A weekend in Paris: visiting the city of light.
Paris, the so-called city of light–or city of love, if you prefer its romantic side–is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its history goes far in time as it can recall the Roman Empire or the raids Vikings did but nowadays is a cosmopolitan, modern and lively city
If you’re planning a weekend in Paris but don’t want to miss the really important things, this is your guide. Welcome to Paris as you’ve never seen it.
»Paris is always a good idea. It’s such a cliché, but it’s true. I was twelve when I visited the city of lights for the first time and never imagined myself living nearby a decade later. Even though it’s been twenty-six years since my first time, seeing the Eiffel tower from afar, still makes me happy every single time. Looking for some plans for a weekend in Paris? Keep reading.
The good thing about Paris is that every season is perfect for a trip to Paris: in the fall the weather is still nice, the month before Xmas Paris is magical with all the lights and decorated shop windows. In January you can enjoy the “soldes”, February and March are usually a little less hectic (unless it snows) and allow you to go on long walks around the city and snuggle up with a “chocolat chaud” in a cozy café. The winter sunlight in Paris is so beautiful too!
Even if you only can spend a weekend in Paris, it will captivate you. Once the spring kicks in, it’s time to enjoy the parks and outdoor spaces (Buttes de Chaumont, Place des Vosges, Parc de la Villette, Coulée Verte) and enjoy some refreshing drinks on a terrace. After Bastille Day on the 14th of July, the city becomes calmer and by August all Parisians are out of the city to enjoy their holidays. Boutiques close their doors for the month and public transportation is bliss until it’s la rentrée, back to school/work in the first weeks of September. Everyone is back in town, just in time for Fashion Week!
According to me, the best way to discover Paris is by foot. You can look around, sit down for a drink, check out the neighborhood and you’ll find new areas, shops, details, restaurants, museums, cafes and meet new people if you’re up for it. However, if you wish to cover larger distances, the metro is very convenient and fast. Get yourself a carnet of 10 tickets, or a day/weekend pass and off you go. Or grab an Uber or a taxi if you prefer.
Paris is also a place where you can take it slow, don’t rush to see & do everything, because the truth is: you can’t… but instead take your time to eat some nice French food, shop for something special, do some people watching and enjoy your company.
Below I’ve listed some of my favorite places in Paris. I didn’t include any museums, because that’s so extremely personal and the choice of exhibitions in Paris changes ever so often.
Where to stay?
First step to plan a weekend in Paris: where to sleep. If you decide to splurge on a “Palace” or decide to go low(er) budget (like an AirBnB or The Generator Hostel), you can skip this list. But if you’re looking for a nicely designed hotel, any of these will make you feel at home… almost!
Hotel des Grand Boulevards
Hotel Molitor (with an epic pool! and close to the Serres d’Auteuil and Roland Garros)
Where to go for dinner?
Paris has so much to offer for foodies! Whether you like street food or prefer tasting menus: you find the very best in Paris. With a great chef at home, I don’t eat out very often, but these are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
Restaurant Robert (French)
La Felicita by Big Mama Group (Italian)
Marché des Enfants Rouges (Food market)
Rue Sainte Anne (Japanese)
Le Daily Syrien (Syrian)
L’Abattoir Végétal (Vegetarian and Vegan)
Where to go for lunch of coffee?
A healthy lunch, the best cookie, a delicious poke bowl and the perfect coffee… These ten places are very Instagrammable, but also serve nice food and drinks:
Wild and the Moon
Scoop me a cookie
The Hood Paris
The Broken Arm
Where to shop?
Shop till you drop at any of these places:
La Trésorerie (Home & Interior)
Fleux (Interior & Gifts)
Papier Tigre (Paper goods & gifts)
Jack Gomme (Bags Made in France, for him & her)
La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marché (Classy and beautiful grocery shopping)
The Conran Shop (Interior)
Maison Sarah Lavoine (Interior)
Empreintes (Contemporary Arts & Crafts)
Maison Château Rouge (Young African designer wear)
Made.com showroom (Interior)
Institut Finlandais (Interior & gifts)
Where to get creative?
For DIY lovers and crafty people, don’t miss these creative spaces where you can shop or follow creative workshops:
Where to adopt a new plant?
As you may know I love plants (and co-wrote a book about it too, called “Urban Jungle, Living and Styling with Plants”), and in Paris we are very lucky to have such an abundance of cool plant shops. True jungle shops, ceramic plant paradises, lush balcony shops, specialty cactus shops and even a botanic hairdresser & plant shop. Below I listed some of the very best in town. And if you visit any of these, say hi to my plant friends on my behalf!
Mama Petula (at Grands Voisins & Ground Control)
What the Flower
Le Cactus Club
Les Succulents Cactus
Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil (Botanical Garden)
Some extra Paris resources:
Navigate Paris tours (Alternative personalized Paris tours) https://www.navigateparis.com
La Cuisine Paris (French cooking classes) https://lacuisineparis.com
Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide (Guide) by Jessie Kanelos Weiner https://www.amazon.com/Paris-Stride-Insiders-Walking-Guide/dp/0847861252
The New Paris (book) by Lindsey Tramuta https://www.amazon.com/New-Paris-Lindsey-Tramuta/dp/1419724037
Tasting Paris (book) by Clotilde Dusoulier https://www.amazon.com/Tasting-Paris-Recipes-Like-Local/dp/045149914X