There’s no city I love to photograph more than Paris. This city has my heart like no other and so I’m excited to share a chapter from my most recent visit there. (Therefore, also be prepared for photo overload!) This post is long overdue as I was over in Paris in mid-October but re-visiting the city through these images and the prep of this post has allowed me to revisit the magic.
Below are recommendations of what to do, where to eat and where to stay. At the bottom of this post you’ll find links to more Paris content of mine.
I am actually headed back to Paris in May and am already counting down the days! If you have personal recommendations I’d absolutely love to hear them! I hope you’ll enjoy my mini-guide to the city of lights. XO
What to Do:
Jardin du Luxembourg: This is one of my favorite spots in Paris. It is so peaceful despite a flurry of activity always going on. The palace on site is always stunning with its surrounding gardens and it is the ideal spot to wander as you start or finish your day. 6eme arronidsement
Walk along the Seine: There’s pure magic nestled in the feeling you get when wandering along the Seine. It always feels like every few steps you want to just stop and pause and take a deep breath. You want to remember what that moment feels like for forever. Capture it, bottle it, revisit it when you’ve returned to “normal” life. If you can, dedicate a piece of every day to making your way to your destination along the Seine. See also: Flâneur
Le Marais & Place des Vosges: Le Marais is one of the more historic districts in Paris, but is now home to some of the best shopping and the most delightful cafes. If you head to the Marais, I highly recommend reading up on its history prior to doing so and it is also a great neighborhood to do a walking tour of. Don’t miss popping by the Place des Vosges which is the oldest planned square in Paris and one of the finest in the city. 3eme and 4eme arronidsements
Carnavalet Museum: I’m not sure how I’ve missed this museum on past visits to Paris, but the Carnavalet Museum is dedicated to the history of the city and one of the few museums you can gain entry to for free! The museum occupies two neighboring mansions and features gorgeous gardens and courtyards amidst the art.
Palais Royal: While the delightful black and white stumps are actually a temporary art exhibit, the Palais Royal is still very much worth the visit. It features gorgeous paths of trees surrounded by 17th century acardes of vintage and art shops and a garden throughout this beautiful hidden gem in the city center of Paris. After wandering, head to Cafe Nemours for a drink. 8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001
Notre Dame: This site goes without saying but I think it is worth noting that going around to the back of the church and wandering in the small garden is not to be missed. 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004
Rue Cler: This tiny street is often without cars on it and boasts some of the best shops to prepare for the ideal picnic at the Champs des Mars by the Eiffel Tower. It’s also home to one of my favorite flower stands. Rue Cler, 75007
Eiffel Tower: I had never been to the Eiffel Tower early in the morning but seeing the city slowly awaken from The Trocadero prior to 9am was something I’ll never forget. Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007
Boat Cruise on the Seine: I don’t care how touristy one may classify the Bateaux Mouches, it is still one of my favorite activities to do. Go an hour before sunset and you’ll be hard pressed to wipe the smile off your face as you take in Paris in such a unique way. Get up close with Notre Dame, watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle and learn history about the city’s most famous spots. Port de la Conférence, Pont de l’Alma, 75008
Musée Jacquemart-André: This museum was another first for me on this past trip. And I absolutely loved it! Housed in a 19th century townhouse, this museum features 15th to 18th century European art. The setting is just as lovely as what hangs on the walls. It’s not overly large meaning you can really take your time to stroll and I found the layout and grandeur of the former home awe-inspiring as I walked through it reminiscing about what it must have been like to live in such a place! 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008
Where to Eat & Drink:
There’s no shortage of good eats and drinks in Paris and below are my favorites I visited this past Fall. Other favorites can be seen in this post.
