During our honeymoon we spent the most time in Paris. && I am so glad we did because we LOVED every second!
VIDEO SNIPPETS FROM PARIS
These are all the stories I recorded while we were in Paris on Instagram. Most of the places detailed below can be found in a clip from that video. I thought it would help to see a visual!
If you haven’t read our honeymoon itinerary then catch that–HERE. It gives an overview of our trip and tons of details.
This post is lengthy. So, here are some quick takeaways + highlights:
You don’t need a ton of specific recommendations. Just walk around and stop in cafes, bars and restaurants that you pass! You can usually look at a menu outside and you experience more of the city this way.
Make time to visit the Montmartre area! It was our favorite place to walk around and find dinner spots and the views up on the hill are incredible.
Paris is dripping with history, so I suggest doing at least one formal tour while you are there.
The Peninsula Hotel has great rooftop views and is worth stopping in for a drink or visiting for dinner.
We had TONS of mixed charcuterie trays and bread. Don’t hold back or you will regret it!
Go to Cafe Marly and sit outside for a drink. They have a covered side patio that is so cozy and stares directly at the Louvre pyramid. We went at night (magical) but I would go during the day as well if we went back.
Another drink spot must–Bistrot de la Tour Eiffel. It is a little cafe right at the base of the Eiffel Tower! You can really take in the size of it from here.
Here are a few tidbits that may help if you are traveling to Paris for the first time.
Most people pay with cash + coins so you will probably want to have some on hand. Especially for stops in cafes. However, we never had trouble paying with a card. You just have to let them know so they can bring you the processor machine.
Lots of people in the service industry speak English (or at least enough) and they are more welcoming if you try to begin with a word or two in French.
I felt safe pretty much the entire time I was there. Yes, you do have to be mindful of your surroundings and purse/wallet (just like with any travel) but I was not ever uncomfortable. I felt more safe in Paris than I did in Barcelona.
The riots were ongoing during our trip but this did not cause any issues at all for us. We tried to be aware of any spots where they were active but it never disrupted our day. The locals all told us the media was overdramatizing it (#Fakenews) .
We exchanged money before we left the airport. I suggest doing that because it was fast, easy and a good rate. However, there are places on the streets in Paris that you can do this too.
Comfortable walking shoes are VERY important. You want to be able to move around the city and take everything in. I wore tennis shoes almost every day. I took two pairs of heels but really only needed one. I only wore them when I knew we were going to dinner close by.
Parisian style is very minimal and understated. I found this SO refreshing. If you want to fit in, plan to wear outfits that are not loud.
We stayed several places because we traveled to other cities in between. More on our trip schedule HERE. In the future, we would like to go back and stay in one spot so we are more settled. But for this trip it was nice to experience different neighborhoods and hotels/airbnbs to get a feel for the city.
I got asked several times whether we liked staying in Airbnbs or hotels better. That is a really hard question to answer. For us, it varies depending on city and length of stay, etc etc. We tend to split our time between both because Ethan is usually more drawn to an airbnb and I am usually more fond of a hotel. I will include our thoughts and pros/cons for each location below.
This was our welcome to Paris. It was the first place we stayed once we arrived. We had settled on most of our other stays for the trip by the time we booked this. Since we had already booked a pricy stay and some airbnbs, we decided to look for a reasonable priced hotel. Then we narrowed down those by looking for one in an area that had a lot of walkability. We knew this was going to be the beginning of the trip, so we wanted to be able to easily get to spots for food, drinks and coffee without putting in much effort. We figured that would help us get our bearings. We stumbled across this hotel on booking.com and liked that it checked our previous boxes for wishes and also had a window with the quintessential Parisian look (metal wrought iron and street view).
We ended up loving the hotel and would stay here again. It is very small but lovely. We stayed in a room with a king. It did not have a balcony but did have a window. There was not much square footage but it was cozy and we liked the finishes. The hotel had a very boutique feel. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The room keys were traditional (rather than electronic) and each had a large leather tassel. They were kept on a board behind the check-in desk. You turned it in and collected it from a staff member each time you came and left the hotel. Gave it such a quaint feel! The hotel bar on the first level was also an attraction. (more on that below)
We stayed here for one night only. We originally thought we would be in London this night but the soccer game we were going for got moved back a day so we planned to stay another night in Paris to adjust for that. By the time we found this out, the Grand Pigalle Hotel was booked so we looked for an airbnb that was not too far away. We wanted to make the transition easy. At the time there were not many left available (lots were booked) but we came across this one and were intrigued about the area so we went with it.
I am so glad we did because we ended up LOVING the area, Montmartre, and this introduced us to it. (more on that below) However, we did not love the airbnb and I would not recommend it. It was totally fine for us since it was a one night stay but if we were there longer it would have been an issue. The room was super small and it was missing several things you needed to have a comfortable stay. But, REALLY enjoyed the balcony and had a wonderful evening in the area.
