5 Leisurely Days in Paris

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Advisor - Rachelle Ramirez
Curated By

Rachelle Ramirez

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Active Travel

  • Architecture

  • Local Food

  • Laid back

A full shot of Eifel tower surrounded with houses
Curator’s statement

Paris is a magnificent city. I lived here for years and often come back. Yet, I never get tired of the family-owned bakeries and restaurants to the grand churches and monuments. You can spend a day walking around basking in its serenity and bustle of a neighborhood stopping a few times to marvel at unexpected beauty of a building, monument or a door. Or sit down a cafe and watch the world pass by with a glass of Kir Royale. Paris, the city itself and its neighborhoods, itself is the main attraction. Take a deep breath and enjoy all it has to offer from the museums, cafes, bistros and monuments.

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Day 1: Arriving in the City of Light

A boat passing below the bridge in a river in Paris

Bonjour Paris. Most flights from the US arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in the morning. If you didn't arrange transport, I recommend taking the RER B (Terminal 2- downstairs close to the Eurostar) train into Paris (stop at Gare du Nord or Chatelet.) You can get your metro tickets ticket dispenser machine and get your Navigo Easy Metro card for the city if you plan to explore Paris by metro (which I highly recommend.) Make sure to download the Bonjour RATP app. It is in English and French. Useful app for getting around on public transport. Always be aware of your surrounding when taking the metro. Or take a government sanctioned taxi as Uber would cost more than the local taxi by 15+ Euros.

Remember to have a croissant and cafe creme to start your day. For your first day, after checking into your hotel, I recommend to a leisurely walk around Paris around the Opera and Place Vendome area towards the Seine at Port Neuf (the oldest bridge in Paris) to catch the sunset. On the way, stop by Cedric Grolet on 35 Avenue de L’Opera for some pastries. Or go into Monoprix further down to look at affordable fashion and replenishment of snacks or something you might forgotten to pack.

Day 2: Le Marais

A building in between 2 huge glass wall buildlings

On the second day, I would focus on the Marais area. Start with Place Saint Paul (Metro stop Saint Paul.) Pay a visit to Saint Paul et Louis Church for meditative time (whilst looking at the Baroque architecture.) Then, try the croissant and cafe noisette at LeNotre (10 Rue St. Antoine.) Then stroll over to Place de la Bastille. If you arrive before 12 on Thursdays and Sundays, there is an outdoor market (Marche Richard Lenoir.) You can buy inexpensive souvenirs as well as cheeses, cured meats and fruits for your picnic at Place des Vosges. Afterwards, walk up to Boulevard Beaumarchais and turn left on Rue du Pas de La Mule to head over to Place des Vosges, an example of royal city planning.

Afterwards, explore on the architecture of neighborhood or head over to Musee Carnavalet (its free and its the city museum of Paris.) If you are hungry, head over to L'As du Fallafel (caution it's closed on Friday night and all day Saturday) for its famous falafel. Don't be intimated by the lines. It's worth it and don't be fooled by other falafel shops.

For sit down, head a few feet to Chez Marianne. Afterwards, take a stroll towards Rue Vielle du Temple and left towards Ile Saint Louis for Bertillon ice cream. Watch the sunset on the banks of the Seine facing Notre Dame.

Day 3: Rive Gauche

An animal statue with buildings at a distance shot during sun set

For the third day, focus on the left bank. Start at Place Saint Michel (Metro Saint Michel.) Walk away from the Seine on Boulevard Saint Michel. Take a left on Rue Soufflot. And behold the magnanimous Pantheon. Originally, a church dedicated to the patron saint of Paris, Saint Genevieve. It is now a mausoleum for the most distinguished French citizens such as Voltaire.

Afterwards, walk up towards rue Clovis (the French King who converted France to Christianity.) Pay a visit, if you would like to admire the Renaissance style of Saint Etienne du Mont (where Saint Genevieve is buried) on the left. On the corner of the church, turn right unto rue des Cartes. Follow it through rue Mouffetard. There are numerous places to eat at rue Mouffetard such as Saveur de Savoie (83 rue Moufferard.) Explore the area as it is the heart of the Latin quarter (where the most prestigious schools are located such as the Sorbonne and Ecole Normal Superior.)

Then, head down to Garden du Luxembourg. Explore the beauty of the garden or relax in one of peaceful nooks. If you are craving afternoon treat, Cafe Angelina (try their famous hot chocolate) is nearby adjacent to the Musee Du Luxembourg. Or if you have the energy, walk towards Germain des Pres crossing rue Vanguard on the left is rue Bonaparte. Walk along rue Bonaparte passing the Grand Saint Sulpice (another magnificent church with its storied past.)

