Know before you go:
Paris is a city full of culture, fashion, art, design, and amazing food. It is split into 20 arrondissements and divided in half by the Seine River into the right and left banks. Get around on foot, by metro, or by taxi. There is so much to do in Paris, but you can choose the things that most interest you before visiting. Check out this guide for some suggestions of what to do during your quick trip to Paris!
Where to stay:
When choosing an area to stay in, you might want to consider the location of the places that you want to visit. Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the 6th arrondissement is a great option. Although some hotels in this area might be a bit pricey, there are plenty of reasonably priced ones. Le Marais, located across parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, is a fashionable and hip area, with lots of younger people, trendy restaurants, cool stores, and art galleries. Place Vendôme, located in the 1st arrondissement, is definitely on the fancier side of the spectrum. It is a beautiful area, but the hotels are definitely more expensive.
Museums, sites, and activities:
*Most museums in Paris are free for students with European student ID cards. Don’t forget to bring yours!
Centre Georges Pompidou: When you arrive, you will find architecture that stands out as strikingly modern in comparison to the surrounding buildings. All of the functional parts of the building’s architecture are on the outside. Inside, you’ll find an amazing collection of modern art. Don’t forget to go to the 6th floor to enjoy the amazing views of Paris. (4th arrondissement)
Musée d’Orsay: In this railway station turned museum, you will find the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in the world, including works by Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Degas. (6th arrondissement)
The Louvre: Built in the early 12th century as a fortress and transformed into a museum in the 1700s, The Louvre’s collection now houses about 35,000 objects, including some of the most famous and well-known artistic works in the world. Some say it would take nine months to look at every piece in the collection. Make sure to get a map and look for works that you definitely want to see (Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, The Mona Lisa). While walking through The Louvre, you will undoubtedly stumble upon many other incredible pieces. (1st arrondissement)
Musée de l’Orangerie: This museum is an Impressionism lover’s heaven. Here you’ll find a series of Monet’s Water Lilies in two large oval rooms that were built exactly to the artist’s specifications. You can now take pictures in these rooms too! Downstairs, you’ll find other works by well-known Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists. After your visit, walk through the Jardin des Tuileries, right outside the museum. (1st arrondissement)
Musée Rodin: This museum is situated in Rodin’s former workshop and showroom. You can view his works both inside and outside the museum. Make sure to visit when the weather is nice, so you can enjoy the garden. You’ll also have a view of the Hotel des Invalides, where Napoleon was buried. (7th arrondissement)
Musée Picasso: The beautiful interior of this museum is filled with works by Picasso. Most of the museum is presented by theme or specific time in his artistic career. (3rd arrondissement)
Ride the Bateau Mouche: Experience beautiful views of Paris from a boat ride on the Seine. This is a great way to see a lot of the city. There are many types of boats to choose from. If you want to learn more about the sites you are seeing, be sure to take a tour with commentary.
The Eiffel Tower: If you want to view Paris from the top of the Eiffel tower, make sure to buy a ticket ahead of time. You can experience these incredible views without breaking the bank on dinner at Le Jules Verne. On a nice day, you should have a picnic at the Champ-de-Mars, right in front of the Eiffel Tower. (7th arrondissement)
Versailles: Take a day trip to this incredibly beautiful and opulent castle. Go on a nice day, so you can also enjoy the gardens.
Arc De Triomphe: Walk along the Champs Elysees towards one of the most iconic monuments in Paris. (8th arrondissement)
Notre Dame: Its Gothic facade stands out from the surrounding architecture. Make sure to climb up the steps to get an amazing panoramic view of the city. (4th arrondissement)
Montmartre: During the Belle Époque, this area was filled with cabarets and many artists, such as Monet, Picasso, and Dali, had studios in this area. Today, this area still has an energetic atmosphere. Here, you’ll find the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur. (18th arrondissement)
Place de la Concorde: The largest square in Paris, where Louis XIV was beheaded. (8th arrondissement)
Where to shop:
Rue Saint-Honoré: This street is lined with an incredible selection of designer stores. Most of the stores are expensive, but window-shopping on this street is an experience in itself. Check out Colette, a trendy store that constantly changes its window displays, clothing, objects, beauty products, and art installations. (1st arrondissement)
Le Marais: Explore this charming area to find amazing shopping, great cafés and restaurants, and Paris’s old Jewish quarter. (3rd and 4th arrondissements)
Merci: You’ll find this store in the Haut Marais. This store has cool and unique clothing and a great atmosphere. They also have a café and restaurant, where you can grab a coffee or sit down for a nice meal. (3rd arrondissement)
Galeries Lafayette: This is a massive department store, where you can find almost any piece of designer clothing, jewelry, or pair of shoes that you’re looking for. (9th arrondissement)
Where to eat:
Bistrot Paul Bert: This quintessentially Parisian bistro is great for lunch or dinner. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is energetic. (11th arrondissement)
Café de Flore: French social life revolves around cafés, and this is one of the oldest. It is a great place to have breakfast or lunch. (St. Germain, 6th arrondissement)
L’As du Falafel: Go here for delicious Mediterranean food. (4th arrondissement)
L’Avenue: This restaurant has amazing food and a great atmosphere, but it is very expensive. (8th arrondissement)
Georges: This restaurant is on the top floor of the Georges-Pompidou Center. It is a cool restaurant with an amazing view of the city, but it is overpriced.
Flottes: This café is a nice place for lunch or drink breakfrom Saint-Honoré. (1st arrondissement)
Le Petit Cler: Their Croque-Madame would be hard, if not impossible, to beat. (7th arrondissement)