In contrast to the above airbnb, we were OBSESSED with this one and would definitely stay here again if given the opportunity. It had plenty of space for us to spread out and we loved the decor, windows, building and area.
The style was Parisian but also modern, minimal and neutral. It was on a split level. The kitchen nook and bathroom were right as you walked in the door and the dining table, living room and bedroom area were all up a few steps. Windows lined the main living area and the sunset from them was gorge. It was so nice to be able to open them each evening while we had a glass of wine before dinner.
The apartment was in a very nice residential building with a secure entrance (two doors had key codes). The street was quiet and also filled with other residences. They all seemed to be upscale and nice. It was really neat to stay in an area like this because it did not feel touristy at all. We felt like we were hiding in with the locals. The street had a couple of small restaurants, a wine shop, a butcher, a nail salon and a dry cleaning shop. At the end of the block there were a few great restaurants! We ate at two of them and loved only having to take a few steps out our door. We loved it here and were glad we got to experience it but please note, it was much more quiet that Pigalle and did not have as many walkable options.
For the last night of our honeymoon, we wanted a special room so the trip would end on a high note. We decided on the Jr. Eiffel Tour Suite at Hotel Regina Louvre. It was DEFINITELY a highlight and I highly recommend it!
We planned for our last nights stay in Barcelona to be on Wednesday night and our return flight was booked out of Paris on Friday morning so we planned to come back into Paris as early as possible Thursday morning so we could have a full day and night in the city before hopping on another plane home. We wanted to break up the travel a bit and have one last hoorah in Paris. We knew at this point in the trip we would be tired and would really appreciate having a nicer scale place to stay and a large bed.
We looked around at several luxury hotels and weighed our options between them. We landed on Hotel Regina because the location is fabulous and we could get a large suite with a gorgeous Eiffel Tower view for the same price as other standard rooms at various hotels. That might be because the hotel decor is a little dated but we found this very charming. It gave it an old world feeling that we appreciated. The staff told us the hotel has been with the same family owners for over 4 generations. Everything inside seems authentic and special.
The staff was kind and helpful. They allowed us to store a bag there while we were in Barcelona for 4 days and they provided a warm welcome when we checked in. They even scattered the whole suite with rose pedals because they knew we were celebrating our honeymoon.
We decided to come back to the hotel early enough to relax and enjoy our accommodations before dinner on our last night. It was the best decision. We took a mini cat nap, watched the sunset over the Eiffel Tower (GORGEOUS) and then put on our fluffy robes and headed downstairs to the steam room. The facilities are so nice, modern and private and it was the most relaxed I had been the entire trip. It set the tone for the night!
After, we headed back up to our room and showered we stopped in the hotel bar for drinks before leaving for dinner. The bar at Hotel Regina is a MUST. (more about that below)
And I can’t move on from this hotel without mentioning the location. Not only do you have an Eiffel Tower view, but you are literally right around the corner from the Louvre. Nothing better! There’s cafes within walking distance too.
CAFES + RESTAURANTS + BARS
After we landed and got to the hotel we were ready for a nap but we needed a quick breakfast first. This cafe was around the corner from our hotel, the Grand Pigalle. The eggs were great.
We wandered around for our first night in Paris and we came across this bar at dusk and stopped in for a drink since it was happy hour. The bar was nothing special, but it was in a good location for people watching and they had tables outside with heaters and blankets.
We stayed at this hotel and were headed up to change for dinner on the first night. As we walked through the first floor, we decided to sit for a drink because the vibe was too good to pass up. The space is super small but the velvet couches, dim light and stone walls make it intimate. We never ate here but the food looked really good when we passed during lunch. This would be a good place to visit even if you weren’t staying here.
We stumbled across this place because it was directly across the street from our hotel, Grand Pigalle. What a gem!! We did not have a reservation so we just had to eat at the bar but it was fab. The inside of the restaurant is so unique. Dark and intimate and a great atmosphere. The bread was wonderful and the food was great. We would go back here again.
We would have never known about this place if it was not for the tour we were on. (more on that below) Our guide took us here for a latte and we were shocked at the history inside. It is like a museum!! It’s the oldest cafe in Paris and was a meeting place for legendary artists and philosophers such as Napoleon, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, etc. It is thought that this is the place Benjamin Franklin wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. There are original letters on the walls from Marie Antoinette and the upstairs houses pieces from an original letter press that they used to print flyers to start the revolution. The owners of the cafe gave free paper and ink to customers to encourage a community of writers to form. The history goes on and on so this would be a great place to eat or stop in for a coffee.
There was nothing super special about this place but we stopped in for a mixed charcuterie tray because it was right across the street from our hotel, the Grand Pigalle. It is located on a corner so it provides great people watching! They also have blankets and heaters for the tables out front.
