Last updated on October 9th, 2022
Featured image: Pont-Neuf, the oldest bridge across the Seine in Paris | Photo by Netfalls on Envato
Museums, hotels, shopping and more
By Doni Belau, Founder, Girls Guide to the World (Sponsored)
There’s no question that summer is a wonderful time to experience Paris, but it can be tricky for those looking to travel in the off-season, when the weather is still good.
Believe it or not, the busiest month in Paris is September. Between the fashion shows, the streets and hotels are completely packed. I find that October is busy still but not as bad as September and then in November it starts to fall off a bit. The only truly slow season in Paris is January to March, but that’s because the weather is horrible.
Where to stay in Paris
I recommend central Paris, which means arrondissements 1- 6. Paris’ districts are shaped like an escargot with the first being dead center and then winding out in a spiral until you get to the 20th. While 1st, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6th are all superb areas to stay, my personal favourites are the 3rd and 4th – the Marais and the 6th, St Germain. The most central of course would be the islands, Ile de la Cite where Oaris began and Ile St Louis which is the most charming of the two and where my flat is.
Some of my favourite handpicked hotels in Paris across all price ranges include:
If you are looking to save money, stay further afield in the 9th, 10th or 11th. These are all very cool districts, which are much more local yet chock full of fabulous stores and restaurants.
A boat cruises down the Seine Paris, France
What to see in Paris
Beyond the obvious museums and iconic places you’ve already heard about, here is my very own ‘not-to-be-missed’ list:
1. Shakespeare & Co, the quirkiest and most charming English language bookstore in the world. One of Paris’ top literary landmarks, Shakespeare and Company is an English-language bookstore in the Latin Quarter opened in 1951 by George Whitman. It was named after a bookstore founded in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, famous for hosting luminaries including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein. Learn more here!
2. Musée L’Orangerie, a small museum on the Place de la Concorde. Go downstairs to see Monet’s water lilies which were painted for this particular spot. Get tickets or find a tour here.
3. Montmartre. Re-watch the movie Amelie and then take a guided historical walking tour around Montmartre. There’s so much more to this district than Sacre Coeur and place de Tertre. Join a walking tour here!
4. Wine bars: While away some apero time at a wine bar. The natural wine scene is all the rage in Paris. Try out 1 or 2 of Paris’ best wine bars and make a night of it! Here’s a good list that a friend of mine wrote.
5. Museums: My favourite new museums are La Bourse for cutting-edge modern art and Hotel de la Marine. Both have been fabulously and meticulously redesigned. Hotel de la Marine which also boasts a wonderful cafe, which I’d suggest lunch in after your visit focuses on art, antiquities, furniture and decor. Find museum tickets here.
6. Go to a market, buy some snacks and have a picnic. There are a multitude of wonderful parks and squares in Paris. The most interesting market is the Marche d’Aligre.
Paris don’t’s or common mistakes:
1. Don’t stay near the Champs Elysees – it’s a tourist trap. The longest boulevard in the world, sadly has gone the way of Times Sq in NY. It’s all big brands and bad restaurants – there is no reason to see it but if you feel you must, get in, take a photo from the middle of the road when traffic abates and then get out!
3. Consider a week-long tour with Girls’ Guide to the World for more off-the-beaten-path experiences in Paris:
- Paris for First Timers
- Artists & Authors Paris
- Marie Antoinette’s Paris & Versailles – this one is so popular we do it twice, in spring and in fall.
Learn more about Girls’ Guide to the World in our Women’s Travel Directory here.
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