Last month my mum, nan and I hopped on to the Eurostar for what was ultimately 48 hours in the French capital city. With neither of them having visited before, I was handed the tour guide badge, and left in charge of planning an itinerary in order to do as much in a short space of time as possible (with minimal walking and metro stops- and maximum fun included). In order to hopefully inspire anyone planning a trip there, I thought I’d pop together a mini-guide of how to spent a couple of short days (or one night) in the city- in hope it might narrow down the hundreds of awesome places to go.
Please note- I’m definitely not an expert on the city (understatement of the year) and this little travel post is ultimately aimed at Paris newbies- the people that haven’t been before or are planning on doing a wee Channel-hop, and although do want to discover a couple of hidden gems, do want to do some typically Parisien things and a bit of sightseeing too!
W Paris Opéra:
Although there are lots of beautiful places to stay in Paris (some of which I’ve mentioned before)- the W Paris Opera has to be up there, and certainly wins serious points for scoring such a fantastic location (as well as some of the friendliest staff I’ve ever met). Not only is it about as central to everything as it gets (walking distance may I add- especially to some seriously gorgeous department stores)- but for breakfast, a bath with typically Parisian balcony views and a room that is not only comfortable, but seriously oozing interior inspiration (let’s just say that our television CAME OUT OF THE BED PEOPLE)- it ticks all of the boxes- and meant that although we weren’t in the room often coming back to rest was a complete luxury and treat in itself, and definitely one I can recommend.
W Paris – 4 Rue Meyerbeer, 75009 Paris, France
Although a little pricey (but still truly delicious), we opted for Carette essentially down to it’s fantastic location. After arriving in Paris (with grumbling bellies)- we wanted to get eating and sightseeing as soon as we could, so this gorgeous little cafe was the perfect option. Located next to Trocadéro (which to me and you means opposite a certain famous tower)- we sat down (outside, perfect for people watching) to filled baguettes and coffee before hot footing it across the road for one of the best views in the city. On top of that, they also do amazing macarons- take note!
4 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris
Although there’s a few of these little chocolate havens dotted around the city, the one along Rue di Rivoli is must visit for a reason. Located near enough opposite the Louvre, and home to one of the best (if not arguably the best) hot chocolate in Paris as well as delicious pastries, unreal deserts layered with cream and caramel and tempting cakes- it’s the perfect place for a sugar fuelled pit stop (and was rumoured to also be a favourite of a certain Ms Chanel).
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Having heard a handful of amazing things about this place (from some pretty cool people), I swiftly booked a table and we headed there for dinner during our evening there. Although a little walk from the hotel, this place was situated comfortably near Moulin Rouge- and hidden away enough that it wasn’t massively busy (but try and head early, as it definitely filled up by about 8pm)! A favourite for brunch and dinner- we sampled the delicious salads (definitely necessary after a day of bread and pastries)- which were healthy, exciting and pretty reasonable too- bon appetit!
8, Rue Navarin 75009 Paris
Cafe de Flore/Le Deux Magots:
Situated along the Boulevard Saint-Germain (a famous shopping and eating street along the river), these two cafes are two of the most famous in Paris and wonderful to sit outside, refresh and do some people watching. Although both pretty similar, Le Deux Magots was a haunt for artists in writers in the 1900’s, with everyone from Oscar Wilde, Hemingway and Picasso sitting here to bide their time. Anyway- less of the history Liv! These places are pricey. Although they do a good sandwich (and apparently an excellent omelette)- they’re not a bargain (and as it’s usually so busy the service is a little slow)- so it’s probably best to grab a coffee here above everything, but a nice experience nonetheless! On top of that, they’re along the same street as the Diptyque flagship store, which is amazing– and filled with so much sweet smelling goodness too!
6-172 Boulevard Saint Germain, 75006 Paris
…but not just any Chanel! Head to the flagship on Rue Cambon for the ultimate ‘Coco’ experience (all of which sits prettily underneath her apartment above- pretty special, huh?). The first Chanel store ever opened which boasted her debut collection- this place feels like an archive of history, and one of the most beautiful shops I’ve ever been in (and resisted spending money in, too). Although I’ve only ever stopped in to pick up lipstick (which meant I still left with a stunning monochrome bag)- the place is certainly a wonderful experience, and a treat even to pop in!
31 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris, France
Did you really expect me to do a Paris mini-guide without mentioning this place? I don’t think I massively need to explain why it’s worth visiting here, but if you’re a fan of a macaron then just do it- trust me. There’s plenty all over Paris (so you can usually tie a visit in with the next place you’re exploring)- so it’s definitely worth a stop in to pick up some treats from the Eurostar home. Although I usually visit the branch on the Champs-Élysées (which, as you can imagine, gets VERY busy)- there’s so many about- but it’s still worth popping in early to avoid queuing!
75 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
If you’re a fan of department stores, than be sure to pop in to this power couple of the French shopping world! Galeries Lafayette to me is more reminiscent of somewhere like Harrods in the UK- with the most beautiful architecture inside (which is worth popping in for itself), and Printemps being slightly more contemporary- perhaps like Selfridges! Both are worth popping in to (Printemps has a Ladurée, and Galeries Lafayette an Angelina)- so they’re also great to get lunch in too, if you don’t quite fancy going shopping!
Boulevard Haussmann, Paris, France
Okay, so it feels a little silly listing the main tourist attractions here, but I thought I’d pop down what we saw (and in which order)- in case anyone is planning a route around the city that isn’t too complex!
So, on our first day we started over at Trocadéro- this proved a great location for a spot of Eiffel Tower viewing (and tourist shots)- and also meant we were only about a 15 minute walk away from the famous Arc de Triomphe- which we headed over to next. With that being at the head of the Champs-Élysées, we were able to walk along there (making a few quick shop-stops, of course), before taking a short detour to the Rue di Rivoli and Louvre- top points for ticking off landmarks, team!