Paris Getaway Guide
Ahhh Paris! The city of Light, “la Ville Lumiere”, is also known as one of the most romantic cities in the world. Once you have visited you may fall under the spell that beckons you back again and again as it has for us. Perhaps the most can be learned of Paris in images that portray the gorgeous light, the pink sunset over the Seine, or the sparkle from a light show on the Eiffel Tower. We’ve been to Paris five times and have found each visit more charming than the last. There is so much to share that this post will just highlight some of our current favorites as my version of a Paris Getaway Guide.
To visit: The City of Paris is divided in 20 Arrondissements each with it’s own flavor and charm.
1st -The geographical heart of Paris attracting tourists to the Louvre, Les Halles and Palais Royal.
3rd and 4th-Comprise the Marais, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris where you will find a lively mix of lovely mansions and trendy cafes and boutiques. The Ile St. Louis and Ile de la Cite` are a must see and a lovely walk through the oldest parts of Paris.
5th-The Latin Quarter- The Sorbonne sets the tone for this artsy village with winding streets and a mix of professional and students.
6th-St. Germain- A lovely, up-scale neighborhood with high-end boutiques, galleries and luxe hotels nestled on the bank of the Seine.
7th-Houses some of the favorite icons of Paris, the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d’Orsay. 9th-The Paris Opera House and the aging grand dame, the Moulin Rouge reside here.
17th-You will find the iconic Arc de Triomphe here.
18th-Montmarte-this village is a must see for it’s charming old world style and lovely views. It’s situated on a hillside with the Sacre Coeuer as it’s crowning glory. The view is magical.
A few of our highlights:
To Plan: Luxe Paris ~City Guide-I also bought the app so it made planning easy on my iPad.
Breakfast en suite at the hotel -suitable for celebrating the Big Birthday Parisian style.
To Stay: Our favorite area to stay in is St. Germaine de Pres the 6th Arrondissement. Our favorite hotel is the
K&K Hotel Cayre. It’s perfect for the lovely neighborhoods, galleries, endless quaint cafes and trendy boutiques. It’s just a short stroll to the Seine, the Musee d Orsay, and the Louvre. The Metro is directly across the street for convenience. Another great suggestion is the Hotel Montalembertin the same neighborhood (Home of the famed L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon).
Cafe St. Germain (neighborhood gem) corner of Rue du Bac.
Cafe de Flore -Very lively with the bohemian crowd in the evenings.
Cafe Louis Philippe-Enjoyed a relaxing lunch at this charming spot in the Marais.
La Fregate-Delicious! Very romantic with views of the Seine and lovely sunsets.
Les papilles – Quaint, cozy, delicious and rated #52 out of 14,644 restaurants in Paris. A prix fixe menu and a gem.
Alcazar, Rue Mazarine– I celebrated a very special “big” birthday here last July. Special!
Le Petit Zinc-We shared a memorable dinner here on our first visit to Paris.
Dinner or Nightlife: Le Bilboquet – Likely the most famous jazz club in Paris. We dined here but found the music and ambiance to be the highlight.
The Louvre-This stellar museum (click on the link) is huge and can take a full day or more to do it justice. If time is limited the Musee d’Orsay is fantastic on a smaller scale. Here you will see the works of the Impressionist masters. It may be the best afternoon with art you have ever spent.
The hillside village of Monmarte and its crowning glory the Sacre Coeur for the most gorgeous views of Paris.
Luxemburg Gardens -Lovely gardens and a fresh break from city life.
See the Notre Dame Cathedral, then stroll through the markets on the Ile de la Cite, and across the bridge to the neighborhoods on Ile St. Loius.
Flea market- The Port du Clignancourt–we sent a container home of French antiques from our visit here in 2003 for our Belle Vie Boutique in Chico. It’s endless and a truly amazing and inspiring experience.
To Shop: Neighborhood boutiques are my favorite for unique treasures.
Le Bon Marche the grand dame-always in style.
Printemps-another Parisian iconic a must see.
Super Hot Tip: BHV- I scored a Ralph Lauren dress and See by Chloë purse at a major discount. Check it out (especially if you like a sale)!
To Get Around: Walking in Paris is one of the great delights in a city so picturesque. The neighborhoods, the cafes, the galleries….the fantasy that ‘we actually live here’, for now.
Bateaux Mouches for sight seeing cruises. Super romantic! Book a dinner cruise for an even more special event on the water.
Velib’– Paris has an ingenious system for getting around the city on bikes. It’s called the Velib’ and it’s a self-automated rental system that allows you to pick up a bike and drop it at another station of your choosing.
Paris Metro-is efficient and makes getting around easy (unless there is construction as we discovered).
PS- Last summer we flew from Chico, CA (to SF to DC) to Rome, Italy for $5.00 each using our United miles….umhmmmm. We flew home from Paris by way of Washington D.C. and S.F. to Chico for $79.00. My experience is that if you are willing to work it…it can work. I would love to hear your favorite travel tips. It’s nice to share!
Sunset over the Seine
Ile de la Cite
My favorite traveling companion to Paris.
How to say hot in French??
Le Birthday girl gets to Le shoppe
Cafe lifestyle…. 2011
Le Saint Germaine — our favorite cafe-neighborhood jewel.
French salads are ……..simply amazing!
Clignancourt Flea Market-Oohhh La La 2003
From our first trip 2003 (before we had a digital camera).
Vintage 2003 Merci!
Until next time Paris!
My favorite site for planning a trip to Paris.