Have you ever tried planning a weekend trip and deciding everything you want to see beforehand? Then you have probably experienced that most of the times it’s just not going to happen. Now that might be due to unpredictable weather, early exhaustion or simply getting lost in a completely different part of the city and deciding to stay. Either way, after asking about 10 people on what to see and where to go in Paris and not actually getting to any of it, I thought I’d just write my own short guide – and make it instagramable.
BEST FOR SIGHTSEEING
What I do during every weekend trip, I will also adopt for this Blog post – get sightseeing out of the way. I have been to Paris countless times, so I still remember the time when you could walk freely underneath the Eiffel tower or get near Notre Dame without a bag check. This time however was special as I went with my boyfriend who had never been before, and I hadn’t been in years so our Paris approach was very newbie-style.
Deciding to do a day of walking along the river to cover most of the sights without the stress of the tubes (which I DO recommend avoiding at any cost), the LOUVRE was one of the first things we saw. Now if you’d like to get that picture perfect shot without any people in the way, you want to get there for sunrise. Realistically however you probably won’t get up at 4am just for an Instagram picture so even in the middle of the day, well placed shots can still turn out beautiful, despite the crowds. TIP: Desaturate the photo and increase shadows to make people less noticeable.
the arc de triomphe
In my opinion the ARC DE TRIOMPHE actually looks even more incredible on a slightly cloudy day as it makes the already busy scene appear even busier. Lucky for us the street was closed off on that day which allowed us to stand right in the middle to take this straight on photo. TIP: Enable HDR on your camera to bring out all the structural details.
les deux plateaux
Just a 2 minute walk from the Louvre are LES DEUX PLATEAUX and if you have an Instagram account, chances are high that you’ve seen them. Again, most likely it will be full of people doing stunts and tricks all over the pillars, so my advice for you: just get in there and don’t feel embarrassed. TIP: For the best picture, stand as far in a corner as possible.
the eiffel tower
The EIFFEL TOWER. It’s impossible to suggest ‘the best angle’ for that beautiful picture because that depends so much on your personal taste. Let it be peaking through cherry trees, from the end of the Champs de Mars, on the stairs leading up to Trocadéro or from directly underneath. TIP: Turn on HDR for a better effect on a cloudy day.
BEST FOR FOOD
Food in Paris, as you probably know, deserves its own category. Instead of recommending a million brilliant restaurants, I’d suggest to just go out exploring and trying different local cafés, you will most likely not be disappointed. Just avoid tourist areas, food will still be good but you’ll mainly pay for the view.
In terms of Instagram friendly content you can’t really go to Paris without stopping by chains such as LADURÉE, L’ÉCLAIR DE GÉNIE or ERIC KAYSER. However, in terms of value, taste and probably morals, I’ll always recommend getting lost in neighbourhoods, exploring local bakeries. Macarons or pastries will be much cheaper without sacrificing on taste. TIP: Up the saturation to make the pastries look even more appetising (unless it doesn’t suit your feed).
local shops and markets
Other than fancy cafés and bakeries, do pop by food markets or supermarkets and just buy a few ingredients to have a lovely lunch or dinner at home. We stumbled onto one that we fell in love with while walking from Notre Dame to the Panthéon. Everything you need for a clichée french dinner, you could probably find at MARCHÉ MAUBERT. Be careful though, spending 100 EUR on cheese, wine and pâté is easier done than you think!
BEST FOR PHOTOS
Photos are definitely something you will have enough of when leaving Paris. To summarise, I listed a few of my favourite places for imagery (for blogging or not) below. Naturally this list is by far not complete so please do tell me your experiences and recommendations in regards to getting the perfect photo in Paris.
palais royal – les deux plateaux
for an amazing combination of art and nature
walking by the river
for a perfect view of the many beautiful bridges
go around the back for a people-free photo backdrop
for its clean lines and cool glass effects
and of course…
Alleyways and shops in Marais for the typical Paris architecture
The Jardin de Luxembourg for stunning nature photos
The Panthéon for an elevated, straight view onto the Eiffel tower
The Moulin Rouge by night for that glowing, red windmill
The boat bar Rosa Bonheur sur Seine for a view onto the Grand Palais, Pont Alexandre III and the Eiffel tower.