I’m so excited to share with you my Paris Travel Diary and Guide! Included in this story are all the places I visited and any tips I can share that may help you with your next trip. Overall Paris is wonderful! It’s a busy city full of lovely people and delicious food. It looks like a giant museum and its history is incredibly rich. Here’s where I stayed, ate and visited:
The Eiffel Tower
This stunning view of the Eiffel Tower was captured on a boat tour my mom and I took called the Vendettes Du Pont-Neuf. I highly recommend this tour and will speak more on it below. Just know that when it comes to the Eiffel, the locals seem to think, simply seeing it is the best part. I was told by about 5 different Parisians that the wait to get to the top of the tower takes 2-3 hours and is always crowded. That didn’t sound great to me or my mom so we skipped it. We only had a few days to explore the entire city so we had to pick and choose wisely. If you have the time, I’d say go for it! But if you don’t, there are other ways to enjoy this stunning tower.
Hotel Grand Amour
Hotel Grand Amour is a boutique hotel in Paris’ district 10. It’s super chic, fun and hip. When I visit a big city, I hate to stay in tourist areas, even if the tourist areas are as lovely as the neighborhood surrounding the Eiffel Tower. The way I see it, I’m going to visit the tourist areas, so why not explore where the locals live. The Hotel Grand Amour is in a newly gentrified neighborhood that still has it sketchy parts. Not super scary sketchy but not pristine Paris perfect either. I loved it! Our block was lively and just down the street was a long stretch of bars, cafes and shops. It’s like the Echo Park of Paris! The hotel itself has a lovely patio restaurant/bar and another small bar across the street. It was about a 15-20 min Uber ride from all the sites and the hospitality was lovely. So if you’re looking for a hotel where all “the cool kids” hang then The Hotel Grand Amour is for you.
KB Coffee Roasters
I love coffee so I had to seek out the best coffee I could find in Paris. Well, everywhere pretty much has great coffee but KB Coffee Roasters was exceptional. Located in another hip part of town, South Pigalle, KB is a larger corner cafe that serves the perfect latte and baguettes to die for. They also serve lunch. Check this place out if you’re in the area; it’s lovely.
Everybody knows if you go to Paris, you have to visit The Louvre. But do you know how gigantic The Louvre is? Because I had no idea. It’s HUGE. In fact, we were told by a guide that if you spent 2 mins in front of every piece of art in The Louvre, it would take you 158 days to get through it. WTF?! So, decide what you really want to see before you get there. For us, it was the Mona Lisa; we knew we had to see her in person and everything else would be icing on the cake. When you visit make sure to buy a ticket online before you get there! The ticket will be for a certain time and you enter on a different line that’s much shorter than the line for people without tickets.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is absolutely breathtaking in person. We arrived at a time when there were about a million people there. A swarm of tourist and schools decided to all visit at exactly the same time, I guess. So while we were able to take in the beautiful exterior, we did not see the inside. The church does have free guided tours but you have to wait on a very long line to take part. It was a line that wrapped around the entire cathedral so I would recommend getting there as early as possible.
Le Coq Rico
We had a lot of great meals in Paris but my favorite was definitely at Le Coq Rico in Montmartre. It’s French poultry at its finest and the photos above don’t do it any justice. From beginning to end this meal was perfection. I mean, the butter they served at the start of the meal was the most delicious butter I’ve ever had in my life. And don’t even get me started on the mac & cheese!!! Le Coq Rico is definitely a meal to have, just make sure you make a reservation. We didn’t have one and luckily got a table before the crowd. Oh and if you’re in NYC they opened one there too! I’m assuming it’s as perfect as the one in Paris but maybe not?
Vendettes Du Pont-Neuf
From the Louvre Museum to Notre Dame, passing by the Eiffel Tower, the Vendettes Du Pont-Neuf takes you through the most beautiful monuments in Paris on a boat cruise along the Seine. The boat departs from Paris’ oldest bridge, the Pont-Neuf, lasts an hour and is guided in French and in English. It was the perfect way to get an overall history on the city while enjoying the perfect weather and sipping on rosé! Yup, you can buy wine before you board for the ride. I love Paris!
Chanel 31 Rue Cambon
You can’t go to Paris and not visit the original Chanel right?! Right! This location is where Coco Chanel first set up shop and where Chanel Couture is still made. It is a magical store and a must visit!
Why would a gal who lives in Los Angeles go all the way to Paris for tequila and tacos? Because Parisian tequilas and tacos are nothing like LA tequila and tacos, that’s why! And because I was hanging with a local that night and wanted to go where the locals go! Candelaria is a taco shop with an inconspicuous door that leads to a dark, speak-easy type bar. The taco shop was delicious but not at all like tacos I’ve had before. I mean they were still on corn tortillas, but here the options here were lamb, beef tongue and carrot. And the nachos had pickled cucumbers and goat cheese on them! The back bar is dark, hip and boast some tasty cocktails so check it out.
The Champs-Élysées is an avenue in Paris running between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. It’s a popular shopping street and a must see. While there we stopped at Ladurée Paris Champs-Elysées. While we now have Ladurée locations in LA, NY and other US cities, there’s something extra special about a macaron from the Paris locations. They also offer a delicious lunch menu and afternoon tea.
Le Grand Bain
Le Grand Bain is a delicious tapas style restaurant in the neighborhood of Belleville. Again, we found ourselves at a local spot (thanks to wonderful recommendations!) in a part of town that is edgier than the pristine Paris you see in pictures. It was located down an alley with graffiti walls and other cafes/restaurants. The staff was lovely and all spoke English, which made for a wonderful dining experience. My favorite dish was the octopus and I will dream of this octopus because it was just that good!
The Palace of Versaille
I would have to say, as magical as Paris is, The Palace of Versaille is on another level. If you’re going to Paris you must make time to visit this stunning place. Like the Louvre, The Palace of Versaille is HUGE. We were there for five hours and still didn’t get through the entire place. My biggest word of advice is buy your tickets online before you get there and GO EARLY! Like right at 9a, when they open. Even with pre-bought tickets there was a 20 minute wait in line before we entered the palace. When we left around 2p the line was WAY longer and the wait to enter jumped to 1-2 hours! Also, wear sneakers because there’s a lot of walking to be done. Finally, when you get to the gardens jump on Les Petits Trains or rent a golf cart. You can take either to explore the gardens and stop at La Flottille cafe for lunch and wine. It truly is a magical place rich in history and should not be missed! Oh and Versaille is located about 40 minutes outside of Paris. You can take a train there or Uber. We did the latter and it cost about 30 Euros each way.
Two final things to note:
1) I speak zero French with the exception of bonjour, bonsoir, and parlez-vous anglais and that seemed to be enough. I was really nervous about not speaking the language but the French were all very nice and accommodating. Almost everyone spoke some English and if they didn’t someone around them did. Just be polite and at least say bonjour to start the conversation.
2) We took Ubers everywhere. Since I was traveling with my mom, I didn’t want to risk getting lost on a Metro or walking more than we needed to. So if a place was too far to walk, we always took an Uber. On average the fares were 8-10 Euros and the drivers were super nice. From I hear, taxis love to rip off tourist, so if you’re gonna catch a car, Uber is the way to go.
So there you have it…my Paris Travel Diary & Guide! I hope this helps you with your next trip to this beautiful city. We crammed a lot into 3 days and it was totally worth it. If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Au revoir!