When all said and done three days is such a short period of time for any city let alone for the city of love. If you are traveling from anywhere outside of Europe, there's jet lag to overcome. I'm a stickler for a solid itinerary! (read tips on how to plan for an instagrammable trip here) Due to vigilant planning using the tips from the post mentioned before; my feed stayed in Paris for over a week. Here is what we managed to squeeze into three days, and what you should bookmark for your next trip to this magical city.
While I am a big advocate of following the unbeaten path, discovering the hidden gems, one must see the classic spots first, right? Louvre is one of those must see classics. While going in and getting lost in the museum in hopes of finding Mona Lisa, who initially got famous for being stolen by the way(!!), is up to you; yet a quick walk through the courtyard for the pyramid is definitely worth it. Unless you are heading here early in the morning, expect big crowds. After the museum, you can walk over to Palais Royal. Palais Royal is a former royal palace located right across from Louvre museum. The inner court of this building hosts a once controversial now instagram famous installation of black and white striped columns. The installations envisions a grid and pinpoints the corners with candy like structures on which many photos are taken. This piece was not welcomed by all parties due to its proximity to an historical structure. Yet, the juxtaposition between the old and the new, the elaborate and the simple is quite striking. And photogenic. When talking about history, Eiffel tower was once not welcomed as well. Oh how the times change.
Let's hope by now you are hungry! Daroco is only minutes away from Palais Royal and promises drooling design and pizza. Think old brick walls blue velvet and natural wicker seats and lots and lots of greenery... Furthermore, according to their Instagram it is xxx Jenner approved. Plus, I read an article pizza is the cure for jet lag. No, I just made that up ha! Walking down the street from Daroco, on rue Vivienne, there is a cute bookstore with a window full of books. You can't stack kindles up like
that now can you? It's worth checking it out as it is super close. For more images don't forget to check out the gallery sidebar below!
You can continue on your day heading to Le Brebant. Imagine if someone were to take a piece of the amazons and locate it in the middle of Paris, you would get this cafe. Vines and wicker basket light fixtures form the ceiling only to be topped off by various inanimate birds. They have a large outdoor seating with mist blowing to cool you down. From walking around all day, the mist just felt so lovely on a hot summer day. Feel free to sit down, take in the space and have a drink.
With lavish but breezy interior, multiple dining rooms the Hoxton Hotel is chic space hunters dream come true. Winding staircases has made presence in many feeds, along with their green wall and enclosed courtyard seating. If you're in the mood for dinner or drinks, coffee and patisseries, this is a great place to unwind and enjoy. By the time we hit the Hoxton Hotel to take in all the design, we were burned out from jet lag and just walking around.
Another must do activity is to simply walk along the Seine; because how else are you supposed to take in the city. With little shops, people picnicking; the river provides a great -and romantic- setting to take in. It was after our nap, right before the sunset that we decided to take a walk from Saint Germain district towards the Eiffel Tower. It is a 40 or so minute walk along the Seine. We saw so many people having impromptu picnics that one of the first full french phrases we ended up learning is "Vendez-vous un panier de pique-nique?" Can you guess what it means? As a side note, I was surprised to find so many beer drinkers. Not to differentiate beer but I, for one, always had fantasized wine, baguette and cheese as necessities for french living. Beer drinkers, fret not! Going back to our topic, seeing the Eiffel tower as the sun sets and the sky bursts in purples with the reflections from the river is mesmerizing. That my friends, summarizes our day one!
First half of our second day consisted of walking around different neighborhoods. The second half, we visited couple of must see sights which are below as headlines and mini descriptions. Definitely discover Saint Germain and Les Marais! We were staying in the 6th arrondissement district of Paris, in Saint Germain des Pres. This neighborhood is known for it's high end shopping, historical church, and charming streets from the 1700's. The cobble stone streets will give you all the feels. Here, is the church Saint Germain des Pres. According to history buffs, King Charles IX and his mother took refuge due to the black plague in the abbey of the church in 1561. From 1600's on the neighborhood has become a center for intellectuals. Located across the church are two dominant cafe's: Cafe Deux Magouts and Cafe de Floure. Is it that hard to imagine writers, philosophers, thinkers sitting at these seats, discussing the ways of the world while eating their croissants? Right before hitting the Seine, make sure to stop by Odette and Shakespeare book company.
