If you’ve read my first installment of Essential Paris, you’ve seen that there is plenty to keep you busy in just the first 6 arrondissements of Paris! There is so much more to explore and this guide covers the rest of what Paris has to offer. I will guide you to the BEST, not just the expected. We’ll see the Eiffel Tower, take a walking tour through Canal St. Martin, and taste the most amazing food…ever. On y va!
SEE: Tour Eiffel - how can you go to paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower? You can’t… it’s magic and splendor are really breathtaking and a trip to Paris without an upclose view of the Eiffel would be regretful. And, although you might gasp at my suggestion, I urge you to take in the magic and beauty of the tower from afar. Yep, I said it. I wouldn’t waste time going to the top of the tower or dining at the restaurants. They lines are loooong, the wait is even longer and the dining experience is completely touristy and underwhelming. I decided to skip it and never felt like I missed out on anything. Save your euros for memorable food and views! I do, however, recommend:
-make the Eiffel Tower one of your first day time stops when you get to Paris
-get a fresh crepe from a kiosk… they are strewn about the area
-take a small river tour that gives you a historic layout of the land and points out all the landmarks (reason to make this one of your first stops.) You don’t really need to book in advance. If you get there early, you can just walk up to one of the boats and purchase a ticket for their next tour.
-visiting once in the day time and once at night to see the light show. The tower lights up every hour on the hour at sundown and the glittering bulbs are magic
Musée d’Orsay - this old train station turned museum is not to be missed! One of my favorite museums, Musee d’Orsay has a collection of art and sculpture from Matisse, Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Rodin, and much more. The building itself is beautiful, entry is easy and the lines are short.
LA GRANDE ÉPICERIE DE PARIS - FOODIES PAY ATTENTION! Do NOT miss the chance to stop here. This parisian grocery/specialty store is incredible. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to stop into local grocery stores to look for goods and this is a goldmine of goods. You can shop for edible gifts to bring home, specialty spices, oils, candies… even stop for a bite to eat at one of the gourmet food stalls. This is, hands down, one of my favorite places to be in Paris.
Eat and Drink: - good eating in this district can be tricky. I didn’t really feel the need to eat here other than grabbing a hot crepe from a local vendor near the Eiffel Tower or stopping in the boulangeries or patisseries to grab a baguette or pastry.
Other notable places to see in the 7th:
And here we are, one of my least favorite districts in Paris. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a sidewalk in Paris that isn’t lovely. However, Champs-Elysées is not my idea of the real Paris. There are hoards of tourists, plenty of chain stores and more than a few Michelin starred restaurants to feed a hungry traveler…but this is not the Paris that I am trying to help you discover.
If you’ve got time, you should definitely stop and see the famous sites and monuments:
Plaza Athenee Hotel
Arc de Triomphe
If you’d like to catch a cabaret show, Moulin Rouge, in Pigalle, seems like the logical must-see, right? It’s not, TRUST IN ME.
SEE: Crazy Horse Paris is where you need to go! This show is spectacular, well thought out, and tres chic. The venue will bring in guest stars such as Dita von Teese, Concita Wurst, and Pamela Anderson and consistently does collaborations with designers like Christian Louboutin. You can buy tickets online and pay extra for special events like birthdays, bachelor parties, etc.
Eat and Drink well in the 8th, without breaking the bank:
-delight in the famous macarons at Ladurée
-slurp up a bowl of Ramen at Taisho Ken
-grab a delicious sandwich at Lamèe
-spend an evening at the Neo-bistro Le Mermoz
Eat like royalty in the 8th, with this exhaustive list of the most celebrity chefs and Michelin starred restaurants housed in one district!
South Pigalle, which is close to Montmarte, was formerly known for it’s red light district. These days, tourists and locals alike flock here for cocktails, trendy bistros, unique bakeries and independent shops. It’s become a trendy, glamorous hangout to explore, appreciate and admire.
