As a result of our Italian trip being cancelled two and a half years ago due to the pandemic, we’re FINALLY able to travel to Tuscany. However, with no direct flights to Florence from Vancouver, a four-day stopover in Paris is a bonus.
ANY excuse to land in Paris is good enough for me. So, I’ve dusted off my passport, which feels like forever since it’s seen the light of day. Nevertheless, Paris is the perfect starting point for the beginning of our six-week holiday, and I could not be more excited.
It’s great to be back!
Where we stayed
We spent four nights at the Hotel Duc de Saint Simon, in the charming neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Pres or, if you prefer, the 6th arrondissement. I love this area. It’s central to many sights, some of the best restaurants, and fabulous shopping. You can’t go wrong.
It’s busy, and a tour company can help
Of course, now that travel has returned in full force, so have the crowds.
So, don’t wait until the last minute to book your favourite attraction and go earlier in the day to visit those iconic landmarks and hidden gems. Plan ahead, or you will set yourself up for disappointment. And, If you’re short on time, I would one hundred percent consider taking a guided tour.
We’re no strangers to the Louvre, but it can be overwhelming with its 652,300 square feet. Seriously huge! This time, we wanted to experience the Louvre differently, deciding to take advantage of a guided tour. It’s a fun way to learn more details about the museum and its illustrious art instead of wandering aimlessly. Which, trust me, can be exhausting.
We used Viator. It’s a one size fits all tour company. It was easy to book online, and they offer a wide range of tours and experiences that suit most tastes and budgets.
If you’re looking for something special, one of a kind, Atelier Tours Paris features private small group “journeys” in Paris and beyond. Their custom-design tours are for the discerning traveller passionate about art, design, and French culture. Need I say more?
Make the best use of your time.
Paris shouldn’t be rushed. Keep it simple. We planned our days based on the sights and arrondissement. From there, we explored the neighbourhoods and gave ourselves time (as the French would say) to flâneur. Walking is a great way to enjoy Paris. Take a moment to relax at a café or a wine bar. In other words, don’t pack too much into your day, and enjoy your surroundings.
And drink wine.
My favourite spots to go shopping
Sure, I love to shop, even when I’m not buying, and Saint Germain des Pres offers some of the best shopping experiences in Paris. Expect a locals vibe with one-of-type boutiques, the gorgeous Bon Marché department store, and its delicious food hall, which spares nothing except fewer crowds. It’s perfect!
FYI…I did manage to purchase a little something, something on this trip;)
The right bank is famously known for its designer boutiques. Although, if it’s not in the budget, it’s still worth exploring; window shopping comes cheap.
Two well-known Paris department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps (located next to each other), are admired for their beautiful Haussmann architecture and magnificent views. Visit inside to see the stunning cupolas, do a little shopping, and maybe even spend an afternoon sipping your favourite bubbly on the rooftop restaurant of Le Printemps. The views are spectacular!
Next, stroll down rue Saint Honore (yes, more boutiques), eventually landing on rue Faubourg, home to the iconic Hermés store.
Be prepared. The Champs-Élysées is touristy. Expect to find more of the same French designer brand names. Otherwise, the main attraction is the Arc de Triumph which steals the show.
We had no issues finding a delicious meal with an incredible selection of cafés and restaurants. And the wine!
We discovered a few new restaurants, Les Botanistes, and Le Gévaudan. We also visited a couple of old favourites, Chez Hanna and Les Antiquaires, which are always good choices. Make sure to read Tasting and Sipping in Paris.
It was a whirlwind adventure, Paris in four days wasn’t long enough, and yes, I say this every time I visit.
Nevertheless, I’ll be back soon for sure!