Boot Cafe: This cute little cafe is so small but perfect for your morning noisette or caffeine of choice. 19 Rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003
Semilla: Semilla was in an area of Paris that tends to be run of the mill cafes but the menu here is anything but. The food is delicious and the bright spot was clearly one of the places to be on the evening we arrived with no reservation. We got lucky but definitely make one if you plan on going. The food is unexpected and beautifully prepared. There was something on the menu for everyone (loads of veggies! duck! rabbit!) and great cocktails as well. 54 Rue de Seine, 75006
Spring: This meal will go down as one of the most memorable in my life. The six courses were stunning. With less than a dozen tables, this spot is pure perfection. We opted for the drink pairing and by the end of the meal I was in pure, utter food coma bliss. Be sure to make a reservation here! 6 Rue Bailleul, 75001
Café Charlot: Oh my heavens the steak here. And the warm goat cheese salad. I am still dreaming of that warm goat cheese salad! While the staff could not have been more Parisian, this was one of the best meals I had in Paris. It will be one of my first stops on my next visit to the city and I’ll probably order the exact same thing it was that good. Also the 7 euro glasses of red wine were some of the best I’ve ever had. Do not miss this spot. 38 Rue de Bretagne, 75003
Prescription Cocktail Bar: If you want to sip an incredible cocktail while feeling like you’ve stepped back in time to the Great Gatsby era, Prescription is for you. The bartenders are engaging and knowledgable (and handsome!) and the drinks strong and carefully crafted. It’s dark and moody and everything you’d want from a spot to meet friends for a Parisian drink. 23 Rue Mazarine, 75006
Season: Season reminded me of a place in New York’s West Village where downtown locals would flock to on the weekend. It had incredible dishes featuring quinoa and avocado dotted all over the menu as well as fresh pressed juices. We had a delicious lunch in this light-filled spot that I can’t wait to return to for brunch one day. 1 Rue Charles-François Dupuis, 75003
Ob-La-Di: If I lived in the neighborhood, I would be at this place everyday. The coffees are delicious and next time I return I will be ordering some of the homemade pastries or a full, light breakfast. 54 Rue de Saintonge, 75003
Poilâne: I first visited Poilâne last summer after hearing it was Ina Garten’s favorite bread place in the city. I picked up a croissant and about died and went to heaven. We returned this past October only to meet the Barefoot Contessa herself outside the shop early in the morning! It was truly incredible and I was gobsmacked picking up my morning croissant next to Ina snapping photos and speaking with the bakers. There are several locations but the original is in Saint-Germaine. 8 rue du Cherche-Midi
Laduree Saint Germaine Des Pres: Visit the less-famous location of the macaron purveyor and sit in the back room with plush red velvet benches (see above) for un chocolate chaude. 21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006
Les Cocottes: I had a meal solo at the bar here and it was a slice of sheer delight. I had some of the best terrine of my life as a starter and followed it with their house steak which was cooked to perfection. This spot has the charm of a traditional cafe but is very modern and chic. The staff was wonderful and I think I could have picked out about a dozen more things off the menu that I wanted. After your meal take the five minute walk over to the Eiffel Tower to see it sparkle. 135 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
Where to Stay:
Hôtel Thérèse: I had the most delightful stay at the 1eme arronidsement’s Hôtel Thérèse while in Paris. This boutique hotel has all the modern amenities you would want. The property was cozy, charming and so chic. With touches like heated towel bars (oh.my.god do I need one of these in my next home! Makes getting out of the shower a divine experience), the most delicious in-room petit dejeuner and a gorgeous walk in closet, this room was the perfect home base. Not to mention that the hotel’s lobby features afternoon wine alongside free wifi and is tucked away on a quaint street and is walking distance to the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay and so many other sites, I cannot recommend the Hôtel Thérèse enough. 5-7 Rue Thérèse, 75001
For more on Paris read: The most Instagram-worthy spots in Paris, more places to eat in Paris and where to shop in Paris! Also a love letter to Paris and an outfit from Paris. (And while it didn’t fit in the above round up, Le Papier Tigre is so cute and a perfect place to pick up gifts while in town! I got a candle that I am so, so in love with)
[All Photography by Meghan Donovan]