Paris is tied with Rome and London as one of Europe's most important and magical cities.
Places to Eat
Our favorite restaurants are below; see Paris Food page for much more information:
- ***Les Canailles - 2 locations although we ate at the one in Pigalle; delicious, delicious food for fairly reasonable prices, reserve in advance! Fairly kid-friendly...they didn't have high chairs but they made a nice "pommes dauphines" (sort of like super-fancy, delicious tater tots) for our 3 year old.
- ***Boulangerie Chambelland - 14 Rue Ternaux, 11e, gluten-free place but I had the best quiche and the best fondant de chocolat I've had with or without gluten! Great place for breakfast, lunch or snack
- ***Breizh Café Paris - 109 rue Vieille du Temple (there are also locations in Montorgeuil and Odéon), 01 42 72 13 77, closed Mon/Tues, Brittany specialities (especially crêpes, galettes, and cider), closed Tues, great reviews linked here, book a few days in advance or go early...one of the few places open on Sunday and it's delicious (and not too expensive)
- ***Lazare - in the Gare St-Lazare, Norman chef Eric Fréchon opened this in 2013 to branch out from his 3-star restaurant, www.lazare-paris.fr, open every day 7:30 AM to midnight (breakfast until 11, tea 3-6 PM...otherwise full lunch/dinner menu), some chowhounds liked it but Paris By Mouth did not have good service, see this blogpost for photos; we had a delicious lunch here in 2014 (and it was super-convenient to eat there on the way to Giverny, since the trains leave from the train station)
- ...also there is a cluster of great frozen desserts in the Marais: Une Glace à Paris, Grom, and Pozzetto.
- Consider getting the Paris Museum Pass
- This gets you in to most of the major museums--if you visit more than a few, it will pay for itself (available in 2/4/6-day denominations of €42/56/69, must be consecutive days)
- The main reason to get this is you skip (most of) the lines!
- To get around, Metro/RER is very easy...most people will want to get a Carnet of 10 tickets, which is €13.30 (this is both cheaper than the normal €1.70 per ticket and more convenient). If you're staying for a calendar week, you might consider the Navigo pass (most other passes aren't worth it unless you're travelling outside of Paris).
- "Must See" Sights
Notre Dame - the famous cathedral where Paris began, open 8-6:45 (7:15 on Sat/Sun), seewebsite for more hours and information you can also climb the bell tower [10-6:30...but closes at 11 PM on Sat/Sun in June/July/August, last access 45 min before closure, €8.50, part of Paris Museum Pass] and/or go into the archeological crypt [crypt 10-6, last entry 30 min before, closed Mon/holidays, €4, part of Paris Museum Pass]--> CLOSED as of 2019 due to fire
- near Notre Dame is the beautiful stained glass Sainte Chapelle, open every day March-Oct 9:30-6, Nov-Feb 9-5, last entry 30 min prior, €8.50 (€12.50 with Conciergerie, open 9:30-6, a former prison where Marie Antoinette and others were held before they faced the guillotine), part of Paris Museum Pass
- also nearby on Île Saint Louis is good ice cream at Berthillon
- Louvre - former royal palace turned into a gigantic museum full of amazing art; strain for a look at the Mona Lisa, but don't miss some of the other great stuff. 9-6, open late (9:45 PM) on Wed/Fri, closed Tues, (1st Sun of month = free, on 2 June)...rooms begin to close 30 min before closing
- Musée d'Orsée - a converted train station famous for its Impressionist paintings (they have 1 room that made one art-loving American exclaim, "It's not fair that one museum can have all these paintings in one place!"), 9:30-6, open late (9:45) on Thurs, closed Mon
- For many people, the food is a major draw to come to Paris -- check out the Paris Food page for more
- Other Fun Stuff
- Eiffel Tower - you can see it almost anywhere in the city; to climb it, reserve ahead of time or get in line
- Picnic on the Pont des Arts - an pedestrian-only bridge just south of the Louvre
- Sit at a cafe - watch the world go by the Parisian way
- Saint Suplice - an old church on the Left Bank made famous by the Da Vinci Code; go on Sunday for a free organ concert (see Rick Steves article about this).
