Oh, Paris. What a beautiful city. I love traveling to places where food plays a huge role and obviously, Paris did not disappoint. The opportunity to travel to Paris showed up when my friend, Jenny, decided to travel to Paris on a whim. She saw a reel that said, “if you’re going to be sad, you may as well be sad in Paris.” And two weeks later, I picked her up from her flight and we were on a train to Paris.
There were so many undiscovered hole-in-the-walls. I just wish we could’ve stayed longer because we weren’t able to take up all the things that Paris offered. But we did the best we could do to maximize our trip within 4 days. So if you’re planning on taking a trip to Paris, keep watching for my 4-day Travel Guide. I’ll show you what we saw, where we ate, mistakes to avoid, and tips to help you enjoy the most out of your trip.
Watch my video below or scroll down to read the transcript ▼
In my video, I talk about things like:
- 4 Day Paris Itinerary Walkthrough
- Mistakes to Avoid in Paris
- Where to stay in Paris
- How to get around Paris
- Shopping tax-free in Paris
- Getting your EU Digital COVID Certificate
- COVID testing centers in Paris
- And plenty of other tips!
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4 Day Paris Itinerary
On Day 1, Jenny and I took the train from Germany to Paris. I booked our train tickets through Omio.com which is my go-to website for buying train tickets to travel through Europe. It was easy as buying a ticket and showing up at to the train station.
We came from Saarbrucken, Germany which made the train ride less than 2 hours.
Once we arrived in Paris Gare de l’Est station (by the way I WILL butcher every French thing I say but I’m trying my best so please don’t come for me). So once we arrived in Paris Gare de l’Est, we transferred to the local metro of subways and buses to head to our hotel.
Mistake #1: Take a taxi instead of the metro to your accommodations if you’re not familiar with the metro system and you have luggage. I say this because we had to transfer between different trains so we were getting stuck in turnstiles and constantly going up and down the stairs with our luggage. It’s already a hassle and I’d rather spend money to save me from that hassle.
Which, heading into Mistake #2, that made us a target for pickpockets because somewhere along the way, someone snatched Jenny’s phone right out of her coat pocket. So Jenny said, next time she would be keeping her phone safely in her purse while wearing it inside her coat. So Mistake #2, is not always keeping an eye on your belongings. Only take your phone out when you need to. Unfortunately, this stuff happens all the time but please don’t let it happen to you.
Anyway, what a great way to start a trip. So we checked into Hôtel de la Bourdonnais which was one of the more affordable accommodations with an Eiffel Tower view. It was minutes away from the Eiffel tower, metro, restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores. I’ll show you a tour of the room later in this video.
So we had plans to explore the city but because of the unforeseen circumstance, we decided to go to the Apple Store to get Jenny’s phone replaced.
So Mistake #3 is actually a tip, if you have AppleCare+ with Theft & Loss and bought it in the US, the insurance policy only covers your devices if you’re in the US. So until you’re back in the US, you cannot get your phone replaced unless of course, you buy another phone. So Jenny decided to buy a new phone and use it for a few days. And also, always back up your phone daily so you can easily transfer your photos & videos into your new phone.
During this time, we ended up meeting a lovely Apple store worker/foodie who recommend us many Parisian restaurants to eat it. She also recommended food Instagrams based in Paris to inspire our appetites like @parisinsiderfood and @foodeaseparis.
Alright, Mistake #4 is definitely don’t speak too loud in English. Because we were approached by 2 young women who asked us, “do you speak English?” We said yes. Then they took out their clipboard and asked us to sign a petition for a deaf & mute organization and donate money. I don’t know if they would’ve stolen our phones or take our money but this French lady, who was standing nearby, started shouting at them in French and told us it was a scam. The 2 girls walked away sticking their tongue out and giving, what I think is, the French equivalent of the middle finger. So in general, don’t bring too much attention to yourself. And don’t be afraid to be rude like that French lady.
Here’s a Reddit post on different scams in Paris.
So with the crises averted, we were getting hungry so we bought food & wine at nearby grocery store and brought it back to our hotel to snack and pre-game for our first Parisienne activity, a dinner cruise on the river Seine.
