Experience la vie en rose this season like a local.
Four magical words: Paris in the summer. From sunny picnics along the Siene, to the glittering Eiffel Tower, to the red wine, the art, the croissants—it’s endless!—there’s a reason this breathtaking city is the world’s number one tourist destination. But for Paris first–timers, the City of Lights can seem as intimidating as it is alluring, from its size alone. Yet, in no time everyone can experience the Parisian paradise that we all deserve in this city.
Nearly 35 square miles, Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, each with its own personality. The Siene River runs down the heart of Paris, splitting it in two: left bank (Eiffel Tower, Luxembourg) and right bank (Louvre, Palais Garnier). And while it’s never a bad idea to simply grab a baguette and take an unmapped stroll through town, a general understanding of the city’s layout will help make your Parisian experience plus fantastique!
Here, some highlights of the best places to see, eat and stay in this extraordinary place.
1st & 2nd Arrondissements
At the center of town and home to the Louvre Museum, this will probably be one of your first stops in Paris.
SEE the Louvre Museum where the Mona Lisa is on display among 35,000 other works
of art; Jardin des Tuileries dating back to the 16th century; L’Orangerie Museum showcasing Monet’s Water Lilies.
EAT life-changing hot chocolate at the Belle Époque restaurant Angelina; Duck confit
at Le Grand Colbert (where Diane Keaton ate in “As Good As It Gets”); a carte blanche
meal at the recently Michelin starred restaurant Frenchie.
STAY in one of the luxurious five-star hotels in the area: Hotel Regina, Hotel Ritz, Park
Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, Le Meurice, Mandarin Oriental, Paris (and the list continues). You
can’t beat the location.
3rd & 4th Arrondissements
Both the Jewish quarter and the LGBTQ+ quarter, Le Marais is a chic, trendy spot for vintage and Paris-only shopping.
SEE the Notre Dame (unfortunately closed to the public due to the fire in April 2019).
EAT from one of the many authentic falafel spots on Rue des Rosiers; an unmissable ice
cream cone from Berthillon Glacier on l’Île de la Cité.
SHOP at quaint boutiques on Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île de la Cité; ‘Made in Paris’ brands
on Rue de Saintonge and Rue de Turenne.
5th & 6th Arrondissements
Between the restaurants, boutiques and literary history (where the Lost Generation writers such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald used to get their Parisian inspo), there’s a reason St. Germaine and the Latin Quarter attract quite a few tourists.
SEE the famed English bookstore Shakespeare & Co; Luxembourg Palace and Gardens.
EAT at the Polidor restaurant open since 1845 and featured in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in
Paris”; the row of beyond-charming al fresco restaurants on Rue de Buci; a croissant from
Le Maison d’Isabelle, which (no big deal) was voted the best butter croissant in Paris in 2018.
7th & 8th Arrondissements
SEE the Arc de Triomphe at the end of famed shopping street Champs-Élysées; Place de
La Concorde; train–station–turned–impressionist–and–beyond museum, Musee D’Orsay; and, lest we forget the real reason we all go to Paris, the Eiffel Tower!
EAT at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Cinq.
STAY at the exquisite Le Bristol Hotel or Four Seasons Hôtel George V Paris.
9th & 10th Arrondissements
SEE the glistening Palais Garnier; Galeries Lafayette for shopping; Grands Boulevards’
historic covered shopping passages; Canal St. Martin to stroll like a Parisian local.
15th & 16th Arrondissements
SEE the Fondation Louis Vuitton; Museum of Modern Art; Palais de Tokyo.
EAT the world’s most expensive macaroni at Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos (if
that wasn’t already on your bucket list, it now is!); Musee de Vin or “wine museum,”
which is obviously the best kind.
STAY at the fabulous Shangri La Paris; The Peninsula Paris; La Grande Cascade.
17th & 18th Arrondissements
SEE the charming neighborhood of Montmarte, where all the famous painters (Monet,
Modigliani, Renoir) gathered and also home to the Sacre Coeur; Moulin Rouge (you
have to!); St. Oeun flea market for vintage furniture/clothing and one–of–a–kind art.
EAT in a “moveable feast” kind of a way: Le Wagon Bleu restaurant is literally inside an
old train car.