Paris Anniversary Adventure

Nicole and Paul wanted to celebrate their 10th anniversary somewhere romantic, iconic and international. With amazing architecture, food, and one of Paul’s favorite soccer teams playing- Paris was the perfect destination! We sent them on a week long adventure in the city of light. Here’s how it went:


We absolutely LOVED our trip – the weather was gorgeous with the exception of one afternoon we got rained on. Everything was GORGEOUS – in awe of the history and architecture.

Here are some quick notes:

Flight

So awesome to travel internationally again. They give you food, don’t charge for alcohol, and have plenty of in-flight entertainment to keep you busy. The first-class area looked really nice too (if anyone wanted to pay for that).

Transportation

The car service that picked us up was decent. The driver said he almost left bc it took us almost an hour to get our bags and go through customs. He said he tried to call me but I didn’t have international calling or decent wifi to accept calls. Luckily he waited but they should know that it can take over an hour to get through everything.

Paris Food & Drink Tour

It was the perfect tour to “ease” us into Paris. Due to the timing of our flights, we did not feel much jet lag which was nice.

Joshua, our tour guide was AWESOME! He gave us the right info at each place and was personable with everyone. The small group was nice. It was nice to visit local shops and to learn about how the different cheeses and wines are made. Paul is now a Chablis fan! The tour ended at an Absinthe bar which made Paul very happy. 🙂

At the end of the tour, Joshua gave some recommendations on where to eat for dinner. We took his recommendation and went to Chez Nicos for crepes!

Hotel

We really loved the boutique hotel. [Hotel Pont Royal] The staff was very nice and spoke English! We were thrilled breakfast was included as it was one less meal we had to worry about. We absolutely LOVED our balcony – it was perfect.

The room itself was nice (a bit small) and there was nowhere to put our luggage but we made do. The bathroom didn’t have much shelving for our stuff so we just had it on the floor…maybe that’s a Euro thing.

Friday – Walking Everywhere in Paris

We walked an INSANE amount of steps: 26K and walked all over the place. We saw Moulin Rouge, Paul found the cafe from the movie Amelie that we really liked, we went to the I Love You wall, took some cool photos of the metro signs, and ended with the catacombs

Saturday – Photo Shoot, Notre Dame & the Louvre

I was able to find a last-minute photographer through a referral from another photographer and made Paul get up at 5 AM so we could meet the photographer at 7:15 and take photos with the least amount of people in the background. Now THAT is love. The photos came out really well and the photographer was great!

[Photo Credit: Jordan with The Parisian Photographers]

Afterward, we enjoyed a croissant and cappuccino at Patisserie where we met the photographer (it was delish) and headed back to the hotel to change. From there we walked to Notre Dame which was breathtaking even though we could not go inside. They had these cool exhibits showcasing different photographers and how they documented the fire and showed the plans to put everything back together.

a couple celebrating their anniversary with the Mona Lisa in Paris

That afternoon we toured the Louvre which was really cool and HUGE. Seeing the Mona Lisa was neat after seeing it in so many art history books. Our tour guide was really passionate about art history so we lucked out.

Soccer Sunday

Sunday was our Paris Saint-Germain soccer game. THAT WAS EPIC – Paul was in soccer heaven. Such a cool experience, so glad we splurged on the seats – we were about 7 rows from the field and the players were RIGHT THERE. PSG didn’t play well and lost but we were thrilled with our experience.

a couple celebrating their anniversary at a PSG football/soccer match in Paris

Monday- Eiffel Tower and Shopping

looking up at the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Monday was our Eiffel Tower and shopping day. Eiffel Tower was VERY BUSY. Cool views but very crowded. We witnessed a proposal! Afterward we walked to the Arc de Triomphe. You could not go up because it was their Labor Day in Paris and was closed. All the shops on Avenue des Champs-Elysees were also closed for Labor Day. We did find an Italian place to eat lunch and that’s when it poured on and off.

We continued to stroll to Alexander III Bridge and luckily no one was on it due to the heavy rains so we captured some nice shots.

