Right after high school, I moved to Paris to go to the American University of Paris. I lived there for a year and loved every second of it. I feel like even being there for a whole 365 days still wasn’t enough time to see everything. It is cheesy but it is truly the most romantic, magical and charming city.
The 20/30-Something Guide to Paris
"Paris has a sweet sweet spot in my heart."
Where to Stay
BUDDHA BAR ($$$)
I love this boutique hotel! It’s is really cute and charming, plus it has a really good bar but it is definetely on the expensive side.
AN AIRBNB ON RUE SAINT HONORE ($$)
When I first moved to Paris and before I got my apartment, my mom and I stayed in a really cute Airbnb that was in a very central area and on Rue Saint Honore, a great shopping street. It was really cute and charming. If you are looking for a nice clean place to stay but you’re really just there to sleep, then an Airbnb is the way to go. When you’re in Paris, you’re out all day and night exploring so a luxe hotel isn’t always necessary. Plus, this option was super cheap compared to a hotel.
Where to Eat: Breakfast + Brunch
Photo via: @restaurantmarce
PAPER BOY ($$)
Brunch on the weekends at Paper Boy is so delicious! Their sandwiches are good too if you’re looking for a lunch spot.
Marcel has the best french toast!! And it’s good for lunch too. The location on Rue de Babylone next to Le Bon Marche is my favorite- and you can shop there right after. Le Bon Marche is like the Bergdorfs of Paris!
Super yummy and everything here is good. I would order a bunch of dishes to share with your table so you can try a little of everything.
Where to Eat: Lunch
Photo via: @lesdeuxmagots
BAR DU CENTRAL ($$)
Located in the 7th district near the Eiffel Tower, Bar du Central is really good for lunch or dinner as well. The chicken paillard and french fries are my favorites, and their hot chocolate is amazing! It is a very chill spot. It’s a good place to stop and get a bite before sightseeing at the Eiffel Tower. The food is French casual.
LES DEUX MAGOTS ($$)
This spot has very French vibes in the 6th arrondissement. This is where everyone gets the cute french outdoor Instagram photo.
RALPH’S PARIS ($$$$)
Ralph’s Paris is owned by Ralph Lauren so the vibe is super Polo. Everything on the menu is so delicious…especially the burger! It’s also located in a really cute area–it’s on St. Germain so you can walk to the Seine and stroll along the water after.
Where to Eat: Dinner
Photo via: @farnesinaparis
LA FARNESIA ($$$)
This is my favorite Italian spot in Paris. The service and vibe of the restaurant are amazing. It is right around the corner from the Place De La Concorde which is nice to walk to after dinner. And if you go here during the day it’s a short walk from the Tuileries Garden!
So so delicious! The burger, mac and cheese, and churros are so good. Ferdi is definitely a must-visit.
This is such a fun spot for dinner and going out. The waiters go around the restaurant with sparklers, and the restaurant always has music playing. You can go here for dinner and then head downstairs to the club that opens later in the night. It’s so fun!
Sights to See + Things to Do: Daytime
Montmarte is the cutest little village with delicious crepes. The Moulin Rouge is located there, as is the Sacré-Cœur church, which is beautiful and has an amazing view.
PALAIS ROYAL + TUILERIES GARDEN
They are both within 10-minute walking distance. Palais Royal has shopping, an amazing coffee shop, and a super photogenic white and black floor! The garden is beautiful–you can bring a bottle of wine with a baguette and cheese and just hang out. You can also walk to the Louvre quickly from here.
PALAIS DE TOKYO
This is a really cool contemporary art museum. They always have the best exhibits, and its also home to a fabulous dinner spot called Monsieur Blue.
SHOP AROUND THE LE MARAIS
Le Marais is my favorite area to shop in! The neighborhood has delicious crepes, and don’t miss the store Merci.
Sights to See + Things to Do: Nighttime
L’Arc is like the classy version of 1oak in Paris. I always recommend this to friends visiting Paris–it’s my go-to spot for a fun night.
This spot feels more like a lounge but it’s still so much fun.
DRINKS AT HOTEL COSTES
Amazing drinks and fantastic vibes! You can also eat at Hotel Costes, and the food is great.
DRINKS AT THE BUDDHA BAR HOTEL
Buddha Bar is a great spot to visit for drinks before going out. It’s a very different vibe than you’ll find in the rest of Paris, and there’s always fun music!
"Paris has forever been my favorite city in the world and I ended up getting married there last year."
