What to do in Paris (for the first time!)

Paris is one of the most visited cities in Europe, thus there are countless first-timer experiences and stories to read and tell. But besides the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, where in Paris should you consider visiting if you only have 3 days or less? What are the places you should see to outstrip the average tourist checklist?

Before we jump straight into my suggested itinerary, here are some planning tips for you:

    1. Paris may look small looking at the map, but it’s huge. Not as walkable as Rome
    2. It is divided into 20 districts called arrondissements. The higher the number is, the further it is from the city center. I strongly suggest you do your research before booking an accommodation. We stayed at AirBNB at the Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement) and it is fairly central. Louvre is at 1A, Eiffel Tower is at 7A. I also found out during my planning that the Marais is a very good area to stay but also expensive. It’s at 4A. 2A/3A are quite areas.
    3. “There are a lot of pickpockets”, it may not be your first time reading this. To be honest, I didn’t feel like anywhere close to losing my bag in Paris. I think the key is just keep an eye on your things all the time, and this applies to all countries you visit. Don’t let the thought of thieves steal your enjoyment away. Don’t be paranoid, just be vigilant!
    4. Food in Paris can be pricey. If you are on tight budget, dine at restaurants which is not very near or right next to the tourist attractions. And if you are staying at an AirBNB accommodation, shop at supermarkets like Franprix which is almost everywhere in Paris. You can cook breakfast meal before heading on to your go-to places

All set, let’s go!

Of course, a first-time visit in Paris is no way complete without waving the EIFFEL TOWER a sweet hello. While it can easily be seen from different areas in Paris, here are my favorite ones:

Trocadero Gardens

Say hello to Mr. Salvador! The man behind #instahubbyseries (check out my Instagram to find out more LOL)

The height is not too bad right? BUT PLEASE don’t dare to climb up if you are not good with heights. It’s pretty scary. Safety first!

TIP: Come early as 7:00AM to avoid the crowd. There were very few people when we came and most of them are doing photoshoots like prenuptial/birthday shoots.

Avenue Silvestre de Sacy

This is an area to capture Paris as you see in commercials. The Eiffel Tower’s charm is accentuated by the Paris-signatured houses!

*The best spot is the corner between Avenue de la Bourdonnais and Avenue Silvestre de Sacy

I hope by the time you visit, that construction area right at the back is gone already!

Pont de Bir Hakeim

From the Latin Quarter, we went to Trocadero Gardens first then walked to Avenue Silvestre de Sacy followed by the Pont de Bir Hakeim. Here’s how your journey will look like:

LOUVRE

This museum is one of the most popular in Paris, or most probably the whole Europe. The place houses the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. The museum is huge. I guess an art enthusiast can easily spend the full one day here. Do your research before coming, check out those collections that you want to see the most so you can experience the best of your time.

As for the ticket, better to book online and you can also select your time of visit. Though when you get there, you still need to queue. When we came in May, the line is alright but I have friends who queued for an hour or so during summer time.

MUSEE D ORSAY

I enjoyed the collection here more than the Louvre. If it’s not for Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, I wouldn’t visit the Louvre but definitely will still go to the famous pyramid structure as shown on my earlier photo.

Musee D Orsay houses the works of Monet, Van Gogh and other famous impressionist. The art is much more relatable in my opinion.

And please take note that there are iconic clock towers, one inside a restaurant and the other is the picturesque one which you may have seen on Instagram. Due to lack of research prior to my visit, and the only 2 hours left before the museum closes, I missed the picturesque clock! 🙁 Make sure you climb up the roof deck the Sacre Coeur and the River Seine.

PONT ALEXANDER III

A famous and historical bridge of Paris. I bet this is also pretty in the morning as it is at night. From here, you can also have a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.

MONTMARTRE (18th Arrondissement)

I feel that everything here is so Instagram-worthy! From the metro -Lamarck – Caulaincourt, to restaurants like La Maison Rose and entertainment area like the Moulin Rouge! The Sacre Couer Church is also within the area.

The Monmartre is also known as the Mountain of Martyrs and as the name suggests, the road is hill-like. You need to stuff yourself with good food before coming here as it could be a very tiring walk.

Other places you may want to consider:

Notre Dame

I didn’t go inside the cathedral nor climb my way up to see a view of Paris. I must say that the outside structure looks stunning already, I would definitely go in on my next visit. God knows when! 🙂 There are lots of cafes like The Shakespeare & Company and Au Vieux Paris near the Notre Dame. I only went to the latter which I totally love – the colors are so perfect!

Lavallee Village

Remember my Bicester Village visit in London? (Check out my blogpost if you haven’t) Well, Lavallee is also managed by the same company as the Bicester. There are lots of European brands like Longchamp, Givenchy, Burberry, Celine and more! I didn’t shop a lot because I didn’t see anything to my liking. But the Longchamp prices are crazy cheap! I was able to buy a pair of espadrille for €70.00, about 60% less than retail price. But just like other outlets, you wouldn’t find new collections in any of the stores at the Lavallee Village.

We started the our visit to the village with good food at Menu Palais!

My date!
Obviously, not much photo because I was busy with something else!!

Louis Vuitton Foundation

OK, as an avid fan of bags, I thought why not visit this one while in Paris? The place was huge and the building is stunning! It was more of a Museum featuring different artworks and there are few fixed installations that explains the history of Louis Vuitton, the brand. If you are planning to visit this place, check out their official website for more infos.

**I didn’t do a proper research prior to coming here. I thought the foundation sells LV bags or at least showcase an in-depth history of the brand. Would’ve gone window shopping!

Shopping

The city is known to be a home of many luxurious brands like Chanel, Hermes, YSL, Givenchy, and much more! With that, it’s so easy to find high-fashion shops within Paris. Champs-Elysées, Place Vendome, and Galeries Lafayette to name a few!

So that concludes my suggestions of the places you should visit.

As a first-timer in Paris, I would say that my 3-day trip to the city of love did not match what I dreamt of experiencing. As a child, I would fancy seeing the Eiffel Tower and be in love with how romantic the city is. My first glance at the Eiffel Tower was surreal, and the Louvre took me to that desire of seeing the setting of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. The visit to Montmartre was classically beautiful and the walk to Avenue de Sacy brought what I see on Chanel’s commercials to life.

At the end of our trip, I thought, “I should give Paris a second try”. And by that time, I will fill my itinerary with activities to experience what a typical day for an average local would be like. As a tourist, I felt detached from the city at one point, and on another hand I felt there’s something more that’s yet to be discovered. Til next time, Paris!

Would love to hear what’s your experience like in Paris!

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2 thoughts on “What to do in Paris (for the first time!)

  1. I love your blog Anj! Going there in a few days and reading your blog made more excited, dancing like a kid now! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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