As Audrey Hepburn once put it… “Paris is always a good idea”.
A little about me: I hate the cold and prefer to hibernate during the winter season. I am miserable when the temperature begins to drops, no matter how bundled up I am.
I first visited Paris six years ago over the Christmas holiday and the city instantly captured my heart. Since we were in Paris during the winter we didn’t spend as much time outside as I would have wanted. Our days consisted of museums and sipping endless cappuccinos to stay warm.
This time around our agenda was a little different. We wanted to spend our days wandering through the sun-kissed streets, dining al fresco, and taking in all of the beauty that Paris has to offer.
We stayed at beautiful Buddha Bar Hotel. We chose this hotel for two reasons: Location and the room size.
Location: The Buddha Bar is right on the corner of Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, one of the most luxurious street in Paris. The hotel is surrounded by designer stores so get ready to splurge… or at least window shop. This area of Paris is so beautiful! Home to many embassies, luxurious mansions, and well known museums; it’s such a beautiful place to walk around and is much more quiet than other touristy parts of Paris. It is truly a perfect location for a hotel. You are also in close proximity to the Eiffel Tower, Champs De Elyse, and most major shopping.
Room size: Jason and I were traveling with four giant suitcases (we still can’t figure out how to pack properly) so the typical Parisian hotel room was not going to cut it. In Paris, and most of Europe, hotel rooms are the size of closets. If you like space, remember to pick wisely.
My favorite hotel in Paris is definitely the Shangri La Paris. We enjoyed a gorgeous lunch on their patio and afterwards one of the managers on duty took us on a quick tour of the hotel property. This hotel is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. In my opinion, this is one of the best hotels in Paris.
Side Note: I actually dragged everyone to this hotel because I saw some photos floating around Instagram of my favorite bloggers on a terrace with unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower. I HAD to snap the same photo for the blog! Once we arrived to the hotel we were quickly informed that this panoramic view is only from the penthouse. I later found out about a fashion event that was held there a few months earlier. Go figure.
I wasn’t too disappointed as the hotel was worth the trip. I’ve already told Jason that next time we come to Paris we will definitely be staying there…possibly in the penthouse? *wink*
There are so many beautiful hotel options in Paris you can’t really go wrong! Some other hotels that come highly recommended (I harassed friends and family for their top picks) are:
- Plaza Athenee – The courtyard alone is Insta-worthy!
- Four Seasons – Very beautiful property. Can you ever go wrong with a Four Seasons Hotel?
- AirBnB – You’ll be surprised how many wonderful apartments are available to rent. What better way to feel like a true Parisian than with your own apartment in the heart of Paris?
Paris is divided into twenty different districts, each unique and special in its own way. Since we were only in Paris for 4 days we didn’t even scratch the surface. For those who want to really get to know the neighborhoods check out this article. Here are some of the places we visited while we were in Paris:
Since the weather was perfect we walked A LOT. Thank God because I ate my fair share of pastries for breakfast. My favorite walks were definitely along the river where we enjoyed sunny skies and beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower. There is something about this walk that makes you feel so Parisian.
The Eiffel Tower
I may get a lot of heat for this but I do not recommend going up the Eiffel Tower. Trust me, others will agree with me. I had imagined something straight out of a chick flick; roses, doves, violins….okay, so maybe I was being a little overzealous…
The reality? Jason and I, and a hundred other tourists, crammed together like sardines pushing to get that Instagram worthy shot. Let’s just say it was NOT for me. Yes, the views are breathtaking; but I am not willing to give up 2-3 hours of my time to wait in line with hundreds of tourists to reach the top.
I recommend viewing the Eiffel Tower from a distance. Pack a picnic or have Picnic Paris do the dirty work for you and head to the Champs De Mars where you can enjoy a beautiful and stress free afternoon lying around eating exotic cheeses and drinking French wine. You KNOW that sounds magnifique!
You can also grab lunch on any outdoor terrace that has direct views of the Eiffel Tower. (Make sure to make a reservation) Trust me, it will much more romantic.
If you are DYING for a bird’s-eye-view of the city head to the Tour Montparnasse which has one of the best views of Paris.
Champs De Elyse.
This is the most popular boulevards in Paris and because of this, has now become a little too touristy and commercial for my taste. If you’re a first timer, I recommend walking up the street to the famous Arc De Triomphe landmark, and then heading off to more quiet and charming parts of town.
