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Paris

Paris City Guide

Paris is the city of art, romance, indulgence, and passion. It’s also the city of strife, death, and racial tension. Everywhere you go, you’re surrounded by stories, myths, and history. It’s almost haunting. There’s a mysticism that surrounds the city’s history, leaders, iconic architecture, café culture, and fashion that fuels Parisian wanderlust all over the world. 

Every traveler will come to the City of Lights. And, depending on what you’re looking for, it may enthrall you, or disappoint you. Paris is flooded with tourism. If you come to gawk at the well-known sights, you may leave feeling frustrated by the long lines and crowds. But, if you come to Paris with a light agenda and the freedom to explore, Paris will likely enchant you.

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Paris City Guide

Paris City Guide Overview

  • Where to Stay in Paris
  • Paris Travel Basics
  • What to Experience in Paris
  • Where to Eat & Drink in Paris
  • Paris Day Trip: Versailles
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Paris Travel Guide, France | Moon & Honey Travel

Where to Stay in Paris

Budget | Les Piaules is a clean and cozy hostel close to the edgy Belleville neighborhood. Les Piaules features an on-site bar and rooftop lounge. There are private as well as female and mixed dormitory rooms. 

Mid-Range | Select Hotel is a fine hotel located in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Rooms are small but comfortable. The staff is friendly and helpful. 

Luxury | Le Roch Hotel & Spa is a five-star boutique hotel worthy of hosting queens. It’s located 600 meters from Opéra Garnier and 700 meters from Louvre Museum. The hotel features beautifully designed rooms, an indoor swimming pool, spa and wellness center, and an on-site restaurant.

 
Paris Travel Guide, France - where to stay, what to experience, Versailles day trip

Paris Travel Basics

Région: Île-de-France

Population:  2,241,346

Tipping Etiquette: In bars & cafés, round up to the nearest Euro. In restaurants, you can tip 10% (if the service is good). 

Water Quality: Tap water is safe to drink.

Getting Around:

  • Walk. The best way to explore Paris is on foot.
  • Public Transit. The Paris Metro is the fastest and most efficient way to navigate Paris. When you arrive, buy a packet (“carnet”) of 10 tickets to save time and money.  These carnets can be purchased at a ticket office, or a ticket machine in the metro station. A single ticket will take you anywhere within the city of Paris, including both the Metro and RER transit lines. Note: the Metro network serves Paris, and the RER train system serves Paris and its suburbs.

Districts: Paris is divided into 20 districts, called arrondissements. These arrondissements spiral out clockwise from the center of the Paris, Île de la Cité.

 
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He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.

Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.

 

 

 

 

Victor Hugo

What to Experience in Paris

Our favorite things to see & do
Le Train Bleu, Paris, France | Moon & Honey Travel
Le Train Bleu

Lunch at Le Train Bleu

Le Train Bleu (“The Blue Train”) is located in the Gare de Lyon train station. It’s far more than a restaurant; it’s a visual feast. The walls and ceilings are covered in frescoes, framed by gold gilded carvings and moldings. The interior is further enhanced by chandeliers and midnight-blue upholstered furniture. Each of the 41 paintings illustrates a different destination that a traveler could reach via the PLM Railway Company in the early 1900s.

Completed in 1901, Le Train Bleu served as a prestigious buffet. It was built by the railway company to showcase travel, luxury, and technical innovation. Coco Chanel and Brigitte Bardot were two of the many Parisians that dined here regularly.

We recommend coming here to celebrate a special occasion. The main dish will cost between 35 EUR and 46 EUR (try not to cringe).

  • The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.
  • The bar is open daily for breakfast, small meals, and drinks.
  • Reservations are recommended (you can reserve a table on their website).

Address: Le Train Bleu, 1st floor, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis Armand, 75012 Paris, France

 
Le Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France | Moon & Honey Travel
Le Jardin du Luxembourg

An Afternoon in Le Jardin du Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Gardens might be the most inviting place in Paris. On a sunny day, you can spend the day here, relaxing with a book, picnic or group of friends. The area around the pool and palace is especially beautiful. It’s encircled by 20 white statues of French queens and distinguished women. It seems extremely fitting given that a woman, Queen Marie de’ Medici, was responsible for orchestrating the creation of the gardens and the royal residence in the early 1600s. The Luxembourg palace serves today as the meeting place for the French Senate.

Location: The gardens are situated between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter.