Pont Alexander in Paris

Tuesday – Giverny Day Trip

Giverny was sooo pretty and it was nice to see the France Countryside. Our tour guide was very nice. Lunch was really good and Chateau de Versailles was beautiful. Could see where Newport got its inspiration from. Versaille was VERY CROWDED and we did not have much time to explore the grounds. Inside was fairly quick but VERY crowded. Like navigating through a crowded concert.


While we were sad to leave, if we stayed I am not sure where else we would have walked bc we confidently walked everywhere in Paris! LOL

Top Tips for Your First Trip to Europe

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First time traveling to Europe? There’s a lot to consider for your first big trip abroad! If you’ve reached out to us to help you plan, you know most of the details are already taken care of. All that’s left is to pack, get on the plane, and enjoy your adventure! But even with a trusted travel agent by your side, it can feel a bit daunting heading to a completely unfamiliar place. Aside from preparing for the extra-long flight, what else do you need to know before you go? As seasoned European travelers, here are our top tips:

Packing

What to Pack: No matter where you’re going in Europe, you will be guaranteed to need three things: comfortable walking shoes, layers, and adapters. Your favorite dress shoes might look amazing, but if you’ve never walked farther than from the restaurant to your car in them, they need to stay home. Generally, the weather is constantly changing throughout the day. Fresh mornings give way to sweltering midday before cooling down again into beautiful evenings. To cover these changes you’ll need to bring some lovely light layers. Finally, you’ll need to select an all-purpose adapter to allow your US plugs to fit into a European outlet. Plus a converter if you’re bringing a US appliance (like a hairdryer) that can’t handle their stronger voltage.

Pack Light: Even with careful planning, at some point on your adventure you’ll need to lift your suitcase. It won’t be over your head, perhaps just a small step into your hotel, up and over the bridges of Venice, or simply over the gap between the train and the platform. But you want to be sure you pack a suitcase that you can manage and maneuver. Check out our packing it all in a carry-on guide – even if you don’t plan on fitting it all in a carry-on, you’ll find some good tips to help you minimize. 

[Photo Credit: Liz via Shared Adventures]

Important Items: Make sure you pack all medicines, important phone numbers, a change of clothes, and expensive items/ electronics in your carry-on bag. Anything you need in the first 48hrs goes in the carry-on in case your luggage is delayed or lost.

Your Phone

Check with your provider: Communicating while abroad is important – whether with other people in your group or with your friends and family back home. Or, if you need to access maps, use handy travel apps, post on social media, or check other internet info. Check with your mobile phone provider in advance to see what their international plan is, how to set it up, and whether it’s worth using. 

Offline: If you decide you don’t want to use your provider’s international plan, you must put your phone into Airplane mode to avoid roaming charges. Even if you’re not actively using your phone, unless it’s in airplane mode, it’s using data. It’s also worth looking up how to download offline maps. This will help you so much when you’re jumping from wifi to wifi. 

[Photo Credit: Angela Compagnone via Unsplash]

Connecting: Most crucially, when you’re abroad, you’ll need to dial the country code to contact anyone. Here’s how to do that (works for both iPhone and Android). Secondly, we cannot recommend WhatsApp enough. Everyone in Europe has and communicates through WhatsApp. That includes your tour guides, your drivers, and even some restaurants. Imagine trying to make a dinner reservation when you don’t speak the language. Instead of struggling to communicate, you type out the request in a translator app. Then, simply send the translation to the restaurant via WhatsApp text! Easy, simple, and with no misunderstandings! WhatsApp also works off of the wifi/ mobile data. So even if you decide not to set up an international plan, you can communicate! 

Money Matters

Check With Your Bank: You’ll want to check your bank’s foreign transaction fees and currency conversion rates. Be sure to let them know you’re traveling so they don’t flag any card purchases by mistake. If you have a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees (like a Capital One or Chase Sapphire) now is the time to use it! Also, be sure to bring a Visa/Mastercard since many places won’t accept Amex or Discover

In Belgium Beth showing off her chocolate- shopping bags in the Brussels Shopping Mall

Cash vs Card: It’s not necessary to get a huge amount of foreign currency before you leave, but you’ll need some pocket money. The general rule is: anything under 10€ should be paid in cash. Some places won’t accept cards if it’s under 10€ and sometimes it’s more polite to pay for tips, taxis, cups of coffee, etc in cash. Plus, public toilets will only take 1€ coins. Remember: 1€ and 2€ are coins so don’t just get rid of “spare change”! For larger purchases in shops and restaurants, you can use your card to get the best exchange rate and some added protections. 

