Design Lifestyle Travel

Travel Guide: Paris

March 8, 2018

Paris is by far one of my favorite destinations; there is so much to see and do, but this post is a bit intimidating to write as there is so much to include. In the past I’ve approached the city in three different ways; 1. on a shoestring budget – years ago when I was backpacking with my little sister 2. a week-long trip with my husband where we simply relaxed and took in the city while skipping some of the more touristy attractions since we both had done them in the past. 3. on an all-expense paid trip gifted to my older sister who got to bring a plus one along {me!!!!!!}. So this post comes from a combination of all three, so there really should be something for everyone.

Ready to Discover Paris?

Disclaimer – this list does not (nor could it) cover it all; if I missed your favorite spots, let me know!


When I stayed in a hostel, Airbnb didn’t exist; so, my basic guidance for a less pricey accommodation is to find one in a location near public transport and near at least one location where you plan to spend time. Read all reviews available so you are not caught off guard, as sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

The two hotels I most recently stayed at are both SPG hotels — a driving force for me as I receive points which I really put to use to make the most out of my travels — the W Opera and the Westin Vendome. While these are not far from one another and are each near public transport, the W has a more contemporary interior & the suite we stayed in was top notch. The Westin was in a great location as well — right across from the Tuileries — which put us in a great location to set out of on foot (plus the view of the Eiffel Tower wasn’t bad either).

Eateries // Drinks

Cafe St. Regis sits facing a pedestrian-only bridge behind the Notre Damn, perfect for relaxing while people watching.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

One of my favorite things to do in Paris is to simply sit and people watch preferably outdoors at a little cafe with a glass of wine or coffee in hand. However, the food is amazing as one might expect. One thing you will notice compared to the States is you typically won’t’ find people walking around shoving food in their mouths. It’s typically something they stop, sit, and enjoy – this even goes for coffee – they sit, relax, and enjoy. Though, when I discussed this with a local guide {on a food/drink walking tour} she mentioned this is slowly changing due to Starbucks, though she herself would never go to such place.

Cafe St. Regis – This little gem is located towards the back, lefthand side of Notre Dame. I frequented this spot a few times on both of my last trips. When I recently took my sister, she said it was one of her favorite moments during the trip – sitting, relaxing, watching, and soaking in Paris. After your drinks/meal walk down the little alley that it sits on – there are crepes to buy from windows, art galleries, and shops to pop into.

La Regalade – With two locations, this restaurant doesn’t disappoint. From classics to dishes with a twist, you will love it all. They will start you with two house-made specials – pate and pickles, which are delish but save room for your three dishes that follow. Do yourself a favor and finish the night with their souffle.

Au Petit Riche – The Mr. and I went here shortly after landing in Paris. It was exactly what you would hope for from a warm and inviting bistro with classic dishes that will leave you with wonderful memories.

Bon – I’m surprised I’m even putting an Asian fusion restaurant in here, but if you are craving the flavors, don’t miss this one – some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. The fun and modern interior will make you want to take a break from the table to do a quick walk around to take it all in.

The Bar Hemmingway – Just inside the Ritz Carlton, you will find the Bar Hemmingway. Order yourself up a daiquiri- Hemmingway’s favorite drink – which will be accompanied by a rose for the ladies. Cole Porter sat and composed here, F. Scott Fitzgerald had his favorite seat; Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper made it their home away from home.

Gatsby – makes the list if you need a private space for a group/party – the downstairs room makes you feel as if you stepped back in time, Parisian time.

Le Bon Marche – This glorious place is not to be missed; one side is clothing, the other market {resturants, home goods are also found on this side}. My sister and I ogled over all the perfectly merchandized condiments, the truffle bar, the beautiful pastries, and cheeses. We grabbed some interesting juices, sweets, and savory bites and headed to a small park to enjoy in the sun – perfect for a budget-friendly meal.

