Paris Travel Diary

Paris Travel Guide

Paris, you guys.

I know it’s so cliché to wax on about how beautiful, amazing, magical Paris is. But…it is.

Four trips in, and I still can never get enough of the City of Light.

Rather than a typical travel diary (a day-by-day breakdown), I thought I’d share my favorite places to eat, drink, shop, and do when traveling to Paris. There are also some new travel tips worth sharing as well (specifically around security and getting that all-important tax refund on big ticket purchases).

IS PARIS SAFE?

Yes. That said, you can see heightened security measures everywhere, in the presence of armed guards wielding machine guns in all public places. But I never felt unsafe at any point of our trip.

TRAVEL HACKS

Because of the additional security in Paris, you’ll have to follow all travel rules (tiny liquids in a flat zippered bag) to the T. Also, be sure to not make some of our mistakes to save as much money as possible (read – don’t lose out on your tax refund)

  • Make sure all your liquids fit inside a quart-sized Ziploc bag – they really enforce the rule when flying from Paris to the United States
  • All devices (tablets, cameras), as well as your charger, need to be placed in a tray during security screening as well.
  • Save all of your receipts (better yet – take pictures of them). If you’re going to ship items home, submitting the receipts will expedite customs out of Paris.
  • Duty (tax) reimbursement is done at kiosks BEFORE you go through customs. There aren’t any kioks outside of security, so give yourself extra time at the airport before flying out.
  • Uber is in Paris, and works great. Highly convenient when it’s raining and impossible to find a taxi.
  • While WiFi is pretty easy to find in Paris, I recommend getting an international plan (ours cost $120 for 800 MB, which was enough for a week) or rent a MiFi (I use XCOM and have always had a great experience).

Paris Planning Resources

PLANNING RESOURCES

Admittedly, I did zero planning before this trip (save for booking flights and hotels). But a skim through the following resources helped us firm where to eat and the specific neighborhoods we wanted to wander around in. Since we’ve been to Paris before, we decided to skip the museums and spend out time walking, eating, drinking, and shopping.

  • Bright Lights Paris – the book to read if you want to explore the best of Paris. We used this book to find the majority of the restaurants we dined at, with great success.
  • Lady & Prince’s Paris posts – we found our hotel, as well as firming up the neighborhoods we wanted to explore, through Marissa’s excellent and detailed posts.
  • Personal recommendations – we met up with Meghan on our first night (and her last night!) in Paris, and she gave us a slew of amazing recommendations, the best being Le Soufflé and to visit the Chanel on 31 Rue Cambon for white bags and boxes (most boutiques provide black ones).

L'Hotel in Paris Review

STAY

L’HOTEL
13 Rue de Beaux Arts, 75006

We stayed at L’Hotel (recommended both by Marissa and Angie), which was fantastic. While the rooms are tiny, they’re so luxurious (deep tub and full-sized toiletries, comfortable bed, super dark room) that you won’t notice.

Other things I love about the hotel – the bar (amazing craft cocktails and wine selection), the private pool (your stay gets you a 1 hour reservation during your stay), the location (in the heart of Saint Germain), and the service.

Best restaurants to eat in Paris

EAT

LE PALETTE
48 Rue de Seine, 75006

Skip Cafe du Flore and Brasserie Lipp and head to this local favorite instead. The food is wonderful (get a Croque Madame and a glass of rosé), the service is wonderful, and the people watching is on point.

EGGS & CO
11 Rue Barnard Palissy, 75006

A great spot to grab breakfast. Go for the brunch, which gives you eggs cooked to your preference, salad & potatoes, a pancake and fruit, and coffee or tea. You’ll find a mix of tourists and locals here.

LA CUISINE DE BAR
8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006

Another great breakfast spot, especially if you’re craving a bread-filled one. I recommend the Australienne (basically, avocado toast with Vegemite).
#sobasic 

LADURÉE BONAPARTE
21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006

Again, #sobasic. But it was right next to our hotel, we needed to eat breakfast, and I am admittedly a sucker for those pastel boxes and the luxe decor. Get the hot chocolate with Chantilly cream and all the carbs. All of them.

LE SOUFFLÉ
36 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001

Soufflé, all day. I recommend getting the trio (spinach, bouf bourignon, and chocolate) with a glass (or two) of champagne. Then go walk it off in the Tuileries (or shop – Colette is really close by).

LE 21
21 Rue Mazarine, 75006

A cozy, special spot for a spectacular seafood meal. The menu changes regularly, written on a giant chalkboard that floats from table to table. The food comes second to the service, which was outstanding. 

Best Cocktail Bars in Paris

DRINK

PRESCRIPTION COCKTAIL CLUB
23 Rue Mazarine, 75006

A cozy little speakeasy in the heart of the 6th, you can’t go wrong with, well, anything on this menu. But I suggest giving your preferences to the bartenders (who are charming, speak excellent English, and killer mixologists) and letting them whip up a bespoke cocktail.

CASTOR CLUB
14 Rue Hautefeuille, 75006

‘Beaver’ and ‘chic’ doesn’t exactly go hand in hand, but this wood-paneled bar named for the toothy animal is just that. While the bartenders aren’t as affable and the lounge not as cozy (brighter lighting), the drinks are excellent And that’s the important part.

Where to shop in Paris

SHOP

MARIAGE FRÈRES
13 Rue des Grands Augustins, 75006

The OG of French tea houses, this one boasts both a restaurant (featuring freshly baked madeleines) and a veritable library of tea to enjoy. While I enjoyed my Russian breakfast tea in the restaurant, I ended up purchasing the classic Marco Polo to bring home.

SHAKESPEARE & CO
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005

This famed bookstore is worth a visit, either for their intimate readings or to purchase a copy of Le Petit Prince (which we did for Rho). And should you be suffering from a carb and butter overload, their neighboring café sells an excellent green juice.

LE TYPOGRAPHE
33 Rue Mazarine, 75006

I discovered this gorgeous stationery shop while waiting for Prescription to open (hey, when you need a drink…) and got lost in the gorgeous cards, notepads, and other small treasures. Do you NEED their satisfyingly thick to-do pads. Yes, you do.

Where to go champagne tasting in Paris

OTHER

DILETTANTES
22 Rue de Savoie, 75006

If you’re a champagne lover, then this tasting room/shop is a MUST VISIT. A tasting will cost you 25 euros, and the cheese plate is worth the additional splurge. If you’re looking to purchase and ship home one-of-a-kind bubbly, this is the place to do it

SOKHA ROYAL SPA
105 Avenue de la Bourdonnais, 75007

My feet and back were killing me after our third day of walking 10+ miles in Paris. We stumbled across this spa on a walk from the Eiffel Tower (I know, judge away). 30 minutes and a reflexology treatment later, and I was a new woman.

I’d love to know – what are your favorite places to see, do, eat, and shop in Paris? COMMENT below and let me know!

Planning a trip to Paris? PIN this for future reference.