I’ve been to Paris 8 times now, ridiculous hey? That’s four times with friends post 18, three times pre 18 (Euro Disney may have been involved), once with an ex boyfriend, and once with school. I’d definitely go back, in fact, I’d like to go some time soon.
I like to think I’ve sampled a thing or two so here are my 7 absolute favourite things to do in Paris to guarantee a good time.
1. Macaroons at Laduree
When my friend Monica and I were given £2.7k to spray in Paris we went straight to Laduree to munch on some macaroons. I didn’t actually think I liked them but just wanted to try them, turns out the Laduree ones are special.
We sat upstairs but on the way out I noticed a back bar that looked intriguing, all eggshell blue and like a bar Tim Burton had designed. So when Kellie and I went, and they said they were full, I had a flashback to the bar. I’d definitely recommend sitting in there, with a glass of wine with your Marie Antoinette Tea flavour macaroon, of course.
2. A beer on the steps of the Sacre Couer
One of the best cheap things you can do in Paris. Just make sure you buy your beers / wine / bottle opener from the bottle of the hill first. Last time I went there was no takeaway wine to be found in Montmartre, and the time before that we’d thought we were all clever bringing little bieres up and then realised we didn’t have a bottle opener. It was €10 to get one from the tourist shop.
Sit up here and you have incredible views over Paris and you can watch this guy showing off his mad skills with a football and a lamppost.
3. Go up the Montparnesse Tower
Speaking of views: last time I went to Paris I had a 2-day Paris City Pass and wanted to make the most of it. Kellie and I went up the Montparnasse Tower and it was amazing. Just look at this view.
You can buy Champagne up there for €15 a glass, but we didn’t. I’d vote for this view over the Eiffel Tower for sure.
4. Visit the Moulin Rouge
When I say ‘my favourite’ I’d say that this is more of a one off thing to do in Paris, but something that definitely needs to be done. Attraction Tickets Direct kindly gave us the two tickets, worth £89, but looking around it seems like the best place to buy them from. We even had half a bottle of Champagne each at the table. Sounds like pure cheese, or fromage, but going to the Moulin Rouge was an absolute dream. Had such a good night there.
Make sure to book your tickets with Attraction Tickets Direct beforehand as pretty much every show sells out and you don’t want to be disappointed.
I think the best time of year to go to Paris is either in the Spring, or Autumn. It’s a beautiful city when the air is crisp and cool. If you do go to Paris in Autumn, check out Lucy’s tips for what to do.
5. Les Refuges des Fondus
Cheese! At Les Refuges des Fondus you can get a meat or cheese fondue, a starter and a dessert for €20. I love it here. I’ve been three times now and would definitely go again. Last time I went there was five of us so we ordered 2 meats and 3 cheese, which was just the right amount and meant we could try it all.
One of the best parts about going here is that you get unlimited red or white wine, served in a baby bottle, for the duration of your meal. Not that I would down my drinks especially to get more or anything. The area aornd
6. Salvador Dali Exhibition
This was another special visit thanks to the 2-day Paris city pass. You can find it hidden, definitely hidden, behind the Sacre Couer. I was amazed at all the sculptures, at the scriptures about his life and definitely with his art. There’s so much in this exhibtion you could be there for hours.
I went to the one in Berlin the week after and it wasn’t nearly as good. I’d go back to this one again, next time, but do a tour to learn a little more.
7. Picnic by the Eiffel Tower
Another joyful yet cheapo activity. Word of warning: do not buy the nougat from the stall nearby. They lured us in by letting us try loads, just enough so we felt guilty and bought some, and didn’t tell us (we didn’t ask) the price before they bagged it up. It was only a slither and cost €13. And then just as Kellie made me hand over the money (I didn’t want to) she started having some sort of allergic reaction and her throat started itching and swelling up. I ate a big chunk and didn’t want anymore, ever, ever again, so I reckon that was €13 totally wasted.
But back to the picnic. Get yourself some supplies from a Monoprix somewhere – olives, meats, etc – pop to the boulangerie for some bread and the wine shop to sample their best. Remember the bottle opener and a blanket / sarong and enjoy the view.
Make sure you go to the Latin Quarter too, and the Palace of Versailles, and eat Croque Monsieurs… bah too much to do!
Where to stay
Last time I went to Paris I got a great deal with Roomer Travel. They sell off hotel rooms at a huge discount from people who don’t need them anymore.
My friend and I stayed at the Villa Eugenie (not the Hotel Eugenie, 30 minutes in a taxi away, oops). The hotel was in a quaint Parisian style with fabric on the walls rather than wallpaper. We had a fancy bathroom with a huge sink and gold taps and breakfast was included. We got it for $280 for three nights, rather than the $380 it should’ve been. Just an idea to make your next trip that little bit cheaper.