So, I decided to share all our favourite things about Paris. This definitely isn't a comprehensive list, just a few things we really enjoyed and highly recommend.
This can hardly be a favourite when it had no competition but we stayed at La Maison Montparnasse which is located in Montparnasse and according to google maps, about 40 minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower. KC and I must be speed demons because it took us like 15, max. It's also really close to the Montparnasse Tower which I highly recommend (more on that below).
If you are a hotel diva - it's not for you. But for us? It was in a good, safe and central location, it was clean and cheap. I mean, there was seriously no competition. It also has great reviews. The stairs are a bit colourful, but I think the hotel is adorable and the staff were amazing. Very happy with our choice.
I really don't think you can go wrong with a hotel as long as you obsessively research on TripAdvisor.
Getting Around & Airport Transfers
I mentioned before, but I think the best way to see a city is to walk. KC and I walked probably 90% of the time, and the other 10% we used the metro. It is so insanely easy to use, I'm not even kidding. You go up to the machine and you buy a one day ticket (or one trip, depending on what you need) and then you look for the station you need and easy peasy. Seriously. There are signs everywhere and it's honestly the easiest metro system I've ever used, and I have now used the train / metro / subway in 5 different countries, so, you know. I'm an expert. Just kidding.
If you do use the metro, download the (free) Paris Metro app - it has a map that you can access offline which is brilliant.
As for to and from the airports (we arrived in CDG and left out of Orly) you have a few options.
You can take the metro. I was a bit nervous and didn't want to risk getting lost or having to worry about our bags, however, now that I have been and used the metro I would definitely use the metro next time.
We bought transfers ahead of time on Viator. This is not a super cheap option, but it was easy and I was able to pay for it beforehand, which is what I like.
However. From what I heard from other guests and the hotel staff, the shuttles do not have the best reputation. They are often late, apparently. Our shuttle was late picking us up when we arrived (30 minutes) and when we needed to leave (15 minutes). However, our drivers both times were extremely pleasant and we got to the airport on time so no harm no foul. When we arrived into Paris, it took almost 3 hours to get to our hotel because of the traffic, but that wasn't the driver's fault.
The staff at our hotel told us there was a flat rate from the city to the airport via taxi. It would have been the same cost as the shuttle, but at least with a taxi you can call them when you want. I can't vouch for taxi service though because we didn't use a taxi at all the whole time.
Another option is to use this Air France Bus Service (you don't have to fly Air France), it's about 10-20 euro depending on which airport you use and it will drop you off at a bigger train station (you can view the route map here), and then you catch the metro to the station closest to your hotel.
Things to do
We did a lot in Paris. A lot. I won't go over it all, but just what I recommend.
Versailles. This was so amazing it got its own post. We did a bike tour and it was definitely one of our favourite days. I was a bit worried with so little time in Paris it would be silly to 'waste' a whole day at Versailles, but it was absolutely worth it. If you are short on time, I would still recommend a half day tour. You could do it on your own, but you're seriously better off getting something that includes a skip the line ticket because those lines are insane. I highly recommend Versailles.
Luxembourg Gardens are absolutely beautiful and highly worth a few minutes of your time to wander through.
Hotel National des Invalides aka the Army Museum aka where Napoleon is buried. I'll be honest. I love museums, history and science especially. But war, army? Nope, no thank you. Not my jam. KC though? He talks smack about his time in the military but whenever we go to any kind of army museum he's like a kid in a candy store, so I knew he'd love this. I was not prepared for how much I would enjoy it though. Seriously. Okay, the Napoleon part? Eh. Sorry, I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, but the rest of the museum is much more interesting (it's actually kind of creepy when you think about the fact that Napoleon is like right there in that thing like right there isn't that weird?) and there was even this one part where there is a video of the liberation of Paris in 1944 during World War 2 that made both KC and I cry. I don't even think it was in English or had subtitles, but the scene was so emotional that I had to walk away because I was blubbering like a fool. Seriously. Highly recommend.
