My Favourite Things To Do In Paris
I am back to regular posting on the blog after taking a few months off to just explore and enjoy the summer.
For those who don’t follow me on Instagram (what are you waiting for?) Florian and I hired a car back in July and drove 8,996 km around Europe (I know is the exact number because Flo contemplating driving 4 km to reach 9000 km) for the summer and it was MAGIC.
I decided to not put too much pressure to write at every stop, seeing as we visited 24 cities, and thought I could always write and reflect when I returned to Sydney.
The first cab off the rank is my favourite things to do in Paris. With borders opening up and international travel looking more possible next year, I thought I’d write up the places Flo and I loved to visit for you to enjoy if you’re thinking of visiting (or revisiting) Paris in the future.
I’ll just add a caveat to the below by saying this is just MY opinion of great things to do/try/visit. I think it’d take a lifetime to try all the eateries and museums in the city.
Here are a few of my favourite things…
Pain au chocolat
It started off as a daily ritual, however after a month and a growing waistline, we decided to only indulge in a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) once a week instead.
Now, we took our research of finding the best pain au chocolat in our neighbourhood VERY seriously and after some difficult and really trying times, we both agreed Boulangerie Gana was the winner.
Think flakey pastry with a delicious dark chocolate centre, these pain au chocolat are the real deal.
Best of all, they have locations sprinkled across the city so no matter where you’re staying, there’s one close by!
Address can be found on their website.
I’m not normally a big éclair fan but after a friend said he’d found the best éclair he’s ever eaten, I thought, well when in Paris!
And my goodness was he right. The chocolate éclairs at The French Bastards are next-level.
The custard filling is rich and creamy and the pastry is firm and very flavoursome.
The French Bastards
61 Rue Oberkampf, Paris 75011 and 181 Rue Saint-Denis, Paris 75002
Le Peloton cafe feels more like spending time at a friend’s place than a cafe. Run by an Aussie and Kiwi duo, the cafe always has loads of fun and exciting people hanging around, and best of all, when I asked for non-dairy milk there was no confusion!
In those moments you’re craving a good coffee that isn’t your standard espresso, Le Peloton is your go-to. If you’re looking to indulge in something a little naughty, be sure to check out the ham and cheese waffles, think a jaffle but instead of bread, it’s waffle!
If you love cycling, the cafe also hosts rides around the city and beyond as well as road riding courses to get familar with navigating Parisian streets.
17 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe 75004
Sure, you’ve come to Paris and chances of you wanting a plate of ramen are low, but when the mood strikes, it’s good to know a good restaurant to visit.
Ippudo ramens are rich in favour and jam packed with umami that’ll leave you trying to spoon up every last drop.
74-76 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau 75001 and 14 rue Grégoire de Tours 75006 and 6 place Jacques Bonsergent
After living in Paris for a few months, I started to miss dumplings real bad! However this dumpling-shaped hole in my heart was filled when I discovered Mao’s Dumpling Bar.
I first came across the restaurant during the lockdown as they were selling noodle meal kits to recreate at home, which were divinely tasty. So when lockdown lifted, this was one of the first places I visited.
With all your favourites and many new ones, Mao’s is perfect for both quick bite or sharing a dumpling feast with your friends.
28 Rue de Saintonge, 75003
Situated in Gare de Lyon, Le Train Bleu transports you back in time as you dine on the dishes that put France on the map as a culinary destination in the world.
Florian treated me to a special lunch for my golden 29th birthday and the experience did not disappoint. It’s easy to fall into the tourist traps when looking for traditional French food but Le Train Bleu is anything but a trap.
Opened to celebrate the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900, the restaurant has a real sense of old-world charm that’s steeped in history and culture.
The standout dish was the steak tartare for sure!
Gare de Lyon, Pl. Louis-Armand, 75012
With nearly 40 bridges in Paris, it’s seems a little odd to have a favourite, but when you see Pont Alexandre III you may change your mind.
Also built for the Universal Exposition in 1900, the steel bridge is a must-see when in the city.
Sandwiched between Pont des Invalides and Pont de la Concorde, this beautifully ornate bridge spans 160m and is adorned with beautiful street lamps and a beautiful shade of duck egg blue.
Pont Alexandre III, 75008
The Louvre tends to take all the spotlight when it comes to museums in Paris, but, and perhaps an unpopular opinion, I think Musée d’Orsay deserves more credit.
Housed in a former train station, the Musée d’Orsay’s interesting architecture and collection of art makes this museum a special place among the other 130 across the city. As you approach the entry, you’ll be greeted by large animal statues like a rhino, elephant and horse.
If you’ve ever seen images of the large clock faces and not known where to find them, voilà here they are!
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007
I had seen Monet’s incredible Water Lillies paintings online and in books but until you see the curved-panelled piece in real life, you’re missing out on so much.
The Musée de l’Orangerie was specifically made to house these artworks and I was absolutely blown away when I entered the space. The pictures you’ve seen don’t capture the depth and the hundreds of different colours used to create these masterpieces.
Located in the Jardin Tuileries, chances are you’ll walk right near the museum, and it is definitely worth a visit.
Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin Tuileries, 75001
It’s easy to find an ‘alright’ crêpe in Paris but if you want a fantastic one, look for this little whole in the wall.
Located at Place Anne-Marie Carrière in Montmartre, this unassuming crêperie makes the best Flo and I ate in the year we were in Paris.
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the neighbourhood atop the hill in Montmartre so be sure to wander down and check out this place. I never got the name as I was always mesmerised by the nutella oozing out of my freshly made crêpe but I retraced my steps and found it on google maps below.
5 Pl. Anne-Marie Carrière
So during the lockdown, I was reading a book and week and found myself using my ‘exercise time’ to walk to Shakespeare and Company to buy my next read.
The English bookstore is rich in history and has a certain charm other bookstores don’t share. Here you’ll find classics like Hemingway, Salinger and Joyce to modern best-sellers like Matt Haig and Margaret Atwood along with an extensive non-fiction catalogue, too.
Featured in loads of movies and across influencers’ feeds, the book shop is a fun stop in the city.
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005
Any F1 fans?
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, or as we often hear it, the FIA is the governing body of the Formula 1 and as I found out, is headquartered in Paris. Florian and I stumbled across this corridor on one of our many visits to Place de la Concorde.
The corridor from the street to the interior is lined with helmets and gloves, videos and pictures of drivers past and present. I’m not sure if you’re able to visit beyond the corridor as it was during lockdown, but a lovely man appeared and gave us both a FIA pen which I still have as a souvenir.
Hôtel de Crillon, 8 Pl. de la Concorde, 75008
Travelling at Christmas time?
Parisian department stores take Christmas decorations to a whole new level than I’m used to.
Two must-see Christmas extravaganzas you must see are the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and Le Bon Marché. It looks like no expense is spared when it comes to the holidays in these two stores as you’re transported into a winter wonderland.
Sorry Westfield, but it’s time to up your game!
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, 40 Bd Haussmann, 75009 and Le Bon Marché 24 Rue de Sèvres 75007
Paris is definitely a walking city so skip the ubers and taxis and try and walk anywhere and everywhere. If you MUST take it, I recommend getting off a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the distance or walking there and metro back home.
The characters you come across on the metro are always entertaining so I do recommend taking it at least once.
I’m sure as the days pass, I’ll add to the list above so be sure to keep visiting the post! (I’ve already jumped back in twice to add more since hitting publish 15 minutes ago)
Whilst Paris will always have a special place in my heart, it sure is good to be home!