Courto's Guide To Paris
If you followed my EuroTour realtime on Instagram, you know that Paris was my first and longest stop. Although I want to slap myself in the face for using this cliche, I truly, madly, deeply fell in love with Paris the first time I visited in March 2018. And just to prove how passionate this love affair was, I quit my job later that year to spend a month in the City of Lights. Throughout my travels, I found a million places that made me say ‘where have you been all my life??’ and at least 900,000 of those places were in Paris.
SO, with that heart warming intro, I hope you enjoy perusing all my favorite spots! Every place is numbered and color coded so you can find them easily on this map to help plan your visit!
Areas to Stay
I stayed right next to the Bastille just outside the Marais, which was easily accessible to everything (tourist attractions, nightlife, and shopping), super safe, and all around lovely. The Marais is a favorite neighborhood because it’s super lively and there are lots of cool shops and good food. 10/10 would recommend staying near the Marais.
I wouldn’t stay near the Eiffel because there’s really no that much there except the Eiffel. The homes are classically Paris and super beautiful, but IMHO there’s more to do as you move South East. I also wouldn’t suggest staying near Gare Du Nord, because it’s just kind of a sketchy place because pickpockets are targeting tourists who’ve just come in on the train. TBH, standing outside Gare Du Nord waiting for a train was the most unsafe I felt during my whole time in Paris.
General rule of thumb...stay as close to the river as possible if you want to be close to the action.
(If you’re following along on the map, these are all the blue pins!)
Book tickets online AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE it makes things soooo much easier because lines can get super long everywhere. Also, if you’re under 26 there’s usually a discounted rate, and if you’re a student, lots of things are freeee.
The Seine - If the weather is nice, YOU MUST bring snacks and drinks to the Seine at night (my favorite spot was between Pont Marie and Pont de Sully because there’s a little bar there that was lots of fun). People come here to pregame their nights out, hang out with friends, and to just relax. Absolutely one of my favorite things about Paris.
Arc de Triomphe - I climbed the Arc and the Eiffel and honestly preferred the top of the Arc. You get the cooooolest view of Paris IMHO.
Tour Montparnasse - Also a better view of Paris than the Eiffel because you can actually see the Eiffel.
Jardins du Luxembourg - One of my fave spots in Paris on a sunny day. Great for picnicking or just relaxing as there are lounge chairs everywhere and it’s a generally beautiful place.
Seine River tour - Good views all around. Use Vedettes de Paris instead of Bateaux Mouches because the latter is typically full of rllllllly annoying tourists who book in huge groups and are way too excited and can’t stay seated.
Catacombs - Sooo spooky and fun. Basically, Paris ran out of places to bury people in the 1700s, so an artist redesigned the tombs of 6 million people buried under Paris.
Sainte Chappelle - a gorgeous church known for the stained glass windows. I didn’t go to Notre Dame (lol), so I can’t say which is better
Musee D’Orsay - awesome impressionist museum where Van Gogh’s famous self portrait lives. And you have to go to the glass clock on the top floor and look out over Paris. ALSO didn’t go to the Louvre (lol again) because it was too overwhelming so can’t say which is better
Pantheon - I didn’t actually go inside and don’t even know what it is TBH, but it’s a cool building and all the kids hang out on the benches outside drinking at night, so it’s quite social
Rue Mouffetard - a fun little stretch of road where I had really good crepes...just super cute and quaint
Montmartre - IMHO kind of overrated. Super super super touristy but still a pretty place and you get an interesting view of Paris from the top of the hill in front of Sacre Coeur.
Giverny - Quick train ride outside Paris to Monet’s gardens. Just a really beautiful place and a nice taste of the small towns outside Paris.
Père Lachaise Cemetery - A spooky cemetery that’s totally breathtaking. Jim Morrison is buried there, which some people think is cool...
(Red pins on the map!)
If you’ve spent any time with me, you’d know that I don’t really understand food or flavor in general, and basically eat like a toddler (Goldfish are in my top 5 favorite foods if I’m being honest). So take these recs with a grain of salt (PUN INTENDED BECAUSE FOOD).
Miznon - Quick service Israeli food, but the real showstoppers are the full heads of roasted broccoli/cauliflower. Amazeeee.