 
Galerie Vivienne, Paris, France | Moon & Honey Travel

Wandering through Hidden Passages

Paris has a number of pedestrian passageways that connect the city. Between the late 18th and mid-19th centuries, city planners created approximately 150 covered passages that served as early shopping arcades. Here, Parisians could take shelter from the weather and the commotion of the streets as well as shop, dine and drink. These galleries are characteristically bright, because of their glass ceilings. Today, there are about two dozen passages in existence. We visited:

Galerie Vivienne – Built in 1823, this light-flooded space is enhanced by its elegant floor mosaics, oval doors, glass roof and plants. This is a great place to relax and drink a glass of wine on a cold day. Entrance: 4 Rue des Petits Champs, 2nd

Passage Jouffroy – You can find this passage by navigating to Musée Grévin, Paris’s wax museum. It’s narrow, crowded, and rather cute. You can buy toys, walking sticks, books, and postcards here. Entrance: 10 Boulevard Montmartre, 9th

Passage Brady – Also known as “Little India,” Passage Brady houses a number of Indian, Pakistani, and Mauritian businesses. Come here if you’re seeking spices, flavorful food, exotic goods, and something a bit different. Entrance: 43 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, 10th 

Passage de l’Ancre – This is an open-air passage that connects Rue Saint-Martin and Rue de Turbigo. Lined with potted plants and colorful storefronts, this hidden gem is quiet and not frequented by many visitors. Entrance 223 rue Saint-Martin, 3rd

After you explore these hidden passages, make sure to visit Paris’ most iconic architectural spots.

 
Parc des Princes, Paris, France | Moon & Honey Travel
Parc des Princes

Watching a game at Parc des Princes

For a night out with passionate locals, head to Parc des Princes to see Paris Saint-Germain play. Allot extra time (at least one hour) for security checks. The stadium has a capacity of 49,000, so there will be tons of people trying to get in the stadium.

 
Paris Travel Guide, France | Moon & Honey Travel

Where to Eat & Drink in Paris

Du Pain et Des Idées [Bakery]

Traditional bakery with a magical interior. There’s no interior seating, but you can sit outside.

Address: 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 10th

Éric Kayser [Bakery]

Delicious pastries. There are over 20 Éric Kayser boulangeries in Paris, which means a mouth-watering pan au chocolat is just around the corner.

Breizh Café [Crêperie]

Savory and sweet crepes. Better than average crêperie.

Address: 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, the Marais

Frenchie to Go [Deli]

Definitely more NY than Parisian. Popular and crowded. Pulled pork sandwich is to die for.

Address: 9 Rue du Nil, 2nd

Les Deux Magots [Café]

Traditional café. Expensive Coffee. Only come here to sit outside, people watch, and relax over a glass of wine. Attracts lots of tourists, because Les Deux Magots was regularly frequented by the city’s literary and artistic elite: Elsa Triolet, Louis Aragon, Picasso, Hemingway, etc..

Address: 6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, St-Germain des Prés’

Loustic [Coffee Shop]

Hip coffee shop that serves a young crowd. Good place to socialize, or study.

Address: 40 Rue Chapon, 3rd

L’Épi Dupin [Restaurant]

Intimate French restaurant. Environmentally-conscious chef. Delicious and artistic cuisine. A three-course fixed menu is 39€.

Address: 11 Rue Dupin, 6th

Fish Club [Restaurant]

Excellent service, beautiful decor, and delicious fish.

Address: 58 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les Halles

 

Le Train Bleu [Fine Dining]

Breathtaking interior. Come here to celebrate a special occasion.

Address: Le Train Bleu, 1st floor, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis Armand

Versailles, France | Moon & Honey Travel

Paris Day Trip: Versailles

Located about 20 kilometers from Paris, Château de Versailles was a royal residence of French monarchs for just over 100 years. Versailles is most often associated with King Louis XIV (the Sun King) because he moved the royal court from Paris to Versailles in 1682 and transformed it from a hunting lodge to a grand showcase of French art and architecture. Versailles continued to be the seat of political power until the French Revolution (1789) when the royal family was forced to return to Paris.

Getting Here from Paris. To get to Versailles, you’ll take the RER C train. The round trip cost from Paris to Versailles is 7.10 EUR.

How much time do you need? When visiting Versailles, allot a full day. There’s a lot to see beyond the royal apartments and the hall of mirrors. We recommend checking out these attractions:

 

Gallery of Coaches

Located in the Great Stables, the Gallery of Coaches showcases majestic ceremonial coaches. These ostentatious horse-drawn vehicles are artistic masterpieces. You’ll see the marriage coach of Napoléon I, the coronation coach of Charles X and the funeral coach of Louis XVIII, among others.

