It was like a dream come true, planning our very first trip to Paris - PARIS! I've been dreaming of visiting this city for as long as I can remember, and looking out the airplane to catch my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower almost had me in tears. It was beautiful. Everything was just as magical as I dreamed it would be. You know when you build something up in your head and it falls flat? Well this was certainly not the case here.
We stayed in an Airbnb in St. Germain, and I truly felt like a Parisian as I walked in and out of this quaint apartment and stepped out onto the streets of Paris. It was everything I thought it would be and more. While I don't know a lick of French, the friends we stayed with luckily knew enough to order food and get around which was a huge bonus.
If you are unfamiliar with the language like me, you can save words and phrases on Google Translate that you can access even if you are not connected to WiFi or have a cellular plan. This was a HUGE help and I highly recommend you set this up prior to your arrival with standard phrases and words. Most people in the tourist areas speak English and only ran into a handful of situations where we needed to whip out our Google Translate app. Very thankful we had this.
Fun Activities in Paris
Do a Bike Tour
If you're looking for a fun way to quickly explore Paris on a budget, a bike tour is the perfect way to experience the beautiful sites (while also working off all the crepes and macarons you'll inevitably be eating). I know, I know it's super touristy, but we like to learn about the city that we're visiting and got to see so many amazing places too. Fat Tire Bike Tours has great tour options to choose from and, lucky for us, a plethora of tour guides that speak English!
Visit Some Museums
Looking to get lost in a museum all day? There are so many to choose from, but our favorite was the Musée d'Orsay. The exhibits are amazing and seem to go on for days. You can easily spend an entire day here - even the cafeteria is stunning! This museum is nothing short of breathtaking and you will love every moment of it. I'd recommend buying your museum tickets ahead of time online and avoid the lines. No one likes spending their vacation stuck in line and we were able to waltz right on in.
Go for a Picnic
Want to feel like a true Parisian (and not break the bank)? Go to a local formagerie (cheese shop), a local bakery and then a grocery store for the remaining essentials for a picnic in Paris! Everywhere you turn is stunning so you really can't go wrong, but we chose to eat by the Louvre. You can also picnic by the Seine river and then take a river cruise to soak in all the sites of Paris! We took a river cruise at night since we did a bike tour during the day, and it's amazing how the city lights up at night. It truly is magical.
Transportation in Paris
While in Paris, we used the underground subway, walked a lot (bring comfy shoes!) and also used Uber. I didn't know that Uber was an international service until Paris, but it was super convenient and cheap when split between us and our friends.
One thing to note, the underground subway does not open until 5:30am so don't count on using it if you need to be at the airport by 5:30am (whoops). Luckily, you stick out like a sore thumb wandering down the road with a suitcase so taxis gravitate to you - though it will cost 50-55 euro. Desperate times, desperate measures. I will always recommend walking if you can because you get to see so much of the city that you wouldn't otherwise be able to see.
Ok I'm no expert when it comes to restaurants in Paris and there are so many amazing places to eat in Paris, but one that stood out to us was this adorable restaurant while in the Latin Quarter, Le Coup de Chou. It looks quite small from the outside but actually has several large rooms to dine in and bathrooms downstairs and was absolutely amazing. Even months later we still talk about our dining experience there.
I hope you love traipsing through Paris as much as we did! I still dream of this beautiful city, and I know that you will too after your visit. If you find yourself in Paris during the winter, then check out our winter Parisian itinerary!