Seeing Paris requires the perfect balance of being a tourist and experiencing it like a local. After a few days, you’ll know Paris like a pro. But first, here are 5 things to get you started!
If you have a weekend, a week or a month to spend in Paris, this is how you should do it everyday. Grab a croissant at a cafe next door to start your AM, go check out a museum in the morning. Have lunch at a recommended bistro in the neighborhood, then pick a famous landmark you want to check out and spend the entire afternoon strolling and losing yourself in nearby alleys. Sounds redundant? It won’t be, because there are THAT many museums, landmarks and wanderlust-worthy alleys in Paris. Everyday will still be different throughout your trip while you get to check off as many things you wanted to see in the city. (SEE ALSO: 7 Days, 7 Museums in Paris Without Le Louvre…)
It’s not easy selecting five things you need to see in Paris since there’s just too many fabulous things to see and do. We’re simply recommending the five things you absolutely don’t want to miss out on in Paris:
1. Catch the sunset at the Eiffel Tower, here’s how:
This one is on everyone’s bucket list, and if you go during the day, you’re sure to be standing in line for hours along with every other tourist on the planet. So, the best bet is to reach the Eiffel Tower at 8pm. You’ll be standing in line for about 30 minutes, then you’ll have more than two hours to enjoy it up there (since it closes at 11pm). And you’ll want to save that much time for it, because there will be lots of climbing, snapping pictures and people around.
The reason why getting there at 8pm is the perfect time is to catch the sunset is that they also stop letting people go up around 10pm, so you’ll be able to really take in the moment and see all of Paris from the most famous building in the world!
2. Montmartre in a day
Exit metro: Blanche (map)
Alright, this is going to be a heavy day of touristy vibes, but you’ve just gotta go with it and mix it up a little bit. The key is to walk around on your own. When you get off the metro stop: Blanche (line 2), walk up Rue Lepic where you’ll pass by Café des 2 Moulins (where Amelie was filmed). You can either start your day at a cafe or end it with a glass of wine here.
Keep going on Rue Lepic, you’ll see Rue des Abbesses where a left turn leads to walking through windy streets (pass by Van Gogh’s house) but a right turn is a road full of shops, restaurants, fromageries, boulangeries. We highly recommend starting your day with a left turn, then hike up the hills. You’ll pass by charming houses, and through windy alleys in ten minutes, you’ll reach the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, or Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Sit on the steps for a few minutes, enjoy the view of the entire city.
Walk back down the hill, and you’ll see Rue des Abbesses again. Here are some restaurants to satiate your appetite in Montmartre.
3. Stroll through a farmers market
There is something so fantastic about a Parisian farmers market. An hour strolling through it, you suddenly forget that you’re in one of the most sophisticated cities in the world! Check out the freshest meat, vibrant colors of vegetables and fruits competing for your appetite. You’ll meet locals who shop at these marchés on a daily basis. As a traveler, buy some favorite fruits to devour back at the hotel. If you’re prepping for a picnic, get a few sandwiches and cheeses. A cozy dinner back at the hotel sounds like a fab idea? Rotisserie chickens at any farmers market is incredibly simple and DELISH!
4. Shop and browse in Le Marais
If you came to Paris to shop, then do it right. In Paris, there are biannual sales that go on for six weeks, they usually kick off in the beginning of January and at the end of June. Every store you can imagine will hang a sign that says “SOLDES”, meaning “sale”. But that is if you want to squeeze yourself along with every other tourist and shop in the most barbaric way.
If you want to experience the real Paris and shop the right way, then do it in Le Marais. Exit the metro: Saint-Paul (line 1), then get lost in tiny alleys in the district. Doesn’t matter where you go, you’ll find one-of-a-kind boutiques of clothing, jewelry, designer brands, furniture. This is also a great hub of antique and vintage shops. (SEE ALSO: SHOP – THE BEST LOCAL BOUTIQUES IN PARIS)
Check out the website: Paris Marais has a list of great places to go in the area!
5. Have a picnic by Le Seine!
Local Parisians’ favorite pastime, so you won’t feel touristy doing this at all! Our favorite spot is near Pont Alexandre III (Metro: Invalides) Grab a bottle of wine, prepare some charcuterie (cold cuts), cheese plates and you’re set! Even if you’re traveling on your own, bring a good book and a sandwich. You’re guaranteed to have the most serene yet memorable Paris moment!