The City of Lights and Love is truly special. There is so much to do, see, and taste in Paris and often too little time, making it easy to feel overwhelmed when planning. Besides the major sites, our favorite way to enjoy the French capital is just walking around the different neighborhoods, stopping in a café to just enjoy the moment.
Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly are the two nearest international airports. Orly is smaller and offers the Orlybus shuttle from the airport to Paris Denfert-Rochereau Station in the city center. The bus costs about €8, takes roughly 30 minutes, and departs every 15-20 minutes. It is also possible to take a bus from de Gaulle into the city but may take longer due to traffic. Uber is also in the city and an efficient option.
If you are coming from London, take the Eurostar from St. Pancras Station direct to Paris Gare du Nord. The trip takes about 2.5 hours total.
While Paris is magical any time of year, we love it best in spring and fall. The weather is milder and the tourists that descend upon the city in summer have long gone home. Try visiting during the first weekend of October, when Parisians celebrate Nuit Blanche. “White Night” is an all-night festival when museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions are free and open all night. The city also celebrates special installations and performances which are hosted in public spaces throughout the city.
While in France attempt to speak French! Parisians are friendly but even friendlier if you dust off your rusty high school French.
Derriere A fun and funky spot for dinner. Good for groups.
Ellsworth Casual spot where the Parisians take on some American classics
Le Comptoir du Relais A well-known bistro in St. Germain.
La Jacobine A tiny, adorable and affordable restaurant in St. Germain. Make a reservation for dinner.
Le Marais Boulangeries (bakeries) Wander around the neighborhood and treat yourself to the local specialities: croissant, pain au chocolate, baguette tradition, and chausson aux pomme.
La Petite Perigourdine Quintessential French restaurant in the Latin Quarter. Try the steak and aligot, a smooth, buttery potato side.
Bar du Marché This St. Germain bar is open late and a great stop for a night cap.
Candelaria Not far from Le Marais, this taqueria features a hidden, speakeasy in the back. Good for cocktails.
Chez Jeannette Hip bar between the 3rd and 10th arrondissements with a PYT crowd.
Les deux Maggots Hemingway is rumored to have frequented this old world, St. Germain cafe. Stop here for a coffee or beer and watch the world go by.
Le Syndicat An amazing cocktail bar in the 10th.
Lockwood Relaxed and understated cocktails in the 2nd.
OChateau Wine + Cheese tasting lunch Lunch and learn!
Prescription Cocktail Club Posh cocktail lounge in St. Germain. Recommended by friends.
Eiffel Tour Paris’ most beloved icon. Sit on the lawn and admire the view with a picnic.
Jardin du Luxembourg A lush sanctuary in the heart of the 6th arrondissement.
L'Arc de Triomphe Stop to admire this monument built to honor Napoleon before strolling down the posh Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
Louvre Home to da Vinci’s timeless Mona Lisa, plan to spend at least a half day at the world’s most famous museum. While here, check out the nearby Tuileries Gardens. Bring some cheese, wine, baguettes, and enjoy the views.
Montmartre This village-esque art enclave on a hill is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Paris. Stop by the Sunday Brocante des Abbesses market, admire the Sacre Coeur church, observe the street artists and musicians, and look out across the gorgeous city view. The Moulin Rouge is also nearby.
Musée d'Orsay Internationally recognized for its Impressionist art, including works by Monet, Manet, Degas, Cézanne and more. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Notre Dame Cathedral A must see. Truly beautiful architecure inside and it. Aside from your day visit, we recommend an evening walk along the river to photograph the illuminated cathedral.
Saint Germain and the Latin Quarter The 5th and 6th arrondissements are traversed by the ghosts of literary and artistic legends who flocked here in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today these bohemian, student neighborhoods are excellent for a mosey around.
Seine river cruise A bit touristy but offers amazing views of the city from a different vantage point. Go at sunset.
No trip to France is complete without a visit to the Champagne region. Home to Moet, Veuve Clicquot, and Dom Perignon, this region is a must see. Rent a car for a self-guided trip or book a tour through Ô Chateau.
Palace of Versailles The opulent, former seat of the French monarchy is an easy day trip from the center of Paris. About an hour by train, go in the morning to tour the chateau before spending an hour or two in the gardens. For a little insider tip, rent a golf cart to explore the full extent of the gardens. Buy tickets online in advance.
Our favorite neighborhoods to stay in are Le Marais (3rd arrondissement), the Latin Quarter (5th) and Saint Germain (6th). Airbnbs are generally the best value for money. Friends have also recommended the four star Hôtel Atmosphères near the Sorbonne in the 6th arrondissement.