A Travel Guide to Paris, France

Paris was the second stop on our European vacation. We took the train from London to Paris very early in the morning on our 4th day. We ended up spending a week in this magical city (including Christmas day!) and it just wasn’t enough. We simply didn’t want to leave! We fell in love with every part of the city. From walking aimlessly through the streets of Paris to the decadent food. Paris just knows the way to my heart. Every second spent in this city was pure magic.

Where we stayed: This AirBnb in the 11th arrondissement (we highly recommend!). We usually stay in AirBnb’s when we travel and this one was exceptional – we felt like locals for the week

Where we ate: L’As du FallafelGalette Cafe, Au Passage (Au Passage ended up being one of the best meals we’ve ever had. It was an Anthony Bourdain recommendation), L’Avant ComptoirBistrot Richelieu, Le Petit Cler, Frenchie To GoL’îlot, Laduree, street crepes and croissants. 

We absolutely loved everywhere we dined and highly recommend all the restaurants listed above. Here are some places that were on our list that we didn’t have time to get to: Ellsworth, Holybelly, Septime, Pizza Julia, Carette, Cafe Oberkampf, Buvette, Ob-La-Di.

A Few Food Tips: If you’re unsure of where to eat, pull up Yelp on your phone. It will give you options closest to you and you can scroll through reviews and photos to find the best place for you. Follow @topparisresto on Instagram for the most beautiful photos of food around Paris. We were initially intimidated by the Paris food scene, as there are so many amazing places to go – but using Yelp and following @topparisresto really helped us find some great places. 

How to get around: We arrived in Paris from London on the Eurostar, which was a super easy train ride into the city. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance to get the best fares. Once we arrived in Paris, we took the Paris Metro everywhere. There are automated ticket machines in the train stations and they have different language options, so you can purchase your tickets in English, rather than trying to translate from French, if you don’t know the language. We purchased a 5-day metro ticket (the Paris Visit Pass) for €38.35 and used it all day, every day. It’s an unbelievably affordable option to get around the city. It equals out to be €7.67 per day. Imagine what you’d pay if you took an Uber or a taxi. I’ve had friends visit Paris that spent hundreds of Euro’s on transportation. I must add that the metro system is ridiculously easy to navigate as well. Everything is color coded, and simply listed. Both Luke and I agreed that the Paris Metro was one of the easiest transportation systems to navigate.

Another fun option to navigate the city is Vélib’! Vélib’ is the bikeshare program in Paris. Download the app for your phone and you can find bikes located all over the city. You can choose a 1-day pass or a 7-day pass. See this link for pricing, as it seems they’ve adjusted their pricing structure since we last rode the bikes. It’s still a very affordable option and a great way to see the city!  

What we loved: Everything. Dining outside, the food, the vin rouge, Rue Cler, rooftops, riding bikes with no destination in mind, wandering the hallways of the Musee d’Orsay, Christmas Markets, the Eiffel Tower, Parisian life, European life, French accents, our apartment, our neighborhood boulangerie and market, Montmartre, the metro system… We really loved every aspect of this city. 

Recommendations: We found that the negative stereotypes that we grew up hearing about the French to be completely false. We came across some of the most accommodating and hospitable Parisians. We made it a point to learn some basic French before visiting (we practiced with DuoLingo). Being able to greet people and show them that you’re trying really does go a long way. Some basic phrases I would recommend are listed below. For more phrases, just google it! 

Oui = Yes
Non = No
Bonjour = Hello
Bonsoir = Good Evening
Au revoir = Goodbye
Merci = Thank you
Pardon = Excuse me / sorry
S’il vous plaît = Please
Table pour deux s’il vous plaît = Table for two, please 
Je ne parle pas très bien français = I don’t speak French very well 
Parlez-vous anglais? = Do you speak English?
– Photos © Holly Copeland –

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