Paris can be overwhelming for anyone going for their first time. There’s just so much to see! Located in the north of France, this timeless city is on many of our bucket lists and has become a fantasy world where we aspire to channel our inner Parisians. Paris is full of beauty, history, culture and romance.
A first time to Paris is a whirlwind of art, architecture, wine, sights and of course – food. With so much to see in this historically rich city, and with some of us only having a short amount of time, I hope you find this Paris for first timers useful to help you craft a perfect trip!
What To See
• Eiffel Tower: Probably the most iconic thing to see in Paris! Take the elevator to the second deck and view Paris from a new perspective
• Arc de Triomph: Another beautiful piece of Parisian architecture. Make sure you climb those swirly stairs all the way to the top to gain a magnificent view and experience. Before you start running across the round-a-bout, there’s a tunnel underneath to get you to the Arc! I only learned this after dodging numerous cars trying to reach the Arc!
• Galeries Lafayette: If you are looking for high end shopping then look no further! This mall is probably the most gorgeous mall in the world. You will find brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and some more down to Earth brands like Topshop and Urban Outfitters. There is also a viewing deck if you go all the way to the top!
• St Germain: Also known as the “real” Paris. This old section of Paris really gives you a feel for how Paris used to look. You will see narrow streets, flower markets, small cafes and restaurants with cute little patios. It really is a magical area of Paris
• Sienne River: You can follow the river from Notre Dame all the way to the Eiffel Tower for easy navigation of Paris. Take a look through the “Bouquinistes” which are little green shacks along the river where you can find vintage and one of a kind books, as well as artwork!
• The Louvre: It’s easy to spend half a day in the Louvre getting lost in renaissance artwork and stunning sculptures. And of course you can’t forget to see the Mona Lisa – that famous painting that Leonardo Da Vinci himself said was his best work.
• Sacre Coeur: The Sacred Heart. This is a great view point in Paris with lots of small shops and cafes that surround the hill. The Moulin Rouge is also in this area.
• Pont Alexandre III: Located across the Sienne River you can take great photos of the Eiffel Tower from this bridge and see the beautiful sculptures that line the bridge.
• Versailles: This is a day trip from Paris that only takes about thirty minutes from the Eiffel Tower Metro point. Stroll around the palace grounds and see where Marie Antoinette herself lived !
Where/What to Eat
• High Tea Bread at Bread & Roses: This little cafe is located by the Luxembourg Gardens, another one of Paris’s beautiful parks. Try a thickly slice of High Tea Bread with organic strawberry jam for 6 euros!
• Macaroons from Laduree: Laduree is famous for the macaroons and have become known worldwide. There are a few locations around Paris, so stop in and try some of their specialties.
• Croissant – from anywhere! My favourite way to have a croissant in Paris is to go out for a Parisian breakfast and get a fresh baguette, jam and a croissant with an Americano.
• KONG: This upscale bar embodies luxury and decadence. Be sure to book in advance to dine upstairs to get a beautiful view of Paris.
• L’Oiseau Blanc: Another beautiful restaurant/bar/terrace with a stunning view! The prices are on the steeper end but you get what you pay for. You can also view the Eiffel Tower from this location.
• Latin Quarters: There are plenty of cheap eats in the Latin Quarter. There is a great Falafel Place called L’As du Fallafel which is said to have the best falafels in the world!
• Le Bon Angle: Another falafel place great for vegetarian and vegans! They only opened a few months ago but everything is house made and super cheap. The staff is also extremely nice and did I mention they have homemade ice cream?
• Bakeries: Almost every bakery in Paris is affordable and packed with croissants, quiches, tarts, macaroons and much more!
• You don’t need to tip in Paris unless your service was absolutely exceptional. A 15% tip is already added to the bill.
• Grocery stores are very cheap for those of you who are on a budget.
• Uber is a great alternative for transport! Sometimes it works out to be cheaper than the Metro, just watch out for surge pricing.
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By Shelby Rae
Hi, I’m Shelby! I am a writer, artist and traveller from Canada with a never ending thirst for new experiences and adventures. My favourite things are smoothies, photography, plane tickets and a good cup of coffee. When I’m not writing for my travel and lifestyle blog called The Fernweh Wolf, you can find me doodling or planning my next adventure!