 

Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet

The Queen’s Hamlet is situated in the park of Château de Versailles, close to the Petit Trianon. Built in 1783 for Marie Antoinette, the Hamlet served as a place of leisure and privacy for her and her friends. The Hamlet is comprised of meadows, streams, a pond, gardens, a farm, rustic cottages and a Temple of Love. This type of model farm, which evokes the feeling of being in the countryside, was fashionable among the French aristocrats at the time.

Wandering through Hameau de la Reine paints a slightly different picture of Marie Antoinette. She wanted her own private space where she could escape prying courtiers and her own structured life. In the hamlet, she played dress up as a young shepherdess. It seems that she sought simplicity, freedom, and peace – all of which are represented in the pastoral setting she created.

 

Grand Trianon

This pink marbled palace was built at the request of King Louis XIV as a retreat for himself and his official mistress, Marquise de Montespan. She actually bore him 7 children and was said to have great influence at court. At the single-story château, the King could invite guests and enjoy light meals away from the arduous pomp of court life.

If you’re interested in visiting other castles close to Paris, read next: the Best Castles Near Paris

 
Coronation Coach of Charles X, Versailles | Moon & Honey Travel
Coronation Coach of Charles X
Royal Apartments
Grand Trianon, Versailles | Moon & Honey Travel
Grand Trianon
Marie Antoinette's Hamlet, Versailles | Moon & Honey Travel
Marie Antoinette's Hamlet
Marie Antoinette's Hamlet, Versailles | Moon & Honey Travel
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  • Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I’m grateful more than ever for my health and safety, my friends who are like guardian angels, the dawning of a new chapter (I’ll tell you about this soon), and Kati - the kindest and the most loving and non-judgmental human I know.
  • Seceda, Italian Dolomites.

Seceda is one of the most popular destinations in the Italian Dolomites, partially because it’s so easy to get to. There’s a cableway connection from Oritsei in Val Gardena, which means you don’t have to hike more than 10 minutes to get to this viewpoint.

A more interesting approach to the Seceda ridgeline is from the Resciesa Plateau. Starting in Ortisei, take the Resciesa funicular up to the plateau and descend to Malga Brogles in Val di Funes. From the hut, you can ascend to Seceda via the Panascharte notch or the Mittagscharte notch.

Another option, is to forego a cableway ascent altogether and hike from “the bottom.” Starting at the Praplan car park above Santa Cristina, hike to Seceda via Baita Gamsblut and Rifugio Fermeda. You can make this a circuit hike by combining the ascent to Seceda with the summit to Monte Pic (highly recommended).

You’ll find more details on these two Seceda hikes on the blog (link in bio).
  • A month ago, we re-visited the Dolomites, intent on seeing the changing colors and hiking as much as humanly possible. In preparation, I spent hours pouring over Tabacco trail maps, charting out new routes to hike.

Alas, the weather didn’t care about my thoughtful planning. In fact, the conditions were so dreadful, we cancelled the first four days and the final five. When we did arrive, we were welcomed by a blanket of snow. After a few dry days, we experienced another storm leaving us knee-deep in snow for the next six days.

This trip obviously didn’t go as planned. But, the silver lining was our accommodation. Bad weather isn’t so bad when your hotel has an integrated wellness & sauna area, or an in-house patisserie.

As we’ve learned more than once, the weather is often unpredictable in the Dolomites. Our recommendation is to choose a lovely place to stay, so your time spent inside is just as enjoyable as your time outside.

We’ve summarized our favorite hotels in the Dolomites (link in bio), based on five independent trips. Take a look.
  • Only gratitude, relief and joy today.
  • Sunrise in the Karwendel Mountains.

The weather forecast predicted early afternoon thunderstorms, so we woke up extra early and started hiking at 5:30 am. Seeing the sunrise as we crested the Mandlscharte was like entering heaven.

After a long and difficult 9-hour stage, we arrived at @solsteinhaus in rain. Luckily, the thunder never came.

The highlight of this incredible day was meeting @clarazijlstra and @jaqi_sta - two brilliant and talented women who radiate passion and warmth! Hope to see you both again! 💛💛💛
  • Italian Dolomites Tip:

Skip Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) and Lago di Sorapiss and hike to Lago di Coldai instead for a crowd-free alpine lake experience.