Here is our optimized, seven-day plan of attack to discover one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. You’re in luck! We’ve drafted an itinerary that includes the monuments, the romantic sites, the chic spots, the grassroots, as well as the creative currents. Clearly it would take years to really grasp this city, but this is a good start.
A visit to the Eiffel Tower while in Paris, is practically inescapable, so why not do it first, as long as the weather plays along. Keep in mind, that of you’re planning on going up, you could wait in line for up to three hours for the first platform and an additional hour for the second. Instead of submitting yourself to such cruel and unusual punishment, why not admire it from below? This way, you’ll have time to check out some of the museums around (i.e. the Palais Tokyo , le Musée du Qaui Branly…) or even soak up its sexy silhouette during a picnic on the Champs de Mars. Be sure to check out the former military hospital, Les Invalides, nearby.
Plunge right into a morning of French history at the Louvre Museum. Instead of spending all day there (it would take weeks to explore it all!), stop around noon and go for a stroll in the Tuileries. If you’re hungry grab something to go and bring it to the park or venture off to the neighborhood between Le Palais Royal and Les Halles to grab a bite. Stay away from the tourist traps along Rue St. Honoré and explore Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, Rue Croix des Petits Champs, and Rue Coquillère (Les Fines Geules and Le Bistrot de Maëlle et Augustin for example, are great spots). Once you’ve gathered your forces head back to the Tuileries via the breath-taking Palais Royal and work your way across Place de la Concorde to the Champs-Elysées. You could choose to check out the seasonal exhibitions at the Petit and/or Grand Palais or squeeze in a shopping spree on the champs. If you want to check out the Arc de Triomphe at the end, consider going to the top to enjoy a magnificent view the bustling champs and the rest of the city.
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Start at Nôtre-Dame-de-Paris. After you’ve sufficiently admired this magnificent structure, head to Boulevard St.Germain on the Seine’s left bank, or rive gauche, popping into the legendary bookstore Shakespeare and Co. on your way. Stoll down the chic boulevard until you get to Boulevard Saint-Michel. When you pass the Sorbonne, the Jardin de Luxembourg is just up ahead, which has inspired many a French thinker in its day. You could also check out the nearby Pantheon, if you wish. After a leisurely stroll in the beautiful park, make your way back up to the Boulevard St. Germain via St. Sulpice, one of the most charming churches in the city. Back on Boulevard St. Germain, discover the St.Germain-des-Près church and market (a fabulous lunch spot!). Why no check out the legendary cafés where great thinkers such as Hemingway hung out. If you’ve got the time and energy head to the nearby Musée d’Orsay. You can also do this circuit backwards to make the museum your priority.
The stretch between La Place du Châtelet and La Place des Vosges comprises one of Paris’s most trendy areas: Le Marais. Start at Le Centre Pompidou, which boasts a brilliant collection of contemporary art and then head toward La Place des Vosges, crossing Le Marais. Grab a falafel for lunch or perch at one of the hip cafés—great people watching spots! Alternatively (or also) spend some time in the area around Etienne Marcel where the pedestrian streets are equally charming and lively. Both quarters are replete with tiny boutiques and vintage stores for those in the mood for some shopping.
Set aside some time for this more proletarian area in the east of Paris where conviviality and a glimpse of Parisians' Paris are on the menu. Visit the Père Lachaise in the heart of old Paris—the final resting places of celebrities such as Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf. Follow the Canal Saint-Martin down to Bastille (the last stretch is covered). Hungry? Check out Chez Paul in the Rue Charonne for some rustically authentic French cuisine. If you’re willing to walk a little farther why not try Le Bistrot du Peintre near the Ledru-Rollin metro? You can stick around and explore this area or cross the river to check out the Jardin des Plantes or the Mosque of Paris, where a cute, mosaic-adorned courtyard welcomes you for a glass of delicious mint tea.
Of course, Montmartre is a great spot to admire the city from above, but if you want a less generic experience, why not head to the colorful Belleville area? At the very top of the Parc de Belleville, you can kick back at a café and soak in the very best view of the city. The nearby Buttes Chaumont, one of the most beautiful parks of the city, is also worth a hike. If you’re around during the early evening, stop by la Rosa Bonheur, a trendy watering-hole situated inside the park. The nearby Rue St. Marthe offers an exciting culinary experience—from tiny Spanish bodega to the Restaurant of a former Top Chef winner, you’ll find everything your palate desires.
For a classic day of Parisian shopping head to Boulevard Haussman in the 9th arrondissment (be sure to check out the magnificent dome at Galerries Lafayette). From here you can continue on the the Madeleine area nearby. If you want a shopping experience with a little more spunk, head to Montmartre, where you’ll find tons of tiny boutiques of independent designers. Don’t forget to pick up a thing or two for those eagerly awaiting your return back home. Ready, go, shop!
Agathe was absolutely delightful! Her knowledge and charming personality made her an excellent tour guide. I would highly suggest this tour!!
Jesica was a great tour guide and made the experience one of the highlights of our entire trip to Paris. It certainly met our expectations.
Marjorie was just great! I didn't really want to do the Louvre but she made the history come alive in stories and I just LOVED our experience!
Alberto was a great guide, he was very informative. The Catacombs were just awesome. Would definitely recommend this to everyone!!
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