- The PROs
- The CONs
- TIPS for Navigating Paris
- My Paris Travel Itinerary
- When Did I Go
- Where Did I Stay
- How Did I Get Around
- What Did I Do
- *Wander & explore
- *Disneyland Paris
- *Michelin Star Dinner Cruise on the Seine (Don Juan II w/ Chef Frederic Anton)
- *Versailles Biking Day Trip, Market & Picnic: Air BnB Experience – Versailles: Food & Palace Bike Tour
- Meet up with friends
- Paris Photo Shoot
- Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours
- Shopping on Champs Elysee (plus Arc de Triomphe)
- Restaurant Recommendations
France is the most-visited country in the world, and everyone seems to have dreams of frolicking through the streets of Paris. Maybe it’s too many episodes of Sex In The City, or perhaps it’s the allure of Josephine Baker, there’s something fantastically romantic and sexy about the idea of being in Paris! But is it worth it or is it hype?? Here’s my perspective after visiting Paris for the second time! The first time I visited was 20 years ago with my parents. I stayed for about two (2) weeks, and we did all the standard Paris things: The Louvre, Picasso, Rodin, cruising the Seine, Chateau de Versailles, etc. This time I went as a solo traveler and met up with two other women once I arrived, but still spent the majority of my trip doing things solo. I spent seven (7) days in Paris on vacation, and my general synopsis is this- Being in Paris is like dating a very handsome wealthy man… who has no personality or charm- there’s just no chemistry! Like, the relationship has a lot of perks, but ultimately you’re bored! Nevertheless, I always encourage people to travel wherever they want and curate their own experience and opinion. Keep reading for the pros, cons, and tips when traveling in Paris. I’ve also included some details about my 7-day itinerary. Bon voyage mes amours!!
*I found the aesthetic of Paris to be very homogeneously beautiful. I was wooed by the River Seine flowing amidst majestic Haussmannian style architecture, and decorated by various shades of lush foliage.
*The Food… obviously! Don’t expect much from breakfast, but for lunch & dinner, Paris will not disappoint! I had delectable Italian, Sushi, Ramen, and Senegalese cuisine, as well as a phenomenal Michelin Star dinner of French cuisine. I think nobody can do sauces, creams, and custards as flavorful, velvety and silky as the French! Also… Croissants!
* Great for solo travelers, group trips, & couples! If you’re looking for a place that has iconic history and a variety of unique and interesting things to experience, you will find something to tickle your fancy in Paris. There are plenty of tourist attractions, sights to see, charming neighborhoods to explore, and fun day trips and excursions.
*Public transportation is available and easy to navigate. The metro in Paris is very well-connected within and surrounding the city. I didn’t start taking the metro until late into my trip and I really regret it! Especially because I was staying right next to the metro station the whole trip! I also rode the bus, which was also timely and efficient for getting around. I think you can ride all day within the city for 7.80 Euro. For context, my average Uber ride was over 20 Euro.
*99% of people I encountered spoke English to some extent. I’m always an advocate for at least learning how to say the basics of the native language when you are in a foreign country: “Hello”, “Good Morning”, “Please”, “Thank You”, “Excuse Me”… However, it’s so much less pressure when you know that you can communicate with people in English if you really need help or direction quickly.
*Paris is Expensive!!! I mean honestly, I think “expensive” is probably a relative term, so let me say it like this, “Paris is expensive for me.” I tend to have tastes and preferences that are on the pricier side. I also tend to choose accommodations based on what’s easiest and least stressful for me (#softlife). Those two things combined tend to lend themselves to me spending above average on things that possibly could’ve been cheaper. And listen, I’m not mad at an expensive city if it’s giving what it’s supposed to give, i.e. the VALUE is there… but for me it wasn’t. For example, hired cars are expensive (uber/bolt), but every single one I rode in was fairly new, sparkling clean inside with functioning A/C and seatbelts. For additional context here is what things costed me in general (in USD):
- Apartment in the Marais District for 5 days: $1800 (I split this with 2 other people. The host claims it sleeps 4, however, It was about 60 sq. meters, 1 bedroom w/ queen bed, 1 pull out double couch, 1 bathroom, washer/dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, and maybe it had a stove. NO A/C. It was in a very well-equipped neighborhood, however it was right in the midst of several noisy cafes)
- Hotel in Marais for 2 days: $365
- Average daily transportation: $50
- Average daily meals (eating out about twice per day, w/o alcohol): $80
- Average cocktail/wine/mimosa: $17
- Average Excursion/Activity: $150
*The culture didn’t align with me. I feel like when people say French people are rude, that’s a bit of a “misnomer”. It’s not that French people are rude, it’s that the culture is a certain way… that often manifests as rude. Interestingly enough, whenever I learn about French history and its Kings/Emperors, it sheds alot of light on how French people conduct themselves and interact with others. The French have a history of having this need to prove themselves to the rest of the world, that they are better than the rest of the world. And you can often feel this cloaked arrogance in the little things… Like how they haphazardly place food in front of you at a restaurant… or just how every interaction feels a bit dry. I can see how some people appreciate this type of culture and resonate with it, but it’s a no for me.
