How I spent seven days eating and sightseeing my way through Paris. Take a look at all the places I visited and all the things I ate!
Paris is a gorgeous city and there’s so much to do and eat! If you’re looking for ideas and tips on what to eat and where to go, this is for you.
Renting an Apartment in Paris
When traveling alone, or if I’m going to a new place, a hotel is a must for me. Since I’m fairly familiar with Paris, and wasn’t traveling alone, I opted for an apartment.
The first couple of times I went to Paris, I stayed in hotels near the Louvre and loved having everything nearby, but the drawback was not having a kitchen.
I set a budget of $400 a night which got me a space that was about 10x bigger than most hotel rooms AT THE SAME RATE.
One thing I didn’t want was someone’s primary apartment they were renting out where we would be living around their things, so no Airbnb.
The other thing was location. I wanted to be in the 1st, 2nd, 6th, or the 7th arrondissement. With that in mind, I used a rental company to find a two-bedroom apartment right near the Opera House and Place Vendôme.
The space was pretty big with a large living/dining area, two bathrooms, a separate kitchen, and two bedrooms.
The decor was nice but some of the furniture was fairly worn, like the two armchairs with cushions that sorely needed to be replaced.
The place came with extras like umbrellas and power converters both of which we were grateful to have.
One thing I loved having in the apartment was a washing machine and a dishwasher. We were supplied with detergent for both so we didn’t need to purchase those.
Knowing we had a washing machine and dryer, we packed accordingly and had more room in our luggage.
A couple of things I wish I had brought were slippers to walk around the apartment in and bars of soap for the bathrooms. We made a trip to a store to get those right away once we realized they weren’t supplied with soap to wash our hands.
We made full use of the kitchen, eating breakfast in the apartment before heading out and having dinner in on a couple of nights.
Dinners in were relaxing. One night, we grabbed some bread from Maison Kayser, charcuterie, cheese, and butter from Le Bon Marche and had a feast.
Try Bordier butter when in Paris. They sell it at supermarkets and it’s THE BEST butter you’ll ever have. It’s incredibly difficult to find this butter, even in New York, so do what I do and bring it all back in your stomach.
The downside to getting an apartment instead of a hotel is that there’s no concierge downstairs to help you immediately, any time of the day (or night), if we did need anything.
There’s also no apartment cleaning services during the stay but we didn’t mind it since we were only there for seven days.
If you’re looking for an apartment in Paris, here are some rental companies that may help with your search:
Most places require a minimum of seven days for a stay, and make sure you check for air conditioners (in the summer) and elevators since it’s not a given that all apartments will have them.
What to Eat (Cheap Eats, Must-Haves, and Splurges)
There were just way too many delicious things to eat in Paris. The days are packed with eating, walking, shopping, and then eating again. There were multiple times where I wished I wasn’t so full so I could eat more.
134 RdT Patisserie
Let’s talk about THE BEST CROISSANT EVER!
Go directly to 134 RdT Patisserie to get one as soon as you land. You won’t regret it. You’ll look at all other croissants in disgust after having this one.
The croissant is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. Like, I wanted to cry, it’s so good. Crispy and flaky on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside, it’s croissant heaven.
The name of the bakery is their address, 134 rue de Turenne. It’s a tiny place and you have to take whatever you get “to go”.
Try to get there before noon otherwise the croissants may be sold out.
Across the street is a small park with benches, where I gobbled up the croissant. Oh man, I can’t stop thinking about how good that croissant was!
INFO: 134 RdT | 134 rue de Turenne | 75003 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 48 87 58 92
On my very first trip to Paris years ago, I went to Angelina, had their hot chocolate and the love affair began. On every trip back since then, I make sure to stop in to have one.
Once, while in London, a day trip was made to Paris just to have the hot chocolate. It’s that good. To this day, no other hot chocolate compares.
INSIDER TIPSkip the restaurant and get a cup of the hot chocolate to go. The food isn’t great and it’s overpriced.
The restaurant is on two levels and the main level is broken up into three rooms. I was seated in the middle room, which was right near the kitchen. The tables and chairs were set up to maximize as much seating as possible. It was makeshift at best.
