Here it is- the post I’ve been wanting to share with y’all with all the details around our 5 day trip in Paris. So, this is the second time we have been to Paris. The last time we went was in May 2016 and we went for a full week. It had always been on my list of places to visit, so Logan and I decided to book it without even thinking. The first time around we did all the touristy things and visited Champagne Country, so this time we had a lot more downtime. I had zero things planned (which is super rare for me) and we just wanted to relax and explore all the different neighborhoods and restaurants. Honestly, I always have a travel itinerary and include everything even down to the times and where we need to be and which restaurants to visit- this trip was SO different. We booked it 2 months in advance because I found a great deal on our flight tickets! We paid less than $600 each roundtrip, which is pretty amazing! I’m always on the hunt for some travel deals and I shared some tips in this post here. So let’s get started-
We really loved the hotel we stayed at last time and I decided to book the same one this time around. There are SO MANY hotels in Paris and it’s so overwhelming. Since it was a last minute trip, I really didn’t want to research and find a new place. I’m super picky with hotels and have become a hotel snob over the years tbh. Since I really loved the location of this hotel and the fact that it was SUPER clean and comfortable, I didn’t want to look anywhere else. We stayed at the Lyric Hotel in the 2nd arrondissement. The hotel is right next to the Opera district and the Louvre Museum. It’s not touristy at all, which we loved. It’s also right next to all the authentic Asian restaurants which are so delicious. We tried a couple during our first visit in Paris. I also liked the fact that they provide you with a cellphone you can take with you during your stay and you can use the internet and make calls to the US. It was super helpful! I strongly recommend the hotel and staying in this area. It’s about 1.5 miles away from the Eiffel Tower and not a bad walk when it’s nice out.
Here is our room and the view from our terrace.
Places to Eat
Logan and I are such foodies and we love checking out all the places where the locals hang out. Our favorite thing to do is walk around and stumble upon a place that is full of locals that barely speak English. You know it’s going to be a good restaurant when the terrace is full! Below are some of the places we visited during our trip.
Frenchie To Go
The restaurant Frenchie (different than French To Go) was recommended to me on my last trip by my friend Makenna. It’s super trendy and only has about 6-8 tables in the whole restaurant. It books up really fast and we made our reservation months ahead of time. They have a set menu that changes daily and it’s about six courses and on the higher price range. I strongly recommend booking in advance and checking it out.
Well with that said, there are two other restaurants in the area by the same owner- Frechie To Go (pictured above) and Frenchie Wine Bar. We’ve been to all three! Frenchie to go is super small and more of a breakfast/lunch place. It’s pretty quick too and affordable. The dishes are super simple and everyone there speaks English.
Frenchie Bar a Vins
Again, this is small like the other Frenchie restaurants, so make sure you go right when it opens (6:30pm). Seating is very limited. This is a wine bar with some small plates on the menu. We enjoyed a nice bottle of Bordeaux and ordered a couple of dishes. The menu changes often so I can’t promise you that they’ll have everything we tried. Some of our highlights were the Brioche stuffed with oxtails and the Parpadelle with Lamb ragu. For dessert, we had the most amazing monster-sized chocolate chip cookie and bacon ice cream- SO GOOD!
Cafe de Flore
This is a classic and literally everyone goes there. If you’re lucky, you might bump into a celeb. It’s a little more expensive than the average cafe in Paris- I had the smoked salmon club sandwich and it was about 23 euros, but so good! Logan had the omelette, which also looked delicious.
This restaurant was super close to our hotel and it peaked my interest. Obviously, I LOVE cheese so I couldn’t pass this up. The restaurant has a variety of options on the menu but people normally go there for their fondue and raclette. The fondue portions are HUGE and it was enough to be our meal. I think it was about 38 euros for what we ordered above, which was fondue with lots of meats, potatoes, bread and a salad- GIVE ME ALL THE CARBS! If you love cheese, try it out! It’s super casual and nothing extraordinary but it had some good food!
Le Coupe Chou
This restaurant is about a 15 minute walk away from Notre Dame and it was recommended to me by my client. It was a little hard to find but totally worth it. The restaurant itself is an old house and super cozy. It honestly took us about 15 minutes to find the entrance and we had a good laugh about it. It was a little bit on the higher-end in terms of prices but I strongly recommend it. They had a little bit of everything and it was super quaint and authentic. I had a classic steak and potatoes, accompanied by a mushroom soup. The sever didn’t really speak English, so don’t be surprised.
