The Ultimate Guide to Paris


Travel Guide to Paris, Christmas Paris, Invalides

Known as the "City of Love," Paris radiates culture, sophistication, class, and style. There's something so romantic about strolling the elegant Parisian streets and gazing at breathtaking baroque structures. Wander in and out of incredible monuments and museums while sampling exquisite French cuisine.
Many tourists leave Paris with only seeing the famous Eiffel Tower and The Louvre, while sadly missing the hidden gems. Plan your dream vacation to Paris, experiencing stunning architecture, magnificent museums, an authentic Parisian burlesque, and local cuisine to gain a beautiful perspective on the crowning jewel of Europe.


TOP ATTRACTIONS IN PARIS


With the PARIS MUSEUM PASS, you gain free entry to over 50 museums and monuments in and around Paris, without having to stand in line. You can purchase the museum pass on the bottom floor of the Louvre, where the ticket office is, for a 2-day, 4-day, or 6-day pass.

For a full list of all museums included in the Paris Museum Pass, click here.



Below are the Top Places to Visit with the Museum Pass


Musée du Louvre

The Louvre houses one of the most impressive art collections in history. The baroque-style palace and museum includes this dazzling hall, Galerie d'Apollon, with its tapestries, paintings, sculpture, gilded ornament and cases of jewels. It’s the richest space in the Louvre, a reminder of the museum's past as a royal palace. You could spend days, even weeks looking at every intricate detail in this iconic museum, it’s truly breathtaking!



Musée d'Orsay

Musée d’Orsay museum displays beautiful history, as it was once a train station, but shut down in 1939 due to the platforms being too short for the now much longer trains. A total of 12,000 tons of metal was used in the train station's construction, which is more than the amount used to build the Eiffel Tower. It was considered a masterpiece of industrial architecture, which is why it was converted into a museum in 1977. Musée d’Orsay houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world at nearly 1,100 paintings, including Van Gogh's Starry Night.


Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe stands 164ft high at the end of the Champs Élysées, and is the center of 12 radiating streets. This magnificent arch honors those who fought for France, during the Napoleonic Wars. Engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch are all of the names of the generals and wars fought. Walk up 234 steps as you will have one of the most spectacular views of Paris!


Versailles Palace

Château de Versailles is one of the crowning achievements in French 17th century art! King Louis XIV, who called himself The Sun King, never wanted you to lose sight of how wealthy he was, so he dazzled Versailles with glitz and gold! Walking through this glamorous palace, you’re bombarded with 700 rooms of marble, gold, and paintings, emphasizing Louis’s importance. Don't miss the magnificent "Hall of Mirrors" room.

Directions: Take the RER train to Versailles Château Rive Gauche. One-way RER ticket is €4.00.



Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a Gothic masterpiece and is often regarded as one of the best Gothic cathedrals of its kind in the world. It’s dramatic towers, spire, stained glass, and statuary are nearly guaranteed to take your breath away. Dig deeper into the history of the fascinating monument by visiting the below-ground archaeological crypt. Climbing the North tower to get a gargoyle’s perspective of Paris is a must!



Les Invalides

The glittering golden roof of the Dome church is an unmissable landmark in the Parisian landscape. Inspired by Rome's St. Peter's Basilica, this chapel is considered one of the world's most exciting examples of French Baroque architecture. Les Invalides now houses a French military museum and tombs of war heroes, including Napoleon's Tomb.


Musée de l'Orangerie

Houses the eight famous Monet paintings known as "The Water Lilies."


Musée Rodin 

This museum houses Rodin’s masterpieces and is a hidden gem. Stroll through the English style rose garden outside where you can find famous works such as "The Thinker" and "The Gates of Hell."


Sainte-Chapelle

A jewel of Gothic Art! Magnificent stained glass panes depicting 1,113 scenes from the Old & New Testaments



Pantheon

Sitting atop Montagne Sainte-Genevieve in the heart of Paris' lively Latin Quarter the Pantheon was modeled after the one in Rome. Step inside to view intricate sculptures, colorful paintings, and elaborate decorated ceilings. Make your way up the 267 steps to reward yourself with sweeping panoramic views of Paris.



MUST SEE SIGHTS


Climb the Eiffel Tower

Climb 674 steps to reach the highest point of the Eiffel Tower (2nd Level). Ascending to the top level will require you to ride the elevator up from Level 2 to 3. TIP: Quick entrance with no lines when walking up the stairs! Plus you can enjoy a spectacular view on your way up!


Tuileries Gardens


Jardins du Trocadéro (Trocadero Gardens)

This area hosts stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. Capture beautiful evening photos of the sparkling tower here.


Palais Garnier - Book a ticket here to do a self-guided tour.

