Paris has everything you could ever want from a city break: culture, cafés, art, shopping – there’s so much going on in the city, it’s hard to include everything, but here are our favourite stops, and we hope you fall in love with the city as much as we did.
Montmartre, known as The Mount of Martyrs, is now as famous for its eclectic outlook on life as it is for its artistic history. Many renowned artists such as Modigliani, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso worked in or around Montmartre in their heyday.
Start the day at Pain Pain, one of the best bakeries in Paris, and a go-to place for the locals, so you should go too! 88 Rue des Martyrs, 75018
The View from Le Sacré-Coeur: Montmartre is focused around a 130m high hill with Le Sacré-Coeur basilica at the very top, overlooking spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding city, so grab the chance to walk to the top if you – if walking’s not your bag, then there’s a helpful funicular train that you can take instead!
Take a trip over to Musée de Montmartre (12 Rue Cortot, 75018 Paris). The permanent collection houses artwork that tell the story of Montmartre through the ages, including works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani and others from the area. The museum also has a garden dedicated to Renoir, who lived on the site for some of his career.
If you have more time, why not take a simple stroll through the streets of Montmartre? It’s good for the soul, if not for the feet! Wander through Rue des Martyrs, Avenue Trudaine, Rue des Abbesses and Rue Lepic to find hidden treasures. The South Pigalle area, once a quieter corner of Paris, has picked up a new nickname, “SoPi”, and gone all ‘BoBo’ (that’s short for “bourgeois bohemian”, you know!) as a slew of stylish restaurants, bars and shops open in the area
We suggest taking lunch at either La Mascotte (52 Rue des Abbesses, 75018) or Bouillon Pigalle (22 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018), though be patient with the latter. You can’t book a table and you might need to be patient, but it’s worth the wait !
After spending the morning in Montmartre, we’d recommend heading over to Le Louvre and its surroundings. The Louvre is probably one of the most famous spots in Paris and is a central landmark within the city. Of course, it’s primarily known for housing the portrait of the Mona Lisa, but the museum has more to offer than that. There are exhibitions on show around important moments in French history, like the Revolution, and there’s even a section on works dedicated to the Art of Travel – and you know how we love to Travel at Antler!
Make sure check out the Louvre Pyramid. Originally designed in the mid-1980’s to solely help with the influx of visitors, it’s become an attraction in itself, sitting in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace. Also worth a look is Les Colonnes de Buren, the screened entrance court at the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. The larger inner courtyard, the Cour d’Honneur, contains a must-see art installation, known as Les Colonnes de Buren.
Grab a bite to eat at Loup (44 Rue du Louvre, 75001) which is said to have the best french onion soup in Paris, or Daroco (6 rue Vivienne, 75002), a well-priced pizzeria.
Make sure before the end of the day that you get to see the Eiffel Tower – it’s THE sightseeing experience in the City of Light! You can choose to go up to the Tower or just admire the well-known “Iron Lady” from the ground in La Place du Trocadero
Saint-Germain-des-Prés and its surroundings:
In this notable area, you’ll discover some of Paris’s most famous monuments.
- The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is an icon not to be missed. Made famous in the Victor Hugo novel of the same name, the cathedral is a magnificent example of French Gothic architecture.
- Saint-Germain Abbey – a Benedictine abbey on the outskirts of medieval Paris.
- Les Pont des Arts, one of the 37 bridges over the Seine, is now most famous for the inordinate amount of “Love Locks” that have been attached to the bridges as tokens to loved ones.
- Jardin du Luxembourg are picturesque gardens inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence that date back to before the French Revolution.
- Ile Saint Louis and the delicious plethora of ice creams at Berthillon Glacier – 29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004
- Les Bouquinistes along Le Quai de Gesvres – these are rows and rows of antique booksellers who sit along the banks of the Seine, making it ‘the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves’ ;
- The Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter has also several famous cafés, including Les deux Magots, Café de Flore, Procope and the Brasserie Lipp, and a large number of bookstores and publishing houses.
Le Marais was once considered the aristocratic quarter of Paris, and thus today still hosts many outstanding buildings of historic and architectural importance. It became a centre of LGBT culture in France in the 1980’s, and is famous the world over as a very trendy shopping district.
- Musee Picasso, an art gallery in the Hôtel Salé, Rue de Thorigny dedicated to the works of Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso ;
- Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 – an design and fashion concept store;
- Le Marché des Enfants-Rouges, 37 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris – Le Marais’ best kept-foodie secret, where you can find a wide variety of traditional fruit, vegetable and flower stalls, as well as incredible street foods ranging from North African to Asian cuisine. This is the place to eat in Le Marais !
Where to Stay in Paris
There are so many hotels in Paris to choose from: these 3 are Antler’s favourites:
- The Hoxton Paris: 30-32 rue du Sentier, 75002 – sister to the London location, The Hoxton Paris is a boutique hotel that oozes sophistication and a little “je ne sais quoi”;
- Hotel Victoire & Germain: 9 Rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006 – the hotel has tried to recreate the convivial and cosy atmosphere from Sartre’s and Simone de Beauvoir’s days;
- Grand Pigalle Hotel, 29 Rue Victor Massé, Paris 75009This little trendsetter is a retro-style gem, on a corner of South Pigalle, surrounded by cocktail bars and cafés. It’s just a short walk from the Moulin Rouge and Montmartre.
Top Tips if you’re travelling to Paris from the UK:
- While flights may be cheaper, the airports are outside of the city, so Eurostar might be a good option, as you’ll arrive directly into the centre, and ready for a day’s touring
- Don’t forget to take a travel adaptor. A two-prong plug is required for France, and without an adaptor, your UK three-pronged electrical items won’t work!
- Remember to bring Euros with you. You can always change money at your hotel if you forget, but it will be a poor exchange rate, and you’ll not get a good return on your spending money.
- The Uber app works in Paris, so handy to know if all that walking gets to be too much.
- Autumn in Paris can be magical, but the weather turns a lot cooler, so a trench coat, umbrella and good walking shoes are highly recommended!