We grabbed a pre-dinner macaron here after shopping. Our plan was to go back and sit down and eat at one of their locations, but we never made the time for it. Sadly! The macaroons are famous for a reason!
We were doing some window shopping at the luxury stores and wandered down the street for a drink after. We ended up here for happy hour and the owner was so kind.
We were headed back to our hotel to change for dinner when we wandered by this place and just decided to stop and eat. The food was very reasonably priced and so, so good. We split a pizza and some salmon gnocchi.
We went here to get coffee and a croissant before our photo shoot since it was located close to our meeting spot. It’s super close to the famous black and white column art installation at the Palais Royal so if you are headed there to sight see and take photos this would be a good stop on the way.
CAFE PEPONE – Rue Joseph de Maistre
This is just a little street stand in the Montmartre area but it is so good. We tried several sandwiches from grab and go places but this was BY FAR the best. We had sandwiches and macarons here one day for lunch and we stopped here one night on the way home from dinner for a crepe. It’s a great stop for a bite to eat and the street it’s located on is fun to explore.
This is a MUST. It is just a little cafe, but the location is what makes it special. It is right at the base of the Eiffel Tower. You look straight up at it from the patio! From here you can fully understand the enormity of the tower. The prices were not exaggerated either. I had a large glass of rosé for 8.70 euro. I can’t speak for the food but it is definitely worth ducking in for a drink.
We ended up eating in the Montmartre area several times. It was our favorite. This was the first place we landed on. We ate outside here (the area was closed in and heated) and shared a mixed charcuterie tray and a pasta dish. They brought you a mason jar full of assorted gummies to select some treats from for dessert. So cute! I am sure any of the restaurants up and down this street would be great!
We stopped in here for a latte one morning while we were staying at our airbnb in the Montmartre area. The street is full of cute options!
We had a trying travel day (we missed our EuroStar train from London to Paris and had to catch a later one) so by the time we settled back in in Paris we were so happy. We wandered down the block that our airbnb was located on and stumbled across this restaurant. We couldn’t tell anything about it from the outside but once we stepped inside we were pleasantly surprised. It was such a lively place and in contrast to many of the other places in Paris, there was trendy art, colored lights and 80’s music videos being projected on the walls. It was Valentine’s Day and they had made the restaurant festive with rose petals scattered all over the bar and tables. It was a fun vibe! We shared pasta and salad and had a great date night.
We had lattes and croissants here one morning. There were bright green velvet chairs everywhere and leopard carpet. Such a surprise!
This was another spot down the block from this airbnb we stayed in. We ate dinner here one evening. It was good and the menu was a bit more French than some of the other places we had eaten.
We had breakfast at one of these locations one day and per usual in Paris, the bread was wonderful and the latte was great but overall this was nothing to write home about.
WORTH it! So worth it! We heard the views from the restaurant were fabulous so we made a point to go here for a glass of wine. Luckily for us, the weather that day turned out to be gorgeous. The staff ended up improvising and opening up some tables outside on the terrace. We sat there and were able to take our coats off while we sipped wine. The experience was amazing and I would go back for a meal if given the opportunity. The inside of the restaurant has a great atmosphere as well. There are tons of windows and natural light. ps–their bar nibbles that they bring when you have cocktails are next level. The seasoned nuts, mixed olives and ahi tuna bites hit the spot!
This is another MUST when you are visiting Paris! The restaurant has an upscale covered side terrace and the tables have a front row view for the Louvre pyramids. Incredible location and atmosphere. We went one night for an aperol spritz and it was so magical to see them sparkle in the night right in front of us. Next time we are in the city I want to go back and have cocktails during the day as well. The people watching would be great.
This was another spot we went for dinner in Montmartre and loved! All the restaurants in this area have a cozy, warm happy feel.
This is the cafe directly across from Hotel Regina so we had breakfast here one morning. The only have one option to order and the staff was not friendly so I would skip it.
This was a quaint corner cafe where we had lattes and baguettes one morning. It is right around the block from Hotel Regina and the corner is a good spot to people watch.
We stopped in here the night we stayed at Hotel Regina and I am so glad we started our night there. The bar is so luxe with wooden panelling on the walls and velvet couches and chairs huddled around. It is such a cozy and intimate spot. The service is top notch and the cocktails were wonderful. Everything is served in high quality glasses, the bar nibbles are so good and the French 75 (my favorite cocktail) was so spot on that I had two! I felt like I had been transported back in time, in a good way. I definitely recommend coming here even if you are not staying at the hotel. If we had more time, we would have eaten at the restaurant as well.
LE BAILLI DE SUFFREN – TOURIST TRAP!