Since my last trip to Paris, I haven’t spent much time here after it’s gotten all the attention. Luckily, I’ve done all the research for you and discovered the best of the best. Let’s take a look:
Le musée de la Vie romantique - Permanent collection is free while temporary collections require a small fee
Visit Le Moulin Rouge - the famous windmill and site are fun to explore but if you want a cabaret show, take my recommendation and visit Crazy Horse Paris located in the 8th.
if you are really into music history, visit the Phono Museum for 10 euros or catch a live show with up and coming artists at La Boule Noir
Eat and Drink:
hankering for some delicious Israeli street food? Head to Saul’s
eat local and get a taste of the very popular and very tasty Buvette
have afternoon tea and bite into the delicate and beautiful Madeleines at Mesdemoiselles Madeleines
grab small plates and cocktails in a beautiful Art Deco setting at l’Entrée des Artistes Pigalle
get polynesian in Paris! Drink at the infamous Hawaiian style tiki bar, Dirty Dick, formerly known as a strip lounge and an absolute favorite watering hole in the Pigalle district
shhh… don’t tell anyone about Little Red Door. This speakeasy serves up a small but fierce selection of tasty cocktails.
SEE: Canal St. Martin is a hipster’s dream come true. With the river as your back drop, local restaurants propped up along the Seine, and streeet art lining the walls, the 10th is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon “doing nothing.”
-If you are traveling with kids, check out the Chocolate Museum, or more cheesily named, ‘Choco-Story.’ Here, you can learn about the history of chocolate making, learn from the chocolatiers, taste a wide variety of chocolates, and even sign up for a class.
Street art: Paris doesn’t disappoint when it comes to graffiti decorating its walls. If you find yourself in the 10th, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find interesting messages, colorful pieces and sometimes, political messages, a la Banksy style, to intrigue and delight you. If you are a street art fanatic check out this handy guide to find the best street art Paris has to offer.
Shopping: More“so-ho” less 5th Ave. The 10th is a great place to find unique and distinct pieces from local and boutiquey type shops instead of mass produced or run of the mill ordinary. You will find everything from custom clothing boutiques to art stores and independent bookstores. One of my favorites is Artazart, which is located near the famously colorful painted shops along the Seine. Whenever I’m in Paris, I stop in and scour their art section to bring home new prints to hang on my walls.
PICNIC: before I get into the food, which explains why I am putting the word picnic in all caps, I need to talk about why you must picnic while you are in the 10th arrondissement. If you really want to experience Paris, eat at the Canal like the locals. It’s the best. You can grab a baguette and some cheese with a bottle of wine and blend in like the locals or order takeout from one of the restaurants right in front of you. Either way, do not pass up the opportunity to just relax and enjoy the canal the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.
Eat and Drink: is there a district in Paris that isn’t good to find amazing eats? I don’t think so. The 10th is known for its mingle of ethnic restaurants, cult-favorites, and casual dining spots.
Here are a list of my recommendations:
Holybelly - the original, undeniably delicious brunch spot that must be added to your list
Du Pain et des Idees - award winning boulangerie serving up some of the finest pastries and breads you’ll ever eat. Trust everyone.
Sinseng - grab a beer and katsu style chicken Bao, to go, and enjoy it just outside, along the canal, at this super casual Asian cafe
Les Arlots - enjoy bistro style favorites and new classics in a fun and comforting atmosphere
Vivant - expertly cooked suckling pig or fresh hake and an all natural selection of organic wines make this gourmet restaurant by Pierre Jancou a gourmet treat (closed Sat and Sun)
SEE: Atelier des Lumieres - immerse yourself directly into Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and more, in this immersive, one of a kind art experience. Très cool.
EAT EAT EAT: I will just spare you the trouble and send you straight here. Eat in the 11th… that’s what you do here.
I will only say… if you can get a reservation at Septime… GO. But start trying as soon as you have your dates booked.
See: Mostly where the foreign exchange students like to perch, this neighborhood still has some quaint and charming spots for the traveler if the mood strikes you.
Place de la Bastille - Visit the former site of a fortress and celebrate the essence of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” If you are lucky to visit during Bastille Day week, around July 14, you will find plenty of celebration, parades and partying around town and at this historic site.
Marché d’Aligre - peruse hundreds of vendors and stalls at this open market dating back to the 18th century
Bercy Village - this charming little neighborhood is a hidden gem that transports you to a different time and place. The white stone buildings and paved courtyards will take you to the 19th century and if shopping is your thing, there are plenty of shops and stores to keep you busy. However, most of these shops are run of the mill chain type stores... not my thing when traveling thousands of miles, if you feel me.