Places to Check out
Eiffel Tower at Night
Okay so I know this is super basic, but it’s deff a must. We’ve gone to the Eiffel Tower at least 10 times during our trips and every time I am in awe and it’s even more breathtaking when it’s all lit up at night. Also, once the tower is lit up- every hour it sparkles for 5 minutes and it’s SO BEAUTIFUL! Going to the top of the Eiffel is super touristy but you know you have to do it at least once. I would recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, which we did not do. If you don’t buy them ahead of time, try going during the week vs. the weekend. The Tower closes at 11pm so we decided to visit at 9 pm on a Monday. There’s also a Champagne bar at the summit and obviously I had to check it out (it closes at 10pm). The tickets aren’t expensive at all and you have the option to buy them to go to the first floor or the summit- we chose the summit. They also have restaurants, and the Jules Verne is SUPER popular. Reservations are a must and it’s about 190 euros per person for dinner but the views and food are incredible from what I hear.
Champagne Tour on La Seine
I will never turn down a good glass (or two) of champagne. Logan and I booked this tour the day before we left for Paris and I really recommend it. Last year when we visited, there was historic flooding in Paris and none of the boats could travel on La Seine. This time around I really wanted to go on a boat (even though I get motion sickness) and explore La Seine. I knew I didn’t want to do a restaurant boat because I didn’t trust the food BUT when I saw there was a champagne tour I was all in. It was about 70 euros per person and you have a private area reserved on the boat. It’s actually run by O’Chateau, which is a popular wine tasting place in Paris. We actually had no idea O’Chateau did the tours and last time we went to Paris we went to their restaurant for a wine tasting. The sommelier that did our tour this time was the same one as last time- what a small world! He’s super knowledgeable and really entertaining. It’s an hour long boat tour and you get to try three different champagnes, it was so much fun!
This was on our list last time we went to Paris but we ran into some issues and couldn’t make it. The first time around we got to the metro and didn’t have euros and were having issues with our card, so we decided to cancel our plans even though we had tickets. This time around we made sure we had euros and researched the metro so we were fully prepared. Again, we purchased tickets in advance hoping it would cut down our wait time.
We left Paris around 9:30 and got to Versailles at 10 am on Sunday. We would’ve ideally liked to have gone during the week because I’m assuming it was less crowded but they are closed on Monday’s. The metro was super easy to navigate and it was a pretty smooth and quick ride. Once we got to Versailles, it was about a 10 minute walk from the station. When we got there, there were people EVERYWHERE! Even though we had our tickets, we had to wait in line for an hour and a half to get in so it was pretty painful.
Overall, I am glad we went to check it out but it wasn’t my absolute favorite. I hate crowds and I don’t really appreciate art that much so I was just zooming through the castle. The gardens were really pretty but that’s about it. We probably wouldn’t go visit it again but if you’re into it just make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time and go early during the week!
Montmartre and Sacre Coeur
This was one of our favorite areas to check out from this trip. I talked about it a bit in my last travel diary here. The little part of town is super cute with lots of narrow cobblestone streets and full of cafes! We also went to check out the Sacre Coeur Basilica and climbed all the way to the top. While I was a tad claustrophobic the views were amazing! In Montmartre, you can also find La Maison Rose which is a super popular spot to take pics!
We visited Notre Dame during our first visit to Paris but went back again. It’s just a cute little area with lots of restaurants close by! Plus the Cathedral is beautiful, if you have a chance to go inside. The line was long this time, so we decided to just admire it from the outside and grab a bite to eat nearby.
We walked by Le Louvre on our trip and it was so different than last time. There were a lot of barriers and security, which isn’t a bad thing. It was also more crowded than last time, I think it’s because of the time of the year that we went. I would recommend going to check it out. It’s pretty amazing all the artwork and statues that are there and it’s such a beautiful place! When we went last time we bought our tickets onsite and didn’t have too long of a wait to get in.
Overall, our trip was AMAZING! After going to Paris for a week, 4 nights was perfect for our second visit. It was nice not having anything on the schedule and taking it day by day. Exploring the different neighborhoods in Paris without a map or destination is honestly super fun. If you have any questions feel free to reach out!
Lastly, I wanted to share some quick tips if you’re planning on visiting the City of Lights.
- Bring comfortable shoes– It’s super easy to get around on foot and you get to experience more of Paris and its surroundings. So make sure your shoes are comfortable and you bring options! I honestly never wore heels.
- Purchase tickets in advance for attractions– Lines are always shorter for tourist attractions when you have your tickets printed out.
- Carry Euros– Mostly everywhere accepts cards, but you never know when you might need cash on hand. When we purchased our tickets for the metro with our card it kept asking us for a pin even though it was a credit card. So it was helpful having cash on hand.
- Embrace the culture (especially when it comes to restaurants)- Service in France isn’t as fast as the US. People really like to enjoy their meals, company and atmosphere. You are never rushed with the check and you always have to ask for it. It’s not uncommon for your server to take 10-15 to first greet you.