previous commenter on the cemetery. It’s like a sculpture garden!
    Have fun and can’t wait to hear all about it–I’m going in November myself!

  18. Hi Nicole!

    Here are a few things aside from the obvious!

    – Hotel des Academies et des Arts (via Mr and Mrs Smith)
    – Hotel Juliette

    Eat (better book ahead):
    – Le Clos des Gourmets (amazing and very well priced!)
    – Ze Kitchen Gallerie
    – Ralph’s at Ralph Lauren (for lunch in the courtyard!)
    – George (on rooftop of Centre Pompidou – outside lunch for the view!)
    – Le Comptoir (Hotel Relais St Germain – no bookings, always a line but there is a reason. delicious).

    – Au Bon Marche (one stop shop)
    – Puces St Ouen (for antiques, etc)
    – Tara Jarmon (amazing designer – stunning shoes and dresses)
    – Merci (a french anthropologie)

    – Centre Pompidou (for modern and contemporary art)
    – Musee Jeux de Paumes (for Monet splendor!)
    – Jardins du Luxembourg (for a romantic walk or a morning run!)

    Walk around:
    – Blvd St Germain (rue du Bac, rue de l’Universite – great shopping)
    – Marais (great food and shopping – get lost in the Marais!)

    Have a wonderful time!

  19. I’m 21. I lived there for three months last year. I saved up money working at Starbucks during college and I just WENT as soon as I graduated.

    My only real plan was to wander, and it was the BEST plan. I ended up in crazy, amazing, wonderful places with awesome people.

    It’s also a great way to get murdered, but whatevs.

    Most of the “to-do” stuff is shit. Stand in line with a million other Americans? Why even GO then? The one “to-do” place that is worthwhile is Shakespeare and Co. For anyone who appreciates the open-minded, creative, traveler American spirit, this is Mecca.

    Worthwhile places: Churches. Gardens. They’re open and empty in the middle of the day, and they’re so beautiful it will make you cry and make your heart hurt. One of my best memories was wondering around Montmartre at night. Ile Saint-Louis, and Notre Dame are worth visiting, but go early-morning. It is the LITTLE MOMENTS that you’ll remember, seek them out.

    Go to the NEIGHBORHOOD bakeries. Go to odd places. Champs-Elysees is cool if you want to see clothes that cost as much as a house. It is fun, but don’t waste too much time in commerical, fantasy Paris. Shop where Parisians actually shop, Rue de Rivoli for example.

    Start the best nights you’ll never remember at Australian bars.
    Get a Noisette, not a cafe creme. It’s better, cheaper, stronger, and you won’t be looked at like an idiot.
    When you walk into a shop, SAY BONJOUR MADAME (or monsieur). It’s SO rude to walk into a shop keepers space and not greet them, they’ll think you’re a dick. And treat you as such.
    Tips are included in your bills. Don’t feel obligated to go overboard.
    F*** croissants. Get pain au chocolat instead. You’re welcome.

    While I was there, I asked Amy Thomas (who writes articles about Paris for the NY Times) where I should go out to eat my last night in Paris, and she said hands down Chez Janou. Your elbows are in other people’s faces, it’s small, delicious, traditional, crowded, rambunctious, the waiters are flirty and it’s PERFECT. It’s so Paris. Go. You’ll remember it forever.

    Other awesome restaurant: Les Refuge des Fondues. Your meal includes wine in baby bottles. Dirt cheap. You have to step on the tables to get to your seat. Which is even more fun after you’ve had four of said baby bottles.

    Bonne chance! Follow your gut. It is pure magic.