First Trip to Paris

Since we arrived in September, my husband and I have entertained a number of visitors.  I feel like we’re still tourists in the city we’ve been living in for almost 10 months- having kids makes it difficult to get out and discover things, who knew? But we’ve come up with a Parisian tour, and if it’s your first time coming to Paris, I highly recommend you hit up these spots- even if they are basic.

Tour Eiffel. Duh.  BUT, you must see it at night!  It makes a huge difference.  Seeing it during the day, you might think, “eh, there it is…a really big tower.” But at night, it’s magical. The tower lights up at sunset and twinkles every hour on the hour.   Now with a late sunset, you won’t be able to see it sparkle until 10pm, but it’s worth it. If you want a really nice view of the tower, I recommend going to Trocadéro, and then walking from there to the base to see it up close.  There are fewer tourists  at Trocadéro, though still a lot, depending on the day and weather. You’ll also have better Instagram/Instax photos.

Champs Élysées. Start at the Arc de Triomph and walk down the Champs Élysées to the Tuileries. It’s a nice, long walk, so wear some comfortable shoes (it’s not taboo to wear tennis shoes/trainers--will post more on that later). While on the Champs Élysées, you can compare who you think does the macaron better, Laudurée or Pierre Hermé.  I’m definitely #teampierrehermé, but don’t let my opinion affect you (ok, maybe let it affect you). Laudurée is more touristy, and always has a line, but the restaurant has a classic French beauty that you’ll want to see.  As for Pierre Hermé, while there’s a stand alone store, I always pop in HERE to get macarons.  There’s rarely a line, and the quality is top notch.

When you reach the end of the Tuileries, you’ll come upon the Pyramid at the Louvre.  Nearby is another garden worth popping into- Palais Royale. It also has fewer tourists, and is a great place to pick up a coffee after your long walk. Check out THIS post for my coffee recommendation in this quarter.

Notre-Dame. The Shakespeare and Co. bookstore and café are just across the street. Hop over to the island next door, Île Saint-Louis, and get an ice cream at Berthillon Glacier (not to be confused with Berthillon, who happens to sell ice cream). Head down the stairs next to the Seine for a leisurely walk, and maybe have a little picnic while you’re at it.

Sacré-Coeur. If you have to leave something off of the list, I would probably choose this one. But it does have a really great view of Paris, sans Eiffel tower in view.


  1. I've only ever been to Paris once, and it was only for a day, but I wish I had had a list like this, then. We did see the Eiffel Tower, but in daytime--and yes, I did think, "well it's a big tower!" Next time, will be different though! :D