When you think of Paris, it’s hard not to think of all of the rich history and culture that comes with it. The writers who built stories at cafes, the paintings that were inspired by the lively yet sleepy streets and the love that is undeniably felt in the air. So it’s no wonder that people come to Paris and get lost in the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. But what I’ve always felt is that Paris is meant to be felt through your own first-hand experience, not inside looking at the experience of others. So with that, here are my eight must-see gardens, views and streets!
// Take a walk through Montmartre
Closest Metro Stop: Anvers (Metro Line 2)
It will surely be on your list to go visit Sacre Couer, but make sure to also carve out some time to explore the surrounding area of Montmartre. If you continue walking behind Sacre Couer, there’s a really cute area filled with artists stands, cafés and cute little windy streets. It still has that “poor starving artist” feel and is exquisitely charming.
Beware: While this area is very popular, it can also be somewhat sketchy. There are also a ton of tourist traps there and it’s a common place to get things pickpocketed, so just be very careful!
// See the view at Printemps Mall
Closest Metro Stop: Havre Caumartin (Metro Lines 3 & 9)
While there are many views to see, this one was one of my favorites. It’s not very known which is a nice variation from the other ones that tend to be extremely crowded. One of my favorite parts about this view was that they have a little market up there with tables and chairs. While you don’t have to get anything to eat, it’s a nice place to take a little rest and have a snack (while taking in an incredible view) before continuing on with your day!
Other notable views: Sacre Couer (both outside it and inside), Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower (duh), Montparnasse and L’Arc de Triumph (at night)
// Jardin Luxembourg
Closest Metro Stop: Luxembourg (Metro: RER B)
– It took me a while to get over there and I’m sad it did because it was one of my favorite spots in Paris. Great for picnicking, especially on a beautiful day. It’s super close to Montparnasse so that should be simple for you. Also, the Pantheon is close to there and that’s a great place to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle (every hour on the hour for 5 minutes after it gets dark). It’s much more sparkly from far away. It’s also where the famous steps are from Midnight in Paris
// Palais Tokyo
Closest Metro Stop: Iéna (Metro Line 9)
This is easily the most underrated museum in Paris… and take that from a person who doesn’t quite understand the attraction of museums. This place is awesome and their exhibits change all the time so it’s always fresh and new. Their pieces really “talk” about culturally relevant issues and spark a lot of new ideas and thoughts. Just make sure to check that they’re open before you go because they are often closed to change exhibits.
// Palais Royal
Closest Metro Stop: Palais Royal (Metro Lines 1 & 7)
There are just about a bajillion “jardins” in Paris, and this one is up there as one of my favorites. It’s tucked away right behind the Louvre and feels like an oasis in the hectic center of Paris. When you first enter, you’re met with the charming black and white striped columns that make for the perfect photo op. As you continue into the garden, you’ll find manicured rows of trees and gardens with beautiful fountains perfect for securing a spot to read or hang out all afternoon. There’s also café kitsuné (hello, wifi) over there which is ideal to grab a delicious chocolate chip cookie from.
*Can we also just take a moment to note this beautiful French man sunbathing. Ah, I miss Paris.
// Stroll Along Rue Saint-Honoré
Closest Metro Stop: Pyramides (Metro Lines 7 & 14)
For me, there are fewer things more Parisian than strolling down Rue Saint-Honoré. It’s stunning with the Parisian glamour of designer stores and beautiful facades of incredibly old buildings. But what really gets me is how few tourists seem to wander onto this street that seems so classically French. The ideal stroll starts at the metro stop Pyramides, heading down Rue des Pyramides towards Rue Saint-Honoré. Take a quick stop to take in the beauty of Eglise Saint Roch and then continue on and finally find Rue Saint-Honoré. From there, you must stop at Colette, an uber chic concept store. They close every sunday to completely redo it and then reopen monday with a whole new setup which is pretty incredible. Continue on down the street, taking in all the beauty and passing all of the decadent storefronts (you’ll even pass a Laudrée). After some strolling, wander into Honor Coffee, aka one of the cutest coffee spots in the city. From there, you’ll be recharged to continue on with your day and set up perfectly to stroll onto the Champs-Élysées.
// Petit Palais
Closest Metro Stop: Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau (Metro Lines 1 & 13)
If you have a thing with floors, Petit Palais is a must visit. They have incredible tilework that I’m still in awe over… and still swoon at the pictures regularly. While it is a museum (and little brother to Grand Palais), this is an ideal place to take a little pit stop in the beautiful (and free) green space inside. It’s right off the Champs-Élysées and easy to get to from Rue Saint-Honoré and is also incredibly close to the Pont Alexandre III bridge (the one that’s at the end of Midnight in Paris).
Can’t Miss Bridge: The Pont Alexandre III bridge should not be missed. It’s seriously breathtaking. But if you’re headed to Rosa Bonheur, you’ll be right there!
// Avenue de Camoens
Closest Metro Stop: Trocadero (Metro Lines 6 & 9)
This is easily the best view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s close to Trocadero which is also great, but that gets super busy. This spot is never occupied by lots of people and looks super chic for pictures.
Do you have a can’t miss spot in Paris? I’m always looking for more!