One of the reasons I decided to start blogging again last fall was to have a place to share my travel photos. I got my SLR camera for high school graduation, and have taken it with me on every major trip I’ve taken since. It’s been seven years since then, so I have thousands of photos sitting on my hard drive. And while I’ve shared a fair amount on Facebook, I wanted to have a place to put them + with more detailed descriptions of where I’ve been and what I’ve loved in these places.
Paris is one of my absolute favorite cities. I’ve been four times — when I was eight, when I was a sophomore in high school, while I was studying abroad, and then last year, with my friends Natalie and Alex. Though I’ve been a fair amount of times for someone my age, up until last year, each of my visits had been only three days long. If you’ve ever been to Paris, you’ll know that three months isn’t long enough to completely conquer this city. There are so many incredible museums, gorgeous streets, world-famous sights, and obviously, amazing food, it’s impossible to do it all.
But when you’re only there for three days, it’s even harder. And each time I was traveling with someone new, so I ended up hitting a lot of the same spots. So when the opportunity to visit Paris for a full week arose last year, I hopped on it. And if you can, I highly recommend spending a full week in Paris, so you can check far more boxes than you would in three days.
The Louvre // Of course, any first timer to Paris must visit the Louvre. It’s one of the best-known museums in the world for a reason, and though
Musée d’Orsay // Great for lovers of impressionism, and worth checking out for the impressive collection + cool space (it’s housed in an old train station!)
The Catacombs // This is a mass grave underneath the city, filled with bones and skulls of more than six million people. You make your way through, and it honestly is freaky, but cool to say you’ve done. Warning: They’ll only let a certain amount of people in at a time, and the line can get bad. We waited at least two hours, maybe more. I say do this once, and then you never have to do it again.
Musée Picasso // One of the most impressive collections of Picasso’s works, and an easy way to spend a morning.
Musée Rodin // Rodin’s sculptures are displayed in a bright and airy home.
The Pantheon // Originally a church, famous figures like Victor Hugo and Volitaire are buried here. The space is huge and gorgeous.
Pompidou // A modern art space, and one that I’ve never been to! Hoping to check this off on my trip this fall.
Musée de l’Orangerie // Monet’s water lilies are the highlight here, but there’s an additional collection downstairs that’s worth seeing.
Maison de Victor Hugo // Victor Hugo’s former home, turned into a museum. A quick stop, and worth a visit if you’re a fan of Les Miserables.
We purchased a four-day museum pass last time we were there, and it was completely worth it if you’re planning on seeing a lot of museums. If you’re there for longer, I’d just pack your museum visits into those days, and then spread out your other activities on the other days you have. You can’t get in everywhere with it, but you can get in most places.
Also to note: If you’re a European student, you can get into most of these museums for free. That includes people who are studying abroad. Bring your student visa (passport) or student ID and you should be able to get a discounted (or free) rate.
Eiffel Tower // Obviously. I haven’t been to the top since I was nine, but walking around outside is just as lovely.
Champs-Élysées // You’ve obviously heard of this famous street. It’s worth a walk down, but honestly, the shopping is meh.
Rue Saint Honoré // This is the best shopping street in Paris. It’s home to tons of designers, like Goyard, and cool shops like Colette.
Arc de Triomphe // Climb to the top for one of the best views of Paris! It’s at the end of the Champs-Élysées, so you can walk down there after.
Notre Dame // There’s free guided tours inside, or you can just walk around at your own pace.
Sacre Coeur // A gorgeous cathedral on a hill in the beautiful neighborhood of Monmartre. Walking up the steps to the top is worth it for the view alone.
Père Lachaise Cemetery // A ton of famous people are buried here, and it’s worth it to walk around and
Palais Royal // That very Instagram-able spot near the Louvre. It’s perhaps most famous for the black and white cylinders
Place des Vosges // A beautiful public square and park. There’s lots of shopping near there, and it’s a great place to sit down and take in the view.
Sainte Chapelle // Stunning stained glass as far as the eye can see in what used to be the private chapel of the Kings of France.
Palais Garnier // The famed Paris opera house. I’d love to see a performance here one day, but if you can, definitely do the inside tour. I’m a huge Phantom of the Opera fan so it was such a highlight for me.
Galeries Lafayette // An epic department store near the opera house. Lots of designer items, but some more affordable pieces, too!
Shakespeare & Company // The bookstore featured in Midnight in Paris. It’s super cute and right by Notre Dame.
To be honest, usually when I’m in Paris, I have no cell service and no idea where I’ll end up by the end of the day, so we just head somewhere that looks appetizing. When I’m there for a day this fall, I want to do a little more research. Off the top of my head, these are a few spots that I’ve liked. To me, it’s more about the food you’re eating than where you eat it (of course, there are lame spots, but a lot of Parisian food is delicious!) Croissants, baguettes, pastries, steak frites, fondue, crepes, mussels — I could go on. So, so good.
Laudree // We have it stateside now, but it’s still worth a trip to try their macarons in their home city.
Angelina // I’ve never been, but they’re known for their hot chocolate. (I don’t like chocolate, so that’s why!)
Les Deux Magots // An elegant café in St. Germain des Pres. Go for brunch — and order a cocktail!
Le Refuge des Fondus // Right near Sacre Coeur, you can get wine in baby bottles and cheese fondue at this is a hole in the wall spot.
Berthillon // The best ice cream on the Île Saint-Louis. Lots of spots around there sell it that aren’t the actual Berthillon storefront.
L’Elephant Du Nil // I love this little spot, and had an amazing meal there when I studed
Of course, there’s so much more to do in Paris, but I like to think of these points as the highlights. I’ll be back this fall for just a day, and I can’t wait. It’s truly a city like no other. And while there are things that the pictures don’t show — hoards of tourists and pickpockets, to name a few — it’s beautiful and is a really special place. If you have any questions about Paris, leave a comment below! Or share your own Paris tips with me, as I’m heading back with a day to kill this fall!