My sister decided to move to Paris to be an au pair for a year. Since I love to travel, I used this as an excuse to visit her in the city of love. Read my Paris post to see exactly what we did!
WHERE TO STAY:
- St Christopher’s Inn Paris Canal – My sister and I had a great time at this hostel. I booked through the HostelWorld website, but I wish I had booked direct. By booking directly through their website, you get free breakfast and 25% off food!
- St Christopher’s Inn Gare Du Nord – I stayed here with my brothers when we were visiting our sister for Christmas/New Years. We booked directly through their website, so we were able to eat breakfast for free each day, and we got a token for a free shot. I was just as satisfied with my stay here as I was with the Canal location.
THINGS TO DO/PLACES TO SEE IN PARIS:
- Shopping! How can you visit Paris and NOT go shopping?
- Longchamp – I got the Large Le Pliage tote for $95 (typically $145 in the states!)
- Louis Vuitton – The line was too long for us to wait, but it would have definitely been cool to go inside!
- Photo shoot – Paris is honestly the perfect city to wander around taking some awesome shots!
- Have a picnic – One of my favorite memories from my trip to Paris was sitting on the grass with my sister, looking at the Eiffel Tower, while enjoying a picnic with wine.
- Visit the Catacombs of Paris – I 100% suggest buying a Skip-the-Line pass before you head to Paris. These passes sell out on each day, so you will want to at least buy it a week ahead of time. Without a skip-the-line ticket, you can wait up to 4-hours in line (and there is so much you can do with that time!). Trust me, it is worth the 25€ for the faster entrance.
- Ice skating in the Grand Palais – If you find yourself in Paris for Christmas/New Year’s Eve, this is a MUST. I have a large family, so it is hard to find something that everyone enjoys, but this was a hit with the whole family! I felt like I was at a rave with all the lights, music and dancing <3
I booked our tour with the SANDEMANs newEUROPE Free Tours of Paris. We enjoyed talking to our tour guide Zach, and were excited to learn that he was originally from the U.S. The Free Tour of Paris started by the fountain on Place St Michel. Similar to most SANDEMANs tours, it was about 2.5 hours total. The tour was quite extensive, and included many of the places on my list to see including:
- Saint Michel Fountain
- Notre Dame de Paris
- Tuileries Gardens
- Assemblée Nationale
- The Louvre
- Palais Royal
- View of the Grand & Petit Palais
- Haussmann’s Paris
- Incredible views of Eiffel Tower
- Latin Quarter
- Pont Neuf
- Place de la Concorde
- Palace of Justice
- Sainte Chapelle
- Musée d’Orsay
- Carrousel Arch
If I am being honest, my sister and I were more interested in getting pictures of Paris than we were in the history of the different buildings, but this was still a great way to see the city and get the lay of the land.
You know that one of my favorite things to explore (outside of food) is music! While visiting my sister, we found the coolest “underground” music spot:
- Gare Jazz – This was one of my favorite spots in Paris! This music venue it set-up in an old warehouse with a food truck, bar, and plenty of locals!
- Cave du 38 Riv’ – We didn’t get a chance to make it here, but it is definitely on my list for my next trip to Paris!
In France, I think it is less about where you eat, and more about what you eat. No matter where you find yourself, here are things you MUST try:
- Croque Madame- This seems like just a ham and cheese sandwich with an egg on top, but it is so much more! Trust me, try it 🙂
- Macarons – Honestly, try any flavor…shoot, try EVERY flavor. My sweet tooth was thoroughly satisfied
- Chocolate-Almond Croissants – I am literally drooling thinking about these.
- Cheese – All of it. Eat all the cheese
- Wine – Same as cheese. Try various types of wine!
When my family and I visited my sister for the holidays, we ate out quite a bit, here were some of our favorites:
- La Droguerie – My mouth is literally watering thinking about this place. Best crepes ever. I repeat, BEST CREPES EVER. My brother and I walked almost 2 miles to eat here last time we were in Paris. I will definitely be back!
- Café Chilango – Holy guacamole…seriously, their guac was heavenly. They also had super amazing tacos. Definitely go here if you find yourself craving Mexican food
- Amorino – You all know I CAN’T go anywhere in Europe without getting some gelato. This place has the CUTEST gelato flower with a macaroon on top that is totally Instagramable! (I went to the 16 Rue de la Huchette, 75005 Paris, France location)
- La Corde à Linge – This was hands down the best food I ate in all of France. If you make it to Strasbourg, you definitely need to splurge for dinner here. Honestly get anything on the menu and you will be satisfied.
- Brasserie de la Lanterne – Okay, technically I didn’t eat here, but this bar in Strasbourg was so much fun, and was full of locals. They have a ton of local beers to try as well!
IF YOU HAVE TIME TO LEAVE PARIS:
- Visit the Gardens of Versailles – For 30€ you can rent a golf cart that includes a map and an audio tour. The property is HUGE, so this is a fun way to see as much as you can. If you prefer to walk, you can also download Rick Steve’s Free Versailles Palace Tour (under the “Listen” tab).
- Visit the Strasbourg Christmas Market – Strasbourg is such picturesque town with an interesting history and a I loved all of the German Influence. The Christmas Market was adorable, and definitely worth the trip from Paris.
- Mont-Saint-Michel – You will need to take a train and a bus to get here from Paris, but the view from the top of Mont Saint Michel Abbey is incredible.