Wednesday 2 March 2022

Paris is one of those cities you could probably visit several times and still find new places to explore. I definitely did not get through all the restaurant recommendations on my list! I had previously visited Paris as a child so my memories of it were vague, so it was nice to really see the sights properly and utilise my GCSE french. Whether you're travelling with your family, friends or partner, here are my tips and recommendations for your visit to Paris.

tea with gi paris guide

Where To Stay

Paris is made up of 20 'arrondissements' or districts, and as expected the closer you stay to the major landmarks the more expensive your hotel is going to be. The good thing is that the Paris metro system is pretty easy to use and each ride only costs you €1.90. We stayed in the hotel 25Hours Terminus Nord, which meant that the Gare du Nord metro and train station was right on our doorstep.

The hotel was beautiful and so quirky, it was very Parisian and full colour and artwork. It also had unique touches like a typewriter to send love letters out in the lobby. The bedroom decor had me feeling like I should have packed a feather nightgown, it felt so old Hollywood. We were also able to use Netflix and Youtube on the television in the bedroom which was great for when we were getting ready. Most importantly, the beds were so comfortable that skipping the sightseeing was tempting just so I could spend a few more hours in bed. 

In terms of food, I probably ate my weight in french toast at the buffet breakfast. One of the highlights was the option of champagne in the morning, which we had to take advantage of for the experience (when in Paris!). We didn't get a chance to have dinner in their restaurant NENI as they were fully booked, but we did have cocktails and some mezze plates at their Sape Bar and they were delicious. 

Where To Eat

I was travelling with my vegan friend so we did have to opt for some vegan friendly restaurants, which wasn't as difficult as we were expecting in France. I know the delicacies in France include escargot (snails) and Foie gras (duck or goose fat) but immersing myself in the local cuisine went as far as crepes and creme brulee. 

Hey Honey was a bit on the pricier side but the setting was lovely and the cocktails were shown on tarot cards. I opted for the duck breast with dauphinoise potatoes and I'm still daydreaming about how good they were. If you do want to try some classic french dishes, then Terminus Nord Restaurant has a selection of everything at decent prices.

If you're after some vegan cuisine, then Le Potager du Marais serves vegan alternatives of French dishes. I opted for french onion soup (which came complete with vegan cheese), and finished off with some creme brulee. The owner of the restaurant was lovely and took time to come and chat to us and talk about the dishes. If you fancy something different, then Jah Jah By Le Tricycle is a good shout. They only have 4 items on the menu which changes everyday but I thoroughly enjoyed my meal! It's a Jamaican vegan restaurant and I got a big plate of food for 10 euros.

If you have a sweet tooth, then definitely stop by Creperie Montorgueil and try their salted caramel and banana crepe. They also do a bunch of savoury options if that's what you prefer. If you'd like to take home some macarons, then Maison Laduree is the most famous place to get them, or you can also eat in and try one of their indulgent cakes. Lastly for some eclairs, Le Eclair De Genie offers a wonderful selection.

What to Do

The best way to start your first day in Paris is doing a walking tour of all the sights, either on your own or on an organised tour. Sandeman's offer a free walking tour that starts at 11am everyday starting from Place St Michel. If you'd rather do it on your own, save the points of interest in Google Maps. Make sure to include the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc De Triomphe, Pantheon and the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Once you're done seeing the sites, get a different perspective by taking a 1 hour cruise down the Seine river. The boats run every hour but the best time to go is at sunset.

Tickets: 1 hour Seine river (£12.50)

There are a ton of different museums to visit in Paris, but the most notable has to be the Louvre where the Mona Lisa is housed. It probably took us an hour to find her because we started on the opposite side of the museum, and boy did it feel like we were stuck in a maze! They say that even if you spent 3 months in the Louvre, you still would not get through every exhibit. If you fancy doing something a bit more unique, then head to the Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than six million people.

We also spent some time wandering through the districts of Marais, Montorgueil, Montmartre and the Latin Quarter. You'll find lots of cute cafes, bars (and happy hours!) and independent stores around these. 

In terms of evening entertainment, something I definitely recommend doing for the experience is attending a Moulin Rouge show. They first opened their doors in 1889 and you really do get immersed in the experience when you are there. Tickets cost £70 and this also included a bottle of champagne between the two of us. There were guests who were fully dressed to the 9s here, and others who just came in jeans and boots. 

If you have time, then head out of the city to visit the Palace of Versailles, it really is beautiful. Your other option is to, of course, visit Disneyland Paris which is a short 45 minute train from the city centre. Just make sure to check online which rides and shows are currently open as with Covid things are still slightly different. The best thing about visiting in January was that the queue for rides weren't longer than 30 minutes, although there weren't many shows or characters throughout the park. 

Tickets: Palace of Versailles (£44)


  • Don't pay with card in any corner shop, I actually got my card cloned and they tried to take out 300 euros but Revolut declined it. Lesson learnt!
  • Uber is cheaper than getting a taxi or pre-booked shuttle from the city centre to the airport (we flew to Orly).
  • Make your dinner reservations in advance, as most of the time they will be fully booked if you just walk in. 
  • If the majority of your trip isn't Disney based, stay in the centre as a train from the city to the park is only 7 euros and takes 45 minutes. 
  • Do not stop for a coffee near any of the attractions, they'll charge you 7 euros for a cafe con leche. The little coffee shops you find when wandering around the districts are all regularly priced. 

Whether you're planning a long weekend or a full week in Paris, you're never short of things to do!


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