I thought this would be another mistake because my friends warned me not to go on dinner cruise because their food experience was horrible, but it definitely wasn’t a mistake for us. I would actually recommend a river cruise to anyone staying Paris for a short time because most of Paris’ famous landmarks are by the Seine. And what better way to see all of them within few hours than from the comfort of your seat with food. In this case, we were able to enjoy the sights with delicious food like foie gras, ravioli, steak, roasted duck, chocolate mousse and of course, champagne! We had so much fun with the food & sights, I definitely recommend booking a river cruise at the start of your trip. Just be careful with drinking too much champagne lol
Bateaux Mouches Seine River Dinner Cruise in Paris
We had a late start on the morning of Day 2 so we walked over to La Commanderie, an Italian restaurant, and grabbed pizza and coffee. We actually walked in here because we loved the decor outside and the inside was just as pretty. The pizza was delicious and the coffee was even better.
Afterwards, we took the bus to Arc de Triomphe for a little sightseeing and a photo op. I also found the famous spot where people take in the middle of the road. It’s just a 1 minute away so if you need the exact location, I have the Google Maps link here.
Afterwards, we went to The Ritz for a little fancy moment of high tea. We got the starting package which gave us 13 different cakes & biscuits, a teapot from the Ritz tea collection, and a little canister of loose tea to take home. It’s a fun & cute experience if you love tea and have a sweet tooth. We had fun pretending we were rich British people and spoke in British accents lol
Afterwards, we walked over to the Louvre Museum from more sightseeing. Unfortunately, it was closed so we didn’t go inside but in case you didn’t know, admission is free to ALL museums, including the Louvre, to see their permanent collections. You only need to pay for the temporary exhibitions. Do not be fooled by websites that charge you to see their permanent collections. That means you see the famous Mona Lisa painting for free!
So while we didn’t go inside the Louvre, we did take some photos & videos and watched sun go down while the city lit up.
Click here for information about museums in Paris.
For dinner, we took a cab to L’Auberge Aveyronnaise for a famous French dish you may have seen before, and it’s called aligot and it’s cheese blended into mash potatoes which makes for a very stretchy potato dish. It feels like a cheesy potato blanket on your tongue and tasted even better than our expectations. It really lives up to the hype and I think every single person should try this at least once.
And then we went to the Eiffel tower to watch it sparkle like a diamond before bed. As soon as the sun sets, the Eiffel tower will sparkle every whole hour for a few minutes until midnight. So don’t forget to get a view of this while you’re in Paris.
On Day 3, we walked from our hotel over to Bretteau Sebastian for coffee. They had so many delicious pastries that we wanted to try but we didn’t want to spoil our appetite for the next activity which was a food tour!
If there’s something I always do while traveling, it’s a food tour. I recommend it for anyone who wants to experience culture & food from a local’s perspective.
Before we headed to the food tour, we stopped by a gorgeous cafe called “La Favorite.” It’s a really cute place to sit down and watch people outside while you drink coffee.
Finally, we started our food tour in Le Marais, a Parisienne district that’s famous for it’s old-world charm with narrow cobblestone streets, hidden courtyards, art galleries, and shopping boutiques.
I don’t want to give away the places of where we visited in the food tour but I highly recommend booking this tour because we ate so much food over the course of 3 hours.
But a few of the places that stood out to me were:
- Pain de Mie Carré – a bakery known for their fusion of japanese/french bread
- Bachir – known for their Lebanese ice cream with crushed pistachios
- Stohrer – the oldest bakery in Paris founded in 1730. A pastry institution famous for its macarons
- And Proscuitteria – Forno gusto – for their generous charcuterie servings and lambrusco wine
NO DIET CLUB – best Food Tour in Le Marais
With a very full & happy tummy, we left the tour and came across the iconic English-language bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. If you saw movies like “Midnight in Paris”, “Julie & Julia,” and “Before Sunset,” you’ll recognize this famous bookstore.
Afterwards, we visited the Trocadero, one of the most scenic places to view the Eiffel tower in its glory. Jenny and I met with a new friend we made for a photoshoot session because why not? It’s also a beautiful place to sit on the steps and watch the sun go down while the Eiffel tower lights up.
Since we were near our hotel, we walked over to Bistrot de la Tour Eiffel for a French onion soup and steak frites. It’s cute place to eat with an Eiffel Tower view. The food was alright but the service was great.
And then we ended our last night in Paris at the Gatsby, a 1920s theme cocktail bar around the corner of our hotel for a night of cocktails with French locals. I definitely recommend the Baker cocktail. We loved their Baker cocktail. It was dangerous & sweet just like the person it was named after, Josephine Baker.
On the morning of our last day, we checked out of our hotel and walked to Rue de l’Universite for our last photo op with the Eiffel tower. This street always crowds up so I recommend going here in the morning.