[Photo Credit: Beth & Bob via Shared Adventures Travel – check out their Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris Adventure here! ]

Tipping: While in Europe, resist the urge to tip the way you do in the US. In restaurants check to see if a service charge is already on the bill. If not, and if you’re inclined to tip, don’t leave any more than 10%. Tip tour guides and drivers 2€ -10€ per person. For taxis, you can round up to the nearest Euro. European service workers, in general, make a living wage and do not need/expect a generous American-style tip.

Cultural

Language: Of course, they speak a different language! In major cities, a lot of the service industry at least speak English related to their jobs. But it’s always nice for you to try to meet them halfway. Always try to learn “hello & goodbye”, “ please & thank you”, “ do you speak English?” and “Where is the toilet?” These all go a long way. Don’t forget all the signs will be in the foreign language as well! Luckily, in transport areas like train stations and airports, you’ll often see English in small letters underneath.

Dining Times: Throughout most of Europe the dining times are more specific. Many places, especially in Italy, Portugal, and Spain, close down for an afternoon siesta between 2:30 pm – 7 pm.

To avoid only finding sad sandwiches for lunch, make sure you’re getting lunch before 2 pm. Similarly, many restaurants don’t serve dinner until 7 pm. Certainly, there are a few open earlier, and in big cities, some are open all day. However, you’ll limit your choices if you’re trying to eat dinner before 7 pm.

[Photo Credit: Hilary and Zackary via Shared Adventures Travel — read about their Rome & Amalfi Coast Honeymoon here!]

delicious meal in southern Italy

Finally, in Europe, water doesn’t come automatically to the table. If you want water, you’ll have to order it and it usually is only available by bottle without ice.

Rooms: Unless you’re booking a suite, most of the hotel rooms and beds tend to be smaller than typical American standards. And that includes the bathrooms. 

Safety

Be Informed: To keep yourself informed, you can enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a free service that allows you to pre-register your travel plans with the US State Department. This way, they can keep you informed of safety conditions at your destination(s). Plus, the US Embassy will know how to reach you in the event of an emergency (including a family emergency at home). To enroll in STEP, visit https://step.state.gov/step/. To keep others informed – make sure you leave a full itinerary with a reservation number with a friend or family member. 

Overlooking Paris at sunset from the Arc du Triomphe

Keep Tabs on your Belongings: As with any crowded city or location, you want to make sure to keep an eye on your belongings. Don’t leave your phone in your back pocket, and have a bag that goes across your body and has zippers/ multiple pockets. 

[Photo Credit: Kim & Paul via Shared Adventures — read about their Paris Adventure here!]

Standard Precautions: Even though you are on vacation, please follow the same health/safety precautions you would if you were closer to home. Don’t drink to excess (especially in the hot sun), and never leave a drink unattended. Don’t wander around alone at night; practice the buddy system. Lock your hotel room windows and doors (and use the deadbolt provided, or bring an inexpensive door wedge or travel lock of your own). Leave expensive jewelry and electronics at home, and keep valuables in a safe and secure place (such as the in-room safe). If you run into legal trouble or are the victim of a crime, reach out to the nearest US Embassy for assistance. Your rights/responsibilities are different in foreign countries. 


While there will always be new things to discover on each adventure you take, we hope this blog has helped you feel more prepared to tackle your first big trip abroad! Now you’re ready to step off the plane and enjoy your European Adventure stress-free. Bookmark this page for later and if you would like some help planning your next adventure let us know!

A Beginners Guide to the French Riviera

The French Riviera is one of those destinations that everyone has heard of. Visions of sitting on a terrace overlooking pristine beaches and unbelievably blue waters with a glass of champagne or rosé in hand capture the imagination. Spend your days soaking up the sun-drenched pastel-colored houses while flitting from one luxury boutique shop to the next. What’s not to love? But how do you begin to bring this vision to life?