Montmarte and Sacre Coeur is definitely a must see as well. It's a bit of a hike but the metro will get you there quickly. Sacre Coeur is beautiful and the area of Montmarte is so fun to walk around and just look at everything, taking everything in. However, I will say this is the only area were we encountered scammers. Walking up the hill to Sacre Coeur on both sides were groups of men blocking the way, trying to put bracelets on you and then demanding payment. They didn't just ask though, they grabbed at you. Like really grabbed at you. It was kind of annoying and ruined the experience a bit, but we just ran past them and tried to ignore them. We didn't encounter anything like this anywhere else, just here.
Musee d'Orsay was the only art museum we went to - gasp, I know. But honestly, why pretend to like something you don't? We saw the outside of the Louvre, and that was enough for me. If you want to visit the Louvre, you do you. But I highly recommend you also visit Musee d'Orsay because it is gorgeous and has lots of interesting things to look at. I know I sound terribly uncultured, sorry about that.
Champs Elysees, I don't care how touristy it is, it was fun. Lots of shops and things to eat and people to look at. I loved it.
Montparnasse Tower was right near our hotel. I'm generalising, but it's just like going up the top of Rockefeller Plaza in NYC so you can have a beautiful view of NYC with the Empire State Building (which, unfortunately, we did not get) in it. I thought it was a much better idea to visit Montparnasse Tower and see the Eiffel Tower, than go up the Eiffel Tower and see Montparnasse Tower. Plus, it's cheaper. Plus, champagne.
Oh, and you should probably visit the Eiffel Tower. But I feel like I don't need to tell you that, right?
Shops to shop
Well of course I need to talk about shops. I actually didn't shop too much in Paris, but of course I shopped a little.
I did the most shopping on Champs Elysees. H&M mainly, because I'm boring like that. In Le Marais - another wonderful area to wander around, lots of good food and shops - I stumbled across a secondhand shop called Free'P'Star. It was jam packed with both people and clothes, but I managed to find a dress (that I might 'refashion') and a scarf for 20 euros. Not bad!
Food to eat
Saving the best for last! Unfortunately, KC and I are not what you would call 'foodies'. We like our food to be good, and cheap. We are easily impressed, but picky, and not fancy at all.
Macarons. Undeniably, one of the most popular foods when you think of Paris, right? I was so excited to try them. Unfortunately... nope. I could go the rest of my life without a macaron, sorry to say. We tried Laduree and Pierre Herme and some little bakery near our hotel, you know, just to be sure. Nope, not a fan. That's okay.
Pastries. Oh. My. Word. If I could go back and not eat anything else besides pastries, I would. The best part is that they are so cheap! Like, a euro. My favourites were the chocolate pastry, the apricot pastry, the croissant.. oh, who I am kidding, they were all my favourite. Oh and the tarts... SO good.
Falafel at L'As du Fallafel. When I first saw this recommended on a blog, I was like.. haha no. I like falafel but in Paris? That's weird. But then I kept seeing it pop up. So I added it to our itinerary. It's in Le Marais, and KC was so hangry when he saw the line he wanted no part of it. I ignored him and stood in line, and less than a minute later we had food in our hands, no exaggeration. It was, without a doubt, the best falafel I have ever had and I couldn't finish mine, but KC gladly did.
Bread, meat, fruit and cheese. Seriously, just get you some bread, meat, fruit and cheese and have a picnic. You really don't need to be fancy (unless you want to, of course).
Another thing we ate several times were crepes, but of course, I ate them so fast - no pictures. Worst blogger ever, however I still highly recommend them and they are super cheap at the little street carts.
The biggest surprise for us in Paris was the food was so cheap. Like, much cheaper than we were expecting. All of our meals were less than 10 euro each, and to me, that is cheap. It's a lot cheaper than what I budgeted. We had pizza a few times for dinner and even chinese food one night. But mainly pastries and bread. Mmm. I could live on that.
Like I said, this is certainly not a comprehensive list and I don't pretend that we did absolutely everything there is to do in Paris, but we did enjoy our time there very much and it was because of these things.
Did I leave anything out that you are curious about?