I still cannot believe that it has been three years since I visited Paris!
Paris is one of the cities, where I had the opportunity to go off the beaten path. For a week, I explored the city with a local, my childhood friend Deniz, who invited me to stay at her house in Paris.
In the post I covered the must-see short list, and it’s a good place to start from.
On ‘Where to Eat’ part, there is a list of my favourite restaurants and their famous dishes. Paris is a foodie heaven for me. I hope you will feel the same.
- Region: Île-de-France
- Population: 2.3 million
- Airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly
- Nickname: La Ville Lumière (The City of Light)
- Number of Metro Stations: 303
- Paris Fashion Week is a part of the Big 4.
Where did I stay?
My friend’s house was on Rue des Francs Bourgeois (or Francs Bourgeois Street). The street is a part of Le Marais neighborhood/the Jewish quarter, and it’s quite close to Notre Dame Cathedral.
What to See in Paris
La Tour Eiffel
Absolutely stunning and frighteningly tall! Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair by Gustave Eiffel’s construction company.
Before becoming the symbol of Paris around the world, the 324-meter tower had become the subject of a controversy in Paris and had been criticized for its design.
The tower has 3 accessible levels – first two with restaurants for visitors.
If you want to get to Eiffel Tower, you will have two choices;
- How to Go Near It: Take the metro line 6 (the Green Line from Charles de Gaulle Etoile to Nation) to Bir-Hakeim Station. A few hundred meters from Bir-Hakeim is Eiffel Tower.
- How to Get to a Good Point for Taking Photos: Take the metro line 6 or 9 to Trocadero Station. You can find a good angle for taking photos of the tower in the area in front of Palais de Chaillot.
I found the walk between Trocadero and Eiffel much more entertaining than the one between Bir-Hakeim and it. So, if it is your first Eiffel visit, I recommend arriving at Trocadero, taking photographs at Palais de Chaillot, walking down the Trocadero gardens, crossing the Seine and arriving at the tower.
Visiting Eiffel at least two times is also a good idea, as it looks beautiful in both day and night.
École Militaire, the military training complex in Paris, is approximately a 15-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. Napoleon Bonaparte was graduated from here in 1785.
Shakespeare & Company
Generally filled with expats from the UK and the US, Shakespeare and Company is the most speacial bookshop in Paris. It was founded by George Whitman in 1951, and it only sells English-language books.
Here you can find almost all genres you are looking for, and its café is a great meeting point with delicious desserts.
Notre Dame de Paris
The 670-year-old Catholic cathedral is one of the finest examples of French gothic style architecture. The western facade (belde) has three portals that depict three different stories. From left to right, the names of these three portals are ‘the portal of the Virgin’, ‘the portal of the Judgement’, and ‘the Sainte-Anne portal’.
The entrance is from the western facade, so you can see the three portals, the small sculptures, and the outer view of the Rose Window before entering the cathedral.
The portal of the Virgin represent the death of Mary, her ascention to heaven, and her coronation. The portal was completed in 1220, and it is the second portal to be installed after the portal of Sainte-Anne.
The portal of the Judgement is the central portal on the western facade of Notre Dame Cathedral. The portal was installed about 1230, and it depicts the last judgement of the dead.
The portal of Sainte-Anne – the oldest portal – was completed around 1200, and it is on the right of the western facade. It includes scenes from the birth of Jesus, and it represents the marriages of Anne and Joachim, and Joseph and Mary as well.
The interior design of the cathedral is even more intricate and detailed.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica is located on the highest point of Paris. It is a Roman Catholic church that was completed in 1914. Because its completion date coincided with the beginning of World War I, its consecration was delayed for 5 years.
The basilica is so large that it overshadows everything near. I still remember how stunned I was when I stood in front of it. The area with the stairs of Sacré-Cœur is also a perfect observatory for seeing Paris skyline.
Musée du Louvre
Established in 1793 at Louvre Palace, the museum is a masterpiece itself.
Louvre Museum has the highest number of visitors – both in France and globally.
The collections of the museum include Egyptian Antiques, Near Eastern Antiques, Greek and Roman galleries, Islamic Art, Sculpture, and painting.
We spent a complete day reviewing the galleries, and we decided to leave just because we were too hungry to continue, so I recommend allocating as much time as possible to your Louvre visit.
Jardin des Tuileries
Or Tuileries Garden lies next to Louvre Museum. It was created as the garden of Tuileries Palace in 1560s.
Tuileries Garden can be entered from Place de la Concorde (Concorde Square). Taking the metro to Concorde Station is the easiest way to get there.
This is the place to find everything from restaurants to designer brand stores. The avenue lies between the Arc de Triomphe (Charles de Gaulle Square) and Concorde Square.
Before going there, I believed that it was all about high-end stores but I literally found all the things I was looking for. There is also a huge Sephora store on the avenue.
Where to Eat in Paris
Steak at Relais de l’Entrecote Saint Germain
This restaurant may be my all-time favourite. Here you can eat the best steak in Paris with real Café de Paris sauce, and taste their house wine. Besides, they make the most amazing profiterole.
Relais de l’Entrecote is a few minutes walk from the metro station Saint Germain.
Escargot and Steak at Le Grand Cafe Capucines
This restaurant is the first place where I tried escargot. They fry it with butter and garlic, and I believe the dish will be far beyond your expectations if you haven’t tried escargot yet.
You can find the restaurant on the Michelin Restaurant Guide.
The closest metro station to Le Grand Cafe Capucines is La Fayette. By the way, I don’t think that there is a written dress code but smart-casual would be OK.
French Onion Soup and Duck Confit at Les Philosophes
Les Philosophes was quite close to my friend Deniz’s house. It was the first time that I tried Onion Soup in France, and both the soup and Duck Confit were excellent.
Mussels at Léon de Bruxelles
Mussels with Prawn, Creamy Mushroom Mussels, Mussels Ardennaise…the menu goes on like this. You can find your favourite mussel dish from more than 20 types of dishes at Leon.
Since there are several branches of the restaurant across Paris, I won’t name a particular metro station for getting there but I remember seeing one of them in Saint Germain.
Any Kind of Pizza at Pizza Pino Champs-Élysées
Not all the best restaurants are French in Paris. If you are looking for a casual Italian alternative after shopping on Champs-Élysées, Pizza Pino is the one to try.
Fallafel at L’as du Fallafel
L’as su Fallafel is one of the restaurants in Jewish quarter. The restaurant has some famous customers, like Lenny Kravitz, whose photographs eating fallafel are all over the walls. It is a small restaurant with a few seats, but hey have fallafel ordering service too.
Breakfast with Croissant at Home
I saved the best for the last! There are thousands of bakery shops in Paris. It makes preparing your own breakfast a good idea.