- L'Orangerie - just west of the Louvre, see Monet's water lilies in a beautiful setting, 9-6 closed Tues
- Sacre Cœur Cathedral / Montmartre - a neighborhood made famous in the film Amelie, there's a great view from the top (also the infamous Moulin Rouge is nearby)
- Arc du Triomphe - at the end of the Champs Elysées, the crazy traffic is almost as good as the view from the top
- Merci Merci - 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais (3e), interesting shop with a bunch of mostly house-wear, especially gorgeous, high-quality linen.
- Outside of Town
- Versailles - crazy opulent gardens and palace of Louis XIV (on RER C, get off at "Versailles Rive Gauche": zone 4 one-way ticket costs €3.35)...more information on Wikivoyage
- Giverny - see the Normandy Page for more
- Chartres - one of the most famous gothic cathedrals, built in the 12th century and holds the Sancta Camisa (allegedly Mary's tunic worn when she gave birth to Jesus); more at WIkivoyage.
- Saint Germain en Laye - World War II headquarters for the Germans, later taken over by the Allies, reachable on RER A (~30 min ride from central Paris, get a Zone 4 one-way ticket for €4.10 or a Mobilis all-day 4-zone pass for €10.85, worth it only if you're taking >2 more Metro rides that same day)
- Musée d'Archéologie Nationale - archeology museum in former château, open 10-5 every day except Tuesday, €7.
- Château de Monte Cristo - built by Alexandre Dumas after his book became a hit
- Places to Eat
- Pavillon Henri IV - 21 rue Thiers (just E of Château, at edge of gardens), 01 39 10 15 15, www.pavillonhenri4.fr, closed Sun eve, 17th century palace of Henri IV, weekday lunch €35, prix fixe from €49-54, view of the Seine valley, rec'd by Michelin ("classique") and Pudlo --> we went there for lunch; it was very nice/fancy with beautiful views, but a bit "stuffy", also seemed a bit overpriced
- Le Wauthier by Cagna - 31 rue Wauthier (W of the church), 01 39 73 10 84, www.restaurant-wauthier-by-cagna.fr, closed Sun/Mon, closed end July-mid Aug, 1 week in January, rec'd by Michelin, Lebey, and Pudlo
- Cazaudehore "A la Forestière" - 1 avenue du Président-kennedy (2 km north of main town), 01 30 61 64 64, www.cazaudehore.fr, rec'd by Michelin ("classique", "chic" and "cozy", family place since 1928) and Pudlo
- La Feuillantine - 10 rue des Louviers, 01 34 51 04 24, rec'd by Fodors and Pudlo
- Brasserie du Théâtre - 19 rue Salle, 01 30 61 28 00, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Pudlo
- La Manège - 5 rue St-Louis, 01 39 73 22 12, closed Sun eve, 1 week in Aug, rec'd by Pudlo
- Zagato - 1 place André-Malraux, 01 30 61 02 00, rec'd by Pudlo
- Eric Kayser - 3 Rue de Poissy/8 Rue de Pologne (SW of train station), outpost of popular/famous Paris boulangerie, closed Sun/Mon afternoon, otherwise open 7:30-8,
- Other places to drink/snack
- Sébastien Dubois - 16 rue de Poissy, 01 34 51 00 66, www.fromagerie-dubois.com, 9-1, 4-7:30, closed Sun afternoon, Mon, Aug, historic cheese shop from 1897 rec'd by Pudlo (esp. Saint-Marcellin [runny/soft], Salers [crumbly cheese from Auvergne], Baragnaudes roquefort, Comté with fruit, alpine Beaufort [like gruyère], Chevenet goat cheeses)
- The Bitter End Pub - 20 rue St-Pierre, 01 34 51 90 09, www.bitter-end.fr, 12-3, 5-1 am (no afternoon closure on weekends), rec'd by Pudlo
- La Petite Théière - 1 place André-Malraux, 01 39 21 79 10, 12-7, closed Mon, 2 weeks in Aug, tea salon with nice lunch stuff, tarte Tatin, and chocolate fondant rec'd by Pudlo.