Below you’ll find our introductory guide to the fabulous French Riviera!

a view looking down the stunning blue waters of Nice
[Photo Credit: Arno Smit via Unsplash]

What is the French Riviera?

Also known as the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera is a strip of beautiful towns and cities along the Mediterranean coast. With warm breezes and stunning blue seas, this region has long been the playground of the rich and famous. And for good reason! 

There are three general categories of destinations that comprise this idyllic strip in southern France. Bigger cities are well-connected by train and offer a variety of beaches, museums, shopping, old towns, and new squares. These are places like Toulon, Cannes, Nice, and Monaco. 

Then there are the smaller coastal towns. These villages and towns blend secluded luxury with quaint Mediterranean culture. Places like Antibes, St. Tropez, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Menton, Cassis and Hyeres. 

Finally, there are the hilltop villages. For those who love the incredible panoramic views but don’t feel the need to actually be in the water. These medieval villages (like Eze) were built high on the hilltops overlooking the Mediterranean. They exude history with winding stone alleyways.

When to Go

aerial view of a beach with the light blue water on top and the grey pebbles covered with people on towels and pastel colored umbrellas in Page Beau Rivage inNice France

With 330 days of sunshine, there’s no bad time to visit. Spring and summer have higher crowds because they offer perfect beach weather. August sees the highest crowds but also the most concerts and luxe parties. Fall provides a good balance of fewer crowds and still lovely weather. And while winters are not for the beachgoers, they are mild and still pleasant to wander the towns with very few crowds.

[Photo Credit: Alex D Alessio via Unsplash]

Getting Around

You’ll fly into Nice or Marseille. While Marseille isn’t technically part of the Riviera, it’s a good starting point to access the western side. Both airports have easy train or bus transportation from the airport to the cities. 

Most of the major stops along the coast are well-connected by the TER ( Train Express Regional) train system. From Nice to Monaco is only a 30-minute journey. So, navigating by public transport is easy. But to cast a wider net you’ll need a vehicle — be it a rental car, guided tour, or one of the many well-connected busses. 

The Perfect Itinerary

No matter which locales you choose to visit, you’ll find Michelin-star restaurants, colorful open-air markets, shopping, incredible cuisine, and stunning views. Then the entire coast boasts idyllic beaches, and for the adventurous traveler, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and canyoning are available.

overlooking Cannes
[Photo Credit: Jim Thirion via Unsplash]

Our philosophy as custom travel planners is that there is no “one size fits all” itinerary. A perfect week along the French Riviera will depend wholly on who you are as a traveler. However, we often recommend structuring your trip by picking a larger city as your home base. Then make several day trips radiating out. The cities themselves have plenty to explore on their own and when you add in a few day trips to the smaller towns and villages you’ll have a perfectly luxurious week! 

Below, we’ve given a brief overview of each destination to help you determine which locale best fits your style!

Choosing a Home Base

Monaco– This small principality is known for being a playground of the rich with an almost unbelievably wealthy population. Densely packed with skyscrapers and luxury cars, Monaco is synonymous with exclusivity, luxury, and extravagance. Around every corner, you will find some of the most lavish shopping centers, sophisticated hotels, and stylish rooftop clubs.

overlooking the bay of Monaco

In addition to luxury and fancy cars, Monaco boasts incredible landscapes that can be fully appreciated from St. Nicholas Cathedral or the Exotic Garden. Walk down by the harbor to admire the mega-yachts, or lay out on the soft sandy beaches to soak up the sun. Head to the old town to visit the Prince’s Palace and tour the extravagant rooms or try your luck at one of the high-end casinos. This bustling, busy city imbues you with a sense of glamour, wealth, and vibrancy.

[Photo Credit: Julien Lanoy via Unsplash]

Cannes – Cannes is famous, of course, for the Cannes Film Festival! Each May it welcomes celebrities from all over the world for film screenings. Throughout the rest of the year, it keeps this air of glamour and luxury. With easy access to the quieter Lerins Islands and several lovely parks, you can also get a taste of nature here. But the main reason to stay in Cannes is the shopping! Cannes has several upscale brands and chains and stylish boutiques. You’ll find more luxury shops along the promenade La Croissette and additional shopping along the Rue L’Antibes. 

