Paris always had a special attraction to me. Mostly because I’m obsessed with macarons, but also because (unlike most Swiss Germans) I love the French language as well as its fashion and food culture. Last June I finally got to visit Paris for the very first time. I spent three nights there with a friend. We did some sightseeing, went to Disneyland and had our taste buds blown away by the local cuisine.
Here are some of my favorite places I’ve encountered as well as some practical tips for visiting Paris.
How to get there
If you are based in Switzerland or central Europe, taking the TGV Lyria (high speed train) is the smartest choice. From Zurich it only takes 4.5 hours by train. If you appreciate comfortable seats and spacious leg room, spend a few extra bucks to buy a 1st class ticket. The upgrade only costs a few Swiss Francs more and is totally worth it. You’ll get free drinks and food and arrive happy and relaxed at Gare de Lyon.
Stay at Le Marais
We stayed at the Hôtel Saint-Louis Marais in Le Marais which is a historic district and located at the right bank of the Seine. The district has many lovely crooked medieval lanes with the most beautiful buildings. It’s the perfect place to get lost and discover local boutiques, bars and wine shops. It’s also very close to attractions such as the Notre-Dame, Place de la Bastille and Place des Vosges. It’s a great starting point to discover the rest of the city with several metro stations nearby. To finish the day off, go down to the river bank where you can enjoy a cool drink at one of the open air bars and mingle with the locals.
Take the perfect picture of the Eiffel Tower
First of all you should get a decent photo of the Eiffel Tower. If you do any tourist stuff, this should be it, right? Go up to Trocadero for the best view on Paris with the tower in the front. If you want to involve some extra walking, take the Metro to École Militaire and stroll through the beautiful Champ de Mars park towards the Eiffel Tower.
How to get there: Metro line 6 or 9 to Trocadéro or Metro line 8 to École Militaire
Get lost in Montmartre
Another spectacular view on the city you’ll have from the Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre that towers over Paris. To get there take the Metro to Lamarck-Caulaincourt and take a walk through the scenic and less crowded parts of Montmartre. It’s not the shortest way and you’ll have to walk up a steep hill, but you won’t regret it, promised.
How to get there: Metro line 12 to Lamarck-Caulaincourt
Go shopping at La Rue du Commerce
Paris is Europe’s fashion capital. So shopping should definitely be on your list! A great place to start is La Rue du Commerce. The street is only a few minutes away from the Eiffel Tower and perfect for an extensive shopping session. It offers many local brands and one-of-a-kind boutiques, cosmetics, jewelry and also a Monoprix (the French version of Target). You’ll also find major global brands such as GAP, H&M, Zara etc.
How to get there: Metro line 8 to Commerce
Have a fun day at Disneyland
If you love Disney movies as much as I do, this is a no brainer. We spent a whole day at Disneyland Park which was awesome but also very exhausting. If you really want to see the whole thing including Walt Disney Studios (which we didn’t), you better plan two days.
One of the highlights was the Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain roller coaster in Discoveryland. The ride was phenomenal and the 40 minute wait sooo worth it. Another cool thing was the parade around 6 p.m. where all the famous characters from Disney and Pixar danced through the streets accompanied by huge wagons. Each carriage was themed with a different movie – including Frozen, Finding Nemo and Maleficent – featuring their main characters and playing the original film music.
Pro tip: Since everyone will be watching the parade, this is the prefect time to go on rides with almost no waiting time. You’re welcome 😉
The only thing I didn’t like at Disneyland was the food. You basically only get pizza, burgers and hot dogs. If you don’t like boring tasting junk food, you should bring your own lunch pack.
How to get there: Train RER A to Marne la Vallée Chessy (departing from Gare de Lyon)
Enjoy the nightlife at the Latin Quarter
If you’re a foodie and looking for a fun night out, you should have dinner at the Quartier Latin. The hip student quarter is home of countless restaurants, cafes and bars and famous for its nightlife. You’ll find here almost everything from sushi bars to meze restaurants to French bistros.
Want more? Stay tuned
If you want to learn more about Paris, stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll show you my favorite restaurants and food I tried.
Now it’s your turn
What are your favorite places in Paris? Where should I go next time I visit?