Paris is divided into arrondissements, or districts, which spiral out from the Louvre in a clockwise manner. It's easy to get around on the Metro: buy a carnet (book of 10) for extra convenience (and a slight discount). If you'll be in Paris during a calendar week or month, it might be worth getting a ### pass.
Vélib (Bike Sharing)
- Payment: you need a 1 or 7 day ticket for €1.70 or €8 respectively (which can be bought at any station or up to 2 weeks in advance on the website...note that the website accepts any card but the stations require a chip-and-PIN or American Express and puts a €150 temporary payment, similar to a car rental)...this allows you unlimited bike trips at no extra charge, as long as each trip is under 30 minutes
- Check your bike before renting it for maintenance problems (tires inflated, chain attached, etc.); bad bikes are signified by the seatpost being rotated backwards
- No spaces left at your destination station? Punch in your PIN at the station terminal and you'll be given 15 more minutes to find another station (it will tell you where the closest open spot is).
- Want more than 30 minutes? You can pay (€1, €2, and then €4) for more time, but Parisians who aren't in a rush just turn in their bike at a station after ~25 minutes and then pick up another after a 5 minute wait.
- More info: en.velib.paris.fr
Places to Stay
- We've had the best luck renting out places that aren't hotels (e.g. www.airbnb.com)
- Hotel Saint Augustin at Cercle National des Armées - a special hotel for French (and other Allied) military that offers discounted rates, especially if you are there on orders
- Hôtel Henri IV, 25 Place Dauphine (1ière on Île de la Cité), 01 43 54 44 53, €60-83/night includes breakfast, 400-year old building, rec'd by Fodor's
- Hôtel du Pont Neuf, 20 Rue du Roule, 01 42 33 05 18, €55-75 winter, €70-91/night
- St. Christopher's Inn - 159 Rue de Crimée (near Cité des Sciences, 19e), Hostel, run by Brits, €29-36, WiFi in rooms, rec'd by Fodor's
- Hôtel Bellevue et du Chariot d'Or - 39 Rue de Turbigo (3e, N of Pompidou), 01 48 87 45 60, free WiFi, €65-101, rec'd by Fodor's and Frommers
- Hotel de Rouen, 42 Rue Croix des Petits Champs (1e, near Louvre), 01 42 61 38 21, €55-75/night, €6 for breakfast, free WiFi, rec'd by Let's Go.
- Hotel Montpensier, 12 Rue de Richelieu (2e, near Louvre), 01 42 96 28 50, €75-169, free WiFi, rec'd by Let's Go.
- Hotel de Turenne - 20 Avenue de Tourville (near Eiffel Tower/Rue Cler), relatively inexpensive, free WiFi
- MIJE - 01 42 74 23 45, email@example.com, 3 youth hostels in the center of the 4th arrondissement (just N of Nôtre Dame), €30-49/person...must pay €2.50 yearly membership, closed between 1 and 7 AM
- Hôtel Rivoli, 44 Rue de Rivoli, 01 42 72 08 41 (not to be confused with another Hôtel Rivoli at 19 Rue de Rivoli), top floor rooms have view of Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, street noise, €37-60/night
- Grand Hôtel du Loiret, 8 Rue des Mauvais Garçons, 01 48 87 77 00, free WiFi, 1 am curfew
- Hôtel Jeanne d'Arc, 3 Rue de Jarente, 01 48 87 62 11, free WiFi, rec'd by Let's Go.
- Hôtel de la Herse d'Or, 20 Rue St-Antoine, 01 48 87 84 09, WiFi in rooms, rec'd by Let's Go.
- Turenne Le Marais - 6 Rue De Turenne, free WiFi
- Hotel de Rouen - (just N of Louvre)
- Other cheap options at the Let's Go Paris Accommodations page...also check www.budgetplaces.com and www.eurocheapo.com/paris