The Marais is what has been left of mideveal Paris. While today, most are in awe of grand boulevards of Paris, pre Napoleon interventions most of Paris had looked liked this neighborhood. In order to control the population and prevent invasion, Napoleon had erected wide cobblestone boulevards to ease the movement of the army. Once a home to a large Jewish community, today the Jewish quarter houses bakeries, deli's, Eastern Jewish restaurants and all the yumminess you can think of. It is an extremely vibrant part of the city any day but Saturday. Here, we found Ob Di La, a mini cafe with great tiling(!!!) wonderful for a quick snack or a coffee break!
Beating the Eiffel Tower as the most popular monument in Paris, Notre Dame des Paris is located in Ile de la Cite, in the heart of the city. The Cathedral is as impressive on the outside as it is in the inside. I grew up loving Esmeralda, thus this site will always have a special place in my heart. Fun fact, Victor Hugo is said to have written Hunchback of Notre Dame in order to prevent the demolishing of the Cathedral. If it's your first time in the city, it is worth seeing the inside. Beware of long lines. Right behind the cathedral is an adorable restaurant located in an adorable street: au vieux Paris d'Arcole. Think facade covered in ivy and outdoor seating in a winding cobblestone street; aka and instagrammers dream.
Sainte Chapelle is A. must. see. It is one of the most mesmerizing, mind blowing structures, I've been to. Designed in Gothic style, due to flying buttresses large, sky puncturing stained windows let the light in all shades of purple. Even though Gothic style is known for using buttresses to create larger opening thus let more light into the religious space, all that stone can be perceived as cold. Sainte Chapelle is a living testament of the contrary. The structure has the largest stained glass collection. The wait for ticket purchase is relatively short, and it is only minutes away from Notre Dame.
Let's step in to the muse of the Phantom in the Opera, shall we? Arguably the most famous opera house in the world, Opera Garnier, has inspired the musical above. The elaborate structure designed in the Beaux Arts style has so many astonishing details, it would take days to take it all in. The lavish french opulence can be felt through use of red velvet and shimmering chandeliers. If you like to get one of those fairy tale like photos (I had failed on this regard) definitely be there before opening. There's a good chance there will be a line at the door but as soon as you get your ticket you can head up to the impressive hallway across the auditorium to snap couple of photos before the crowds settle in.
Although we were extremely lucky to have amazing weather most of our days, our very last day the city decided to rain on us. On a positive note, rain brings out all of the colors, the greens are more lush, vibrancy is out of the charts. Yet when traveling, it's not always super easy to keep a positive mental state. Our first half of the day was spent in Galerie Lafayette, partially due to my boyfriends wishes, partially, my lack of enthusiasm to weather the rain with sandals. What can I say, I was focused on keeping myself warm and getting a jacket. Thankfully, during the afternoon we ended up making up to Montemartre, the crown of the city. Located up on the hill, this neighborhood overlooks the beautiful city. If you're walking up there as we have, don't be surprised by all the sex shops and clubs in the skirts of the mountain. This is afterall where Moulin Rouge is located. Pink Mama, located in the Pigalle neighborhood, might be one of the most intagrammable restaurant of all times. Be advised, they do not take reservations thus you might have to get there right before opening to be seated where the money shot is! The other great location is the Pigalle basketball court. Think a court painted in pinks and purples! Or not think but look through all the images below in the gallery. Once you start climbing up. winding roads and cobble stone streets are quite pleasant. One of the most well known tourist attractions in the neighborhood is Sacre Coer. Right on the last section of the steps, you will find the sinking building! If you can brave it through the handrails on to the grass hill and snap a few pics, you can rotate the photo to look like the building behind is sinking! Pretty neat, yes? Other note worthy locations to see are: Le Basilic, La Maison Rose, and Le Consulat!