paris travel guide

First off, I am well aware how long overdue these blog posts are – I have this horrible tendency of neglecting the blog. I’ve had all the photos edited for way longer than I’d like to admit, but it has just been a real struggle to just sit down and write.

Prior to leaving for this big Europe trip, we decided to come up with a hashtag/series name for all of our travels – #wongaway. We came up with a ton of other ones that were way too cheesy or just flat out terrible before we settled on this one. For more photos from our travels, be sure to check out the hashtag on Instagram. For this particular trip, our posts will be out of order because to me, it just didn’t make sense to be posting winter outfits from Scandinavia in the middle of a hot Vancouver summer.

And so, we’re starting this series with Paris, the 8th out of 10 countries we visited this time around. Here’s a rundown of some top spots you need to visit if you’re ever in town, as well as some tips and tricks that may come in handy. Bonus: all places mentioned in this post are super photogenic.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica. You’ll come to learn that I am a sucker for good views, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the things I researched like crazy was where to find the best views in Paris. There are two options of getting up to the summit of Montmarte, walking up the 270 steps or taking a short tram ride (the cost of which is one transit ticket). Once there, you’ll have a panoramic view over Paris which cannot be missed. Then be sure to hop in line to take a peek inside the Basilica – entrance is free, and lucky for us the line was short! Pro tip: be sure to venture around to the back of the building once you’re out to find a quiet, people free, shoot spot with Sacré-Cœur as your backdrop. You can find more pictures of this in an upcoming blog post!

La Terrasse at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is a hidden gem hiding in plain sight. Galeries Lafayette on it’s own is a department store you have to see to begin with. Although I don’t think I’ll ever afford anything inside, the building and interiors are impeccable and it really gives you an idea of why Paris is such a designer fashion hub. Take the elevator (or multiple escalators) to the 7th floor to find the rooftop terrace. They have a few restaurants up here if you feel like splurging on a nice lunch with a view, but just standing here for awhile taking it all in is equally a good idea. This spot was our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, and although far away, it still stands out greatly from the rest of the skyline.

Musée du Louvre is one of the world’s most prestigious museums. According to many, it is the number 1 museum in the world with the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia coming in a close 2nd. It’s also no secret that the line ups into this place are insanely long, with people often waiting hours on end to get inside. While the Pyramid entrance is definitely iconic, my suggestion is to enter through Le Carrousel du Louvre entrance which is located inside the mall. It’s a not-so-secret, secret entrance that people know about, but for some odd reason have difficulty locating and therefore, has a lot less people lined up at. We arrived 15 minutes before opening, and were inside the museum 20 minutes later. In comparison to hours in the pouring rain (yes, it was raining), I’d say it was a good choice.

Trocadéro is where you’ve probably seen a surplus of Insta photos taken with the Eiffel Tower. Located across the Seine from the Tour Eiffel, it serves as a great vantage point for pictures with the Tower – after all, you can’t exactly take photos with the whole tower from right underneath it. Taking the metro to this square is easy, the station is literally called Trocadéro and once you exit the station it’s only like 20 steps away. Crowds here come and go, but the suggestion is to always go early. Be patient with getting your photos here, if you wait long enough you’ll find that there are moments of emptiness for you to snag your shots.

Arc de Triomphe is in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle. From here, 12 different avenues radiate out, including Champs-Élysées the famous street running from Place de la Concorde that has many luxury boutiques and cafés, as well as a street that comes directly from Trocadéro. Getting here may have been straight forward, but finding a spot to take photos with the Arc is not. While we were there, it was impossible to get a shot without either cars or swarms of people in the back. We opted to take our photos right in the middle of Champs-Élysées by waiting for and then taking the pedestrian cross walk across, and stopping in the middle where there is a median. We took our photos walking up and down this median in between the traffic and once we were done, we just waited for the next pedestrian crossing green light to exit. Please note that this is dangerous, and so if you decide to go this route please do so with extreme caution! I would not say this is a recommended option, though we did quite enjoy our photos here.

Now is probably a good time to mention how we got around Paris. We stayed at an Airbnb that was right next to a metro station. We would take the metro between points that were far away from one another, and would walk everything else. Paris is totally walkable, just be sure to plan your days so that you hit all your points of interest within walking distance at once before hopping on a metro to your next stop. Their transit network is expansive and reaches everywhere you need to go. My tip for this is to not be scared to use it, just make sure you’ve mapped out your routes and use your common sense it regards to your valuables. We travel using a thief-proof backpack as well as leather purses with lots of layers and various pockets.

Finally my last and final tip on this travel guide is to enjoy the café’s Paris has to offer. Macarons are a treat every tourist tries to find in Paris, and while very delectable they are also very expensive. You can opt for a 5 Euro macaron from the famous Laudurée (we happen to have one in Vancouver so we passed up on this) or a more budget friendly and still very delicious one from PAUL‘s (we did a lot of research on where to find a good macaron that didn’t cost a fortune). In fact, PAUL’s was a bakery we came to really enjoy in Paris and we even ended up seeing them in London!

Asides from macarons, coffee in Paris was fantastic as well. I enjoyed this cappuccino at Season, a restaurant/café/bar that we went to on our last night in Paris for an Airbnb meet-up. We met some fellow travellers and afterwards proceeded to go back to Trocadéro to view the Eiffel Tower at night with it’s light show. A great way to end our final night in Paris before hopping on a plane the next morning to Belgrade.

Hope you enjoyed reading this Paris travel guide! I’ll be starting to work on the outfit posts soon, but until then you can take a peek at our first Youtube video, a Paris Lookbook, to catch a glimpse!

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