Noodle Corner - Another quick spot with homemade Asian noodles that are BOMB.
Crepes - Def get a crepe from one of the little stands in the Tuilleries or Jardins du Luxembourg. The best flavor is sucre citron (lemon sugar), truuuust me here.
Pierre Hermes - Best macarons in Paris. Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, melt in your mouth fantastical-ness.
Berthillon - Suuuper rich and delish ice cream.
Yan Couvreur - If you like lemon, this place has the best lemon tarte I’ve ever had.
Bastille Market - Sundays only, but amazing for fresh fruit, veggies, fish, meat, and a whole bunch of tourist trap trash but still fun.
Septime the Cave - Although I never had the pleasure of dining here, a pal of mine is one of the chefs here and he’s AMAZING! Buut because it’s so dope, you’ll need to make a res three plus weeks in advance. Also it’s a wine bar #yabasic.
The Seine - Obviously not a bar...but my favorite place to drink (as previously mentioned). BYO and drink with your besties before hitting the bars.
Mermaids and Divers - This is a fun bar in the Bastille with inexpensive-ish drinks. Realistically, all the bars on this street are lively every night, but especially on the weekends. Many beers, much fun here.
Cafe Oz - If you tryna go to the clerb. Kinda beat tho because clubs are very un-Paris in general.
Le Tambour - Lots of bars close at 2AM, so if you’re trying to continue the party, go here because they’re open until 6AM. There’s indoor/outdoor drinking options, reasonably priced drinks, and the french fries are the best everrr (maybe because I was eating them at 5AM after a night of drinking but whatev still at least top 5).
Candelaria - Super cool sort of secret bar. The front of house is a delish taco place, but if you go to the back of restaurant through what looks like a service door it’s this super cool tequila bar. Because it’s so cool, obviously the drinks are a bit pricey.
BHV - The roof of the department store opens at night with a reallllly lovely view of the Eiffel. It’s super trendy and quirky with pricey drinks but the view is worth it at least for one drink!
La Perle - A great place to sit outside and watch people in CLASSIC Parisian fashion because it’s in a busy area of the Marais.
Lavomatic - It’s a one-in-one-out place because it’s super smoll so get there early to avoid the line. Was still a fun experience to go to an otherwise functional laundromat then through a door disguised as a washing machine up to a bar that put marshmallows in the drinks and had swings instead of seating.
Le Connetable - Another bar open until 6AM that’s lowkey dodgy but highkey fun. People smoke in the basement (so weird) and there’s a piano for anyone to play, which can be v amusing or v annoying depending on who’s playing.
Le Lecher-Vin - A Spanish place I guess? Super small and decked out with virgin Mary decor, which sounds weird like why would I suggest you go here...You have to go and experience the dichotomy between the bar part and the bathrooms. IT SOUNDS WEIRD BUT JUST GO YOU’LL LOVE IT.
Rue de Rivoli - Lots of stores (big and small), food, and generally a lot of action.
BHV - On Rue de Rivoli. Just a BOMB gigantic department-like store that has literalllllly everything you could ever want from craft supplies to designer shoes (BONUS: go to the terrace on the top floor FO FREE and get a pretty lovely view).
Galleries Lafayettes - A bougie place and touristy, but super beautiful and worth a visit.
Champs Elysees - Again, touristy, but there are lots of stores and lots of people so it’s fun.
Rue du Faubourg Antoine - Full of fast fashion spots and sneaker stores. Again, generally a poppin’ place.
Maison Du Monde - If you like affordable home stuff, this place is a m a z i n g and if you don’t like affordable home decor...stfu.
Marais - My fave neighborhood. Lots of quirky tiny shops on really pretty streets. Easy to just walk around and browse if you’re into that sort of thing.
Nature & Decouvertes Marais - Super funky store that makes you feel like you’re outside because the roof is just a big skylight. It’s got a wide range of stuff...books, plants, diffusers...an aesthetically pleasing spot.
Maison Clotilde - Also in the Marais. A good spot if you’re looking for dainty inexpensive jewelry. Everything is €20!
&Other Stories - Marais again!! Super cute spot for jewelry, trendy clothes, and skin/beauty products. LOVED this place; spent, like, all my dollars here. Later found out we also have this store at home but whatever