Keep going until you spy Cafe de Flore on the left of Boulevard Saint Germain with its past patrons of Hemingway, Satre, Picasso and, now, you. Cafe de Flore faces the oldest church in Paris Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Take a peep as it has recently been renovated with its vibrant interior colors.

Before sunset, make sure to head over to Metro Odeon and take line 10 towards Boulonge-Saint Cloud. Get off Metro stop La Motte Picquet Grenelle and take correspondent line 6 towards Charles de Gaulle-Etoile. Look out the window as it crosses the Seine. The view of the Eiffel Tower is beautiful. Get off at Trocadero stop. You'll have a great view of the Eiffel Tower. If you are hungry, head over to Cafe Kleber (order their set menu) at 4, Place du Trocadero. Next door is Cafe Carette known for its desserts and hot chocolate.

Day 4: Montmarte

An ancient building in Paris

Paris is not the same without a visit to Montmartre (Metro stop Abbesses- line 12). If you start at metro Abbesses, take note that there is an elevator to go up. Else, you would walk about three floors up. Please note the Art Nouveu metro entrance of Abbesses. In the Place Abbesses, there is one of the 107 Wallace Fountains (Four Ladies) that dispenses clean water for tourist and residents. There are 22 self-guided tours of where to find them in Paris via wallacefountains.org. Head up towards Place du Tertre. If you are confused where to start, go up rue des trois freres heading the opposite direction of car traffic. Left on rue Drevet.

There will be lots of stairs going up Sacre Couer and Place du Tertre. If you rather, take the Funiculaire on Place St. Pierre. The view on the steps of Sacred Couer is unbeatable. You can spend hours just taking this little part of Paris. If you get tired of the crowd, you can head west behind Sacre Couer to Musee Montmartre. There's also La Maison Rose for a quick bite if you want more than usual crepe offering in the area. If you want something hearty and cheap, head down to 22 Boulevard de Clichy for Bouillon Pigalle. Or head a block to the west is the famous Moulin Rouge (82 Boulevard de Clichy) if you want to catch a dinner and cabaret show.

Day 5: Le Louvre

People standing in front of a huge ancient building

Can't leave Paris without having to visit at least a couple of museums. While the Louvre is famous of housing the Mona Lisa, there is so much to see and admire. One can spend days in the Louvre. If you are to go, skip waiting outside the pyramid entrance. Start at the Palais Royal- Musee du Louvre (line 1) stop. Make a stopover to Les Colones de Buren for a photo-op on the colons and enjoy the garden a brief moment. Then head over to the Louvre via the Rue de Rohan/Place du carrousel entrance. This will take you inside the Louvre mall and museum.

If the crowds didn't exhaust you and you are energized from eating at Cafe Marly (a bit pricey, but worth the view and atmosphere) or the museum cafeteria (price reasonable and food decent,) stroll along the Jardin des Tuileries towards Place de la Concorde, where Egyptian Obelisk stand that Napoleon brought back from Egypt (and apparently the Egyptian government is asking for it back.)

Keep walking and you will hit Avenue des Champs-Elysées. It is a 1.18 mile. There are numerous high end and mainstream shops. I highly recommend to stop by the House of Guerlain on 68 Avenue des Champs-Elysees. This is Guerlain's flagship store. The salesperson will gladly give tours of its perfumery and its history. Before sunset, go up the Arc de Triomphe which honors those who fought and died for France.

If you have the time, I highly recommend going to Musee D'Orsay a former train station that houses works of art between 848-1914. It houses Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat and Gaugin and many more great artist. Not to be miss as well are Musée Rodin, Musée Jacquemart-André, Musee Gustave Moreau and Musée Nissim de Camondo.

Whilst there are numerous impressive churches, not to be missed also is the Sainte-Chapelle for its impressive Gothic style and stain glass windows. It is very close to Notre Dame. In June during the Fête de la Musique, try to get a ticket to its concert. For shopping, head over to run Sainte-Honore for luxury shopping.

For department stores, don't miss the Galeries Lafayette for its rooftop views or my favorite to Le Bon Marche for lunch and perusing through its food and wine section.

Oh, Paris. There are so much to explore.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Briana Masson’s guide, .

Advisor - Rachelle Ramirez

Travel Advisor

Rachelle Ramirez

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Paris.