J’aime Paris! Honestly, I’ve had such a tough time gathering my thoughts when it comes to talking about my 4 days in Paris. We visited so many beautiful places and ate such amazing food and pastries, so it is difficult for me to pick favorites. This being said, when it comes down to it, there are meals and tourist attractions I remember more fondly compared to others. Again, feel free to leave a comment below if you would like to add more to this list or would like more recommendations as I won’t be listing every restaurant and attraction we visited. Without further ado, here are my top highlights from my time in Paris, France:
L’As du Fallafel: This was our first meal in Paris. Whether taking an order to go or dining in, lines are always long here and for good reason. I ordered a grilled chicken steak sandwich with a side of fries. Delicious. The sauce combined with the fluffiness of the pita and fresh ingredients made this an incredible first meal.
La Jacobine: For authentic French cuisine, La Jacobine was one of my favorite spots. It was a little hard to find as it was located in a small alleyway in the Latin Quarter. Their onion soup was extremely cheesy; just how I like it. The broth was packed with flavor and seasoned perfectly. While I ordered their delicious salmon a la Florentine, I snuck a taste of the coq a vin and beef stew my parents ordered. You really can’t go wrong with anything you order from this menu. I’m not a huge escargot fan so I didn’t order it, but based on reviews before coming here, it happens to be one of La Jacobine’s best dishes.
La Cuisine de Philippe: The food here was exquisite. Very comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff, and the chef even went out to greet the guests. While I loved my steak entree, the dessert lover in me needs to talk about the soufflé. Even if you’re not a huge foodie, it’s no secret that mastering a soufflé is an incredibly difficult task. As far as soufflés go, La Cuisine de Philippe has set the bar. It was overwhelming to see the different flavors they had: whether sweet or savory, you really couldn’t go wrong (just enough for a family of 4 to order different flavors of sweet soufflé). I ordered the chocolate soufflé and it was like heaven in a bite. Fluffy, sweet, and airy: everything you’d hope to have in a soufflé.
Auguste: My mom, brother, and I treated our dad here for his birthday. Being a Michelin Star award-winning restaurant, be prepared to spend a good amount of money (the food here is well worth it). There is also a dress code, so be sure to bring a business-casual outfit if you plan on going here. We each had the 3-course lunch special, so individually, we ordered similar items. In terms of focusing on quality rather than quantity, Auguste really makes you appreciate the combination of sweet and savory ingredients to create amazing flavor. Each dish was beautifully plated while still keeping a simplistic vibe and atmosphere to go along with the decorations of the restaurant; I never felt like anything was “over-the-top.” Because it was my dad’s birthday, we received a free Grand Marnier soufflé; not bad for a free dessert. While the soufflé was delicious, La Cuisine de Philippe still has my heart.
Laduree & Pierre Herme: For all the macaroon lovers out there. We ordered the same flavors of macaroons at both locations to compare, but there were some from Laduree I liked more than Pierre Herme’s and vice versa.
La Droguerie: The crepes are freshly made in front of you and delicious. The menu has a wide range of sweet and savory crepes or you can customize your own. It is a very small shop, so the line is outside and can get long pretty quickly.
A La Biche Au Bois: Another great restaurant if you’re looking for authentic French cuisine. Their steak-frites (and according to my dad, coq au vin) are must-haves. Packed with a creamy pepper sauce, tender beef filets, and extra crispy fries, this was one of my favorite dinner entrees in Paris.
Eiffel Tower: I didn’t know what I was expecting when we went here, but just seeing the Eiffel Tower from a distance on the Metro, made me extremely emotional. Maybe it was because it had already felt like a long day (we literally went here after our flight from Barcelona and only had an hour or two to eat lunch), but I think the emotions stemmed from disbelief. It’s one of those things you see in movies, TV shows, or photographs and think, “When will I be able to see this up close?” I couldn’t believe I was there, and to have experienced it with my family, was truly a moment I will never forget. It didn’t start hitting me until I walked around a building and saw the 1,063 foot tower standing directly in front of me. If you want to go to the top of the tower, be sure to purchase tickets beforehand. Even with tickets, the line for the elevators were pretty long. There are also two packages–one in which you go to the second floor and one where you go all the way to the top, also known as the Summit (we purchased tickets to the Summit). Anyways, we went to the top of the tower where we enjoyed a glass of celebratory champagne and the worker handing out the glasses even gave me the champagne cork as a keepsake. The views from the top of the tower were indescribable–I’ve included a photo in the slideshow above to give you guys an idea of the view. As if those views aren’t enough, you need to see the Eiffel Tower at night. In addition to its golden glow at night, sparkling light shows occur for five minutes every hour on the hour. The twinkles of 20,000 bulbs are truly a wonderful sight up close, and I would recommend going on a boat river tour at night to get the best view of this mini show. Just be sure to bring a jacket!
Louvre Museum: Visiting the Louvre is not a one-day activity. Unless you know exactly what you want to see or do a guided tour, there is no way you can see everything this museum has to offer in one day. Again, we purchased tickets before our visit so we could skip the long line and did a guided tour. With this, our guide brought us to the more “popular” works of art and in turn, we learned a lot more about the history of each piece rather than just reading the descriptions on the walls. Of course, the room which featured the Mona Lisa was by far the most popular compared to other rooms around the museum. It was insane how huge the crowd was–just rows and rows of people trying to get front and center for a photo of / with her. The outside of the Louvre holds just as much history as the inside. Formerly a palace, there are just as much photographs to be taken outside compared to inside. Its extensive collection makes it one of the finest museums in the world.
Palace of Versailles: We went here on our last full day in Paris. They were doing repairs on one of the buildings, but we were still able to see a majority of the palace. It was huge. You need a full day to really take everything in and see every inch of the palace, but we tried to fit in what we could in 3-4 hours. Unless you rent a golf cart at the welcoming center, prepare yourself for A LOT of walking. We purchased tickets to the garden as well as the indoor tour; it was awesome learning about the history of the palace, how / why it was built, and how long it took to complete. If you are looking to stay there the whole day, the palace offers tickets to view Musical Fountain shows, but again, if you are only in Paris for a few days, limit your time wisely.
Galeries Lafayette & Champs-Elysees: Because Paris is also known as the “fashion capitol of the world,” I felt so out of place when it came to shopping. Although I couldn’t afford a majority of the things I wanted, just walking along the avenues or department stores was a great experience. When it comes to Galeries Lafayette, the first two floors house the more expensive department stores, such as Gucci or Prada. The next four floors are the “more affordable” department stores and there is also a bridge leading to the men’s fashion departments. I’d also recommend going up to the roof after browsing trough all the department stores for a free, lovely view of Paris. From this view, you can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance or buy a cocktail or two from the roof-bar. In terms of Champs-Elysess, walking this avenue can be incredibly crowded, so definitely watch for pick-pocketers. This being said, the streets are very wide and decorated with various stores and restaurants. The avenue’s end houses the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in Paris.
As a foodie and art enthusiast, what Paris had to offer went beyond my expectations. It was surreal to see such iconic monuments up close; photos really don’t do it justice. As much as I loved the entire trip, I would have to say that Paris was my favorite stop. Knowing French would have made it easier to get around and communicate with taxi drivers, but the spontaneity during times where we missed our stop on the Metro or had to switch trains due to repairs, made our adventures ten times more memorable. There’s a reason why visiting Paris is listed on countless numbers of bucket lists, and I’m extremely grateful that I get to cross it off mine.