Step foot into the spectacular Opera Garnier, the world’s most famous opera house. This striking example of the Beaux Arts style of architecture is a true feast for the eyes and shows off the decadence of late 19th century Paris. Completed in 1875, it was the home of the Paris Opera for nearly 100 years and remains the primary venue in the city for ballet. Already famous based on its architectural merits, Gaston Leroux further immortalized Opera Garnier in his novel The Phantom of the Opera, which Andrew Lloyd Webber later adopted into the popular musical. Lavishly decorated both inside and out, Opera Garnier generously opens its doors to visitors who flock from all around the world to see its marble Grand Staircase, golden Grand Foyer and enormous bronze chandelier in person.


The architectural magnificence of the Palais Garnier’s Grand Foyer, with its domed ceiling covered with mosaics, incomparable in grandeur to the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. The gold gilded ceilings were painted by Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry and represents various moments in the history of music. The Palais Garnier is one of the top hidden gems to see in Paris! Every inch of the Grand Foyer is glamorous and truly breathtaking!


Champs-Elysées

Famous Boulevard for luxury shopping


Pont Alexandre III

Take a stroll on the most well-known and iconic bridge in Paris




Petit Palais

This is by far one of my favorite doors in Paris! From its shining golden gates to its incredible mosaics, staircases and courtyard, every square inch of the Petit Palais is a masterpiece. It’s often overlooked to the more famous sites, but is an incredible spot to view art collections similar to the Louvre, magnificent architecture, and historic beauty.


Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Located at the top of the hill of Montmartre, this majestic church, also known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, offers one of the most amazing views over Paris. It's the second most visited church in Paris, after Notre Dame.


La Madeline

Book an intimate classical music concert here! Beautiful Quartet plays Vivaldi- The Four Seasons, which is an unforgettable experience!


Grand Palais


Place de la Concorde

Located between Champs Elysees and the Tuileries Gardens, it's the largest square in Paris.


Palais-Royal

Just a few minutes walk from the Louvre lies this elegant, peaceful garden with an eighteenth-century French charm. The modern sculpture of 280 black and white columns present a beautiful contrast to the classically designed French palace. TIP: Arrive early to capture beautiful photos



Luxembourg Palace

Built by the beauty-loving queen during the height of the European Renaissance, this palace displays a royal and grandiose feel, making it one of the loveliest places to visit in Paris.


Champ de Mars

One of the grandest green spaces in Paris, the Champ de Mars stretches northwest to southwest form the foot of the Eiffel Tower to Ecole Militaire. TIP: Watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle here at sunset.




BEST PARISIAN BURLESQUE


Le Crazy Horse

This is the ultimate Burlesque show is ode to feminine beauty. The dancers are positively artful, using mirrors, lighting and costumes to create classy dance numbers This cabearet is nothing you've seen before with sophisticated, sensual dance. The intimate allows you to have a good view of the stage, no matter where you sit. My top favorite Burlesque show!



TOP RATED JAZZ CLUBS


Le Duc des Lombards

Rated one of the best jazz clubs in Paris. Its stage has been graced with the biggest national and international names. Live concerts are held every night from 8pm to 10pm.


Caveau de la Huchette-

Famous Jazz Club from the movie, La La Land. Paris has never stopped attracting the biggest and most promising jazz musicians on the planet and this is the place to find the top talent. This has become the historic meeting place for fans of New Orleans jazz since 1947.


38 Riv

Discover the vibe of a Parisian jazz night, while enjoying a drink near the shore of the Seine River



CHRISTMAS IN PARIS


Christmas in Paris is simply magical. Every quartier has its own special enchantment from lively outdoor ice skating rinks to charming Christmas Markets that line the streets and squares. Here are the top things to see at Christmastime:

Paris Christmas Window Displays, Paris, France, Travel Guide to Paris

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY WINDOW DISPLAYS

  • Galleries Lafayette (Tip: Visit terrace on the top floor for a gorgeous nighttime view of Paris.)

  • Champs-Elysees

  • Printemps Paris Haussmann

  • Le BHV Marais


CHRISTMAS MARKETS

  • Champ-de-Mars Christmas Village

  • Tuileries Garden Christmas Market

  • La Defense Christmas Market

  • Saint Germain des Pres Christmas Market

  • Notre Dame Christmas Market


  • ICE SKATING IN PARIS

  • Grande Arche Rooftop Ice SKating at Paris Defense

  • Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Ice Rink

  • Champ-de-Mars Christmas Village Ice Rink

  • Le Grand Palais des Glaces

  • Plaza Athenee Ice Skating at La Cour Jardin




BEST PLACES TO EAT IN PARIS


Le Train Bleu, Travel Guide to Paris, Christmas, Paris, France
Feel like Royalty at Le Train Bleu

La Bonne Excuse

Small traditional French restaurant ran by husband and wife, near Musee d'Orsay. Amazing homemade French cuisine! Apple tart is a must for dessert!