I always get the “L’Africain” hot chocolate, which is their signature beverage.
INFO: Angelina | 226 rue de Rivoli | 75001 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 42 60 82 00
No visit to Paris would be complete without stopping in at Mariage Freres. We went to this Le Marais location for some food, make some tea purchases, and to see the Tea Museum — all housed in one building.
Behind the tea shop is their Tea Salon where they have a full menu so you can sit and enjoy your meal with tea, of course!
Photos aren’t allowed in the tea shop but they are allowed in the Tea Salon and the Tea Museum upstairs from the shop. The Tea Museum is free so you can just walk right up the spiral staircase.
I always bring back tea whenever I’m traveling and I usually bring back items from Mariage Freres. On my last trip, it was the Marco Polo tea (one of their most popular and it smells of strawberries and cream) and their pretty logo-stamped tea canisters.
INFO: Mariage Freres – Le Marais | 30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg | 75004 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 42 72 28 11
La Pâtisserie des Rêves
They’re known for their Paris-Brest, but everything looks delicious. Check out the baked goods against the wall, especially their kouign-amann, which is full of sugary goodness and came in stick form, instead of the usual circular shape.
INFO: La Pâtisserie des Rêves | 93 Rue du Bac | 75007 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 42 84 00 82
La Maison du Chou
On a cute little side street, La Maison du Chou makes cream puffs that are filled to order. They have three cream filling flavors: coffee, vanilla, and chocolate — all super light and airy.
The coffee cream filling flavor was a little too intense for me, but I loved the vanilla and chocolate. Best when eaten as soon as they are filled. So good!
They have a small area for seating in the shop, so you can order a cup of tea to have between bites of the cream puff. None of the other pastry shops visited had seating, so it was nice to be able to relax a bit.
INFO: La Maison du Chou | 7 rue de Furstenberg | 75006 Paris, France | +33 (0)9 54 75 06 05
Henri Le Roux
Henri Le Roux is a chocolate and caramel shop. No baked goods here, but it’s a lovely shop with four seats by the window where you can order tea and sweets.
The black sesame caramel is highly addictive. This is where I got assorted caramels (you can pick what goes in each bag) to take back home to share with friends and family.
INFO: Henri Le Roux | 1 rue de Bourbon le Château | 75006 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 82 28 49 80
Who knew I would love vegetables so much? L’Arpége is a three Michelin-starred restaurant (hence, the three hour lunch) known for their vegetarian food.
We got the least expensive lunch tasting menu and we were completely stuffed about two-thirds of the way through.
We were there three hours!!
Everything was delicious and it was a splurge that was well worth the cost.
Note: I made a reservation online on their site about a month before. I gave them a date and time and they emailed me back confirming availability.
INFO: L’Arpège | 84 Rue de Varenne | 75007 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 47 05 09 06
Jacques Genin, a chocolate and caramel shop with a cafe where you can get made to order mille-feuille!
Yes, MADE TO ORDER.
You can get chocolate, praline, or vanilla. Chocolate and praline are 8.50€, and the vanilla is 8.70€.
It’s a mess to eat so I like to break it apart with a fork a bit so I can get nice pieces of puff pastry and chocolate with each bite.
INFO: Jacques Genin | 133 Rue de Turenne | 75003 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 45 77 29 01
Merci is a giant multi-floor shop and houses an incredibly cute cafe called “Used Book Cafe.”
It’s a little confusing to find the place since “merci” is across two storefronts, but to enter the store, walk through the “111” in between. Walk down and be greeted by an open courtyard.
The store is three levels and you’ll find everything from clothing and home goods to furniture. The basement level is where you’ll find items for the home and kitchen.
Time to eat! The Used Book Cafe is completely adorable. One wall is a long bookcase filled with books. I ordered an Earl Grey to start the day. Lovely touch with the mint in the water carafe.
Every single thing I’ve ever ordered has been excellent so you can’t go too wrong with anything you order. (Here’s an Earl Grey Chocolate Tartine recipe inspired by a visit to Merci.)
