Tips, Tricks, and Places Not To Miss in Paris

I hope y'all enjoyed the highlight reel of our trip to Paris this week. In case you missed the recaps, here's the first and here's the second. I'm not sure if any of you are planning a trip to Paris anytime soon, but if it's on your list, you may want to bookmark or pin this post for the future! I've got lots of info about where we stayed, links to our favorite activities, hints on how to save money, where the best views in the city are along with some other resources and tidbits.

Where We Stayed {Accomodations}:

We chose to stay in this apartment we found on Airbnb rather than a hotel so that we could get more of a real Parisian neighborhood experience (plus, it was a bit cheaper than a hotel!). It was located in the 9th district, or arrondissement, which turned out to be a great location. We loved that we could walk to many of the main sights and attractions in Paris, but that we weren't smack dab in the middle of a super touristy part of town.

How We Got Around {Transportation}:

We walked a TON. Paris is known to be a walking city, and it's really easy to navigate if you keep Google Maps handy. P.S. did you know you can save maps to view offline on your phone? This is especially handy internationally since data is expensive and wifi may not be readily available. Here's an article on how to do it.

But when we weren't walking, we were biking. If you haven't noticed, there's a serious biking trend going on with our trip and I really came to love it. It's a super efficient mode of transportation.

We rented bikes from the city bike-sharing service called Velib. You can buy a pass that's good for 24 hours for about $2 - talk about cheap transportation! Plus you get to see so much more than you would if you took the Metro. Paris is very bike friendly - there are bike lanes everywhere and it's mostly flat. We highly recommend doing this for at least one day while you're there. If you're not much for biking, I hear that the Metro is also great.

What We Ate:

Charlie and I wouldn't classify ourselves as foodies, but we did eat some awesome food while we were there. We only ate out twice, and filled in the rest with picnics and take away food from the little markets, groceries and bakeries (patisseries and boulangeries). I can't tell you how many baguettes, cheeses and pastries we ate...so. good. My advice for food? Just wander the streets and pop into a patisserie to grab a few things. For lunch, you can't beat a panini or baguette sandwich. They're cheap and delicious. Head to a park and people watch while you enjoy your spoils.

Also, wine. We never spent more than $5 on a bottle of wine and it was good wine. France knows what it's doing with this stuff. :)

Our favorite restaurant experience was at Restaurant Bouillon Chartier. It's quite a legendary place. You can't make reservations, so you just have to wait in line outside for a table. It's all part of the experience though. Once you're "in" another fun part is that the waiter writes your order on the paper tablecloth and adds your bill up next to it at the end. Oh, and the food was really delicious too :). Get the veal.

Bike Tours:

I mentioned in my other two posts that we did two bike tours - one of Paris proper and one of the Champagne region. The company we used was Bike About Tours. The guides were awesome, had great stories, and took us to "off the beaten path" places as well as major tourist sights. The Paris bike tour was quite affordable for a four hour adventure at 30 Euros, and the Champagne e-bike tour was a bit more of a splurge, but it was so worth it.

Walking Tours:

Another fun thing we did was free walking tours. We went on two - one of Montmartre and one of the Latin Quarter. We used Discover Walks, which is a free (but tip-supported) tour company. Rather than just wander aimlessly (though that's fun too), we loved hearing the history of the area and getting some context for where we were. Montmartre became my favorite neighborhood because of the tour we took.

Here we were in the Latin Quarter getting a history lesson from our guide. They all wear those pink vests. Makes them easy to find and keep track of!

Best Views of the City:

Want to see Paris from up high? We found three fabulous places to do so:

  • The Eiffel Tower (duh)
  • The top of Montmartre from the steps of the Sacre Coeur basilica
  • The rooftop bar/cafe of Printemps department store (photo below). Yes - a department store has a rooftop bar/cafe! 

I think that about wraps things up here today! Of course we saw and did lots of other things on our trip that were lovely like the Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay, Champs de Mars, Luxembourg Gardens (you must go!), Arc de Triomphe...the list could go on and on. I figured I'd give my list of the lesser known "to dos" though in today's post since you can find all the major things in any guidebook.

If you have any questions or want to throw in your two cents about your favorite Paris things, leave a comment below! I'd love to hear.

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