Paris is at the top of most travellers’ bucket lists and it’s not difficult to see why. Nicknamed the City of Lights, Paris is full of opportunities for adventure, as well as the perfect place for a romantic city break for les amoureux! As there are so many wonderful ways to spend your time in Paris, it can be difficult to know where to start! So here is a step-by-step guide to help you plan an unforgettable weekend in this incredible city.
After checking in to your hotel, head straight out to make the most of a lively Friday night in Paris. Kick off your trip with a pre-dinner drink at a rooftop bar. In the summer, go to Le Perchoir in Oberkampf for a cool but laid back atmosphere and beautiful views. Book ahead or get there early if you’re not prepared to queue for a long time! Alternatively, Le Georges at the top of the centrally located Pompidou Centre has spectacular views – you’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower lit up and sparkling for five minutes on the hour every hour. The drinks here are slightly pricier than Le Perchoir, but the large venue means that you will usually be able to get a table without booking. Stay at Le Georges for dinner, or if you’re looking for something a little more cosy and relaxed, head around the corner to Geoffroy L’Olive, a charming little Italian restaurant hidden down a backstreet with some of the most delicious pizzas in Paris. If you are in the mood for a more classically French dinner, however, book a table at Chez Julien. Nestled between the Marais and Île Saint-Louis, this enchanting restaurant is the perfect place for a romantic dinner. If you don’t want your night to end here walk across rue de Rivoli, into the Marais where you won’t struggle to find a lively bar, such as Lizard Lounge.
The best way to start any Saturday is with an amazing breakfast! If you love pancakes, you’ll love Holybelly, though you’ll have to get there early to get a table without too much queuing. Holybelly also serve non-pancake options for those who prefer a savoury breakfast, such as eggs, hash browns, baked beans and more! Alternatively, Paperboy and Frenchie To Go are great breakfast/brunch options, but these also have big queues on the weekends so set your alarm clock!
Walk off your breakfast with some sightseeing! Paris’ most iconic sights are reasonably centrally located and easy to get to on the metro or on foot. Art lovers should check out the famous Musée d’Orsay, a beautiful converted railway station with works by the likes of Van Gogh, Renoir and Cézanne. The Musée de l’Orangerie at the bottom of the Tuileries Gardens is also worth a visit as it is home to Monet’s Water Lilies. Of course, at the other end of the gardens you will spot the Louvre, the world’s largest museum, where it is easy to spend the entire day!
If you start to feel peckish, head over to the Marais for bite to eat at the world famous falafel shop, L’As du Falafel! From here you can wander through the Marais’ beautiful cobbled backstreets and do some shopping! You will also be around the corner from one of Paris’ most beautiful parks, Place des Vosges, where you will also find Victor Hugo’s apartment, which you can go inside and explore.
If you’d rather skip lunch and get a sweet afternoon treat, go to Angelina, the elegant patisserie and tea salon where you will find the best hot chocolate in Paris, and possibly the world.
If you want the best view of Paris when it is all lit up at night, go to Montparnasse Tower, the only skyscraper inside Paris (you can’t miss it) where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city with a glass of champagne. Otherwise, a slightly different but equally fun way to get a great view of Paris at night is to take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel at place de la Concorde!
(Daniel Kakiuthi, Flickr)
Alternatively, book tickets for Paris’ spectacular Moulin Rouge – you can opt for the three-course dinner and champagne option or just champagne. Here you will be in for an unforgettable evening of entertainment.
For a more casual option, go to Candelaria, a wonderful little Mexican bar and restaurant serving delicious tacos! From here, head to the ‘secret’ speak-easy-style cocktail bar, Moonshiner in Bastille, where you can try the delicious cocktails or choose from 83 varieties of whisky, whilst enjoying the retro jazz music and clandestine atmosphere.
If you’re into clubbing, see what’s on at Faust or Showcase, two large clubs hidden under the Pont Alexandre III on either side. The smoking/outside areas have beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower.
Spend your Sunday morning in beautiful Montmartre. Located up the hill in the North of Paris, this charming area full of cobbled streets and quaint cafés will make you feel as though you have been transported out of the city and into a little French village. Start climbing the iconic steps up towards the Sacré-Coeur, but stop for breakfast at Le Café qui Parle on the way. For the very reasonable price of €17.50 you will be given an all you can eat menu of eggs and pastries etc. Another option, especially for anyone who wants to try and balance out the tart tatins and macaroons with some healthy food, is Soul Kitchen, also located on the edge of Montmartre.
Walk off your breakfast up to the Sacré-Coeur where you will have another beautiful view of Paris, then stroll around the corner to place du Tertre, an adorable square full of artists where you can pick up a painting of Paris or sit for a caricature!
Finish off your weekend in Paris with a lovely walk. Either wander around the gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg, or walk along the Promenade Plantée – Paris’ answer to New York’s Highline.
If you are in Paris during the summer, go to a local boulangerie and pick up some sandwiches and pastries and have a picnic in le jardin des Tuileries or on the bank of the Seine. If not, head to Bread and Roses in Paris’ fancy Saint-Germain neighbourhood for a coffee and an afternoon pastry.
Paris is a very special city that will really leave a mark on your heart, making you want to return again and again!