Our Paris trip was absolutely amazing. Such a lovely, romantic, and cool city. A city with so much charm, so much to see and enjoy. We traveled in May, and the weather could have been better, but all in all, it was fine.
Four of us rented an apartment though Paris Autrement (apartment Sully Folly) and it was in a great local neighborhood. It was on the 4th floor with no lift, which is pretty common for the smaller apartment buildings and something to consider if you have any type of limitations. It was conveniently located at Metro Line 1 Station St Paul, so pretty much we either walked or used the metro.
We had 5 days and wanted to see as much possible. But Paris is so beautiful and offers so much. Best to plan ahead and select places and experiences that suit your interests.
1. The Eiffel Tower
Of course, you can't go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower. Definitely, a busy place and pocket-picking was a real thing. We caught a few people trying to reach our purse. We were not up for lining up and didn't go in. Apparently, if you buy a ticket online, you can go in much faster. The ground around it is beautiful including Champ De Mars park.
2. The Champs-Élysées and Notre Dame
The street you need to stroll is definitely the Champs-Élysées, which goes from Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre. Busy street, with cafes and luxury stores.
Across the Pont d’Arcole bridge, you will get to Île-de-la-Cité and see the Gothic masterpiece, Notre Dame. At the time, we could climb the tower for €10. Unfortunately, I believe it is still closed due to the fire.
3. The Arc De Triomphe
We enjoyed seeing The Arc De Triomphe, where we climbed the stairs to the top of the Arc and took some great panoramic pictures. The fee was €8
4. Montmartre and Sacré Coeur
The day we planned for Montmartre; it was raining so we couldn't experience at it best. Place du Tertre which normally is the place where artists sell their artwork was unfortunately empty, so make sure to pick a sunny day. But we enjoyed the city view, and Sacré Coeur (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris). Beautiful.
5. The Louvre Museum
For art lovers, or even if you are not, you can't miss the Louvre. Once you are in, you have to see the most famous Mona Lisa painting. I enjoyed seeing the Winged Victory statue as well. We lined up early in the morning, and even the line was long, it went pretty fast. I am not a big fan of the lining up, but this wasn't a big problem. We heard that different entrances can offer different wait time, so I suggest to explore that. As always, the online option is always the best.
6. Palace of Versailles
This is the place I would say is a must. We loved it very much, especially all the gardens around it. It is approximately 20km far from Paris, and we took a train (RER) that got us there pretty fast. The lineup was long but worth it. Again, there are options for quicker ways in, but we were not great planners and took a chance of just going there. The tickets were €27 per person and included the Musical Fountain Show and the Musical Gardens. Different things to see: The Main Palace, The Gardens, Trianon Estate, Marie Antoinette's palace. Loved all of it.
7. Paris Restaurants
Cool place for dinner (more modern); famous chef, Christian Constant - has 3 restaurants on this street, but this is his less expensive place - Les Cocottes (135 Rue Saint-Dominique). Awesome place.
Chez Janou - more of a "local" place. Really great, but busy and best to get there early or make a reservation. 2 blocks beyond place des Vosges (2 rue Roger Verlomme).
There are some really good restaurants for people watching, just north of the Louvre, and if you walk through the park from the Louvre towards the Arc du Triomphe - a couple of good spots to grab a glass of wine. 8. Shopping
Most stores are closed on Sundays. The shops on the Champs-Élysées are completely touristy (Abercrombie; Nike; etc.) Very disappointing.
Good street with lots of brand names is Rue du Faubourg St Honore In terms of department stores, we liked Printemps, the French dept store and it was really cool. Lots of famous brands you can find in Galleries Lafayette or you can try a little bit more affordable Tati department store.