I have been obsessed with Paris for as long as I can remember. I visited several times in college and have tried to go at least once a year in my adult life while living in NYC. I will never be able to accurately describe the feeling, but there is an inexplicable comfort and enchantment that comes over me whenever I touch down in Paris. My entire body is calmed and inspired and energized all at once. I truly love all aspects of the French culture–from the fashion to the history to the architecture to the wine to the cuisine. I simply love Parisians and how they carry themselves. You could spend a lifetime in Paris and never truly see it all…there is magic around every corner in this city and there’s always more to discover!
Where To Stay
Photo by Oliver Fly Photography
PAVILLON DE LA REINE ($$$)
This is one of my favorite hotels in Paris. Located in the heart of Le Marais (Paris’ version of Soho) and tucked behind the shops of the Place des Vosges, this boutique hotel is a relatively unknown slice of heaven with an amazing spa.
HOTEL LUTETIA ($$$$)
Hotel Lutetia is my favorite Left Bank hotel! Recently renovated and boasting some of the most gorgeous interiors I’ve ever seen, Hotel Lutetia not only offers a bespoke decor experience but is situated in the heart of the 6th arrondissement only steps away from Le Bon Marche and within walking distance of Luxembourg Gardens. If you are into history, it is also known for its role during WWII when it accommodated musician and artist refugees. I could spend hours sipping wine in Bar Josephine, the stunning bar and piano room located in the hotel’s lobby area.
HOTEL PROVIDENCE ($$)
The coziest, most chic boutique hotel! I stayed here during a solo trip to Paris and absolutely loved it. It’s affordable, intimate and the interiors are gorgeous. Each room is completely unique and they think of everything (i.e., have exclusive custom-made shampoo and conditioner, heated bathroom floors, and even customize an in-room cocktail bar prior to your arrival–mine was stocked with my favorite mezcal.)
LE RITZ ($$$$)
This is a splurge option! Arguably the most historic hotel in Paris and one of the hands-down most beautiful in the world, Le Ritz Paris (unrelated to the Ritz Carlton properties!!) was home to former residences of Coco Chanel, Princess Diana, and Ernest Hemingway, to name a few. Additionally, the hotel boasts a number of amazing spaces where you can unwind, like the private courtyard which is the most stunning Parisian garden for afternoon tea and croissants. And also, it’s where I got married.
Insider tip: If you can’t afford to stay at the above, you should absolutely check out each one in stopping by for a drink; they all have fabulous bars and people watching, and it’s a great opportunity to peruse the hotel grounds. Two years ago my husband and I did a hotel bar crawl and got one drink at each of the most luxe hotel bars–the Peninsula, Le Ritz, Hotel Lutetia, La Reserve, George V, Le Bristol, and Plaza Athenee.
Where to Eat: Breakfast + Brunch
Photo via: @chezjulienparis
DU PAIN ET DES IDÉES ($$$)
This tiny boulangerie located in the 10th arrondissement has won tons of awards and for good reason! The bread selection is out of this world.
The same team behind my favorite Parisian restaurant Verjus, Ellsworth is great really any time of day but I’d also choose it for brunch specifically. The fried chicken is their specialty but everything on the menu is fantastic. It’s intimate yet lively making it perfect for a romantic meal, girls brunch out, or even eating solo.
CHEZ JULIEN ($$$)
This location is actually considered a historical monument and offers views of Ile St. Louis via the outdoor terrace. It’s a quintessential Parisian cafe and very Instagrammable with a delicious breakfast. Perfect place to start your day followed by a stroll along the Seine river.
A welcoming and friendly casual breakfast spot with killer pancakes–the best I’ve had in Paris for sure!
Where to Eat: Lunch
Photo via: @hotelcostes
HOTEL COSTES ($$$$)
I am obsessed with this hotel and the restaurant inside (it’s open at ALL hours of the day and night!). The clientele is extremely international, the staff is ridiculously good looking, and the decor is sexy, French, and very red. The club sandwich is also phenomenal. You will want to spend several hours here having drinks, eating a great lunch, and eventually buying one of their custom, proprietary scents sold at the hotel.
CAFÉ CHARLOT ($$)
I first heard about this place from an interview with Olivier Rousteing (the creative director of Balmain) who said he comes here every Friday with all his girls because it’s reliable, true Brasserie style, old-school, and neighborhoody. I love going to local spots that are not filled with tourists and that is exactly what Café Charlot is. Also, it’s located on Rue de Bretagne which is one of my very favorite streets in Paris. And, it’s open on Sundays which is rare!
LE COMPTOIR DU RELAIS ($$$)
This is a great spot in the 6th arrondissement (Saint-Germain) to go for lunch that is at the center of all the action. You might have to wait for a table but the people watching and proximity to Saint Germain shopping is worth it!