Nice– The second largest city on the Riviera, Nice is a popular home base. It’s an eclectic mix of a big city, on a beach, with small winding streets.

Visit Vieux Nice ( Old Town) to find those colorful houses, picturesque narrow streets, and small sunny squares. Meanwhile, New Town offers grand tree-lined avenues, and trendy shops and restaurants. Nice is a vibrant and bustling city with a more slice-of-life feel than its more glamorous neighbors.

[Photo Credit: Kayla via Shared Adventures Travel — read about her French Honeymoon here!]

Bustling and modern with a hint of the grand old charm, in this city, you can find just about anything. Enjoy the pebble beaches, and private luxury clubs on the waterfront, or museums and galleries in town. Head up to Castle Hill in the late afternoon to enjoy a stunning sunset before going to one of the trendy Michelin-star restaurants for an unforgettable dinner.

Smaller Towns – Choosing your Day Trips

After you’ve chosen your home base, it’s time to consider your day trips! You could easily spend all day in any of these towns. But if you’re looking to see as much of the Riviera as possible, you can also see enough in a half-day.

rows of white beach loungers  set against the blue sky of Saint Tropez

St. Tropez – Arguably one of the most famous destinations along the French Riviera, St. Tropez is unique because it’s not on the train line. Its exclusivity, however, offers a lot for those willing to make the trip. With famous waterfronts and wide sandy beaches, St. Tropez is always associated with sunbathing and tanning. The town is a unique combination of high-end French Riviera luxury and quaint French fishing town. When you’re not lying out on the beach you can visit the Citadel or just people-watch in the main square. Even though it’s not on the main train line, in high season St. Tropez will still be extremely full because it is a destination to “see and be seen.” 

[Photo Credit: Valentin B Kremer via Unsplash]

Villefranche-Sur-Mer Situated between Nice and Monaco this romantic and serene small town is full of vibrant colors and picture-perfect scenery. Only 15 minutes from Nice’s pebble beaches are Villefranche-Sur-Mer’s soft sandy beaches. Wander the idyllic old town with a quainter, more Italian feeling, exquisite dining, and historic sites. 

Menton– Often called the pearl of France because it’s so lovely. Menton is on the Italian border, with influences from both countries. The lemon-scented town has a soft enduring appeal and a slower pace that allows you to take a quiet moment on your whirlwind French Riviera journey. Wander through the beautiful pastel-colored village, visit the ancient forts, or enjoy some natural beauty in the botanical gardens. 

Antibes- A laid-back centuries-old town just 6 miles east of Cannes, the ancient walled city has Greek and Phoenician origins. With narrow cobblestone streets and stunning views over the water, this is the perfect place to visit traditional markets or just chill on the beach. Featuring the Picasso Museum in Grimaldi Castle, upbeat nightclubs, beaches, and casinos – Antibes is a very well-rounded little oasis. 

[Photo Credit: Reuben Mcfeeters via Unsplash]

looking down the old town french street in Antibes

Hilltop Villages – Day Trips

Medieval stone buildings in Eze French Riviera
[Photo Credit: Thomas Konings via Unsplash]

Hyeres- Often overlooked and therefore quieter, this is one of the most beautiful and varied towns. A medieval town nestled in the hills above the sea, Hyeres offers wide sandy beaches with calm waters, unspoiled natural beauty, and a Provencal influence. Just offshore, Porquerolles is one of the Golden Isles, a group of islands with beaches, trails, and underwater shipwrecks.

Eze– This is the most popular hilltop village between Monaco and Nice. Home to perfume, art, galleries, and boutique shopping, it is almost like a fairytale village come to life. Step back in time as you walk through stone tunnel walkways that open up to spectacular views of the sea below. For the most breathtaking views head to the Jardin Exotique d’Eze- a cactus garden built atop the village. 

Vence- This is another charming town high above its more popular cousin St Paul de Vence. A quintessential little French town that sees fewer tourists and offers a little oasis away from the glitz, glam, and bustle. Home to breathtaking vistas and leisurely charm that give you a chance to slow down and enjoy. 