Call 01 42 61 50 2 to reserve a table.


Au Petit Tonneau - Authentic French Bistro

Locals' fav! Small French restaurant with incredible food.

Four-Course Lunch - 29 Euros | Four-Course Dinner - 40 Euros

Reserve your table here


Grand Coeur

French restaurant recommended by locals.

Reserve here


Le Train Bleu

Opened in 1901, this iconic restaurant in Gare de Lyon was a former train station.

Prices are steep, but having a drink and looking around in this beauty is worth every penny!



Best Bakeries


Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger

Top rated bakery in Paris!


Le Grenier a Pain

Won the Best Baguette Award for multiple years in a row.



Top-Rated Macarons

Pierre Herme, Macarons, Paris, France, Pastry, Pastries, Travel Guide to Paris

Pierre Herme

Enter the world of tastes, sensations, and pleasures of Pierre Hermé macarons and discover all his innovative and creative flavors. There is nothing quite like this sweet French treat...crispy exterior, cream interior, and rich in flavor.

Pierre Herme has multiple locations throughout Paris. The most famous shop is located at 72 rue Bonaparte in Paris.



Best Creperie


Breizh Cafe Paris

Many locals claim this to be the best creperie in all of Paris and I would agree! Uses authentic buckwheat from Brittany, France, where crepes were first created. Start your meal off with a cup of cider, a drink popular to have with crepes. They offer over 60 ciders from around France. Must try!

Crepes Paris, france, Apple Cider, Travel Guide to Paris


Little Breizh

Same creperie as above, different location. Same great taste!



ACCOMODATIONS IN PARIS


Airbnb - Click link titles to view and book.

Studio Apartment Paris 7 - View of the Eiffel Tower

From $108/night

4th floor, elevator, queen bed, bathroom, kitchen.

Loved going to the market nearby, making French meals at our French home and watching the Eiffel Tower light up every night from the balcony. Felt very Parisian!


Louvre Front View Apartment

From $125/night

1 bed/1 bath, balcony in front of the Louvre.


2 Bedroom Apartment, Facing The Louvre

From $91/night

Superhost, 1 queen & 1 single bed, 1 bathroom, kitchen, lounge area.


Studio Apartment Near Eiffel Tower - Great for solo travelers.

From $55/night

Single bed, kitchenette, bathroom.


CLICK HERE TO USE MY AIRBNB LINK TO RECEIVE $40 OFF YOUR FIRST TRIP! IF YOU ALREADY HAVE AN AIRBNB ACCOUNT, YOU CAN SIGN UP WITH A NEW EMAIL AND STILL RECEIVE THE DISCOUNT.



TRANSPORTATION


The Métro is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to get around Paris. There are 16 metro lines and over 300 metro stations; the entrance is indicated by a large yellow letter ‘M’.


Metros start running every day – including public holidays – at around 6 AM and stop at around 12.45 AM (from Sunday to Thursday) or at 1.45 AM (on Friday and Saturday).


Metro tickets cost €1.90 each (€14.50 for 10). You can buy tickets at automatic ticket machines in metro stations. I bought a pack of 10 tickets and saved a good amount of money.


The RER train network consists of 5 lines that serve Paris and the Paris region. Each line has a distinctive color that is shown on RATP and SNCF signs and maps.


RER trains start running at approximately 6 AM and stop running at around 12.45 AM every day – including public holidays.

NOTE: The RER trains go to Versailles Palace.


Uber

When needing a quick ride, Use the Uber app for more affordable "taxis." Use my Invite Code: trishh452ue to receive a discount on your first 3 rides. If you are an existing customer, you can still receive the discount by creating an additional account.


For those who are not familiar with Uber, below is a detailed explanation on how the app works.


When a nearby driver accepts your request, the app displays an estimated time of arrival for the driver heading to your pickup location. The app will notify you when the driver is about to arrive.


Immediately after a trip ends, the app will prompt you to rate your driver from 1 to 5 Stars. Drivers who use the Uber app are also asked to rate riders. Uber's feedback system is designed to foster a community of respect and accountability for everyone.


Uber now includes the option to schedule a ride 5 minutes to 30 days in advance using the Scheduled Rides feature. Using this to schedule airport drop-off or pick-up is extremely helpful and creates a peace of mind.


HOW SCHEDULED RIDES WORK

The Scheduled Rides feature allows you to book a trip in advance by selecting a 10-minute pickup window. The driver will be requested on your behalf and will arrive in the 10-minute window you've selected. In the case where a driver is not available, you'll be notified.


HOW TO SCHEDULE