Oh, how long I’ve been waiting to write a travel post about PARIS! It’s been nearly 2 months since I visited the city of lights for the first time, and most certainly not the last. Even in the pouring rain it was EVERYTHING I dreamed of and more. It left me craving another trip and visit to Europe ASAP! Today I’m sharing my guide to fitting in as much as possible into a 3 night stay in Paris. This is a LONG post. There are a LOT of photos. I’m sharing my suggested breakdown for 3 days – along with my notes on all the places I wanted to visit but didn’t get a chance to in case you have more than 3 days to spend in Paris!
Why 3 nights? Well I’m a mom to a 12 month old baby and busy toddler and I was breastfeeding at the time of my trip and didn’t want to be away from my family for longer than 4 nights. Yes, I PUMPED IN PARIS FOR 3 DAYS!!!! I deliberated for a while over if this was a long enough time to go to Paris for, if it would be worth it. But, after scoring a flight to Paris for under $500 I bit the bullet and booked it! The outbound flight is just a little bit longer than my flights to California after all! While I dream about traveling in Paris for a week, right now it’s not an option, but with Austin’s work schedule going away for 4 nights was manageable!
When I lived in NYC my two best girlfriend’s, Sarah and Renie and I always dreamed of traveling to Paris together. They made the dream come true last year but I was pregnant with Flora and couldn’t go. When a work trip for Sarah coincided with my 35th birthday and conclusion of my first year blogging full-time we decided to tag along and make a long weekend of it! WHAT A GOOD CHOICE! I spent a lot of time researching – I’m going to share my favorite resources at the end of this post. But here’s a recap of what we did!
Where to stay
Like in most large European cities, hotel rooms are notoriously small in Paris. We were torn about which neighborhood to stay in – but ultimately new we’d be doing a lot of walking and it wouldn’t really matter. We ended up at Bourgogne & Montana – a jewel of a hotel in the 7th. It’s located on a quiet street but a stone’s throw from everything we wanted to visit in Saint Germain and a very quick walk to the Seine and D’Orsay Museum. We were able to easily walk to the Eiffel Tower and Tuileries, too and took a few Uber’s at night. There’s also pastry shops across the street and a darling little cafe where we had our farewell breakfast around the corner. We couldn’t have been happier with our stay! The lobby above is so pretty!
A note about museums– Paris is FULL of amazing art museums, you could spend a week and not even touch the surface. Since we had such a short period of time in Paris and a long list of things we wanted to see (it was my first time after all) we decided not to do one of the major museums. This bummed me out at first but when thinking about how much time it would take up I decided it would make me happier to see more, especially since it was rainy and we knew they would be crowded. We narrowed it down to: Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangiere (to see Monet’s Lillies) or the Picasso Museum. I love Picasso and our schedule just ended up working out to see that one!
An overview of our 3 days in Paris:
Day 1: Saint Germain & Eiffel Tower
Day 2: Tuileries Gardens, Louvre, Marais
Day 3: Seine, Notre Dame, Museum
Saint Germain, Eiffel Tower & early dinner
MonoPrix, City Pharma, Le Bon Marche, Pierre Herme macrons
Our mission and goal was to sleep as much as humanly possible on the overnight flight to Paris so we’d arrive ready for a full day of action (we only had 3 full days, after all). Well, that didn’t happen for ME! But I still made the most of it and it was every bit as blissful as I thought it would be. It was also our only day without rain so we had to make the most of it! We took an Uber from CDG and our driver drove us by the Eiffel Tower right as the sun was rising – it was incredible!! We dropped our bags off at our hotel, refreshed and were on a mission for café créme’s and croissants at the first place we saw. First day we kept it easy as we could…. we meandered through Saint Germain and ate brunch at the infamous Cafe Flor. I’d say – skip the food here just go for coffee drinks and treats. There are a million wonderful options in this area.
We had a small list of places we wanted to hit up in this area: City Pharma is the cities biggest drugstore and it gets crowded so we wanted to try and get there as early as we could. It was already quite packed but worth it because they have more products then all the other drugstores all in one place. We also hit up the big MonoPrix (think French Target) and just wandered into other shops, making our way back to the hotel to rest and check in around 3pm. It felt so nice to lay down and shower!!!
Our initial plan was to take a taxi over to get drinks on the rooftop of Pritemps department store but because we had such great weather we decided on an alternate plan……
After getting dressed we took the 20 minute walk over to the Eiffel Tower arriving just as the sun was setting. It was purely magical!! We bought mini bottles of wine, walked over the Seine to Trocadero for the best view, and sat on a bench until the twinkle lights began. It was the perfect first night in Paris! We called an Uber and went to a delicious, cozy and quiet dinner at L’Office and then straight to bed!
Museum, Seine Walk, Marais, Notre Dame , Le Bon Marche
For our last full day in Paris we started out with a LONG walk along the Seine. We left our hotel and set off towards Notre Dame, stopping to look but not go in. The line cues early, so if you did want to take a look inside just build extra time! From there we ended up getting a taxi because of the weather and had breakfast sitting outside with heat lamps at Cafe Charlot – it was delicious traditional French bistro food!
We decided to visit the Picasso Museum and it was pretty crowded but had some beautiful pieces and the building alone was STUNNING.
It was cold and we were on the hunt for Vin Chaud – which is sold on the streets near Notre Dame. It was the perfect pick-me-up that we needed before heading back over to Saint Germain to get lost in the beauty that is Le Bon Marche. It was quite the WET trek but we made it – I got the girls some treats from the amazing kids department and my girlfriends each got a swoon-worthy bag. After, we popped over to this little cafe right across the street for wine and french fries and I highly suggest it! It felt like we were in a movie wrapped up in plaid blankets sitting outside watching people look at the newly installed Christmas displays in the Le Bon Marche windows. Take me back!!!
For dinner that night we went to Les Cocottes and I highly suggest it for an indulgent, heavy French meal on your last night! The next morning we check out of our hotel, had a lovely final petit dejuner at the cafe down the street and headed to the airport!
My friend Meghan is a Paris aficionado and has an amazing section of travel content on her blog. I chatted with her the day I took the plunge and booked my ticket and credit her for giving me the nudge to make my Parisian dreams come true!
As the resident foodie, Sarah did most of our restaurant research and used Infatuation a lot!
9 places to get gorgeous views of Paris
Most Instagramable spots in Paris
Here are some spots we didn’t get to!
Hot chocolate from Angelina
Fancy drink at the Ritz Hotel or Hotel Costes
Palais Royal & coffee nearby at Cafe Kitsuné
Drinks + taking in the view on the roof of Galleries Lafayette or Printemps
Rue Cler to get fixings for a picnic !
Pierre Herme for macrons
Boat ride on the Seine