Happy Wanderlust Wednesday you guys! If you follow GWS on Instagram or Instagram Stories you know we (Jen, Jason and our 2 daughters) were in Paris a few weeks ago. It’s one of our favorite cities in the world!! Since we were already planning on being in Barcelona for Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, we decided to stop in Paris as well because, well….Paris is ALWAYS a good idea. :)
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris quite a few times and can honestly say that with each visit I fall more in love with this city. One of my favorite things about being in Paris is that you need not plan every minute of every day…you can simply wander around, get a bit lost and discover a new part of the city just a beautiful and charming as the parts you’ve already visited. Srsly Paris, how do you do it?
While wandering and getting lost, I learned quite a few things that I want to share with you about where to stay, what to do, where to eat! So, whether you’re planning a stay here for your honeymoon, anniversary, or traveling with young kids (like us), I hope you find this Guide helpful :)
How Paris is this pic??
When to Visit
I’ve visited in fall, summer and spring. There really is no bad time, but we haven’t tried winter yet…..so perhaps that it ;) Of all our trips, I have to say that visiting in spring is my favorite. The cherry blossoms and the weather on this trip were amazing, plus the city wasn’t too crowded yet.
Where to Stay
For this trip, we had two separate mini trips to Paris that served as bookend for our European travels. We began our trip with a week stay in Paris, then stopped back again for 2 nights before flying back to LA.
If your stay is more than 5 days, I suggest staying in 2 different areas. It’s a great way to see more parts of the city and minimize the need for hopping the metro and instead simply step out onto the street and begin exploring.
However, if you don’t like to move hotels/apartments while traveling (totally get that as well!), be sure to find a central spot near the metro (you’ll become good friends by the end of your trip).
Here is where we stayed for this trip:
The Saint Emilion Apartment from Paris Perfect (a block from the Eiffel Tower)
You guys, this apartment was a dream location in the 7th arrondissement. I mean, the Eiffel Tower was right outside our window!! We worked with Paris Perfect to arrange our stay at this Saint Emilion apartment. They have many great apartments you can stay in around Paris, but the location of this apartment is one of my favorite spots EVER. It’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment and the highlight was the 2 floor to ceiling windows, in both the living room and kitchen, with ah-ma-zing views of the Eiffel Tower. It was SO COOL to look out and see the tower right there!
One of my favorite parts of our entire trip was something so simple…..just making breakfast in our apartment. Each morning we put on the Parisian Chic playlist on Spotify, brewed fresh coffee and made some eggs for a nice relaxing start to our day. After a bit of jet lag our first morning, walking out into the living room and taking in the views of the Eiffel Tower made it feel like we fell asleep on the plane and woke up in a French movie….it was a bit surreal. This view was SUCH a perfect way to start each day.
Each night, we made our way back to the apartment after diner to resume our Spotify mix, open a bottle of wine and let the girls dance as we enjoyed the light show at the Tower. Beginning at 9:00 each night, every hour on the hour it lights up with dancing lights for 5 minutes, and then at 1am, you’ll get an even more special treat!!
Morning walks by the tower are the best!! Lots of cute street cafes to grab a coffee (or wine in the afternoon, you are in Paris after all) and enjoy the views here!
I definitely recommend a trip to Rue Cler, a pedestrian street where you can sample the fresh fruit, shop for picnic supplies and stop to smell the fresh flowers at the shops. Stop by Cafe Central for lunch and get the Croque Madame! You can thank me later. :) Be sure to pick up some fruit before you head to the Eiffel Tower for your picnic – if you visit in the spring, the strawberries were some of the best I’ve had!
Tip – Don’t eat too close to the Eiffel Tower, it is a bit more touristy. Walk out just a few blocks and you’ll find lots of great options. On our first night we walked to a super chill burger place, L’ Artisan du Burger….after a long flight with two little ladies, we really enjoyed the low key vibe + burgers – definitely different from burgers here in the US so it was a fun spot. :)
I highly recommend stopping by one of the cafes on the streets lining near the tower to sip some rosé (get dinner elsewhere) and enjoy the views!
Hôtel Adèle & Jules in the 9th Arrondissement
After spending 3 nights right by the Eiffel Tower we moved to the Hôtel Adèle & Jules with Mr & Mrs Smith for 3 nights. This hotel was in a great spot, right in the 9th Arrondissement. The location was an easy walk to the Louvre and the surrounding gardens, and Montmarte is just a short metro ride away!
The design of the hotel is modern with bold colors and great tile in the bathroom (always a fan of fun bathroom tile!). I love that our room included breakfast, it really simplifies the start the day.
The 9th has lots of cute shops and restaurants and it’s near the 2nd, which we came to love on this trip! I was super excited to stop by the Sezanne store (above), it was so gorgeous that I wanted to buy everything! Loved the coffee + vibe from Matamata Coffee. This street (rue d’Argout in the 2nd) was so cute and has a bunch of other lovely cafes as well.
For meals, we LOVED Papadoom Kitchen – an Indian restaurant that had opened about a month ago. Good thing we found this spot soon after it opened, once it catches on I expect it to get packed. Super cute decor (see below!!) and the food + cocktails were SO GOOD. Highly recommend the Butter Chicken, Chicken Korma and for drinks, the Bombay Sunrise and Indian Mule!
We also really enjoyed the Frog and the Underground for a fun lunch that was surprisingly good for kids. They were so happy to see us arrive with our girls that they brought out board games! Great decor + vibe with lots of craft beers (sometimes you need a wine break!) – tip, get the sweet potato fries and the Ginger Twist craft beer!
Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine with Kiwi Collection in the 1st Arrondissement
As I mentioned earlier, before our flight back home to LA, we returned to Paris for 2 nights. We worked with our friends at the Kiwi Collection to find a perfectly located hotel for our short stay, Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine. Loved the Art Deco vibe of this boutique hotel and the balcony was the perfect Parisian balcony. :) The hotel also had a lovely breakfast each morning in their cute restaurant. If you are looking for a hotel for your next trip, be sure to check out Kiwi Collection as their site curates some of the best hotels around so you know for sure you’ll be staying somewhere great! Looking for a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon trip? They just launched their Extraordinary Honeymoon Guide so check that out if you are currently in the planning stages and need some inspiration + guidance! They are the experts at this stuff! :)
But back to the Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine! This hotel was in a great location – the 1st Arrondissement – with an easy walk to Notre Dame, the Louvre Museum and our new fave the 2nd. We also ventured back to the Eiffel Tower one day for a picnic from this hotel. You could take a metro or walk. We chose to walk since it’s our favorite thing to do there. It was about a 50 minute walk, but worth it. We walked across the Pont Neuf bridge and then made our walk to Laduree (for the best macarons!) and then to Josephine Bakery to pick up some baguette sandwiches and pastries. Then keep walking down Rue de l’Université until you arrive at the Esplanade des Invalides (the lawn by the Eiffel Tower).
While here, definitely explore Rue Montorgueil – another market street with lots of cute cafés, restaurants, bakeries, fish stores, cheese shops, wine shops, produce stands, flower shops and more – which is just a short 8 minute walk from the hotel.
What to Do
As I mentioned earlier, our favorite thing to do in Paris is to walk around and just take in the city. Here are a few of our fave areas and things to do:
Enjoy a Picnic (or maybe 2 or 3!) by the Eiffel Tower
Pick up some ham + cheese baguettes, a bottle of wine, some macarons and enjoy a picnic in front of the tower. This is one of our MOST favorite things to do…in fact, we did it twice on this trip! If you have kids there are also a few great playgrounds by the tower – one on each side of the river. While here, I’d also take a ride on one of the carousels, because when else do you ride a carousel by the Eiffel Tower?! :)
There are lots of great spots to sit and enjoy the beauty of Paris around the tower – we love both sides. We’ve never gone up the tower – the lines were always so long and we never understand why you would want to go up the tower – you can’t see it from up there! HA! But that is of course an option, I would recommend buying tickets in advance, so you don’t spend so much time waiting in line.
We were so lucky to be there right when the cherry trees were blooming! SO Pretty!! We were here the third week in April for those planning a trip next spring.
While here, we had some amazing sweet crepes at Framboise Crêperie – just a 10 minute walk if you are on the Trocadéro Gardens side of the tower. Highly recommend! I loved my Nutella crepe and Jason couldn’t stop raving about his Salted Caramel crepe – and he isn’t really a sweets guy!
And there are TWO carousels here to ride! Both on the Trocadéro Gardens side. I highly recommend a ride on one of these – so fun!
Walk around the Louvre Museum, the Jardin des Tuileries gardens and the Jardin du Palais Royal Gardens.
So many pretty gardens here in Paris! These are two of our favorites. The Royal Palis also makes for some fun photos (that’s it above with the black and white circles).
The Jardin des Tuileries gardens have a bunch of cafes, so I recommend stopping for a glass of wine and maybe a crepe. :) Again, if traveling with kids, there is a VERY fun playground here (one of our older daughter’s favorites) as well as another carousel. :)
Spend a day in Montmarte
We always stop in Montmarte each time we’re in Paris, but this time it was SO MUCH more crowded…didn’t love that. But even with the crowds, this area is still a must see. Walk around painter’s square, enjoy the street musicians, take a photo by the pink house, grab a pastry from la galette des moulins and take in the views from Sacré-Cœur.
Our daughter’s love finding carousels while in Paris, we never noticed how many there were during our past trips – so fun if traveling with little ones! We made it a goal to find a new one each day and there is one here at the bottom of the hill along with a small playground.
Explore the 3rd Arrondissement
This area has lots of great shops and food options. A few of my fave stores here include: Merci (seen above), Vanessa Bruno, and Leon & Harper. For food, we had some seriously amazing savory crepes at Breizh Café (109 Rue Vieille du Temple) and great juice at Wild and the Moon.
Tip – You’ll be doing A LOT of walking in Paris so bring comfy shoes you love! I got lots of questions about my boots on IG. They are SO comfy. Wore them last fall when we were in Italy and wore them almost every day in Paris. Comfy + Cute! I got them from Nordstrom last fall, but found them still available here and here. I also brought my black Vans which were great as well. :)
And be sure to stop for coffee at Boot Cafe – it’s exterior is just the cutest! (seen below)
Notre Dame + The Left Bank
Notre Dame is a must for every trip here. This time was pretty magical as there were about 10 giant cherry trees in bloom on one side of the cathedral which made it ethereal. We just sat underneath them and reflected on the day, which was truly dreamy! (Oh, and for parents, there was a sand box there as well so we could relax while the little ones played a bit – win win!)
Tip – if the line to go inside Notre Dame looks long, it moves really fast, so definitely be sure to walk inside.
After exploring Notre Dame, walk along the side of the church and cross over to the left bank via Pont de l’Archevêché. Then take a walk along the Seine. The Latin Quarter is pretty touristy, it’s something to see if you’ve never been to Paris, but I’d strongly suggest focusing your time elsewhere.
Ride a Carousel
Ok, I know I’ve mentioned carousels a bit already, but what other city has so many vintage carousels??!! The carousel above is found near Hotel de Ville (easy to fit in when you venture to Notre Dame). Other spots to find carousels include: Eiffel Tower (2 here!), bottom of Sacré-Cœur, and the Tuileries Garden.
I hope you guys find this useful! If I missed one of your fave things to do in Paris, please share in the comments! We are already dreaming about our next trip back….. :)