Two years ago today I moved to Paris, France to begin the gap year that over the course of 10 months would completely change my life in the most positive way. To celebrate, I wanted to share a personal guide for you guys of all of the places I came to love over the year and have missed ever since. So, it’s been a long time coming but here is my full guide to Paris, the corners I loved and the places I tell people to visit every time I get asked about the city. Note: for some of the categories or places I have done previous posts. I have linked them all below for you so that you get a fully comprehensive overview.
- Quai D’Orléans – Favorite spot in the world. Peaceful area overlooking the Seine. Also be sure to check out Ile St. Louis, the little island on the Seine is not to be missed. Metro: Pont Marie.
- Le Petit Ceinture – Slightly illegal to get here, but this abandoned train track is slightly spooky and full of great photo ops. Metro: Alésia.
- Jardin des Plantes – Visit in March or April to see all of the plants in full bloom. See a post I’ve done about it here! Metro: Jussieu.
- Sacré Couer Steps – Many evenings spent here watching artists act out their performances, along with many mornings spent watching the sun go up over the city. Metro: Anvers.
- Canal St. Martin – Perfect for picnics. The bright exteriors of the shops facing the canal make for great photos. Post here! Metro: Château-Landon.
- Rue Crémieux – Simply magical, and still quite the hidden treasure. Metro: Gare de Lyon.
- Hotel de Ville & Le Marais – Just take an afternoon to walk around and discover one of Paris’ most beloved neighborhoods. Metro: Hotel de Ville or St. Paul.
- Eiffel Tower – Kind of an obvious one, but it really is magical. Arrive early for tourist-free pictures. Metro: Trocadero.
- I’ve done a full post on Paris cafés here! It’s fully up-to-date and a true representation of my favorites.
- Nanashi – Excellent Bento cuisine, one of the best meals I ever had in the city. Metro: St. Sébastien-Froissart.
- Le Dome – My beloved neighborhood cafe/restaurant. During the day I’d grab a coffee, in the evening a drink and/or a meal. Metro: Villiers.
- Mi-Va-Mi – I prefer this falafel over the famous L’as du Falafel. Trust me, lines are shorter and somehow it’s just better. Directly across the street from L’as du Falafel! Metro: St. Paul.
- HD Diner – Go for the milkshakes and rosemary seasoned fries (best ordered and eaten together of course). Metro: several locations in Paris, try the Châtelet or Opera locations.
- Place de la Contrescarpe – One of the most magical nights I have ever had in my life took place here. A bustling square full of students and native French people. The atmosphere is unbeatable. Metro: Cardinal Lemoine.
- Marché des Enfants Rouge – A lovely food market in the heart of the Marais. There’s a huge array of ethnical foods to order, I got Ethiopian. Metro: Arts et Métiers.
- I have a full post on my favorite restaurants in the 17th Arrondissement up here!
- Amorino – Simply the best gelato, ever. Metro: numerous locations in Paris.
- Aux Merveilleux – Want something fluffy and light for dessert, ideally prepared in front of your eyes? This dessert shop can’t be missed. Pick from the freshly made sweet breads or their meringue pasteries. Metro: several locations in Paris.
- Le Loir dans la Theiere – Huge pieces of delicious cake, prepared fresh daily. Is there anything else to say? Metro: St. Paul.
- Laduree – Unfortunately I have an almond allergy and can’t eat macaroons, but I can vouch for their delicious chocolate. A must-do for anybody with a sweet tooth. Metro: Tuileries.
- Versailles – A must visit for dreamers and history buffs alike. Metro: Take the RER C until the Versailles station.
- Musée D’Orsay – I swear, I used to visit the impressionism exhibit weekly, I just loved it so much. Plus the building itself (built into an old train station) is worth a visit alone. Metro: Solférino.
- Centre Pompidou – Modern art in a new building surrounded by classic Parisian architecture. If you’re not up for going inside, sitting out front along is an experience. There’s always lots of action and live music. Metro: Châtelet.
- L’Orangerie – I’m a sucker for impressionism, especially the huge Monets housed here. Metro: Tuileries.
Bars and Nightlife
- Badaboum – Electronic music with a young and hip crowd. Prepare to stay until the sun comes up, and don’t arrive before 1am. Metro: Bastille.
- Le Violon Dingue – An American bar in the heart of Paris. Filled with charts music and cheap beer (for Paris), it’s the perfect place for a girls night out. Metro: Cardinal Lemoine.
- L’Art Brut – A cozy bar in the heart of Chatelet. I’ve spent hours in here talking to my closest friends. And, my name is written on the wall in the bathroom. 😉 Metro: Châtelet.
- Caves du Chatelet – Favorite bar of all time. One of the first places I ever discovered in the city, and I return every time I’m there. Amazing atmosphere, good music, and you’ll always fall into conversation with your neighbors. Metro: Place de Clichy.
- ZigZag – Oftentimes overrun with tourists, but several times a year they get some amazing DJs in their lineup (Klangkarussell anyone?). Be sure to order tickets in advance for the bigger DJs. Metro: Madeleine.
- Arc de Triomphe – Panoramic city view, Eiffel Tower and all. Post here! Metro: George V.
- Les Printemps Rooftop – Ditto. Metro: Havre Caumartin.
- Sacré Couer – The beautiful Parisian skyline, as far as the eye can see. Simply magical at sunset or sunrise. Post here! Metro: Anvers.
- Pompidou (top floor) – Once again, perfect view of the entire city. Metro: Châtelet.
- There are so many amazing picnic spots in Paris! I’ve done a full post here.
- Rue de Rivoli – Classic shopping street filled with the usual stores: Zara, Bershka, Oysho and more. Metro: Louvre- Rivoli.
- Galeries Lafayette – Even if you can’t afford anything in this high-end department store, take a step inside just to admire its impeccably decorated interior. Metro: Havre Caumartin.
- Shakespeare & Co. – Guys I love books, and I love this English bookstore. Head upstairs for reading rooms complete with cats and old pianos. Metro: St. Michel.
- Quatre Temps – Best stationary selection I have ever seen in my life. I could seriously spend hours in here deciding what planner or postcard to buy. Metro: Hôtel de Ville.
- Centre Pompidou Bookstore – Heaven for any art lover/bookworm. I can (and have) spent hours in here, browsing through fashion and architecture books. Metro: Châtelet.
- Rue de Passy – Standard shops, including Sephora, Brandy Melville, etc. Tends to not be as crowded with tourists. Metro: Passy.
- Marais – A treasure trove when it comes to little vintage shops and boutiques. Spend an afternoon popping in and out of shops. Metro: St. Paul.
- Disneyland – See my post about it here!
- Photo booth at Brandy Melville (Rue de Passy) – For two euros you can get a photo strip to call your own. I love mine, and have all of them hanging on my walls to date. Metro: Passy.
I hope that anybody who visits Paris in the future will enjoy discovering the city I love using this guide. Thank you so much for reading, and as always I love to chat to you all in the comments below. Much love, Julia