*There were NO vibes… I found myself uninspired ALOT! If I wasn’t doing tourist things or wandering around, I felt bored. As much as I tried to find something to draw me in I was at a loss. After a few days, my lust over the architecture turned into a dull experience of sameness. I couldn’t get into the cafe culture because everywhere was just too congested and/or too expensive. Maybe I just didn’t know the right places to go, but I don’t want to sit on the sidewalk scrunched up beside 30 other people, while we sit at the tiniest tables sipping $16 sangrias.
*Breakfast… it’s the lack of Breakfast for me!!! I’m totally a breakfast/brunch person. One of my greatest joys is sitting on a beautiful restaurant terrace watching the egg ooze from my perfectly poached egg atop my Eggs Benedict Florentine! Every breakfast I had in Paris left so much to be desired. I don’t understand how I can be in the land of some of the world’s greatest chefs and nobody seems to know how to make good EGGS! I had a bad omelet, bad poached eggs, awful scrambled eggs, and even a burnt open-faced croque moinsseur! It seemed that anything beyond a nice flaky buttery croissant and orange press, was asking too much out of breakfast in Paris. I’ve admittedly been spoiled rotten by Kahvalti (Turkish breakfast), but DANG, can a sista get a properly cooked egg?? And can I get it before 10AM?!?!
Overall, would I go back to Paris? Probably not. I had a fantastic time and enjoyed everything that I did, but in between the “doing”, the city did nothing for me. If I did go back, I would want to link with some locals and maybe stay in a regular neighborhood to get more of a feel for the true essence and allure of Paris. I’d definitely visit some other places in France though!
TIPS for Navigating Paris
- English is widely spoken these days, but knowing a little French goes a long way.
- The currency is Euro & pretty much everywhere accepted Visa/Mastercard/AMEX (check with your bank about foreign transaction fees).
- Take the metro… It’s easy and much more cost effective than hired car service!
- If you need to hire a car, use Bolt instead of Uber. They are cheaper and you get a discount for your first 10 rides.
- Book a place that has a refrigerator and maybe a small kitchen. Dining out is quite expensive in Paris, so you may want to be able to keep some things in your hotel room/apartment so that you aren’t eating out multiple times per day. Also if you are an early bird breakfast person like me, it may be difficult for you to find a decent breakfast before 10… or a decent breakfast period :-/.
- MAKE RESERVATIONS…. Maybe a local knows a better way to navigate this but in my experience, if you want to dine anywhere worth dining, you will need a reservation. I was even turned away from two restaurants at Disney Land because I didn’t have a reservation, LOL! For Michelin Star and fine dining restaurants many of them require booking 2-4+ weeks in advance. BONUS TIP: Leverage your credit card’s concierge service to see if they can assist with reservations to restaurants, attractions, and events.
My Paris Travel Itinerary
When Did I Go
July 20-27, 2022
Where Did I Stay
5 days at Le Gourmet du Marais, an apartment on Rue Rambuteau in the Marais district. It was cute, and the location was great. However, it did not have A/C and the area was very crowded and noisy in the evenings well into the wee hours of the morning.
2 days at Hotel Marais Grands Boulevard, a boutique hotel in the Marais district. I really liked this place. The rooms were tiny, but it was very clean, the staff was excellent, and it was footsteps from the metro.
How Did I Get Around
Paris VIP Car Services for private transfer from the airport, uber/bolt and the metro around town. Of course, I walked everywhere that I could!
What Did I Do
(*Must do experience. Keep in mind this is my 2nd time in Paris. On my first trip I did all the sight-seeing, museums, art, etc. Those are must do experiences in Paris)
*Wander & explore
*Michelin Star Dinner Cruise on the Seine (Don Juan II w/ Chef Frederic Anton)
*Versailles Biking Day Trip, Market & Picnic: Air BnB Experience – Versailles: Food & Palace Bike Tour
Meet up with friends
Paris Photo Shoot
Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours
(Unfortunately I do not recommend)
Shopping on Champs Elysee (plus Arc de Triomphe)
Holy Ramen (24 Rue Rambuteau)
Pink Mamma (20bis Rue de Douai… DEFINITELY make a reservation. Get the Truffle Pasta!!)
Cote Sushi Rambuteau (31 Rue Rambuteau)