There’s no denying that Paris is one of the most thrilling, exciting and beautiful destinations on planet Earth. It’s architecture, food, wine and people leave the heart captivated and yearning for more. With each visit, I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with the city that has always played a salient role in my life. But to put it simply, if you haven’t been to Paris, start saving now for a trip you’ll cherish forever. However, when planning your trip, it’s important to think ahead about an itinerary. What I’m going to share with you is a couple of little things I love about Paris, and how you can enjoy the city in a non-tourist-guidebook way.
This year’s trip to the City of Lights served two purposes: the first being to celebrate the marriage of my childhood friend Dominique, and the second to celebrate my long-awaited graduation from Northeastern University just one month ago. I’ll spare my readers the play-by-play of my nine-day journey and instead make some valuable recommendations that will be helpful when planning your next trip.
- Accommodations are key:
Often times people ask me how I afford these lavish trips, and I tell them honestly and truly that it’s all about planning. To be clear, I LOVE Airbnb’s, but I think that they aren’t always the right choice depending on the type of trip you’re taking. In some cases, they can be just as pricey as hotels and come with the occasional problems (i.e, toilets don’t flush, the door is impossible to open etc.) For a trip to Paris I highly recommend a hotel- ESPECIALLY if you don’t speak French.
I stayed at a stunning boutique hotel in the 9th arrondissement called Hotel Eugene en Ville. The facilities were clean and decorated to perfection, the staff was formidable on all levels, and as a bonus it even included breakfast! Oh, and get this- the price tag you ask? A modest $200 per night.
Check out their website here, at http://www.eugeneenville.com/en/.
2. Use the metro:
If you are fortunate enough to have a functioning cell phone while in Paris (if you have Verizon, you can activate their TravelPass for $10 a day and full access to your plan at home), use the metro. Apple maps is awesome at navigating you from place to place on the metro. It’s clean, easy, and will spare you lots of time sitting in traffic. However, if you aren’t crossing the Seine (going from the northern part of the city to southern or vice versa) Uber is pretty inexpensive and is a nice way to see the city without sitting on a tacky double-decker tour bus.
3. Musée de Louvre
Okay, we’ve all heard about it, seen a million and a half photos of it, but YOU need to see it. It’s massive and it will take you at least a few hours to get through so make sure you allocate enough of your day to do so. But, what people don’t tell you is that you DON’T need to wait outside in a line for three hours or more. There’s a very simple hack to getting into the museum that most people who are tourist would never know.
There’s an entrance area called “Le Carrousel de Louvre” located at 99 Rue de Rivoli that takes you into an underground area were you can purchase tickets and enter the museum. It is seriously one of the best kept secrets in Paris and will save you heaps of time!
4. Montmartre and Sacre Coeur
If you do nothing else while in Paris, head up to the 18th district to the area of Montmartre. It’s full of adorable (and affordable) little shops and offers stunning views of the city as well as quaint European charm. The café’s and restaurants are all delicious and a great way to save money on food. Dining in the city center or in the tourist areas can be quite expensive and not really worth it. But believe me, you will fall in love with Montmartre! It’s the best way to feel like a local and tourist at the same time!
5. Views from the Galleries de Lafayette
Galleries de Lafayette (Galleries) and Printemps are two of the largest shopping malls in the city which draw many tourists, but believe me when I say you MUST see it (at least Galleries anyway). Picture the madness and chaos of the NYSE on Wall Street— this is the same thing, only for every high-end fashion label you could ever think of! Oh, and as an added bonus, the 7th floor has an unbelievable rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the city. What could be better than some good shopping and a nice cocktail?
Looking for a more unique shopping experience? Definitely check out Colette in the 1st arrondissement. Colette is an exhibition shop that features everything from Gucci shoes, to Polaroid cameras, to French hair products. The storefront is a test market shop coveted by designers from all around the world, ranging in an immense variety of goods. If you’re looking for that ‘it’ item and want it before anyone has it, head to Colette. It’s as quirky and unique as it is intriguing and impressive.
Check out the website! http://www.colette.fr
7. Seine night-time cruises
This is probably the most touristy activity in the world, but it is absolutely breathtaking! The Bateaux Mouches is the famous night-time river cruise that runs along the Seine River. It features breathtaking views of the sparkling Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Musée D’Orsay, and so much more. The cruise lasts about an hour and runs at different times all day. I personally think the night time is best, there tends to be fewer people and it’s the best way to see Paris at nighttime. The last cruise departs around 10pm. I personally recommend that the later you go, the better. And don’t worry, the Eiffel Tower sparkles until 1am (and 2am during the summer months) so you never have to worry about missing a beat!
For more information, comment below and I’ll be happy to give you all of the recommendations you’ll need!