Paris was perfect! It was everything I dreamed it would be and I know how cheesy that sounds but honestly, it’s that amazing!
Below is everything (for the most part) that we did on our 7 day trip! I wanted to give you as many tips and links and honest advice as I could because planning a big trip can be overwhelming and confusing!
You can also check out my vlog (below) if you want to experience our trip with us! After Paris we flew to Rome but that’ll need it’s own post!
Day 1: Arrival + Hotel Check In
Hotel We Chose: Hotel La Comtesse
Reasoning: 24/7 view of the Eiffel Tower from EVERY room! Most eiffel tower rooms I found tended to be a lot pricier or not as close to the Eiffel Tower. La Comtesse is a small boutique hotel and was the best option when balancing budget and the views we wanted.
Hotel We Almost Chose: Hotel Napoleon
Reasoning: Highly recommend from a friend and although it’s pricey, word on the street is, absolutely get what you pay for with this stunning hotel!
Reason we didn’t book: Too far from the Eiffel Tower! I really wanted to see the twinkling lights every night as we fell asleep.
Day 2: City Tour + Eiffel Tower
Why You Should Book It: Not only did this tour make it easy to see all of the major Paris highlights in one go (and without a car), it allowed us to decide what we wanted to return to and spend more time visiting versus the spots that we’re great to see but not worth re-visiting.
Why You Should Visit: The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris! It offers a great view, a highly rated restaurant, and it’s wonderful memory to take home.
Tips for Your Visit:
- Buy a ‘skip the line’ ticket as soon as you book your trip, they sell out quickly.
- There are 3 levels – make sure you buy a ticket to visit all of them, we only did the first 2 levels and didn’t realize until we got there that there was a level all the way at the top.
- You can also eat a delicious meal on the 1st level at their top rated restaurant. Just make sure you book reservations ahead of time.
- Opt for a time slot that’s about an hour before sunset. It’ll give you the opportunity to see the view in daylight and at night. And is there anything more romantic than a sunset atop the Eiffel Tower?! We also stayed up there until the lights twinkled on the tower, it was magical.
- Take the elevator up and the stairs down. There tends to be a huge line for the elevator so choose the stairs. Worried about it being exhausting? Don’t be, the stairs are easy as long as you’re going down and not up. (*note: this is for the second level, if you go all the way up to level 3 – I’d recommend the elevator)
- Before your tour, walkover to one of the nearby carousels for a stunning photo op!
Day 3: Palace of Versaille + Sacré Coeur
Palace of Versaille: Former French royal residence and centre of government, now a national landmark. We took THIS tour!
Why You Should Visit: It’s a freakin’ palace in France! The Hall of Mirrors is beautiful (and it’s where Kim K. had her rehearsal dinner) and it’s so interesting to learn about the way they lived back then. Fun Fact: They got married around 13 years old!
Tip: Take a refreshing walk out in the gardens and explore the grounds after your indoor tour! There are some great photo ops here and you can pretend to be French royalty.
Saint Chapelle: Royal Chapel
Why You Should Visit: This is a quick 15 minute stop but totally worth it if you want to see a gothic style chapel with incredible stained class! The chapel opened in 1248 – which is mind blowing in itself!
Why You Should Visit: One of the best views of the city! I loved the view here more than the Eiffel Tower View! (*note: I’m referring to the city view from outside of the church but you can also pay to climb to the stairs to the top of the church)
The area around the church, known as Montmarte is great area to visit! Lots of pretty cafes, art, and small shops.
- Prepare for crowds when you visit, it’s hard to avoid them
- The church is beautiful from the outside but it doesn’t have any distinct interior features so if you’ve already seen a few church interiors on your trip, feel free to skip this one
- You’ll likely need transportation to get here but the subway system is easy to use and affordable! More on this later
Café des Deux Moulins: Amelie was filmed here!
Why You Should Visit: If the Amelie film struck a chord in your heart, swing by the actual cafe used for filming on your way to Sacré Coeur! (It’s a 5 minute detour)
- The food isn’t well rated so skip it
- Take your photos from the outside – I hear the owners/staff aren’t big on tourists
Day 4: The Lourve + Luxemburg Garden
The Louvre: The world’s largest art museum and a historic monument
Why You Should Visit: You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate seeing, in person, many of the things you’ve only heard about in history books or have seen depicted in movies!