Start Planning

Now that you have a better understanding of the different cities and villages along the luxurious French Riviera, you’re ready to dig into an itinerary that’s perfectly suited for you! Let us know if you’d like to work with us and we can help book hotels, and tours, and give recommendations on the best places to dine while you’re enjoying your French Riviera Adventure.

Choosing the Right Paris Neighborhood

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The city of light, the city of love, an epicenter for culture, shopping, and food – Paris inspires high expectations. And with good reason. It’s an incredible city to visit, and one you’ll keep coming back to. But which Paris neighborhood do you choose for your home base? Being so high on everyone’s list means there’s no shortage of hotels, and looking at your options can be instantly overwhelming. You will, of course, be able to explore all of this beautiful city. But where you stay will set the tone for your adventure and dictate what’s closest and easiest for you. We’re always excited to find the perfect hotel for your travel style, but here’s our little guide on where to begin: 

Arrondissements

Orienting yourself in Paris is easy, once you get the hang of it. Starting from the Louvre and spiraling out like a snail shell, the city is divided into 20 bureaucratic districts, or arrondissements. Often, the arrondissement is synonymous with the cultural neighborhood they contain. But on occasion, some neighborhoods spread across two or more arrondissements. Much like New York City’s 5 boroughs, each arrondissement has its own personality, sites, and quirks.

The Seine serves as a center point dividing the city in half. So, the lower numbers are closer to the Seine and the Louvre, while the higher numbers are further away from Paris central and tend to be more residential.

Choosing the right arrondissement or neighborhood to match your travel style will enhance your time in Paris and set you up to enjoy every second of your trip.

Pro-tip: Wondering what arrondissement a place is in? Look at the postcode. They all start with 750 and end with the arrondissement. For example, the Louvre is 75001 in the 1st arrondissement. Shakespeare & Co is 75005 in the 5th arrondissement.

For First-Timers or A Short Stay

If it’s your first time in Paris, or if you only have a day or two, you’ll probably want to stay in the heart of Paris. Fill your days seeing the major cultural sites like the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Tuileries. These areas will have many other tourists all excited to see everything too. But having these major sites close by and easy to access will allow you to spend more time soaking in the culture and less time on the metro.

1st Arrondissement

The center of the spiral, the 1st arrondissement is mostly shopping and tourist attractions. Great for culture lovers and those who enjoy walking everywhere. This area tends to be more expensive, and some hotels will have a view of the Eiffel tower. Staying here won’t give you the typical Parisian neighborhood feeling, but nearly everything will be on your doorstep. 

2nd Arrondissement

A bit of a hidden gem, the 2nd arrondissement is full of beautiful 1800s arcaded passages. Still located in the heart of it all, there are no major tourist sites directly in the neighborhood. Being slightly out of the limelight, you’ll find fewer tourists and fewer crowds while still staying close to the major attractions. 

a narrow cobblestone street in Le Marais Paris

Le Marais

Spreading across the 3rd and 4th arrondissement is the historic Le Marais neighborhood. Home to large LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities it has a rich blend of cultures and chill vibes. As you wander the narrow winding streets that open into bright leafy squares, you’ll feel that yes, you are in Paris. Combining old-world elegant charm with the avant-garde, this neighborhood finds a perfect balance between old and new. Plus, it’s still close to the major sites. You’ll enjoy the trendy bistros, vintage shopping, and independent galleries in this Paris neighborhood.

[Photo Credit: Dodzy via Unsplash]

5th Arrondissement

Across the Seine on the Left Bank is the 5th arrondissement. Nicknamed the Latin Quarter for the university La Sorbonne that used to teach Latin, it is one of the oldest parts of Paris. It is still a student area with many young bars, restaurants and bohemian vibes. Bustling streets, trendy restaurants, and just a bridge away from many main sites. You can find the Panthéon, the Jardin des Plantes, and the renowned Shakespeare & Co bookstore. There are quite a few hidden gems! 

