As a result of our Italian trip being cancelled two and a half years ago due to the pandemic, we’re now FINALLY able to travel to Tuscany. However, with no direct flights to Florence from Vancouver, a stopover in Paris for four days is a bonus.
Quite frankly, 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!
We spent four nights at the Hotel Duc de Saint Simon, located 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.
Of course, now that travel has returned in full force, so have the crowds. It’s busy.
So, don’t wait until the last minute to book your favourite attraction. 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. 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 would 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 to (as the French would say) 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.
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 of my favourite 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, or do a little shopping, maybe even spend an afternoon sipping your favourite bubbly on the rooftop restaurant of Galeries Lafayette. The views are spectacular!
Next, stroll down rue Saint Honore (yes, more boutiques), which eventually lands onto 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 choice.
Four days wasn’t long enough, and yes, I say this every time I visit.
Never the less, I’ll be back soon for sure!