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Tips & Itinerary: Paris, France

Paris was definitely our favorite destination during our Eurotrip.  If you happen to find yourself out this way, we hope you find this travel guide useful!

Our Itinerary (click link for blog post):
Day 1&2: 15th Arrondissement, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, Colonnes de Buren, Arc De Triomphe
Day 3: Palace of Versailles
Day 4: Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, Sunset at Eiffel Tower, Carousel, Seine River

Click here to see all of the places we ate in Paris and which ones we really recommend.

***Our best tip is to use the Google Maps app on your phone.  Plan in advance, and bookmark all of the locations that you want to see – you can even bookmark restaurants if you’ve been researching those too.  When you get to a landmark, check your Google Map to see what other places you’ve bookmarked that are in that vicinity.  We typically would cluster our stars visually and spend the entire day in one or two “clusters” so we don’t waste time bouncing around town.  With a tot in tow however, make sure to prioritize what you want to see/do in each area.  It’s likely you won’t get to do everything on your list, but at least you’ll hit the stuff that’s really important to you.

Where We Stayed:
I’ll be honest here.  I just wanted a place with a view of the Eiffel Tower, and if that’s your goal too, Airbnb is your go-to.  The price you’ll pay for a view at an Airbnb will more than likely be just a fraction of the cost of a hotel room with the same view.

Paris is defined by arrondissements or districts, and the smaller the number, the closer you are to all of the big landmarks.  Nonetheless, we stayed in the 15th arrondissement which worked out really well for us as our spot was very close to the train stations and also close to markets and a mall.  It was away from high-tourist locations and made us feel more at home.  We were surrounded by amazing food places that were filled with locals which is something we always try to appreciate when we travel.

How We Got Around:
From Gare du Nord, we had found an Uber driver to take us to our place.  He gave us his number, and we ended up calling him to have him take us to the airport when it was time to leave.

Other than that, we used the metro and RER for public transport.  Metro is strictly within Paris and RER will take you to different cities.  It’s like the commuter train.

Phrases to Learn:
Hello – Bonjour
Please – Sil vous plait?
Thank you – Merci
Do you speak English? – Par les vous Englis?
Goodbye – Au revoir
I also loved the recommendations from this blog if you want to learn more.

Words We Saw Often That Would Help to Know:
Sortie – Exit
Rue – Street

Things to Keep in Mind:
– Paris is beautiful and romantic, but one thing we were warned about and that we can attest to is that the city is generally not clean.  You will find litter, plenty of cigarette butts, and beer bottle caps.  The ambiance, however, somehow makes it easy to ignore.
– Parisians are not mean.  I know they have that reputation, but we felt like they just like to get to the point.  You don’t have to be extremely jovial and make conversation.  Think New Yorkers.  Don’t try to fluff, and you’ll find that the people of Paris are very helpful and kind.
– Dress well.  It doesn’t matter what district you stay in or what attractions you’re going to visit.  People here are dressed well.  Everyone seemed very well put together.
– I don’t smoke, so this one stood out to me.  People are smoking cigarettes everywhere.  I know nowadays at least in Los Angeles, when people are smoking and they see a child, they’ll step out of the way.  It doesn’t happen here, so don’t be surprised.  This seemed to be the norm.
– Take your time and soak in whatever you’re able to fit in, but don’t try to cram too much or you’ll miss everything that makes Paris the beautiful city it is.  The best part about the city is the people and the ambiance, so don’t let that pass you by from hopping from one too many landmarks to the next.  We’ve been told my many friends that even if we stayed in Paris for a month, we wouldn’t get to see all of the landmarks, so keep that in mind.  Pick your top ones and soak the city in.  We spent a lot of time just resting at each location to snack and people watch.
– The ground floor is floor 0, not 1.  🙂

For the Parents:
Stroller or baby carrier? It’s good to have both!  Just like in London, if we knew we were going to be out and about for most of the day, we would use the stroller.  If we were only going out for a few hours or just for a meal, we’d wear him.  This obviously applies if your child can sleep in the stroller.  I’ve heard some kids will refuse to sleep in one, so plan ahead wisely.  Your itinerary will ultimately determine the best option.

There are parks everywhere around here, so make sure you make a trip to a few.  They are worth the time, and your kid will love it too.

One Thing We Wish We Did:
We wanted many times to have an actual picnic with baguettes, charcuterie and some wine, but because the weather didn’t cooperate, we never got around to it.  The days where we had more free time, it would rain on and off, and we didn’t want to risk sitting in mud or carrying around a wet baguette.  All the more reason to go back!

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