I went to Paris with my mom for my 30th birthday and it was the most amazing trip! I hadn't been to Paris since I was younger, so it was fun getting to visit with a new mindset and appreciation. We stayed at an airbnb in the 15th arrondissement and had views of the Eiffel tower (as pictured above). Depending on your comfortability with an airbnb vs. a hotel, there's definitely pros to staying in an apartment. We were walking distance from various cafés, restaurants and a local market - where we bought our week's diet: a lot of wine, cheese, bread, olives 😛. We made dinner a couple of nights and opened the cast iron windows, turned on some good music and took everything in. It was pure bliss and some of my favorite nights of the trip!
To Eat & Drink:
This is one of the oldest and most notable cafés in Paris. They don't accept reservations, however the line moves relatively quick and you have the option to eat indoors or outdoors to people watch. The lattes are stenciled with their restaurant logo and you can dip croissants in whipped cream. I mean....
If you've been to Ralph's Coffee or the Polo Bar in New York, the interior of this restaurant has more of a European countryside ambiance. The food is just as good as the other location(s) and is located at the Ralph Lauren flagship store. If you're a cocktail person, their espresso martinis are really good.
Though Ladurée is a staple for pastries, I wanted to go to a Pâtisserie where the locals go. This was a local favorite and there are various locations throughout the city. There are so many flavors to choose from and the macaroons are some of the best I've ever had.
This restaurant is located on a main street (with great shopping, ehem) and is close to Ralph's Restaurant. Though there's a lot of foot traffic on the sidewalks, this place seemed to be preferred by the locals. The interior gives off a wine cellar feeling and is a great place to stop by for a quick bite to eat or share some wine and french fries (which is what my mom and I did 🙋♀️).
This was another favorite of mine. The bakery was located very close to our airbnb, which is how we found it. They have multiple locations throughout the city and the breads and croissants are sooo good.
This was one of (if not the) most beautiful hotels I've ever seen. The outside is so grand that you don't even know where to enter. My mom and I went here for a spa day, which I recommend doing, followed by an afternoon lunch or tea in one of their restaurants. It's not cheap, but if you're up for an experience and good food/drinks, this is the place to go.
Places that I wanted to go to/were on my list, but didn't get a chance to:
*all restaurants noted below are extremely popular and reservations need to be made well in advance.
Whether you're a fan of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI or not, the grounds of this palace are un-denyingly impressive. If this is at the top of your list of things to do, I would highly recommend carving out almost a full day to walk the grounds. Beyond the tour/walkthrough inside the palace, there are numerous gardens, walkways, rest areas, stables and more to explore. I would also recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time to avoid any extended waiting periods.
One of the most notable museums in the world, it's a fun thing to do while you're in Paris. Even if you're not a huge art lover, the architecture itself is something to see. There is also a café located inside the museum and if the weather is nice, you can go outside and get a great view of the courtyard. The croissants are espresso are also surprisingly very good! You can buy your tickets ahead of time to skip the long lines. Also, if you're visiting for a short period of time and are looking to cram in as much as possible, I recommend picking one of the first slots the museum offers.
To Do (for free)
This can be a free activity if you just want to see it from ground level and take photos, or you can purchase tickets there or ahead of time and check out the inside. There are three different levels that you can have access to, so keep that in mind when booking your ticket.
This department store is one of the most beautiful I've been to. The architecture and layout is like a museum and it's fun to walk around and admire the various levels. If you're a shopper at heart, this probablyyyyy won't be a place where you end up visiting for free, but it's definitely worth it.
If you follow any travel bloggers, then I'm sure at some point you've seen this location on their grid. Inside the garden area is the Les colonnes de Buren, which is where you'll find the infamous black and white striped pillars of various sizes.
This is one of the more popular gardens within the city. If you're a fan of Emily in Paris, then you probably know exactly where this is. It's a great place to bring a book, have a picnic or just sit and people watch.
Local Street Market
There's a lot of different markets throughout the week, but mostly on the weekends. It's fun to walk around and try fresh local foods, flowers and different textiles.