HOXTON HOTEL ($$$)
The Hoxton has a gorgeous interior design and indoor courtyard, where you can grab lunch or a cocktail. The space is incredibly Instagrammable and full of energy.
Where to Eat: Dinner
My favorite spot! Verjus is a super romantic seasonal tasting menu style restaurant located in the 1st arrondissement. It’s hard to get a reservation but totally worth it; be sure to go an hour early to spend time in the wine bar tasting cave, located just below the restaurant.
This is the perfect spot to go before a night out with friends or if you want to make it the destination of the evening. I don’t really go out, so it is perfect for someone my age who considers dinner as “going out.” First, the Israeli food menu is incredible (thanks to Experimental Cocktail Group who designed the menu!). Every single item on the menu is worth trying!. On top of that, the service is above and beyond and the scene is funky, lively, and everyone there seems to be looking for a good time.
L’Alcazar is one of the most beautiful Parisian restaurants of 2019 according to Vogue and has become a Left Bank institution. It’s hard to even spot on the street, but once you go inside you’ll be completely enchanted by a French-Morrocan jungle vibe. Definitely go early to have cocktails on the upstairs terrace which is the perfect spot to take in the jungle-like interiors and fabulous people-watching below.
FRENCHIE BAR A VINS ($$$)
I’d recommend going to the wine bar, not the main restaurant. If you’ve been to Charlie Bird or Joseph Leonard in NYC, this has that same vibe with throwback music and overall great service and ambiance.
Sights to See + Things to Do: Daytime
I would preface this section by saying…Paris is overwhelming. For first time visitors, I always recommend checking out a few museums based on your art style preferences, like Musee D’Orsay, which has lots of impressionism, expressionism, and work by Monet and Van Gogh, or the Musée Jacquemart-André. But ultimately, below are daytime activities that enable you to avoid tourists and leave you fulfilled!
Place des Vosges
A beautiful park and garden in Le Marais, this is the oldest planned square in Paris and devised during the reign of Henry IV. Brad and Angelina used to have a residence in this square (RIP!). I always pick up wine, a baguette, and cheese and spend a few hours reading in this park. It’s incredibly peaceful, somewhat hidden from the public, and close to all the great shopping in Le Marais (which is what I call the Soho of Paris). Nearby shops include Sessùn, Merci, NouiToosh, Claudie Pierlot, Oxyde, Anaim, BA&SH, ElevenParis, Emile Lafaurie, Old & New, Moss, Spree, Aisso, Papiers Peints, The Broken Arm, and L’Eclaireur.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Located in the 19th arrondissement, I typically recommend biking over one day and exploring the entire area. It’s like the Central Park of Paris, and “where the true Parisians hang out.” It offers a super cool view over the city, and a bar and drink setup called Pavilion Puebla.
Les Enfants Rouges
Located in the 3rd arrondissement, this is the oldest street market in Paris offering delicious food ranging across all ethnicities. My husband and I stop by here every time we visit. It is a must and the entire arrondissement is covered in hidden little parks to explore after visiting this food market. Some of my favorite parks nearby include Square Saint-Gilles du Grand Veneur, Jardin des Archives Nationales, and Square du Temple – Elie Wiesel.
I originally wanted to have my wedding ceremony here! Dior always does their runway shows here and the setting is absolutely spectacular. The museum and surrounding gorgeous sculpture gardens are primarily dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It’s a perfect spot to experience the history and Parisian beauty all at once.
Sights to See + Things to Do: Nighttime
Photo via: @ritzparis
Le Tres Particulier
The former residence of the Hermès family, this speakeasy bar is located inside Hotel Particulier in Montmartre. This is very much a local in-the-know Parisian hot spot, and it’s not necessarily easy to get into. You have to venture down a hidden street and gain access through a series of intercoms and buzzers before finally reaching the hotel garden, but it’s worth it. Once you’re in, it feels like you’re inside a secret Parisian garden bar.
Most people will tell you to visit Bar Hemingway which is inside my favorite Le Ritz Hotel, but I actually love spending time in the Ritz Bar first and foremost. The art deco design and glamorous clientele make for an extremely enjoyable evening sipping on cocktails and enjoying bar snacks. During my wedding weekend, we all ended up here for a nightcap after each event to the point where the Ritz offered many of us house slippers to walk home in. They really take care of you at Le Ritz!
I am obsessed with this bar. It’s secretive, chateau-style, and located within the Saint James Paris hotel. It feels like being in a private library and the phenomenal cocktails make the whole experience even better.
Part of the Big Mamma group, this retro speakeasy exists behind the uber-popular Pink Mamma restaurant in the 9th arrondissement. There is also something for everyone–whether you’re into vintage bubbly or modern cocktails!