Then we went to have breakfast at Angelina Paris, a 1900s tea room famous for their refined pastries and hot chocolate which was amazing. It was thick and rich and they served it whipped cream on the side. We had a food bucket list to complete so we actually ordered 2 breakfasts each, the Parisian breakfast with croissants, pastries, fresh fruit juice, and hot chocolate, coffee or tea. And the Croque-Madame, a ham & cheese sandwich topped with an egg hat. I recommend this place for a boujee Parisian breakfast experience.
And because it was our last day, we went around Paris to buy French goods from everything between souvenir stores, pharmacies & luxury brands.
And the last mistake: Forgetting to bring your passport while shopping especially if you’re buying from luxury brands. Luxury is cheaper in Europe, and even more if the brand originated from that country. As long as you spend more than 100 euros, you can shop tax-free. If you traveled to the EU, you’ll go to any Global Blue station, they’re always at the airports, and get your tax refunded back to you before you fly out. And if you’re like me and you’re US military based in EU, then you get the tax removed at purchase.
Click here to learn more about tax-free shopping in France.
If you’d love to see my shopping haul, check out my Paris vlog video here.
Afterwards, we had our last meal at Café Georges V at Champs Elysees. It had a 3.6/5 rating on Google but the food for us was 5 stars. We were craving a French-favorite called Moules-frites which are steamed mussels in white wine, butter & parsley. It made a flavorful broth that REALLY hit the spot. Especially since we visited in the middle of winter. We washed it down with white wine before leaving back to Germany.
So we picked up our luggage from the hotel and took the cab to Paris Gare de l’Est station, where we would be taking the train back home to Germany.
Paris Travel Tips
So that concludes our Paris itinerary! As you can tell, we had a lot of fun eating, drinking and taking photos. Now I’ll share more tips to help you make the most out of your trip to Paris.
Where to stay in Paris
We stayed at Hotel La Bourdonnais and booked the Executive room with an Eiffel Tower view. This hotel was one of the more affordable hotels with a view of the Eiffel tower. BUT, and this is a big butt, we booked this during low season in the middle of winter. So if you’re booking during peak season, the price will be much higher.
How to get around in Paris
The Metro includes subway & bus. Paris has a very good Metro system and is easy to navigate and get around even if you don’t speak French. There are stops everywhere and you don’t have to wait too long. You can buy individual tickets or 1,2,3 & 5 days passes. This is especially useful if you plan to stay within Paris and see many different sights within a few days. You can get these passes from the information desk at any metro station or order them online.
Taxis are very easy to find in Paris. They’re reasonably-priced so don’t hesitate to ride one. But the costs will add up if you ride it all the time.
I do not recommend renting a car or driving your car into Paris. Just like any big city, there’s traffic, and there’s plenty of pedestrians and bicyclists to be wary of. And my favorite way of getting around-
It’s free, it’s easy, and you won’t experience the unique nooks of Paris if you don’t walk. Paris is a very walkable city.
Scams in Paris to Avoid
If this is your first time in Europe, I would make yourself familiar with scams. Save yourself the money, the energy, the time, and the heartbreak. But at the same, did you really travel to Europe if you didn’t get scammed? Anyway, I have to link to a Reddit post on popular Paris scams in my blog post below.
Digital COVID certificate
If there are still COVID restrictions in Paris, you’ll need a Digital COVID-19 certificate. It’s a QR code on your phone that non-essential public places will scan before you enter. So you need to have this on you or they won’t let you in. To get this, you bring your COVID-19 vaccination card to any pharmacie in Paris and they will put you in the system and print you a QR code that you then transfer to the Tous Anti COVID app on your phone. This app is widely accepted in France to show your QR code but you can use this QR code anywhere in the EU. Each country may have their own preferred app. In Germany, we use the COVIDpass app. You also have to pay for this and it’s about 36 euros last I checked. But right now, when this video is posted, it’s free in Germany. So I made sure Jenny got hers here so she wouldn’t have to pay for it in France.
COVID Testing Centers in Paris
And if you’re traveling during the pandemic and need to get tested before you fly, here’s a government website where you can find COVID testing centers.
And to conclude…
And that concludes my travel guide to Paris and mistakes to avoid so that you can have the most fun on your trip. I know I’ll becoming back to Paris. Maybe I’ll do an Amelie-themed visit next time. It’s one of my favorite movies.
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I really appreciate you watching until the end of this video! Have fun and travel safe. Je t’aime! Bye!