Paris is one city that I keep going back to, much like New York which I’ve visited 7 times – and if the opportunity arises I would go back again in a heart beat. I digress, I’m not here to write about New York but I am here to share my love for the City of Lights. There are so many reasons why I love Paris and why I’ve visited numerous times. The first ones that jump to mind are the fashion, the food, the language, the architecture… and am I allowed to say the men?? Below are my top 5 (ok, 6) favourite things to do while I’m there:
1. Get lost in the streets of Le Marais District
Le Marais is my favourite district in Paris and where I tend to stay every time I visit. Be it a hotel or an apartment via Airbnb, it’s where I feel safest as a solo female traveler. I love it because it has a unique vibe and it’s one of Paris’ chicest neighbourhoods. Not only will you find some of the best shopping here, you will also find great food and attractions. The Marais district has been inhabited since the 12th century and is home to:
- Place des Vosges which is the oldest square in Paris and where you can stroll under the arches or have a picnic in the central garden.
- Musée Picasso including hundreds of pieces of his works.
- Musée Carnavalet – which is dedicated to the history of the city (however is currently closed for renovations until the end of 2019).
- The Jewish Quarter which is great for exploring because of its old-world charm and the infamous falafel shops that people flock to for a Mediterranean treat! L’as du Fallafel is one of the more popular ones that tends to attract a crowd at peak times.
- BHV – is one of my favourite department stores which is comprised of multiple floors where you will find pretty much everything you need.
2. Check the Eiffel Tower out from numerous hotspots
We all know the Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic structures in the world but “where are the best spots to take my Instagram worthy photos?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Below are my favourite spots:
- Place du Trocadero – especially at night for the spectacular light show (which btw is illegal to publish photos when it’s lit up at night, but I wonder how many people obey that rule? I’m predicting none!)
- The top of the Notre Dame – after climbing 387 steps (which I don’t mind doing especially after indulging in French pastries, cheese and lots of wine) not only will you see the Eiffel Tower, you will also see sweeping views of Paris, the Sacre Coeur and the Siene River.
- Pont Alexandre III – is the most elegant bridge I ever did see! Not only will you want photos of the Eiffel Tower from here, you will also want photos of the bridge as well! This bridge took almost 3 years to construct and was named after Tsar Alexander III. It was a symbol of the diplomatic relations between Russia and France
3. Visit the Sacré Coeur
I remember the first time I visited this Basilica. My friend Tania who was also playing tour guide for the day, said she wanted to take me somewhere. I didn’t really take note of where we were going and didn’t ask many questions either. I remember turning the corner and was in absolute awe when I first laid my eyes upon it, however when I turned around the see the panoramic view of the city, I let out a loud gasp because that wasn’t something I was expecting. No photo can do justice of this view and it’s definitely something I highly recommend you see for yourself.
You can also climb stairs to the top of the dome of the the Sacré-Cœur for more breathtaking views of Paris. This isn’t something I have experienced, yet but it certainly gives me an excuse to go back.
4. Eat French food and not-so-French food
Ble Sucre – is a must for flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth croissants. Of course they sell other pastries and the coffee’s great too. This place was recommended to me by my “foodie” friend Bec and it’s a place I keep going back every time I visit Paris.
Chez Janouz – was recommended to me by the concierge of my hotel when I asked for a French bistro and I wasn’t disappointed! It has a cosy atmosphere and serves traditional provincial French cuisine. I opted for the salmon and couldn’t go past the creme brulee which was divine!
L’Area – is another place I keep returning to for it’s relaxed feel and welcoming vibe. What I love about this place is that is has 2 menus – Lebanese and Brazilian – and the owner and his partner have heritage from both countries. I’ve only ever tried the Lebanese menu and always leave feeling super satisfied.
Sacree fleur – is another typical French restaurant that serves frogs legs and escargot, has a great ambiance and delicious tasting food. I opted for the Filet de boeuf which comes with potatoes, salad and three sauces and couldn’t resist the warm chocolate cake with sorbet.
Neighbours– I found this cafe by chance as I was walking by and came back two days in a row. It just so happens that it’s owned by Australians and the coffee and the food was delicious. I loved the corn fritters that came with poached eggs, avocado and bacon so much that I ordered it on both visits!
Fragments – Tucked away in a side street, this is another cafe that had really good coffee and avocado toast. It was full when I arrived and had to wait a bit but it was definitely worth the wait!
5. Visit Musee D’orsay
The Musée d’Orsay houses the largest collection of painting, sculpture, and decorative objects produced between 1848-1914 and is known to be one of the worlds most visited museums. Interestingly, this building was originally an old railway station before it was turned into a museum and is home to works by Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir to name a few.
6. Go to Galleries Lafayette for more than just shopping
Ok, I so couldn’t stop at 5 things and had to add this to the list! Bear with me and you’ll know exactly why. Galleries Lafayette is a French Department store and a fashion institution in Paris where you’ll find the latest trends and some amazing decor. Even if you’re not a “shopper” you should definitely check this building out for it’s magnificent interior and stained glass dome. But wait, there’s more. On level 8 is the rooftop where you’ll find panoramic views of the city and an amazing place for photos opportunities of the Eiffel Tower, Opera Garnier and the Sacre Couer. If you feel like hanging around to watch the sunset like we did, there’s also a rooftop bar where you can enjoy a drink as well!
There are so many more things I love about Paris but the ones I’ve mentioned above are some of my favourites and regardless of how many times I’ve visited, I always feel like there’s so much more to see and do!