- Must see: Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory, and then make your way to the impressive hall where the royal jewels are kept and end with a visit to Napoleon’s apartment (photo below)!
- You can take a special tour to see the areas of the Louvre that have been in music videos, films, and on TV (*additional fee)
Jardin de Luxembourg: Every palace needs a stunning garden, right?
Why You Should Visit: It’s pretty! There are no parks like this where I come from!
- This garden gets packed during the day! Like super packed! If you can, head there first thing in the morning to see it before most people get there
- There’s food and coffee available for purchase
- You can go on a palace tour (we didn’t) but after you’ll need to move on for more activities
Day 5: Photoshoot + 3 Michelin Star Meal
Why You Should Book a Photo Shoot: It’s a special way to capture your trip! I loved coming home and having these photos to look back on. We loved it so much that we plan to do photoshoots whenever we travel. (*note: many of the photos in this post are from this shoot! THIS was our talented photographer)
- Book with someone you can trust, here’s the photographer we used: https://www.theparisphotographer.com/
- Make room in your suitcase for a special outfit (this affected the dresses I chose)
- Plan on doing your own hair and makeup – saves you money (Paris is pricey) and you won’t have to get up any earlier (your shoot will start early to avoid crowds)
3 Star Meal: Astrance
Why You Should Eat Here: French cuisine is renowned worldwide so combining french food with the highest rating in the Michelin guide, means you might cry of happiness as you eat. (I almost cried into my meal – this food experience changed my life)
- Don’t be intimidated. Yes, it’s fancy but it’s still a restaurant so don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Dress up and fully embrace the experience
- Lunch is more affordable than dinner so if you’re worried about your budget, book a lunch time reservation!
- The hot towels are for your hands. I had to google this because I wasn’t sure what to do in the restaurant. The hot towels is for you to clean your hands before the meal – fancy schmancy right?
Day 6: Cooking Class + Walking Around the City
Notre Dame: Medieval Catholic Cathedral
Why You Should Visit: Stunning church right on the Seine river! Remember the tour we took on one of our first days in Paris? Well, Will fell in love with the beauty of Notre Dame during that tour so we went during the early morning to avoid crowds and lines.
- Admission is free,but the line gets long so arrive early.
Cooking Class: La Cuisine Paris
Why You Should Book This: Experiencing the local cuisine when you travel is my favorite way to learn about a new culture. This class will teach you recipes you can use at home plus, it’ll give you some background on what the Parisian diet is like
- Share your allergies and dislikes when the class starts to avoid any issues
- Ask questions to learn more about French vs. American food
- Ask your teacher to email you the recipes
Why You Should Visit: This famous little book store has served as a temporary home to many well known writers like Ernest Hemingway!
- You’re not allowed to take photos in the shop so make sure you snap one outside
- Buy a book! A book from Paris is the perfect souvenir or gift for a friend or yourself
Day 7: Shopping + Departure
Shopping Tip: Skip the big brands you’ve seen in the US and hit the smaller boutiques! We went shopping away from the Champs-Élysées because they had big brands (Gap, Old Navy, etc)
Departure: Cry and beg the universe to let you live here forever!
Extra Tips & Advice for Visiting Paris:
- Uber is expensive! Opt for the subway system instead – it’s affordable and easy to navigate (La Comtesse is only a 2 minute walk away from the metro station)
- Avoid using the subway during commuting hours if you’re going more than 1 or 2 stops. I felt claustrophobic with the crowds of people crammed in each car
- Learn some French before you go! Simple phrases and words will make all the difference. Here’s what I recommend learning:
- Do you speak English?
- I don’t speak French
- Hello & Goodbye
- Thank you
- Where are the restrooms?
- There’s no postmates but they do have Uber Eats! We ordered burgers one night when we were too tired to go out
- Take advantage of the cafes on every corner! They food is always tasty and it’s so Parisian!
- Comfortable shoes are a must for busy days! Trust me, you don’t want to stop exploring the city because you wore the wrong shoes and your feet hurt
This was an experience of a lifetime! I will forever remember the way my whole body tingled the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower lights twinkle. I hope to one day go back with my whole family and experience the magic of Paris together!
If you have any questions or need any additional advice, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!