Rue Cremieux - the super cute and super charming painted house on this street are worthy of a trek into the 12th. You should see them for yourself!
Promenade Planteé - take in the sites and be inspired on a beautiful stroll in this elevated park, which inspired New York’s famous Highline.
Eat: local bistros and wine shops are plenty here.
See: Apparently, I should’ve read this article. I haven’t been to the 13th but seems like I should’ve tried to fit it in.
Eat: Asian Cusine
Since I haven’t visited the 13th, I don’t have food recommendations I have been to but I do have a list of places I’d like to try if I ever find myself wanting to dine here. In no particular order, here they are:
I could write a book about my stay in the 14th but I will try and keep it short and sweet. I couldn’t help but fall in love with this neighborhood and have really come to know all the best little treasures here.
-The Catacombs - Ancient burial grounds located underground through tunnels and caves. This is a popular attraction for visitors and is one of the main reasons travelers trek into the 14th.
-Montparnasse Cemetery - with famous tombs like those of philosopher Jean Paul Sartre and original feminist, Simone de Beauvoir this massive and beautiful cemetary is intriguing and tranquil. Stroll in after visiting The Catacombs.
-Parc Montsouris: after visiting the Catacombs and Cemetery head over to this gorgeous park for an afternoon picnic or a luxurious nap in the sun
-Rue Thermopyles - gorgeous cobble lined street named one of the most picturesque streets in Paris. You have to take a stroll.
-Flea Market on Ave du Général Leclerc - awesome flea market that lines the busy street on Saturdays. You’ll find tons of antiques and vintage treasures here without the overwhelming size and crowds of the bigger, more well-known markets. Bring cash.
-Rue Daguerre open market: fall in love with all the specialty seafood mongers, fromageries, wine shops, clothing boutiques and grocers along this Parisian street market.
Eat: Do not pass up an opportunity to eat in the 14th!
Have a well crafted cappuccino at Télescope and find out why this little gem serves up some of the best espresso in Paris
Eat cheap and really well at My Noodles, where you will find a chef hand-pulling your noodles in the window. Get a noodle soup.
Le Saut de Crapaud - Bring your friends, drink all the wine and get to know this awesome menu with Mexican-born Chefs Marco Paz and Jose Arreola, while old school rock plays in the background. The ceviche is to die for and they cook their steaks perfectly! You’ve never known how much you need Mexican/Parisian food in your life until you come here.
Enjoy a perect date night with seasonal fare and great wine at the Michelin rated Le Cornichon
Skip: L’ Assiette - the highly regarded restaurant just doesn’t live up to the hype. If you don’t trust me, trust David Lebovitz!
See: Fashion Lovers, a visit to Musée Yves Saint Laurent will be well worth the bus ride to Trocadero/16eme. The museum is small but mighty, covering so much of YSL’s career, working nature and background. It is housed in his former studio/apartment and the entrance fee is fairly reasonable. This was one of my absolute favorite museum trips in Paris.
Eat: If you do anything food related in the 16th, make it a class at Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse. The prices are steep but anyone looking to gain a better skill set in culinary arts and also do something unique while staying in Paris will really appreciate how well done these classes are. You will learn a lot of kitchen skills in addition to using locally sourced ingredients and cooking some of Ducasse’s most famous dishes.
See: Amelie Fans rejoice! This whimsical district is utterly romantic and full of surprises at every corner.Wear comfortable walking shoes and take a self-guided walking tour of the area. This is the best way to cover Montmartre but be prepared to climb! The entire district is composed of steep stairs and hills.
This link covers all of the most popular spots such as:
Musee de Montmartre
La Maison Rose
Moulin de la Galette
Le Consulate (over-rated tourist trap!)
Staying and eating in the 18th can be dodgy if you don’t do your research as some of the area isn’t necessarily the safest if you do not know your way around. That being said, there are still plenty of options to fall in love with in Montmartre.
Some of my recommendations include:
That covers it! I hope you enjoyed my exhaustive Paris guide as I hope it will help you have the trip of a lifetime! If you’ve been to Paris and would love to add to this list feel free to post in the comments sections.
Please see the links below for additional information that you might find useful.