Paris travel guide... my favorite places to eat, shop, stay

CITNB Paris Highlights

22 January

Ah, Paris!  What a dream week that was.  T and I knew we wanted to get away together to Europe one more time just the two of us before the baby, and I just couldn’t shake the urge to get my Paris fix.  I have had girlfriends visit a few of the cities on my current bucket list and come back with mixed reviews, and I just didn’t want to be disappointed especially if we knew we wouldn’t get a trip like this (just us) for a while.  We’re not huge beach people (I love a beach vacay but crave my city escapes more!), plus T could only go in January which also left off some of the snowier and colder cities… narrowing my decision back to Paris.  We booked our tickets and shipped Rex off to the grandparents’!

This was my fourth time to Paris and each time I’ve stayed a week.  So I have done my fair share of touristing and this trip all I really wanted to do was eat all of the croissants, sip tea in cafes, walk for miles each day, and spend the majority of my time in my favorite neighborhoods.  We checked off all of those boxes… walking 10 to 12 miles a day which was waaaay more activity than this pregnant girl had gotten in awhile.  But it doesn’t feel like you’re walking that much when you’re in such a dreamy (and flat!) city.  I have my favorite spots that I made sure to get back to, but this time I also asked for recommendations from friends who travel to Paris often as well as you!  So thank you SO much for all of the gems!  Sharing my faves below along with an edited list of spots you recommended that we just couldn’t get around to.  Turns out you can’t eat and do it all… so I’m already craving another trip.  Again, I still don’t feel like a Paris expert or worthy of an official guide by any means–this is just an edit of the highlights from our week!

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CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

(Tea time at Carette in Trocadero.)

CITNB Paris Highlights  |  The days sorta blend together (in the best way possible) because we had a similar agenda each day–breakfast at our hotel fueling up for long walks, hitting the pavement with a few destinations in mind or a reservation but nothing else.  I loved going about the city at this slower pace, not racing to hit up everything because we’ve done all of the touristy spots and just taking the city in as a local.

Where to Stay  |  Hotel Saint-Marc  We loved this little gem of a boutique hotel.  My girlfriend Olivia who visits Paris frequently recommended it and she has the best design eye and taste so I knew it’d be special.  It’s centrally located close to the Louvre so we walked there multiple days (walking right in without any lines on a Friday night when it was less crowded was a highlight as well!), and about equal distance to Le Marais and across the water to Saint-Germain (the two neighborhoods we spent most of our time in).  The hotel feels like you’re in on an insider secret (we didn’t run into any Americans–only French), the staff was super helpful, and they serve a great breakfast in the mornings.  Our only negative was that we didn’t realize they charge for said breakfast (duh! we found that out when we got our hotel bill at the end of the week… oh well, it was convenient and relaxing to wake up to such a sweet spread!).

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Additional spots recommended ::

** For a few other more off-the-radar boutique and design-chic spots to stay, see Olivia’s post here 

** I’ve also stayed in Saint-Germain and in an apartment in Le Marais, and would totally recommend that route in a heartbeat again.  For nicer apartments than Airbnb, a great site to look is: One Fine Stay

** Also, received so many recommendations to stay at Hôtel Costes–although I have to say we went here for a drink and while it’s very cool with a glamorous Parisian vibe, it was a bit scene-y for us.  We prefer more low-key boutique hotels.

Hôtel Particulier Montmartre

CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

(A walk to dinner along the Seine.)

CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

   Favorite Neighborhoods and What to Do |  If you’re looking to just walk around and spend the afternoon, my two favorite neighborhoods in Paris are:  Le Marais (so my vibe and has all of the shopping) and Saint-Germain (a bit more touristy and high-end but charming and lovely to walk along the Seine).  A highlight from this trip was exploring more of the Montmartre neighborhood, an area I hadn’t ventured into before.  Walk along St. Martyrs street for boutiques and up to Sacré-Coeur for stunning views of the city.  (FYI it’s a bit more touristy and gritty than the other areas.)

Palais Royal 

Eiffel Tower views in Trocadero

Jardin de Luxembourg

Walk along the Seine River to Notre Dame Cathedral

Museu Picasso  

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Additional spots recommended that I wish we made it to::

L’Atelier Brancusi (sculptures).

** I looked to Goop for suggestions this trip, and also think my girlfriend Meghan did an amazing job with her Paris guides so I’d highly recommend checking those out for more to-do as well.

CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

On Going In January.  |  Besides the fact that yes it’s colder than other times of the year and Paris isn’t in bloom so the gardens aren’t as spectacular as they would be other times of the year… I would highly recommend traveling around this time.  Anywhere in Europe for that matter if the weather doesn’t bother you because it’s SO less touristy and busy.  We had our hotel practically to ourselves, you can get cheaper rates on flights and rooms etc., we got into a lot of popular restaurants super last minute, and there are crazy post-holiday sales…that we keep saying we should have taken more advantage of.  I’ve been to Paris during each of the seasons now, and I’d have to say fall and winter are my favorite just for the less-touristyness.

Just layer up and it’s quite romantic this time of year!  Plus there are plenty of cute cafes to continuously duck into and warm up with a cup of tea or glass of wine.

CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

(Pizza and pasta to share at Pink Mama, oh so yum!)

Where to Eat  |  We felt so spoiled with a week full of Rex-less dinning.  Every meal and drink felt like a date!  Our favorite spots were…

Pink Mama–such a fun spot!  It’s actually Italian food, ha, but we loved the vibe and interiors.  We were seated at the top which feels like you’re dining in a green house.  Tanner thought this was one of the best meals of the trip (although he’s such a pizza guy).  And I devoured my pasta.  Make a resie for sure as it’s popular.

Frenchie–for a unique fine dining experience!  It’s a pre-fixe daily menu so you have no clue what’s coming.  It was a bit heavy but such a fun experience and we were surprised that we loved every single dish (we were prepared to get some wild cards).  If you can’t get in, there’s a quick Frenchie To-Go next door as well as their wine bar across the street.

Cafe Charlot–I remembered this spot from when I stayed in Le Marais with my sister and made sure to go back.  While some say it’s touristy, I still love it.  You get that traditional brasserie feel–the vibe is low-key and easy for any meal and the food is delicious.

Carrette–we went to both the Marais and Trocadero location on this trip and I preferred the Trocadero location (although we found this location was pricier).  Grab tea, and people watch… I had the best quiche here!

Buvette–the New York location will always have a special place in my heart as I went there weekly in New York (we lived around the corner)… so I made sure to visit the Paris location when we were in Montmartre.  We ducked in just as it started raining for cappuccinos  and croissants and it stands out in my mind as one of the most romantic little highlights of our trip.

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Additional spots recommended ::

Versus.  Septime.  Holybelly (for breakfast/lunch).  Claus (brunch).  Spring.  Ferdi (you have to text them for a resie–so maybe ask your hotel to check in with them).  Juste (seafood).  L’as du falafel (apparently the best falafels around).  Maison Aleph (cutest dessert spot).  Nanashi (for a healthier meal).  Le Relais de l’Entrecôte (Saint-Germain location–go for steak frites and unlimited fries).  La Cigale Récamier (their chocolate soufflé is the best).  Clamato. Le Servan.  Mokonuts Bakery.  Blé Sucré (best croissants).  Noglu.  Barthelemy
(for cheese).  La Poule Au Pot (for a very traditionally French meal, so adordable).  Le Perchoir (rooftop bar in Le Marais).  Utopia Bakery (warm croissants).  BigLove.  Ellsworth.  Telescope Cafe.  Brasserie Lipp.  Le Reminet.  Terrass Hotel rooftop.  Breizh Cafe.  Ister.  Le 404 (for dinner).  Pain Vin Fromage.  Pasticceria Fatta in Casa (pizza–didn’t get a chance to go  but walked past multiple times and looks so cute!).

CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

Where to Grab Drinks  |

Calendaria–this hidden speakeasy of a bar came highly recommended from multiple girlfriends so I knew we had to pop in.  It’s actually located across from my favorite designer, Isabel Marant, in the Marais so I’m surprised I hadn’t known about it during my previous trips.  You walk through a taco bar to get to the bar in the back.  Make a resie just in case!  I had the BEST mocktail spicy margarita ever… almost didn’t know I wasn’t drinking the real thing.  Almost.

Experimental Cocktail Bar–give the bartender any requests and they’ll whip you up something unique.  I had one of the most delicious ginger mocktails and Tanner said his whiskey drink was the best cocktail he got in Paris.

Bar Hemingway–we had drinks here on our anniversary the first time we were in Paris together so it will always have special memories.

Angelina–for the most rich hot chocolate you’ll ever have.  There’s a crazy line but just walk in and grab one to go.  Tanner actually wasn’t a fan, he thought it was too rich, but it really hit the spot for this preggo.  Tastes like you’re drinking the inside of a chocolate lava cake.

Cafe de Flore–also touristy but I go every time, as I think everyone does.  Fun to people watch!  (As well as Les Deus Magots next door).

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Additional spots recommended ::

Prescription Cocktail Bar.

Le Verre Volé. (wine bar)

CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

Where to Shop  |

Le Marais–I’m a boutique girl, and shopping the streets in Le Marais are my personal favorite.  Be sure to pop into Isabel Marant and Antik Batik for me while you’re there.

Rue Ave Montaigne–for fancy shopping!  I splurged at Céline while in Paris and this was such a special spot to do so.

Bon Marche–a one stop shop edited and iconic department store.  So beautiful!

Merci–a mix of homewares, mens, women, and cute cafe.  I go every time I’m in Paris.

L’Appartement Sézane

Bon Point–for the cutest kids clothes.  I think I probably stopped into every location in all of Paris (not on purpose)… but whenever I spotted one I had to go in.  I picked up a number of sweet pieces for baby girl!

Smallable Concept Store–another fave for baby items but this concept store has something for everyone as well.

Paris Flea Market–go on a Sunday!  Wow the most amazing home decor… take an uber, as it’s a bit outside of the city and ask your hotel for the best street to drop you off on… it goes on for miles.

CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

(Dress the part.)

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(Hotel Saint-Marc.)

 CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots CITNB Paris Highlights | An Edited Travel Guide of Favorite Spots

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