Paris Travel Guide

Not the fanciest or most blogger-y travel guide, but here are my travel notes. I hope they're helpful :)
Feel free to email me if you have questions or would like to know more: blog {dot} awinkasmile {at} gmail {dot} com.

Some notes that are hopefully helpful:
  • We stayed at The Hoxton. It was cool and the bar/restaurant is trendy. I would recommend for the location especially! So close to multiple Metro lines. 
  • Metro is very easy, but be extremely mindful of your bag, especially at more touristy stations. I never once felt like I was being targeted, but pickpocketing is common in Paris and we saw or heard or people getting targeted entering the Metro. I wore a small crossbody and kept it in front of me with my hands on it if needed. Backpacks seemed to be an easier target.
  • They have multi day pass tickets for the Metro too which is great. 
Restaurants worth mentioning:
  • L'as du Falafel in Marais was delish. There is a window you can pick up from or you there was a sit down restaurant next door.
  • Our best dinners were at Frenchie Wine Bar and La Fontaine de Mars (maybe a 5-8 min walk from the Eiffel Tower). The former is walk in only and the latter I would recommend reservations. 
  • Next to or across from Frenchie Wine Bar was a boulangerie with a yellow front. Best croissants we had all week! 
  • We had a good dinner at Brasserie Lipp (Left Bank) and randomly at a place called Le Cafe de la Regence one night when the Metro closure threw a wrench in our plans. 
Activities:
  • Highly recommend a walking tour with Sandeman's New European Tours. I've used them in a couple cities with great success! It's tips only so bring some cash. Alberto (our guide this time) was great...a little more salesy in terms of how he talked about tipping at the start and then talking about their other tours, but I would still recommend him and the company very highly!
  • We spent about 6 hours at Les Puces which is the huge vintage market in Northern Paris. While I felt very safe walking around the market, the area between the Metro stop and the market is a lot of Canal Street type tents selling knock offs and crap. I didn't feel unsafe walking though there but I did feel like I stuck out. 
  • Louvre: buy tickets in advance and maybe go evening hours to have smaller crowds 
  • Versailles 
    • First thing about Versailles--there's a TON of ground to cover. If were there in warmer weather, I would even recommend staying one night in Versailles so you can do the palace one day and the gardens the next day. 
    • Second, there are a lot of articles (https://www.paristoversailles.com/paris-to-versailles-by-train-rer/paris-versailles-by-train-rer/) that say that Versailles Chantier is crazy far from the palace blah blah. It was less than a 20 min walk and wouldn't be the end of the world if you took the train there from Montparnasse station. That's what we ended up doing when we found Invalides station closed and couldn't get on the RER C. The train was super fast and comfy and I think it was like 15eur round trip. Ideally you take RER C to Versailles Ch√Ęteau Rive Gauche, but don't stress too much. That article above makes it sound a lot harder than it is. I would use Google Maps to figure out the best way to get there from your hotel and then just double check that there are no closures, etc. Unlike in Boston or NYC, we found that maintenance and closures weren't necessarily noted in Google Maps. 
    • Tickets...there are like 9 options for tickets on Versailles's website and it's SO confusing. I had a slight mental breakdown over this. I highly recommend the route we took. It allowed us to see Petit Trianon, the gardens and the Palace and the audio guide was really interesting. Being escorted in and getting situated was worth the money and they were able to accommodate us when we were going to miss our ticketed time (if that happens to you, call and give them a heads up). You'll book the Versailles Palace Skip the Line + Passport Entry with Audioguide for 35eur. You actually book through a third party and they guide you. Book today as they only have 10 am available W, Th, F this week: https://www.versailles-palace-tickets.com/#select-tickets

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