6th Arrondissement

Also known as Saint-Germain or Saint-Germain-des-Pres, this quiet neighborhood is very close to the city center. Saint-Germain saw the 20th-century cultural movement, and the golden age of Paris can still be felt in the independent stores, boutiques, and thriving café culture. It has easy access to all the above arrondissements while enjoying old-world glamour and quiet luxury. Also, this is a great area when traveling with kids because it is quiet and contains the Luxembourg Gardens

For Luxury Travel

To explore Paris in style, these arrondissements offer a 5-star experience. Paris with all the trimmings. Stay in luxurious hotels which offer private gardens, spacious rooms, and relaxing spas. Around the hotels, there are chic lounges, gourmet restaurants, and upscale shopping. 

6th Arrondissement

Saint-Germain-des-Pres has a more high-end local feel. It’s a luxury residential neighborhood. Enjoy your morning croissant at a cafe on a wide boulevard, watching wealthy Parisians head to work from their elegant homes. Close to the city center and the major cultural attractions, soak up the old-world glamour of Paris in the early 20th century. 

a bricked street with luxury buildings and the Eiffel Tower at the end in Paris

7th Arrondissement

Because of its proximity to the Eiffel Tower, this neighborhood caters to upscale clients looking for spectacular views from every window. If you dream of waking up to the Eiffel Tower out your window from your lush expansive bed, this is the place for you. Step out your door to world-class museums like the Musee D’Orsay, beautiful streets, and high-end shopping. Just note that with all this luxury, there isn’t much nightlife and the whole area quiets down after dinner.

[Photo Credit: Cyril Mazarin via Unsplash]

8th Arrondissement

This is the home of high-end hotels. With the presidential palace in this arrondissement, the international jet set gives it an expensive, elegant, and elite vibe. Here you’ll find the classiest and grandest hotels available. Enjoy the high-end shops and luxury restaurants that give you Paris with all the extras.

For Budget Travelers

If you’re on a tighter budget, you can still enjoy an incredible Paris experience! Of course, you can find a budget hotel in almost any neighborhood, but choosing one of these arrondissements will offer a broader selection with more for less.

5th Arrondissement

The Latin Quarter has a distinct student vibe. With its vibrant bohemian atmosphere, you’ll find an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, and student bars. This is a great budget option to stay close to the heart of the city. 

colorfull houses and cafes line the hilly street of Montmatre Paris

Montmartre

In the 18th arrondissement, you’ll find a high concentration of budget boutique hotels. Further out from the city, you will have to take the metro much more to get to the main sites. Home of Sacre Coeur and bordering the Moulin Rouge this area is built on a hill. The winding streets give it a village feel and the classic cafes and architecture are picture-perfect. This is what most people envision when they picture Paris. But the hill means stairs around every corner, making it a bit difficult to lug around heavy luggage. This is not a good option if you have any mobility issues.

[Photo Credit: Jeff Frenette via Unsplash]

12th Arrondissement

Further out from the city and not on the tourist track. This neighborhood will offer you quieter budget options while still being well connected to the main sites and the morning trains from Gare de Lyon via the metro. 

For the Shopaholics

Shopping is high on many lists when visiting Paris. With the famous Champs-Elysees, stunning department stores, and high-end designers, Paris has a lot to offer a shopaholic. If you dream of wandering Paris admiring elegant window displays and buying the latest trends, these neighborhoods will let you shop till you drop close to your hotel.

1st Arrondissement

Right in the heart of it all, the 1st arrondissement offers many shopping opportunities. It has a little bit of everything, from luxury brands to touristy souvenir stalls. It will be easy to spend the whole day exploring what this arrondissement has to offer.

8th Arrondissement

Home of the Champs-Elysees, the 8th arrondissement is the perfect place for luxury shopping. Expensive and elegant, you will find luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. If your goal is to shop the big names in fashion, jewelry, perfumes, and bags, this is the place to stay. 

the domed glass ceiling and elegant arches of Printemps Department Store in Paris
Printemps [Photo Credit: Svetlana Gumerova via Unsplash]
The colorful and elegant front of a chocolatier in Paris
[Photo Credit: Esophie Louisnard via Unsplash]

9th Arrondissement

Home to the Grand Magasins – or huge department stores- of Paris. The Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as well as some lovely smaller shops. This area is perfect if you’re looking to shop till you drop without completely breaking the bank. In the 9th arrondissement, you’ll find shops for every budget plus beautiful architecture and covered passages. 

