Paris is one of the most MAGICAL places in the world. Some people say Paris is overdone. However, if you know how to do it right, you can go to Paris every year and never get bored. Whether its your first time in the city, or you feel like you are basically a local, this guide will have everything you need for the perfect Parisian vacation. No matter how long your trip to Paris may be, you’ll never see everything in one go. Pick a few favorite must-sees, but do not try to do everything in one go. Otherwise, you will risk taking away from the whimsical nature that makes Paris the magical place it is.
Tips and Tricks
*Bank Holidays: Europe has a LOT of bank holidays and it is something we do not have to worry about in the United States. During bank holidays, everything shuts down. So, just be aware of these dates prior to visiting Paris.
*Use the metro for everything in the city. It’ll save tons of time and is just easier that dealing with traffic in Paris.
*While there is a benefit of visiting monuments with a tour group, in general, it is best to book your own tickets and go on your own time so you are not stuck spending 8 hours at The Lourve if you only want to see a few key pieces of art.
*As always, treat people well and they will treat you well.
Main Tourist Attractions
Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower is one of the biggest tourist traps in Paris. However, if its your first time, you can’t miss it. You have two main options when it comes to the Eiffel Tower: explore it from inside the building, or enjoy a nice view of the tower. If you are set on getting to the top of the tower which overlooks all of Paris, make sure you buy tickets in advance. Otherwise, you’ll risk waiting in multiple long lines and potentially never making it up. If you just want a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero is a must. A majority of the beautiful Eiffel Tower pictures you see people taking are from this point of view. Both options are good for their own reasons, it just depends what your goals are.
Catacombs: The Catacombs are another Parisian icon. Two meters underground, a maze of the remains of several million Parisians sits underneath the city. This may not be for everyone. However, if you are interested, it is an amazing experience and definitely requires tickets so you do not have to wait in line. Spend the extra money for the self-guided tour and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.
Champagne Tasting: If you are a champagne lover, you must make a day trip to the Champagne region. Whether you visit Reims or Epernay, you will not be disappointed. The region is home to some of the most iconic champagnes in the world, including but not limited to, Veuve Cliquot, Mumm, Tattinger, Krug, and Moet et Chandon. Tours of these champagne houses typically take guests to see the underground caves where champagne is made and bottled, and end with an unforgettable tasting. This is a couple hour drive from the center of Paris. However, the experience is well worth the drive. It is also a great excuse to stop by the La Vallee Village Outlets, containing all designer stores.
Ritz Paris: Is there anything better than staying at the Ritz Paris? I’ll answer that one for you…no! The Ritz Paris oozes culture, sophistication, and luxury. Located in Vendome, which is ideally located and walking distance to most places in Paris you will want to visit, the Ritz Paris makes getting around in the city a breeze. Whether you are looking to stay in an elegant room or an opulent suite, you will not be disappointed by a stay at the Ritz Paris.
Shangri-La Hotel, Paris: The Shangri-La Hotel in Paris is chic, trendy, and the perfect way to spice up a trip to Paris. This hotel overlooks the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. Beautiful rooms with terraces and two level suites will make this hotel the perfect stay for any traveler who is lookin for a unique experience.
The Peninsula Paris: The Peninsula Paris is located in the heart of the city and is walking distance to most of the city’s most famous monuments and museums. Spacious rooms and suites, and a customized experience make The Peninsula Paris a luxurious stay you cannot miss.
Girafe: You cannot go to Paris without visiting Girafe. Located at the Trocadero with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, this upscale restaurant is a once in a lifetime experience. Top of the line service, a chef who pays through attention to each dish, and an ambiance that is to die for make Girafe one of a kind. If you are fortunate enough to get a reservation here, be sure to try the catch of the day, the scallops with truffle, and the yellowtail.
The Little Italy: While The Little Italy is not an upscale establishment, it is an absolute MUST while in Paris. Located in the 9th, it will likely be a little bit away from wherever you may be staying. However, it is worth the trek. Cute italian decor and buzz worthy atmosphere make this restaurant exciting. In addition, the pizza is something you will never forget. Arguably some of the best pizza in the world, including better than Italy itself, The Little Italy is a must visit for any pizza lover. If you do get to this restaurant, any pizza with pepperoni is a must try.
Moulin Rouge: The Moulin Rouge will not be for everyone. However, if you are looking for a unique date night, the Moulin Rouge fits the bill. While the food is nothing outstanding, the show is out of the world. Done tastefully and classy, the Moulin Rouge, complete with its elaborate costumes, exquisite dancing, and phenomenal show is really worth a visit.
Le Prescription: Le Prescription is a cocktail club located near Saint Germain. This cocktail club has a speakeasy vibe, craft cocktails, and is always guaranteed to have your rubbing elbows with Paris’s trendiest group of people.
Secret 8: Secret 8 is a legitimate speakeasy located inside Buddha Bar. Buddha Bar has a great vibe. However, the food is hit or miss. But, Secret 8 is amazing. Be sure to check their Instagram page prior to making a reservation. You will need to solve the riddle of the day before they will allow you inside. They are very strict with their passwords. However, the effort is well worth some uniquely presented craft cocktails.
And So Much More…
Champs-Elysses: If you enjoy shopping, this is your goldmine. Whether you are interested in visiting one of the flagship Louis Vuitton stores (don’t forget to have them hot stamp your LV passport holder) or if you are a fan of Christian Louboutin’s famous red bottom shoes, a trip down the Champs is an absolute must for any fashion lover.
The Lourve: If you are an art lover, you have to make a trip to The Lourve. Even if you don’t have an appreciation for art, there are a few must see pieces such as Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa. Do yourself a favor and buy tickets ahead of time. There are two entrances, the one that is at the glass triangle, and one underground. Check both before waiting in line. And, if you are able to get a front of the line pass even better.
La Palette: If you want to feel like a local for the day, do a Picnic in Paris. Visit La Palette, one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorites, and walk across the street to the local liquor store. Pick up a bottle of wine, and walk to the banks of the Seine, let your feet dangle off the edge, and enjoy the boats and people passing by.
Visit Canal St. Martin/Marais: This is the young and trendy part of Paris. Less stuffy than some of its counterparts, Canal St. Martin/Marais is definitely worth a trip for some authentic food and fun bars.
Seine River Cruise: One of the most fun ways to get a quick tour of all of Paris is the Seine River Cruises. These boats take you around to see most of the major Parisian sites, and being on the water gives the experience such a great vibe. You can choose to have dinner on the boat for some extra added ambiance.
Versailles: For all my Queens at heart, Versailles cannot be missed. You’ve read about it in books, but actually visiting the castle and the gardens is something out of a fairy tale. Be sure to buy tickets ahead of time so you can bypass the line. Afterwards, head over to the little town and eat at Aux Delices De Katy. It is an extremely small restaurant, owned and operated by one woman who writes the menu on the wall every day. There is barely any English spoken, but it was an amazingly authentic French experience and a great way to feel like a local.
*Book any of the hotels listed above through SS Gold Travel and receive VIP treatment & special amenities like complimentary breakfast for two daily, hotel or resort credit, upgrades if available, early check-in/late check-out, access to exclusive promotions and more!