TIP: One of the largest Louis Vuitton stores in the world is located in Champs De Elyse. There is usually a line to get in but if you’re a L-V fan like myself, it’s worth the wait. Don’t worry, it’s nothing like the line for the Eiffel Tower. You will be through the doors and in Louis Vuitton heaven in no time. If your budget (and suitcase) allows it, designer clothing and accessories are much cheaper here than in North America. (Don’t forget about your VAT Refund!)
This trendy neighborhood is full of restaurants, creperies (so good), and souvenir stores. Definitely come here for one thing: FOOD. There is so much variety and the best part is that it is super cheap! It’s right next to the Notre Dame so head there first, and then walk to the Latin District for lunch.
TIP: Definitely go inside the Notre Dame if you’ve never been. I personally think the back of the cathedral is even more stunning than the front! There’s also a beautiful garden that you can relax in and enjoy the dramatic views of the cathedral.
I live for food. Especially food from Europe. I like to think that culinary exploration (aka eating a lot) is the most important part of travel. If the food is terrible, I’m not coming back. Period.
Paris, as I quickly discovered, is a foodie city. Your tastebuds will be bursting with happiness no matter where you eat. Honestly, every restaurant we tried was delicious; and it made me seriously question moving here strictly for the food.
Monsieur Blue: If you’re looking for a restaurant that checks all of the boxes: al fresco dining, delicious food, chic crowd, a posh late night lounge, AND one of the best close up views of the Eiffel Tower you
have to go need to go to Monsieur Blue! The food was incredible, the people were beautiful (I’m pretty sure everyone there was a model), and who doesn’t want front row access to the twinkling Eiffel Tower lights? Seriously, if you had to eat in one place, this is it! Our waiter was so sweet and even took the time to show us where to take the perfect Eiffel Tower photo (it’s the far right corner of the terrace, BTW).
For me, this place was the Crème de la crème.
L’ Avenue: You have to come here for brunch and/or dinner. This restaurant is super trendy and VERY popular. Google L’ Avenue and you will find hundreds of paparazzi pictures of Kim K, Justin Bieber, Madonna… you get the point. Despite its ‘Hollywood’ popularity the food is actually really good! We enjoyed lunch on the terrace where we had a great view of the Eiffel Tower. Definitely come here if you want great people watching! We sat next to a man dressed to the nines eating lunch with his toy poodle.
Le Matignon: This place is definitely catering to the jet-set crowd. The decor reminds me of a swanky 70’s club; gold accents and plush couches. The food was impeccable, and the service was out of this world. Come here for a late dinner and then head downstairs to their club for Champagne and dancing.
No trip to Paris is complete without Macaroons.
Despite all of my efforts, I never actually got my hands on macaroons. This actually turned into a running joke because no matter where we went in France, I ended up empty handed. (I finally got some in Rome, Thank God!)
My Sweet tooth Recommendations:
Laduree – Yes, the place that every Gossip Girl fan flocks to the moment they arrive in Paris.I have a confession…I’ve never even seen an episode of Gossip Girls.no, I don’t recommend this shop because I’m a fan of the show. They are famous for their macaroons and for good reason! Trust me… it’s worth the hype.
Pierre Herme – If you want bold flavors that will tantalize your tastebuds this place is a must! Think Vanilla andBasil, Chocolate and Passionfruit, or Jasmine flavored macaroons. Yum!
L’Eclair de Genie – Okay, I snuck this one one. As the name suggests, this shop sells eclairs, not macarons. BUT the eclairs here are so f*cking good that I had to add it to the list.
Paris By Night
Our evenings mainly consisted of late night dinners, followed by casual walks back to our hotel. Having been to many parts of the world I can say that Paris is not highly known for its nightlife so clubs were not on our itinerary. Plus, we were saving our livers for the debauchery that was going to go down at the Monaco Grand Prix (our next stop). If you are looking for late night shenanigans here are some recommendations:
- L’Arc – The ‘IT’ Club of Paris. Lenny Kravitz decorated it so you know it has to be cool.
- Buddha Bar – The music here is seriously on point (awesome deep house) and the interior decor is well worth the trip. This is one of my favorite lounge/clubs in Paris.
- Moulin Rouge – It’s fun, it’s historical, and it’s perfect for someone looking for something different. Plus Moulin Rouge was one of my favorite shows (Hello Christina Aguilera!). I recommend checking it out at least once!
Overall we had an amazing time in Paris! What parts of Paris captured your heart? Let me know!