Bryan & I were able to escape to Paris for a quick weekend (72 hour) trip last month and we had a BLAST! This was our 5th trip to Paris together and the amazing vibes, decor, shopping and food of the city will never get old to us. If you’ve missed any of our previous Paris posts, you can read them below:
Below is our 3 day itinerary in case you are planning a trip this summer and need some ideas on where to stay, visit and eat!
How We Got There:
We booked through Air France and had a layover in New York (JFK) on both legs of the trip. We flew in and out of Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG). Beware if you have upcoming travel coming up with a stop at JFK, there is a ton of construction going on. If you have to get from terminal 1 to 4 to catch a connecting flight, you have to exit the terminal, get on a shuttle, and go through security again. Leave yourself plenty of time, we almost missed our flight.
Once We Landed:
We had pre-booked rides with Sixt to get us to and from the airport. Yes, that same Sixt that we love renting cars from across the US! Costs about $80 (depending on the type of car). For us, we love the peace of mind of knowing this is done, and we don’t have to deal with finding a taxi, shuttle, or any other public transportation. Just our preference, but there are other ways to do get to and from the airport. They’ll have your name waiting for you on an iPad after you get your luggage, will help you load up the car, and take you right to the front of your hotel, very convenient!
Where We Stayed:
We stayed at the InterContinental Paris – Le Grand. Booking Paris hotels is kind of like booking a hotel in NYC, the reviews for even the nicest of hotels are always all over the place and it’s hard to know who to believe. We had never stayed here before, had no kids with us and wanted to splurge a bit, and were very happy with our decision. It’s a beautiful hotel in a fantastic location. The staff was extremely friendly and we were walkable to so many different things. We had a King Room with a balcony, the view of the Eiffel was spectacular, and the room was clean, spacious, felt luxurious, and was well worth the money. No complaints at all and would absolutely stay here again.
Our other ‘go to’ hotel was sold out by the time we got to booking, but we have stayed a couple of times and would recommend it for families, couples, etc: Hotel Brighton.
How We Got Around:
We walk when we can and enjoy all there is to look at and experience within the city, it’s beautiful! If we are going somewhere else in town, but it’s further than a 20-30 minute walk (especially now, 7 months pregnant) we use Uber. Yes, uber works abroad in many cities! Make sure you’ve got your card set up with no foreign transaction fees. Not all of the drivers speak English (obviously, you’re abroad), but when your pickup and destination are already entered, it really doesn’t matter. Say, bonjour and merci and you’re good to go! Yes, there is a metro system in Paris that many people use, we just prefer the car option.
Where We Ate
Bambini – Super fun, amazing decor, and delicious Italian food! If the terrace is open and you’re lucky, you’ll get a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. If not, before or after dinner, walk 30 steps up from the front door and you’ll get an amazing view as well! We especially loved their fresh salads and homemade/authentic pasta. The bar and decorations inside are really amazing and worth a trip just to see the pizza chef at work! Reservations LINK
Pink Mama – We sort of unintentionally booked another Italian restaurant, but man am I glad we did! The food at Pink Mama was SO good. We had perfectly cooked pasta, fun drinks, great service – all in a super fun atmosphere! The decorations are spot on and very instagrammable. We did not eat on the terrace, but the food and ambiance were more than enough to make up for it. Reservations open up 30 days in advance at 9 AM (Paris time, which is Eastern plus 6 hours). Reservations LINK
Girafe – One of the hardest reservations to get as the view of the Eiffel is just about second to none. Double check before you make reservations as there are two different restaurants. There is “La Suite Girafe” which I’m sure is good too, and also has a great view, but the restaurant you’re looking at on Instagram is just called “Girafe.” There were several parties, including us, who made reservations at the wrong restaurant. The good and the bad of this situation was that it was raining at the time of our reservation, so we were able to switch as many people had canceled that day. The bad of this was that the terrace was closed, so we all had to eat inside. It’s kind of sad to watch after you sit down because 100% of the people who have made reservations there are doing so to eat outside on the patio. The weather is a variable none of us can control, and although it’s pricey, the food and service were both great. It’s a mostly seafood based menu and everything we had was very good.
A couple of Girafe recommendations:
- Make a reservation as early as you can – one week out, and hope for the best with weather. Reservation LINK
- If you are unable to get a reservation, keep checking, especially as you get closer to your desired day. People will cancel and open up space.
- You cannot request the terrace, you are just hoping for the best. Bryan and I both agree, we’d eat here again even if we couldn’t sit outside.
Carrette – Among some of the best pastries we’ve had in Paris, and a great spot to sit and relax, Carette is definitely one of our favorite cafes! Don’t miss the hot chocolate with whipped cream!
Le Cafe Marly – Another spot that we had never been before that absolutely did not disappoint! The cafe overlooks the courtyard of the Louvre and the view is spectacular if you can manage an outside seat. We shared a delicious lunch highlighted by a burrata salad, prosciutto and melon and we enjoyed watching the crowds go by. Definitely recommend this spot!
Ritz Le Comptoir – A bit pricey, but an adorable shop, and the absolute best Madeleine that I’ve ever had in Paris!
Activities We Enjoyed:
We didn’t want to overbook, as one of our favorite things to do (very Parisian) is just to find a spot, grab a picnic, relax, and enjoy. That said, we were on a bit of a schedule and we wanted to have a couple of activities generally scheduled to make good use of the time.
Our day that we planned to be near the Eiffel Tower/Girafe we scheduled a 1 hour boat cruise (added the champagne option of course), that docked right across from the Eiffel. A boat leaves every 30 minutes, so plenty of time options. We did learn a few things from the guided tour, but mostly enjoyed the view from the Seine of some of the most beautiful parts of Paris!
Kind of hard to imagine that of all the times I’ve been to Paris I’ve never been to the Galeries Lafayette! It was an amazing, indoor, multi level, so much designer, and way too many options, department store. I could have spent all day in there if we had time, ha! There is a terrace at the top with incredible Eiffel Tower views (free), but we didn’t make it there in time, closed 7:30 on Sunday night.
Probably the most famous neighborhood in Paris, perched up on top of a hill, this is absolutely worth at least a part of a day while you’re in the city. We took a car and they were able to drop us off just behind Sacre Coeur. From there you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city, go inside the cathedral, then make your way to the square where there are lots of shops and vendors to explore. When you’re done, wander your way down the streets and check out La Maison Rose (pink Cafe), and further down you’ll continue to come across amazing cafes and shops that you can’t help but check out.