INFO: Merci | 111 boulevard Beaumarchais | 75003 Paris, France | + 33 (0)1 42 77 00 33
I think Ladurée makes a fantastic macaron but that’s not the only thing they make. There are multiple shops and cafes scattered all over Paris and, if you can, I recommend a stop for their omelettes — it’s way better in Paris than the cafe in New York.
I don’t usually love omelettes, but Ladurée makes excellent ones. I don’t want to know much butter they use.
INFO: Ladurée Paris
Things to Do in Paris
From museums to flea and food markets, all the places you should definitely make time for on your visit.
Marché Richard Lenoir (Marché Bastille)
Marché Richard Lenoir is one of the biggest markets in Paris, and is only open Thursdays and Sundays, with Sunday being the busiest.
The market is referred to as both Marché Richard Lenoir and Marché Bastille.
You can find pretty much everything you need for a meal, including: seafood, vegetables, meats, bread, cheese, and fresh flowers.
We picked up a rotisserie chicken to eat back at the apartment for dinner. It was damn juicy and tender. To go with the chicken, we got some cheese and bread. We picked vendors that had long lines, which was a good rule of thumb. Mmm, baguettes.
And for dessert, Gariguette strawberries! Not available in the US, these conical shaped Gariguette strawberries are bright red and mark the start of spring. Sweet with a slight tart, these were eaten straight from the container after a quick rinse back at the apartment.
There’s a lot to see, but also a lot to eat as you shop for food. There’s a man selling churros, made to order, and you MUST get them. Perfectly crispy on the outside, yet light and fluffy on the inside (my two requirements for most pastries in general). He rolls the freshly made churros in some sugar, but just the perfect amount so it’s not too sweet.
INFO: Marché Richard Lenoir/Marché Bastille | Boulevard Richard Lenoir | 11th arrondissement | Paris, France
Porte de Clignancourt Flea Market
Put on your most comfortable shoes for Porte de Clignancourt’s flea market. Made up of a cluster of smaller flea markets, it’s the biggest one in Paris.
Take the metro line 4 all the way to the last stop and follow the stream of other tourists to get there. Make sure you keep walking past the cheap clothing vendors and go under the overpass. From there, keep going until you get to Rue des Rosiers.
There’s so much to see, and it can get overwhelming quick. I’ve been the flea market once before, and got lost a few times but that’s inevitable in this maze-like place.
The flea market is only open all day on Saturday and Sunday, and also Monday mornings. You can pretty much make a day out of it. There are restaurants and cafe sprinkled throughout. I went for about three hours and felt like there was so much I didn’t even see. (At that point my feet were killing me, so I was ready to leave.)
There are things at every price point and things you didn’t even know you wanted EVER, until you see it in person. Why would I need a carousel horse? I don’t know, why WOULDN’T I?
Antiques galore. This is a hoarder’s paradise.
INFO: Porte de Clignancourt Flea Market | 150 rue des Rosiers | 93400 Paris, France
I’m one of those people that LOVE going to museums. But my limit is two hours maximum then I can’t take in any more art.
I always recommend getting a museum guide since they get to the point and can show you all the highlights and give you a little history behind each piece.
I think this one goes without saying but the Louvre is a must. It’s massive and there’s no way to see it all in one visit so don’t even try.
It’s beautiful at night with the glass pyramids all lit up.
INFO: Louvre | 75058 Paris – France | +33 (0)1 40 20 53 171 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur
Situated right by the Seine river, it’s huge, but more manageable than the Louvre.
We purchased the guided tour and we zig-zagged through the museum, going up and down stairs from room to room.
With the tour lasting about an hour, we barely scratched the surface, but it’s a great way to get introduced to the highlights and it’s how I like to visit a museum for the first time. It’s like a Cliffs Notes version.
As I mentioned, I prefer being in a museum for no longer than two hours. It’s exhausting after that, and I will usually search around for the museum cafe.
I know some museum cafes better than the museum itself. There are a couple of cafes at the Musée d’Orsay and the one above is the most impressive with the giant clock.
A major highlight of the tour was this view from the clock facing the Seine. It’s one of the few places in the museum where you can take photos.
