Marais: This district lies between Place de la Bastille and Hôtel de Ville. For us, this is the best shopping district, so be careful! ;) You can start the tour in the Place de la Bastille (Bastille Metro stop). Continuing along Rue Saint Antoine you will arrive to a small street that leads you to the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris and the prettiest place of the city, according to many (picture above). From there you will enter the heart of the Marais. This neighborhood is full of amazing boutiques and art galleries, so it’s perfect for window shopping. This is the place to be brave (or irresponsible) and spend all the money you have left. A good place to do it is Merci. This district used to host the Jewish community of Paris, mostly around the Rue de Rosiers, so you can also enjoy a nice kosher meal or take a look at the synagogue. On Sundays it’s a great place to have brunch, or just a cup of coffee and a croissant, and watch strikingly beautiful über cool people go by. If you feel overwhelmed by so much awesomeness, you can always find your way back to the Rue Saint Antoine and get out of this gorgeous district!
Latin Quarter: placed on on the left bank of the Seine, the Latin Quarter is a great area to lose track of time and just walk. I highly recommend spending a day wandering through Boulevard Saint Germain and all its marvellous side streets. You can visit the church of Saint Germain-des-Prés, walk by the famous Sorbonne, spend the afternoon in the Luxembourg Gardens (picture above) and enjoy a hot chocolate at one of those charming Parisian cafes. Since it’s a very long walk, I suggest you take the subway at some point to get to the Musée d’Orsay. I highly recommed a good visit to this museum. It also has a nice Café that I’ve been told offers a quite nice menu. Tip: if you keep your ticket, you can use it the following day to visit the Palais Garnier (Paris National Opera) with a little discount! After visiting the museum, you can walk a little bit more and admire the Hôtel des Invalides, from whose gardens you will see the incredibly beautiful and most photographed bridge of Alexandre III and the Grand Palais. If you cross the bridge, you will be in the world famous Avenue des Champs Elysees. From here, you can also have a look at the most famous Parisian monument: the Eiffel Tower!!!
Paris all time classics: First of all, the Eiffel Tower. It doesn’t get more Paris than that! Normally there are huge queues of tourists. Try to avoid them by going as late as possible. They are open util 11 p.m., so you have time. The views are not the same, obviously, but it’s really nice with the all the lightning, it creates such a romantic atmosphere… and you won’t have to wait. The first time we visited the Eiffel Tower it was 9 p.m. and we were almost alone. Wonderful. And f-f-f-freezing!!!
And back to the right bank of the river!! From the Avenue des Champs Elysees you can walk to the Arc de Triomphe, but If it’s a Saturday afternoon, run away. It will be full of people shopping like crazy and you will hate it. You’d better take the subway there to avoid the crowds. If you’d like to walk, start at Place de la Concorde and cross the Jardin des Tuileries (picture above), you will arrive at the Louvre. What can I say about the Louvre? It’s too much. The first time I visited I was overwhelmed, but the bad overwhelmed, not the good overwhelmed. Seriously, my mind couldn’t stand all the information, images and words just in one day. At one point I just wanted to get out of there! So prepare your visit in advanced, choose one or two areas and stick to them. Oh, and be careful with your ribs by the Monalisa: too many elbows!!!
Another nice walk starts at Place de la Concorde too, but this time you should turn left and walk towards the Place de la Madeleine. Once there you can choose to walk towards the Opera and Galeries Lafayette (another shopping paradise / nightmare depending on your budget) or head to the amazing and elegant Rue Saint Honoré towards Place Vendome and admire the stunning jewels in the windows of the best jewelers in Paris. This area is filled with luxury shops. If you are lucky, like I was, some ladies might hit you with a load of Chanel bags and you will feel closer to Chanel than ever. Umpf.
I can’t finish this little guide without mentioning the three all time classic Paris souvenirs for us! You can find the three shops quite close to the Place de la Madeleine. First, a pair of black or nude Repetto ballerinas. Although you are on a budget, you can afford them and you are in Paris, so come on, buy something nice! Second, a little box of macarons in Laduree, because if you don’t have a picture of you eating macarons in Paris, you’ve never been to Paris ;) And last but not least, our guilty pleasure, a couple of jars of fancy mustard at Maille.
I hope you have enjoyed our little guide! You can find the first part here. If you have any more recommendation, tips or secret jewels, please feel free to share in the comment section!