We ate here because it was one of the restaurants around the Eiffel Tower and we were in that area for the night. I do NOT recommend it. They snuck in several hidden charges on your bill to jack up the price. After terrible service we were told that they added a automatic 30% tip on all tickets. There were only two of us at our table, haha. We heard several other tables complaining about it and throwing a huge fit so we just paid ours and moved on but I definitely would not go back. It’s a tourist trap. ps, the reviews online are hilarious. We should have read those first!
This is an area you definitely want to spend time in. We stayed here in an airbnb for a night and loved being in the area. We had an awesome evening having wine on the balcony, walking up the hill to see the sunset over the city and wandering around the cobble stone streets for dinner and crepes. It has a completely different feel than the rest of the city. Even though we only stayed in Montmartre for one night, we came up there several times to eat or walk around.
We stayed in this area the first two nights we were in Paris. It was a great introduction to the city because it’s a very active and happening area. The streets are filled with restaurants, bars and cafes so it is very walkable. One of the nights we stayed in this area was a Saturday and we loved the night life around. Several bars with a great vibe.
CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT
This is the airport we flew in and out of. Your commute into the city varies depending on where you are staying and how you travel but it is very manageable and easy. You can get a taxi at the airport or arrange for a car ahead of time online or you can take a train and then hop on the metro. We did all three while we were there. (We flew in and out of Paris when we went to Barcelona in the middle of our trip too.) If you go the train route you can follow the signs at the airport to buy a ticket and get on.
When we made our Grand Pigalle hotel reservation the best rate we found was through an online booking site. I think it was booking.com. They offered an add on car service and we went ahead and did that too. We figured it would be easy if we had something set up ahead of time since we would be tired and just arriving. The driver arrived on time and the van was spacious and very clean. It made the commute so easy and I would do it again. The cost was not much different than the charge for a cab and the ride was much better.
The Paris Metro app is super helpful. I suggest downloading it if you are traveling at all on the Metro. You just need to figure out which Metro stop you want to start and stop at (based on where you are coming from and going to) and then it will give you exact directions on your transfers between lines. We traveled by Metro a lot. They are clean, affordable and easy to navigate. It gives you an authentic experience too. We took Ubers too but did a lot of Metro and walking.
We also used the Uber app to get around the city when we were short on time to get somewhere. They are available and per usual, easy to book.
We found this tour through airbnb. Ethan read lots of reviews and they were all so positive so we decided to book it. We scheduled it for the morning of our first full day in the city. This helped us get up and moving and fight through the jet lag. Otherwise we were scared we would sleep in too long! I am really glad we chose this tour though because it was great! And that is really saying something because that morning it was cold and pouring down rain. It was the worst weather (by far) that we had the entire trip and we still enjoyed it. I should also note that the tour was done on electronic bikes and we were the only two people who showed up. But, our tour guide was great. His stories were so interesting, he kept us entertained the whole time. We could not have looked more like tourists–especially in or bright blue ponchos–but we just laughed it off and kept moving. I was very nervous about riding the electronic bike but it really was fun and it allowed us to cover tons of ground. The tour takes you all over the city! Any of the history I now know about Paris comes from this tour! It is not cheesy or boring and you can book it in English.
Gorgeous church that you can wander inside of. There are some incredible paintings too. We stopped here on our tour also.
This building is breath-taking and the view from it is even better. It is at the top of the hill in the Montmartre area and overlooks the entire city of Paris. There are crowds but it is worth it to be there in the mix of everything, especially at sunset. There are also tons of artists sketching portraits too!
We did not go inside but the outside is worth seeing.
This is a vintage shop that we bought the two blouses you see above in. I got two blouses for less than 10 euro and I love both. They have TONS of inventory and you pay based on weight. Every item is marked with a color that corresponds to a price per kilo. They put your items on a scale when you pay. You can find gems if you dig a little.
We had every intention of spending time wandering around in the Louvre (we were going to do during their twilight hours) but unfortunately time got away from us and we never made it happen. Next time! I would like to go to the modern art museum too.
This is a little boutique around the corner from Hotel Regina. They had the cutest sweatshirts and t-shirts!
PHOTOSHOOT WITH ALINA KOLOT
I really wanted to do a photoshoot with Ethan while we were in Paris. I looked at it as our souvenir. We had fun shooting around the city, it only took an hour of our day and I know we will value the photos for years to come. I highly suggest doing something like this if you are visiting! I found Alina on Instagram and emailed her. She was professional, prompt and a complete joy to work with. I would recommend her in a heartbeat to anyone! ps, her IG feed is goals so definitely follow her there too. She takes so many dreamy Paris photos.
We were in Paris in mid-February. I know it can be hit or miss that time of year, but we had a great experience. The high was around 50 each day and the low was 35-45. We needed a long coat but did not have to worry with hats, scarves and gloves most of the time.
I know I covered a lot, but I was trying to add anything in that I thought I would want to know if I was a reader or future traveler. If you have any follow up questions please message me! We were HUGE fans of Paris and will most definitely be back. xx