La Favorite – a casual lunch spot in Le Marais, is one of my favorite places to wander around. We stumbled in here by chance, sat outside for lunch, then chatted with the bartender over drinks.

Comptoir de la Gastronomie – a wonderful restaurant that my husband found.  Le Halles is a fun area to spend some time in after dinner, we frequented a few bars after, of course, those names I forget but there were many to choose from.

Le Laurent – While a formal place, you will not leave without a memorable meal. Each course that was placed in front of me, made me wish I had the room to eat every last bite served. The truffle soup will never be forgotten.


A black and white moment as one would expect. 

Even the bitters are displayed beautifully in Paris.


Luxembourg Garden

There are numerous activities to partake in while in Paris. Personally, as I mentioned before, I simply love to relax and soak in my surroundings, but I thought I would mention a few items you may not think of outside of the museums and sightseeing spots.

Cooking class – Since the Mr. and I had both been before, we wanted to try something different. We booked a class, La Cuisine, where you can make everything from desserts to croissants, but there are classes that will take you to the market for fresh food to bring back and cook.

Walking Tour – Whether on a budget or no budget, free walking tours are a great way to get more out of your trip. Since the guide is typically a student looking to make cash {through tips}, I’ve always been impressed – I’ve done these in the UK, France, Italy, Holland, etc. and loved them all.

Gastronomy Tour – you can book these through many places, but again, La Cuisine offers them.

Biking – I love seeing a new place by bike; you can cover more ground than by foot when on a time limit, and with public bikes available for rent you can be as spontaneous with your plans as you would like.

Luxembourg Garden – This park should not be overlooked whether for a beautiful stroll along the winding paths or an attempt at sailing a motorized boat in the fountain while taking in the stunning scenery.  It’s one of my favorite spots to spend a lazy afternoon.

Flea Markets – Love shopping, but want to get away from the big name stores? I did! See below for details. Heading to the flea market took time and planning in advance to make sure I was going on the right day/time, but it was worth it!

Flower shops – I’m not sure why, but Paris has the most stunning flower shops I’ve ever seen. I always ask if I can simply take a look around and they are always accommodating and happy to chat about what is in season. When I went on a recent trip with my husband I actually shed a tear inside Stephane Chapelle, it was that beautiful.

Musee D’Orsey – So of course you will go to museums, especially if you haven’t been before, but the Musee D’Orsey never dissapoints and if you are short on time, you are able to work through the museum easily when there are certain exhibits that you are wanting to see.

Tuileries Garden in the winter.

The original Paris bridge’s love locks were removed as the bridge just couldn’t handle the weight of the locks and now has glass barriers along the railings. That didn’t keep visitors and those in love from moving on to another one, however.

One of the large clocks at Musee d’Orsay with quite the view of Paris.

The most stunning floral shops you will ever see.

A magical moment in the Tuileries Garden

Shopping / Discovering:

Antiques for as far as the eye can see at Marche Vernaison

Taking in the beautiful Gallerie Vivienne.


Flea Markets – There really doesn’t seem to be anywhere better than Paris for shopping. For me, however, I wanted less of the name brand stores and wanted instead to check out one of the Parisian flea markets while I was visiting for a week with my husband. Luckily, he too was intrigued, so we ventured out to Marche Vernaison.  Marche Vernaison was overwhelming but in a good way.  There is so much to see, touch, and of course, buy. Don’t be fooled by the word “flea”; there are high price items as well as low.  With so many treasures, you will be planning your next trip back soon as you enter.

Gallerie Vivienne – While I went for the architecture of the building, it was fun to walk around and pop into the little boutiques. From clothing to bookstores, there is something for everyone.

Anna Rivka – One other place that I actually went back to twice was a jewelry store, Anna Rivka.  Anna herself was there when I stopped in, and we discussed her collection and her items she was just about to debut. I couldn’t leave empty-handed.  My sweet husband bought me two 20’s inspired pieces – a bracelet and a headpiece. I will cherish them forever.

I hope you enjoyed this manicured travel post. 

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