A First Timer’s Guide to Paris, France

Paris really is a city like no other.  The streets are full of enchanting beauty and everywhere you turn feels like you’re in a fairytale.  From the amazing architecture of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe to the rich French art in the Louvre, you will find out why Paris is the true “city of love.”

Things to Do:

The Eiffel Tower

Lift ticket to top €17, Lift ticket (valid to 2nd floor) €11, Stairs entrance ticket (valid to 2nd floor) €7

This 324 meter tall iron tower is as grand in person as you picture it in your dreams.  You can get amazing views and pictures of the tower and city by either paying to get to the top (by stairs or elevator) or admiring the tower for free from the grass area right next to it, which is also a great place for a picnic on a summer day.

The Love Lock Bridge

This was one of my favorite things to see because it really encompasses Paris as the “city of love.”  There were rows of locks on the bridge with different messages, names, and colors but one similar message: love.  My two roommates brought our own lock to place on the bridge and threw the key in the river to symbolize our love and care for each other and the cities we had traveled to.

Side note: This was the bridge during my trip in 2014.  Although there is no official bridge anymore after city officials removed the locks from the Pont des Arts bridge in 2015, many have been putting their locks on the fencing at Pont Neuf.  

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* throwback to magical days in Paris *

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Champs Elysees & the Arc de Triomphe

Cost to get to the top: adults €8 and students €5

This bustling Paris avenue full of people, shops, and dining is also home to the famous Arc de Triomphe.  The Arc de Triomphe not only has amazing views of the city and the Eiffel Tower but it also something to be admired in itself. It was built in the 19th century as a way for Napoleon to give tribute to his ‘Grande Armee’. It was a true pinch-me moment to watch locals and tourists alike walking along this beautiful piece of French architecture.

The Louvre Museum

I recommend allotting at least a couple hours to explore this massive museum full of art masterpieces.  Most famously, the museum houses Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” which is actually very hard to actually get a good glimpse at since the majority of the people are blocking the small panting by taking selfies.  Nevertheless, the Louvre is a must-see for art lovers traveling to the city.

For more information: Website

Musée d’Orsay

Adult admission €12 (psst, the better deal is the Musée d’Orsay /Musée de l’Orangerie combined ticket for €16)

Installed in the former Orsay railway station, this museum focuses on the time period of 1848 to 1914 and includes many paintings and sculptures from impressionists and post-impressionist artists.  A must-see for all art-lovers and admirers of the rich French culture and history.

For more information: Website


Also known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, you will see amazing views of Paris from the top of the stairs because the Sacre-Coeur is the highest point in the city.  The beautiful inside of the basilica is also open for viewing for free during visiting hours.

For more information: Website

Cathedral Notre-Dame of Paris

Although there are no actual hunchbacks living inside, this popular cathedral completed in 1345 is a beautiful example of French Gothic architecture and religious history.  It was located in a beautiful area where my roommates and I joked around and made our own attempts at being the humpback from the story.  The best part? The inside to this magnificent cathedral is free!

For more information: Website

Where to Stay:

Luxury: Hotel Monge ($200-300)

With beautiful decor, luxury amenities, and being walking distance from the Notre Dame Cathedral, Hotel Monge is the perfect stay for those looking to spend more on accommodation.  It is located in the Latin Quarter, which is home to many of the oldest streets in Paris and very close to the Seine.

Mid-range: Hotel le Notre Dame ($100-150)

With a reputation for amazing customer service and beautiful decor, this hotel is for the travelers who want the boutique style without the luxury price.  The hotel is also located in the Latin Quarter and near metro stops to take you to other parts of the city.

Budget: Plug Inn Boutique Hostel (Private double rooms from €90, shared dorm rooms from €32pp)

This designer-style hostel located in the fairytale area of Montmartre, has many perks including free Wi-Fi, flatscreen TV’s in some rooms, comfy beds, and is conveniently located next to a metro stop.


I hope you found these tips to be useful inspiration for your next trip to this beautiful city.  Let me know in the comments if there’s anything that I missed…or if you just want to help me dream more about Paris.


Happy travels,

L x


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17 thoughts on “A First Timer’s Guide to Paris, France

  1. So much to do in Paris, but these should definitely top any first-timers list! The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower or even the Arc de Triomphe are amazing. Definitely places to get a couple photos but really just stand and stare out into Paris.

  2. I love that you also added prices and information for everyone to read! More often than not I feel like people don’t want to talk about rates and money, but it is a very important topic to cover if you’re planning to travel on a butget, so you know at least how much to save!

  3. The love locks bridge looks really interesting. I’ve been to Paris three times. I have no regrets about not seeing Notre Dame and the Louvre, although I’d consider visiting them if I go again.

  4. You are so right about the amount of time the Louvre consumes. It took me two whole days to go around the Louvre and the Orsay Museum, and still – I was rushing to see only the favorites! There are so many… But it was surely worth it! 🙂

  5. You’ve written a very nice post! Thanks for the information. Btw I stayed there in Airbnb, we were 4 and we paid like 120 euros per person for a week 🙂 So it’s another great alternative,

  6. Wonderful post. It is silly as I live in Amsterdam, only 4 hours away by train, but I never visited Paris. It is now so high on my list that I feel I simply must visit in 2017.

  7. Paris is such an enchanting city. Reading your post and seeing your pictures makes me want to go back. Glad you included prices as it’s nice to be prepared for that when you go. We missed seeing the ET at night and can’t wait to go back to do that now!

  8. Paris is so dreamy! I need to go again. When I was there, the top of the Eiffel Tower was closed so that’s reason enough to return! Great info here for my next trip.

  9. I have never been…I am dying to go and see all the fashion there and the Eiffel tower@! I will save this for later, hoping to go this summer..I shared it on twitter and fb as well!


  10. I love Paris and agree, if you only have a weekend to spend these are definitely the highlights. I can’t wait to return and see even more of this amazing city!

  11. Can’t wait to take you to Paris and have you show me around. Reading your posts makes me only dream of how nice it will be to overlook the city with you at the top of the tower with a few kisses of course.
    Love you(:

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