For a Local Feel/ Repeat Visitors

For those who have been to Paris several times, or are looking for that local, authentic Paris feel, ditch the tourists and enjoy a slice of Parisian life. Further away from the main attractions, you’ll find charming cafes, tree-lined streets, and a more relaxed pace.

For Trendy, Unique Vibes

If you’re looking to stay out of the main tourist areas but still feel that your neighborhood has some glitz and glam try the 9th arrondissement or the adjacent Montmartre in the 18th. Each of these neighborhoods offer quintessential Parisian architecture, small boutiques, trendy restaurants and thriving nightlife. The 9th arrondissement and Montmartre are not totally devoid of tourists or touristy attractions. But they are neighborhoods you often don’t spend a lot of time exploring your first time in Paris. Nonetheless, they offer lots of hidden gems worth discovering.

down the Canal Saint Martin in Paris with trees and people sitting along the bank

Canal Saint-Martin

This area offers a balance between trendy vibes and quiet residential neighborhood, with a multicultural artistic flare. This relaxed neighborhood is where locals go to hang out. Whether you join them in a game of boules along the banks, take a dinner cruise or simply admire the street art, Canal Saint-Martin encourages you to soak in the local flavor. The Canal offers a slower pace with cobblestone streets, amazing food, and unique sites like temples, grottos, and waterfalls. Fewer classic touristy adventures mean fewer tourists. You’re farther from the main sites but it’s perfect for a stroll any time of the day.

[Photo Credit: Vince Duque via Unsplash]

For Quiet and Residential

If you’re looking to experience a slice of Parisian life without the glitz and glamour try the 12th arrondissement or Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement. Primarily business and residential areas, staying here will make you feel like a true local. Stop at a cafe or brasserie along the bustling but not boisterous boulevards of these modern neighborhoods. Enjoy the green spaces of Bois de Vincennes park in the 12th arrondissement and feel safely away from the crowds.

For Foodies

Paris is full of amazing restaurants and delicious food. Whether you dream of upscale 5-star Michelin restaurants and trendy and inventive fusion bars, or crave those quintessential creperies and markets, Paris prides itself on its food. You can absolutely find amazing food anywhere in Paris, but if your main focus is where you’re eating next there are a few neighborhoods that stand out.

Le Marais

Combining old and elegant with the inventive and new, in a perfect balance, and brimming with French cafes, vegan eateries, and kosher delights. Here you will find an endless selection of restaurants at every price point. Between old-fashioned boulangeries, open markets, and trendy bars this is a great base if your focus is always on food.

Canal Saint-Martin

In the 10th arrondissement, the Canal is a little outside the heart of the city. But it has become a foodies paradise. With numerous organic wine and cheese stores, craft coffee shops, and unique restaurants, and a more local feel away from the tourist crowds, this is the perfect place to find your new favorite hidden gem.

[Photo Credit: Liz via Shared Adventures Travel]

SoPi (South Pigelle)

In the 9th arrondissement, just below the Moulin Rouge. This very trendy up-and-coming neighborhood offers the latest food trends. With fusion bars, craft cocktails, and the very foodie Rue de Martyrs street there’s a lot to enjoy. While it still retains a tinge of its original red-light-district seediness, this vibrant neighborhood offers innovative food options.

Belleville

Staying in Paris for a while and growing tired of the Frenchest French food? Belleville in the 20th arrondissement has you covered. Trendy and hip, the Belleville area has a wide mix of cultures with narrow streets, little boutiques, and independent food shops. An arty, gritty, vibrant neighborhood where Chinatown meets hipster, this is the spot to enjoy foods from around the world.


So, which neighborhood fits your style? The balanced and classic Le Marais? The chic and elite 8th arrondissement? Or maybe the relaxed and removed Canal Saint-Martin? Which ever suites you best, if this blog has piqued your interest and you’re ready for your next adventure to Paris, let us know! We’d love to help you find the perfect hotel in the perfect neighborhood!

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