Paris! How to get around, skipping lines at the major tourist attractions, shopping, eat & drink
Bonjour! It’s been so long since I wrote a travel blog, or any blogpost for that matter. The main reason is that I also make Youtube videos. Unfortunate they are in Dutch. So this travel blogpost is for my sweet English speaking and reading followers (or Dutchies that crave reading instead of watching videos).
I’ve been to Paris over a dozen times in my life. So I thought why not write a blogpost full of tips & tricks about skipping the lines at the major tourist attractions, where to shop the most cute vintage clothes, where to eat the best diners and sip the best cocktails. Well in my opinion anyhow, haha. Read all about how to visit Paris the Elio way!
Where to book your Hotel or Airbnb?
Let’s start with where you should book your hotel or Airbnb. I always book it in Le Marais, which is the oldest and most dazzling district. It’s very central and very close to the big tourist attractions like the Louvre Museum, Centre Pompidou and the Notre Dame. It’s also perfectly close to the river Seine, so you stroll along the river and read a book (later more on where to relax).
When you are planning to come to Paris with a car you should book a parking ticket in advance. It saves you up to 70% in parking fees. Best to book it at home or on the way there, but at least one hour in advance. You can use the service OpnGo for it.
How to get around in Paris (transport)?
The best way to get around is actually with a bicycle. And no, I’m not saying that because I’m Dutch. Especially when you’re staying in the Le Marais district getting around on the bike is by far the best way. You can hire a bike almost on every corner and just put it back on the corner close to your destination. Velib is the company that offers the bikes. You can just see in the app where the nearest bike pick-up point is and where the nearest bike drop-off point is. There are a view payment options but in my opinion the one where you just pay €1 for every first half hour is the best one. You can also rent steps, which pretty much works in the same way with a different company that offers it (not an option in my case because a step doesn’t have a place to leave my fabulous bag somewhere while using it).
If you have to go further than you would like to cycle, there is also the option of using the car rent service Car2Go. I have a rule that I won’t cycle for more than 20 minutes. Yes, I know I’m a diva. I already use Car2Go in Amsterdam and have used it also in Rome, Cologne and many more cities. Again, it is all useable with an app. You can just check the Car2Go app where the nearest rental car is.
The Metro is also an option. Paris has a vast Metro system. Much less fun in my opinion because it’s dirty, hot and you won’t see as much of the city as you would with the other options.
Which museums should you defiantly visit? (tips about how to skip the line)
Everybody thinks of the Louvre. As they should! The building itself is already remarkable enough. The tip is actually to take two days for visiting the museum, it’s just so big! I didn’t do that actually but that has more to do with my quick tendency to get bored if I see to many paintings or artefacts that looks similar. Not something I’m proud actually but it the honest truth.
The biggest tips for the Louvre are:
- Book your tickets online at the earliest possible time (9 am) and arrive 15-30 minutes before that. (booking tickets online in advance is actually applicable for everything that requires a ticket).
- Take the entrance at the side (less busy).
- Don’t go when it rains or in the weekend (everybody thinks the same).
- First visit the Mona Lisa and then the rest of the museum.
- Don’t bring a long heavy weight because you have to walk a lot. Or get one of the free lockers to put all your stuff in.
This is the center for modern art in Paris. The building is amazing and the way up to the top even more. The stairways along the building will give you a breathtaking view over the center of Paris. You’ll be able to spot all the major tourist attractions from there. It’s also a perfect spot to shoot some (editorial) content. There is a separate entrance for the restaurant called George, entering via that entrance will give access to the stairway all the way up (you can even skip the restaurant). I always look which exhibitions currently are shown. I only visit the exhibitions when they really attract me, like the one from Jeff Koons a while ago. Visiting Centre Pompidou is actually also a tip for view loving folks.
Grand Palais and Petit Palais
I visit the Grand Palais for an exhibition about art in the communism time of Russia in a hope to see the grand glass façade and ceiling. That didn’t work because it was held in the Clemenceau studio, which didn’t give access to the glass façade. That was a pity so we went to the Petit Palais which is across the street and it’s free. Also, a beautiful building with a amazing garden, but make sure to visit it before closes at 5 pm (we were to late).
Louis Vuitton museum
Still on my bucket list. Please leave a comment below if you did visit it and can tell me something about it.
Where to eat & drink?
First maybe something about what to eat. First thing you have to do when you come to Paris is eat a falafel dish at L’as du Fallafel in Le Marais. There is always a line but it’s totaslly worth the wait. You should also try a Crepe (thin pancake) and a Croque Madame and if you haven’t already off course the obvious croissant and other French pastries. I’m a big lemon pastry lover so I always eat that whenever and wherever I can. Place Colette (square) is a perfect spot and also is the new restaurant from designer Jacquemus has a divine lemon cocktail and dessert (if your wallet allows). One of my favorite restaurants is by far Le Rusti. It’s actually a Italian restaurant but the waiters are very nice (a rare thing in Paris) and it’s very cozy.
For sipping that delicious cocktail, you should defiantly visit Andy Wahloo. It’s a beautiful and cozy cocktail bar. I’ve also been to Little Red door but that was very busy and loud but good service. Also I adore rooftop bars so having a drink with the view over Paris at Terass Hotel is very nice.
Click on this link to go see my list of saved Google map places to eat and drink in Paris (only works on your phone).
Where to read my book or enjoy a pick nick?
Almost everyplace feels like you stepped in a novel. But here are my most favorite quiet and cozy places:
- Place des Voges,
- Square des Arenes de Lutece Capitan
- Along the Seine
- Jardin du Palais Royal
- Jardin des Tuileries (Louvre garden
Where to shop?
La Fayette is worth to pay a visit (once in my opinion), so you can leave it alone afterwards. Off course you have to walk on the Champs Elysees, but I hate it there because it’s so mainstream. I like the little boutiques in the Le Marias district and off course the vintage shops there.
Click on this link to go see my list of saved Google map places to shop some vintage (only works on your phone).
Want to enjoy the view?
There are actually several amazing places where you can enjoy the view over Paris from different angles. Like I previously explained Centre Pompidou is one of my favorites because its location is central and next to my favorite Le Marais district. It’s also free if you use the trick I gave you. Visiting Arc du Triomphe gives you an amazing view of the famous Paris Avenue’s and sightlines of Paris, where the city is renowned for. Make sure to wear good shoes because you’ll have to walk up the 284 steps to see the view. Also a place with a lot of steps and good view is the Sacré-Cœur. It’s built on top a hill site and has a breathtaking view.
I can almost hear you think why didn’t he mentioned the Eiffel tower already? You must defiantly visit it of course. It has the highest view over Paris and it’s the most visited tourist attraction in the world. That’s precisely the reason you should visit it the first time when you’re in Paris. Well in my opinion anyway. I hate crowded places with high security measures that make me feel like a criminal. You should visit it, but for me it doesn’t give me that city life feeling of Paris.
I sincerely hoped you liked this travel post about Paris. It’s a summary of my favorite things to do in Paris. Paris is so beautiful and big so there’s lots more to do. If you have any recommendations or find any mistakes please let me know in de comments below.