The Musée d’Orsay was originally a train station and it was slated to be demolished once trains got longer than the station. Thankfully, someone had the brilliant idea to repurpose it as a museum.
The art covered during the tour was eh — I’m not a huge fan of Impressionism — but I was thoroughly charmed by the museum’s architecture.
INFO: Musée d’Orsay | 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur | 75007 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 40 49 48 14
Musée du Luxembourg and Luxembourg Gardens
I was surprised at the size of the museum and the gardens — the museum was much smaller than I thought, and the gardens, much bigger.
The museum is basically two rooms. A smaller room that leads to a bigger one. It’s one of the smallest museums I’ve ever visited.
After the museum, a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens. I didn’t know it was so huge — it’s the second largest public park in Paris. Beautifully landscaped, the park is gorgeous and well-maintained.
There are chairs everywhere so it’s a great place to relax for a bit and take in the sights of the park.
INFO: Musée du Luxembourg | 19 rue de Vaugirard | 75006 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 40 13 62 00
Cathedral Notre Dame is located on the island Île de la Cité. There was a long line to get inside the church, but it moved fairly quickly.
There are a lot of things to see and do. You can climb the stairs to the tower to get a nice view of the city, get a guided tour of the cathedral, check out the cathedral treasury, or visit the crypt.
INFO: Notre Dame Cathedral | 6 Parvis Notre-Dame, Place Jean-Paul II | 75004 Paris, France | +33 (0)1 42 34 56 10
Of course, no trip to Paris is complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower.
Ugh, Getting Pickpocketed in Paris
The scene of the crime:
Let me set this up for you. It was a drizzly Tuesday morning at 10:30AM. My cousin and I were walking through Tuileries Garden to get to the Musée d’Orsay. She, holding an umbrella in her right hand, wearing a crossbody bag. Me, no umbrella, with my tote.
The garden was pretty empty, as you can see. We’re halfway across, and two Gypsy girls, about 15 years old, holding clipboards, ask us if we speak English, and if we can sign their petition to help handicapped children. We ignore them and keep walking.
They start walking next to us and are badgering us to sign the petition. At one point, as we’re walking briskly, I noticed the two of them were on each side of my cousin, swarming her. They were speaking loudly, asking us to sign the petition the whole time. Then they ran off.
We kept walking, then all of a sudden, we hear “Excuse me, excuse me!” It’s one of the girls and she’s running after us. We keep ignoring her but she catches up and says that we dropped a wallet.
We look, and she has got my cousin’s wallet in her hand! We were completely blindsided and took the wallet back, eyes wide and jaws on the floor. We look at her crossbody bag and we see the clasp was undone. They totally pickpocketed us.
But the odd thing is they returned the wallet. The cash was gone (thankfully only 5€ was in there), but everything in the wallet was untouched. I suspect that they spotted someone watching them, and that’s why they returned the wallet instead of throwing it out in the trash, which is usually what happens.
This was the first time anything like this had happened to us, so we were a little shaken up. We did a little research on the pickpocketing problem in Paris, and it appears it’s a huge one as of late.
Once we knew to look for small clusters of teenagers, we saw several more at popular tourist spots. We were careful to keep our hands on our belongings for the rest of the trip.
TIP: Be careful about leaving your cell phone on the table at a restaurant. The thieves will place something large, like a newspaper or clipboard on top, then as they pull away the clipboard, they’ll take the phone underneath it as well. More tips from the US embassy in France.
Funny, I took the photo above right before the pickpocketing, loving the fact that the garden was so empty.
Afternoon Tea in Paris
For me, as a huge fan of afternoon tea *ahem look at this blog* I make time to go for afternoon tea whenever I travel. It’s such a lovely way to take a breather and relax for a couple of hours.
Plus, I love seeing how hotels in different countries create their own afternoon tea experience.
A gorgeous afternoon tea experience in an opulent setting. Read my full review of the tea service.
A modern take on afternoon tea here. Read my full review of the afternoon tea.
A decadent afternoon tea at the luxury hotel le Bristol. Read my review of the tea service.
This was my favorite afternoon tea in Paris! Everything was perfection and I would go back in a heartbeat!