Paris, FRANCE — After working a week in chilly Prague, we headed west for Spring. On this agenda: wine, cheese, tarts, and soccer.
7 days / 6 nights
In previous trips, we’ve stayed in the 1st (near the Louvre), 4th (Le Marais), and the 5th (Latin Quarter), but this time we decided on the 9th to be a bit further from the heaps of tourists.
DO (for repeat visits)
Picnic at the Eiffel Tower – Make a pit stop for wine, cheese, bread, and meat ahead of time! Our favorite place to gather (pretty much) everything was at Fromagerie du Louvre. For two people, we asked for two cheeses (100 grams each) and two meats (also 100 grams each) for lunch. We didn’t know this at the time, but you can even order a picnic box in advance! Unlike in the states, a good bottle of wine in France costs about €10 and an excellent bottle is about €20. Don’t forget to bring a small blanket, bottle opener, and cups. We spent 4 hours just relaxing and taking in the view. Plus, the people watching is quite entertaining!
There are Uber bike stations right outside of the Eiffel Tower. Instead of metroing back, we headed to see the Arc de Triomph before cruising along the Seine and Pont Neuf. There are dedicated bike lanes along the river in the pedestrian area so you don’t have to worry about cars and traffic.
Musee d’Orsay – home to a vast collection of Impressionist paintings inside a former railway station. While not as huge as the Louvre, it’s still quite large, so I recommend starting at the fifth floor to give yourself proper time with Van Gogh and Monet and then work your way down to the sculptures.
Wine & Cheese Tasting – do this at the start of your trip so you know how to order and pair French wine and cheese!
Tuileries Gardens – picturesque public park, great spot for relaxing after a day at the Louvre. I like to pick up some macarons at Angelina and find a chair near the fountains to rest my feet.
Palais Garnier – inspired by the Halls of Mirrors in Versailles and the setting for Phantom of the Opera. Even if you don’t like opera, it’s still worth a visit to see the grand architecture and double stairway, Grand Escalier.
Cruise down the Seine – this hour long trip takes you by the most iconic monuments. It’s not a true “tour” so don’t expect to really learn anything from the recorded guide, but rather take in the sites from the water. If you cruise by night, you’ll get great views of the Eiffel Tower sparkling!
Want to get away from the crowds? Rent a license free electric boat and go off the beaten path for a more private experience. You can rent for one hour or the entire day for 2, 5, 7 or 11 people and bring your own food, drink, wine! Boats start at €40 per hour which is only €10 more than the price of two tickets for the huge river boats.
Moulin Rouge – if it’s your first or second trip to Paris, I would recommend skipping this show all together. After passing by the theatre so many times, my curiosity took over this trip and we finally made the commitment to buy tickets. My honest opinion? It reminded me of a circus show with topless dancers… If you manage your own expectations, it’s a fun, unique night out (but also expensive at €300/pair for the show only, no dinner). All in all I’m glad we went, but as any tourist attraction, they do pack in guests — good thing we had a bottle of champagne waiting for us at our table.
La Boite aux Lettres – a French only, chalkboard menu – my favorite! Located in the 18th arrondissement near Sacre Coeur.
L’Ebauchoir – When the waiter asks you, “how did you find us” because it’s full of locals and you are the only tourist there…a great sign! It looks far on the map but the metro will get you there in 15 minutes. It was our favorite meal! Google’s picture lens feature saves us when we have to translate the menu.
L’Antre Amis – 15th arrondissement recommended by our Airbnb experience host.
Le Temps des Cerises – our “go to” when in Paris. Dimly lit, romantic and lively at the same time.
Chez Alain Miam Miam (inside Marche des Enfants Rouges) – the most delicious savory galette! Big enough for two. Creperie Elo Flamel is a good spot for sweet crepes, made fresh to order.
Bobby – Neapolitan style pizza near Sacre Coeur
L’Apibo – my favorite meal this trip! It’s a 2 or 3 course menu. In true French fashion, dinner will take around 2.5 hours, so practice patience and order more wine. Michelin Guide.
Pizza Populare – super “popular” spot in the 2nd. Like many restaurants in Paris, a reservation is a must! Pink Mamma is also part of this group, but even with one month in advance we couldn’t get in.
Septime – Michelin-star that I still can’t get reservations for! It’s no surprise because lunch is surprisingly affordable for a five-course tasting menu at €65.
Le Valentin Jouffroy – pastries, tea, and coffee inside a passage. Great option if it’s raining.
Boulangerie- Patisserie Terroirs d’Avenir – popular to-go bakery
Fou de Patisserie – still dreaming about this salted caramel, chocolate, pistachio tart. Worth every penny.
Terra bar a vin – French style teppanyaki offering sophisticated tapas
Le Denichenier – local favorite for small plates and natural wine
Le Garde Robe – cozy, casual wine bar and charcuterie near the Louvre
We are really getting to know each other Paris…I’m sure we’ll see you again soon.