Things to do in Paris: visit the Sacre-Coeur

5 (more) days in Paris, France

Back in February I embarked on my fifth visit to the City of Light and once again I have plenty of ‘things to do in Paris’ tips—despite wanting a more laid-back city break this time, I ended up compiling an 11-page itinerary and we walked almost 100km.

So, after sifting through over 800 photos it’s time to share my bumper guide. If you’re just looking for quick recommendations you’ll find a roundup at the bottom of this post. Now, make a pot of tea then stick this song in your ears—and let’s go to Paris.

Day 1: Friday

View from our Paris hotel room, FranceReview: Hotel George, Paris, FranceHotel George review, Paris, FranceAbbesses old Metro station, Paris, FranceThe greengrocer from Amelie, Paris, FranceMaking a dog friend in Paris, FranceBeautiful old doorway in Paris, FranceMontmarte, ParisLe Consulat, Paris, FranceAmelie filming locations in Paris, FranceClassic pavement cafés in Paris, FranceNewstand in Paris, FranceThe Metro station from Amelie, Paris, France

Our Eurostar arrived at the Gare du Nord just before midday, so after checking into our hotel and dumping our suitcase (and coats, bonjour soleil!) we headed out for a very French lunch—crêpes, at Crêperie Brocéliande!

Refuelled, we meandered through Montmartre, via an Amelie filming location or three, and headed up the Butte Montmarte to admire the Sacré-Cœur (and peek inside APC Surplus, the outlet store).

Sacre-Coeur, Paris, FranceBasilique du Sacre-Coeur, Paris, FranceVisiting the Sacre-Coeur, Paris, FranceSacre-Coeur Basilica, Paris, FranceThe beautiful Sacre-Coeur, Paris, FranceAPC Surplus outlet, Paris, FrancePigalle, Paris, FrancePrintemps, ParisVisiting Printemps, Paris—and its free roof terraceThe rooftop at Printemps, Paris, FranceThe view from the roof of Printemps, Paris, France

It was time to admire a new view and finally tick a department store roof terrace off my Paris must-do list: we headed to Printemps Haussman.

The rooftop is slightly tricky to find (make sure you’re in the beauty and homewares building) but totally worth it. After our longer-than-expected hunt for the roof, and therefore now slightly behind schedule, we ran across town to visit the Louvre with our pre-booked tickets.

Palais Garnier, ParisThe Palais Garnier, ParisVisiting the Louvre, ParisVisiting le Louvre, Paris, FranceThe Louvre, Paris, FranceLe Louvre, Paris, France

Of course, the Musée du Louvre is absolutely bloody MASSIVE (almost 800,000 square feet) so I think it deserves a post all its own…that’ll be up next.

After a couple of hours crammed with art and artefacts, we headed out for steak and bières at Le Louis before getting an early night, ready for another busy day.

What I wore: Boden jumper and coat, Whistles jeans, Adidas trainers, Louis Vuitton bag

Day 2: Saturday

Metro Saint Georges, ParisVintage shopping in Versailles, Paris, FranceVintage shop in Versailles, ParisTips for visiting Versailles, FranceInside the Palace of Versailles, FranceVersailles, France"The Inception Bridge", AKA Pont de Bir-Hakeim in Paris

Versailles time, finally! We day-tripped to the famous Château, en route finding a great vintage store that I got distracted by for half an hour.

Once back in Paris we finally saw “that bridge from Inception” i.e. Pont de Bir-Hakeim, then found a kind-of ‘street balcony'(?) I’ve been hunting down since seeing it online. To find out where it is, check out my tips for the 15 best places from which to admire the Eiffel Tower!

Eiffel Tower at sunset, ParisSunset at the Eiffel Tower, Paris, FranceEiffel Tower sunset, Paris, FranceEiffel Tower at night, Paris, France

Next we headed to Trocadéro to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower bathed in golden hour light at sunset. Then it was time to utilise the happy hour offers at FrogBurger before heading to BaaGaa to scoff down burgers for dinner.

As you do, we ended up back at the Eiffel Tower just in time to catch the 10pm illuminations. Cheesy, but utterly heavenly.

What I wore: Boden coat, Aubin & Wills shirt, Levi’s jeans, Converse trainers* (c/o Get The Label), Louis Vuitton bag

Day 3: Sunday

Walking in the Jardin des Tuilieres, Paris, FranceThings to do in Paris, on a sunny SundaySpringtime in the Jardin des Tuilieres, Paris, FranceThe world-famous Angelina tea room, Paris, FranceClassic French pastries for breakfast at Angelina, ParisClassic French pavement café, ParisThe flagship Chanel store on Rue Cambon, Paris, FranceDetails at the flagship Chanel store, Paris, FrancePlace Vendôme, Paris, FranceA Sunday morning in Place Vendôme, Paris, FranceThe world-famous Ritz hotel, Paris, FranceBeautifully ornate doorways in Paris, France

Sunday began as a sunny Sunday in Paris should: with a walk in the Jardin des Tuileries, breakfast at Angelina, and a peek at the Chanel flagship on Rue Cambon (luckily it was closed, not that it would’ve made much difference—my budget would’ve stretched to no more than a bottle of Chance).

