• Saint Sulpice Church

Despite appearances in both the Dan Brown and Ron Howard iteration of The Da Vinci Code, Paris's second largest church remains surprisingly under-visited. Nestled in the heart of the Saint Germain district, Saint Sulpice is easily recognizable by its impressive white façade and mismatched bell towers. Boasting three paintings by French artist Delacroix, who also has pieces on display in the Louvre, the Baroque interior is not only stunning to enter but free, too.

  • Pain de Sucre Macarons

Gourmands from around the world fawn over the colorful macarons at Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, but it’s the lesser-known bakeries that often produce superior products. Sure, it's all a matter of personal preference, but the macarons at Pain de Sucre, by the Pompidou Center in the Marais, are top-notch.

  • Hotel des Invalides and the Military Museum

Sure, travelers are busy visiting the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Pompidou Center—but lines at the military museum are nonexistent. Maybe it sounds geeky, but the artifacts dating back to the Middle Ages up through World War II are fascinating, culminating in a visit to Napoléon's over-the-top tomb. Displays are in English, to better help visitors understand what they're seeing.

  • Rue Montorgueil

Tourists manage to find Rue Montorgueil, the less-gaudy version of Rue Cler, but its location just north of Les Halles and spanning the length of the 1st arrondissement and 2nd arrondissement can be somewhat off-putting. The former market district is something of a permanent construction site, but Rue Montorgueil is far enough away from the unpleasantness and features the city's oldest pastry shop, fantastic cheese mongers, and lively bars, which is decidedly more local than other streets.

  • Gardens of the Palais Royal

The gardens within the arcades of the Palais Royal are never as busy as they should be—probably because everyone is across the street at the Louvre. There's something to be said for sitting by the fountain on a sunny day, surrounded by Parisians who know how to kick back and relax. A coffee from the Kitsuné, under the arcades on the western edge, will round off any stroll through the pristine gardens.

  • Carnavalet Museum

This little Marais mainstay is dedicated to all things Parisian history. Housed in two mansions built in the 16th and 17th centuries respectively, it's free, charming, and often goes overlooked by tourists. Lines at the nearby falafel shops are longer than any lines that can be seen at the Carnavalet. Sure the falafel is good, but the Carnavalet is just as delicious.

  • Le Bon Marche - Sezane shop

You can find inspiration anywhere in Paris! On the streets, walking along the banks of the Seine, in the parks, in museums, old cinemas… I also love Le Bon Marché in the 6th arrondissment. It was the first department store in the world, and I think the most beautiful. We’re so excited to have a little Sézane shop in there now – I love visiting it.

  • Septime

For tourists who want to try French food, I would say Septime in the 11th arrondissment, which is modern French cuisine but in a relaxed, farmhouse-style environment.

  • Bronco

One of my favorite restaurants in Paris is Bronco – I love the ambiance of this restaurant because you feel like you are at someone’s house.

  • Bambou

We also love this modern Thai restaurant across from L’Appartement called Bambou – it’s one of the few spaces in Paris that has an outdoor garden that is quite big, but not on the street so it’s very quiet and peaceful. The food is delicious too!

  • l’hotel des Beaux Arts

Favorite place to get a glass of wine? The bar of l’hotel des Beaux Arts. I love the atmosphere of this timeless, secret bar

  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Musée Rodin
  • Hotel Particulier Montmartre

It’s the best secret hotel, tucked inside a little garden in Montmartre and full of luxurious rooms and suites.

  • Odette - Pastry shop
  • Le Syndicat

Celebrating all things French, this Parisian bar is known for its incredible cocktails, hip scene and gorgeous décor. Le Syndicat isn’t simply a speakeasy or a hidden bar, but a stunning spot to stumble into in a less appreciated neighborhood.

  • Richelieu Library
  • Atelier Brancusi
  • Mirazur - Menton, France
  • Arpege (Paris, France)
  • Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)
  • Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
  • Septime (Paris, France)
  • Treat yourself to a night at a luxury Parisian hotel

Nothing says luxury like Paris. Sip champagne, order room service, and wear a ridiculously fluffy robe every second you’re not out sightseeing. Not to mention the views.

  • Dine on a riverboat cruise and take in the city lit up at night

They don’t call Paris la ville de la lumière for nothing. Plan a riverboat cruise so you can gently glide past all those glittering lights — a truly magical evening for the books.

  • Take a French pastry or cooking class

What’s better than a croissant? A croissant that you made yourself — in Paris, no less. Learn the art of cooking the French way and delight your friends when you return. We recommend classes at La Cuisine (which is actually run by a woman from Chicago who has lived in Paris the past ten years)! Both the market cooking class and croissant baking class are a treat (no pun intended). Classes are small and book up quickly, so be sure to book at least a month ahead!

  • Imbibe at a Parisian jazz club

Transport yourself to the 20s in Paris — imagine glittering castanet skirts, bright jazz trumpets, and whirling around the dance floor doing everything from the Charleston to the Lindy Hop. Good drinks, better atmosphere, best music? What are you waiting for?

  • Do the private tour of the Louvre

The Louvre is filled with so much history — it should be required to enter with an educated guide. The amount of information you’ll learn will exponentially increase your appreciation for everything around you.

  • Get yourself something you’ll have forever

A hat, a handbag, a piece of jewelry, or a vintage home good… find something classic that will outlast the trends and great quality that will last a long time.

  • Stroll the gardens and grounds at Versailles

Part of the experience of Paris is walking everywhere (good thing there’s all that bread, cheese, and wine to keep you fortified) and one of the best walks of your entire trip will be in Versailles. The opulence! The majesty! The landscaping!

  • Shop a morning market and picnic along the River

Grab your market tote and fill it with fresh cheese, a crumbly, hot-from-the-oven baguette, and a fabulous bottle of wine for an impromptu picnic along the Seine. Let the beauty of Paris be your brunch-mate.

  • Visit Monet’s Garden and House at Giverny

Experience the beauty that inspired some of Monet’s most classic and reverential work. Tour his home, stand on the Japanese bridge, and spot the hovering water lilies. A must for any bucket list.

  • Spend an Afternoon Cafe Hopping

Another simple one to cross off your list… but also difficult considering most people’s itineraries for such an expansive city are jam-packed from morning to night. But Paris, after all, is all about slowing down, enjoying life. So spend a few hours doing just that. Cafe hop. Sit in those picturesque chairs and sip cappuccinos or wine. People watch. Read or journal. And soak up that joie de vivre.

dec 21 2015 ∞
jun 25 2018 +