Then we finally ticked Place Vendôme and the Palais-Royal, with its famous striped Colonnes, off the Paris must-see list.

Visiting Palais-Royal, Paris, FranceCovered walkways at the Palais-Royal, Paris, FrancePalais-Royal's beautiful covered walkways, Paris, FrancePalais-Royal, Paris, FranceThe famous striped 'Colonnes' at the Palais-Royal, Paris, FrancePlaying with the Colonnes at the Palais-Royal, Paris, FranceMetro station, Paris, France

The Colonnes de Buren‘s Insta-fame meant they were busy with people posing perched on top of them. Officially known at Les Deux Plateau, this art installation was originally considered controversial due to its cost and (some say) unsuitable location beside a historic 17th century building.

I personally like them, as I do all striped things, but can understand why they might’ve been a shock in the 1980s—even if it was a bit of a tacky-and-I-love-it decade!

Colonnes admired, we wandered in the direction of the Seine then along its banks towards the Île de la Cité and the Notre-Dame.

Springtime street scenes in Paris, FranceCute old scooter in the streets of Paris, FranceWalking by the River Seine on a Sunday in Paris, FranceHôtel de Ville, Paris, FranceThings to see and do on a long weekend in Paris, FranceSpring in Paris, FranceThings to do in Paris, France: visit the Notre-Dame CathedralNotre-Dame de Paris, FranceNotre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, FranceThe world-famous, French Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France—built in 1345Cathedral de Notre-Dame, Paris, France

The Notre-Dame needs little introduction. Completed in 1345, this stunning French Gothic cathedral is one of the most famous religious buildings in the world, in part thanks to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

During our last Paris city break we climbed to the top of the towers, and I’d absolutely recommend you do so too if you haven’t yet. Maybe do it again even if you already have.

Seine booksellers, Paris, FranceShakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris, FranceShakespeare & Company book shop, Paris, FranceVisiting the world-famous Shakespeare & Co. book store in Paris, FranceInside Shakespeare and Company, Paris' most famous bookstoreOdette pastry shop, Paris, France

We skipped a proper visit to the cathedral on this occasion, instead hopping across the river to finally have a poke around inside the world-famous independent bookstore, Shakespeare and Company.

It surpassed expectation, with shelves packed floor-to-ceiling with books, a surprise piano performance (and a comfortable couch on which to sit and listen), plus a cat to try to befriend—unsuccessfully in my case.

Then it was time to head back over the river.

World-famous French Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France—built in 1345Bridge rollerskaters, Paris, FranceAux Merveilleux de Fred in le Marais, ParisAux Merveilleux de Fred patisserie in Paris, FranceBespoke restaurant—a great place to get burgers in Paris, FranceBreakfast at Bespoke in Paris, FranceCanal Saint-Martin, Paris, FranceBrocante at Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, FranceVintage shopping by the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, FranceWeird shop sign on the streets on Paris, France

Wandering through the Marais we pit-stopped for merveilleux to-go, for breakfast the next day, before hunting down something for lunch. We settled on Bespoke, a place we’d enjoyed a great dinner at a couple of years previously, and it was delicious (if a little heavy on the chilli flakes).

As we headed towards the Canal Saint-Martin it began to cloud over, as it always seems to do when I head that way hoping to take photos. A silver lining was discovering a couple of brocante (bric-a-brac) stalls. Then it was time to head up the hill to Montmartre for drinks at au Rendez-Vous des Ami and a fantastic dinner at La Vache et le Cuisiner.

What I wore: Boden coat, Ganni top, Levi’s jeans, Converse trainers*, Louis Vuitton bag

Day 4: Monday

Gorgeous old shop signs in Paris, FranceFlea market shopping in Paris, FranceShopping at the brocante (flea market) in Paris, FranceShopping for vintage treasures in Paris, FranceVintage shopping at the market in Paris, France

On Monday we decided to venture north to the Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen, a warren of a flea market (apparently the biggest in the world) that looked perfect for a morning rummage.

Unfortunately we got totally lost and the area around Porte de Cligancourt isn’t the best—you’re advised not to advertise the fact you’re a tourist and it really doesn’t feel very safe, so I was reluctant to use my phone to help reorientate us.

We did stumble across another (smaller) market so it wasn’t a total loss but I later established we had actually been mere seconds away from the puces de Saint-Ouen 🙃 Next time.

Place du Panthéon, Paris, FrancePanthéon, Paris, FranceThings to do in Paris, FranceA long weekend in Paris, FranceTiny doorway in Paris, FranceThings to do in Paris, France: visit the Pont des ArtsPont des Arts, Paris, FranceVisiting Monet's Water Lilies, Paris, FranceAdmiring Monet's Water Lilies in Paris, FranceDetails of Monet's Water Lilies at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, FranceAdmiring Monet's Water Lilies, Paris, FranceArtwork by Renoir in the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, France

Back in the centre of town and post-lunch at FrogBurger in Saint-German, we meandered to the Panthéon then back up the Left Bank and across the famous Pont des Arts to the Musée de l’Orangerie.

This little gallery at the bottom of the Tuileries is the perfect way to while away a gloomy hour or two—it’s home to Monet’s Water Lilies, which is even more stunning in person than you imagine it would be, and works by Renoir and Picasso.

l’Orangerie is now my favourite art gallery in Paris and here’s a top tip: if you’ve travelled by Eurostar tickets are 2-for-1.

The covered walkway of Passage du Perron, Paris, FranceGalerie Vivienne, Paris, FranceThings to do and eat in Paris: Le Rubis wine barThe Eiffel Tower, Paris, on a misty nightEiffel Tower at night | Paris, France

It was time to hit a wine bar. Our first choice was Legrand Filles et Fils, in the Galerie Vivienne arcade, which was followed by a pint at the more ‘rustic’ Le Rubis near Place Vendôme.

For dinner we opted for Le Champ de Mars—admittedly a total tourist trap since the Obamas visited (there’s even a plaque honouring the occasion) but also absolutely the reason I wanted to eat there. Miss you, BO and MO ❤️

What I wore: Boden coat, Petit Bateau top, Whistles jeans, Converse trainers*, Louis Vuitton bag

Day 5: Tuesday

Tiled Metro station in Paris, FranceBeautiful old stores in le Marais, ParisCafé corners in Paris, FranceBreakfast in the park, in Paris

On our last day in Paris, we headed into the Marais to get pastries for breakfast, from a Jewish patisserie we stumbled across.

We also ended up grabbing a second breakfast—more merveilleux from Fred, which we enjoyed sat in the park behind the Notre-Dame. When in Paris.

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, FranceJardin du Luxembourg, Paris, FranceThe famous Café de Flore in Paris, FranceFamous Les Deux Magots café in Paris, FranceLadurée macaron store in Paris, FranceThings to do in Paris: visit the Louvre museumThe courtyard of the Louvre, Paris, FrancePlaces to eat in Paris: Sacrée Fleur steak house

During a ramble through the Latin Quarter, we grabbed baguettes for lunch and munched on them in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Next we popped back through the Cour Napoléon et Pyramide du Louvre and up to Montmartre for our pre-Eurostar dinner at the Sacrée Fleur.

And with that, it was au revoir to Paris again. À bientôt, mon ami…

What I wore: Boden coat, Levi’s jumper, Levi’s jeans, Adidas trainers*, Louis Vuitton bag

I hope you liked this mammoth post, check out my other Paris tips if you did—and don’t forget to pin or save this for later! 🙂

Things to do in Paris, France

Where to stay

This time we stayed at the Hôtel George, a cheerful 3-star member of the Astotel chain (known for thoughtfully-decorated budget boutique hotels in central Paris). The George is a stone’s throw from Montmartre and a short walk from the Gare du Nord, perfect as we travelled by Eurostar.

We redeemed Hotels.com Rewards credit so paid less than £300 for 4 nights (a bargain by Paris standards). Each Astotel has an open bar, stocked with snacks and drinks, and you can utilise facilities at their hotels across the city. We’d definitely stay again.

Of course Paris has plenty of Airbnb options—get £30 off with my link!

Things to do in Paris, and nearby

  • Tour Eiffel | Of course! I’ve posted 15 amazing Eiffel Tower viewpoints but you can also visit (and climb) the Iron Lady herself.
  • Arc de Triomphe | Following on from the above, here’s a spoiler: this is my favourite place from which to admire the Eiffel Tower—and the rest of the city.
  • Notre-Dame de Paris | One of the world’s most beautiful religious buildings.
  • Le Louvre | The biggest museum/art gallery in the world.
  • Jardin du Palais-Royal and Colonnes de Buren | Historic building plus art installation.
  • Trocadéro | For amazing views of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Cimetière du Père Lachaise | Burial place of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and the marvellous Edith Piaf, a wander in this pretty cemetery is free (unlike most things in Paris).
  • Le Seine | A walk along the river is a must, or you can take a cruise.
  • Explore the city | Each neighbourhood has its own unique vibe. My favourite areas are Montmartre and Le Marais.
  • Château de Versailles | Day trip to this 400-year-old palace on the edge of the city.
  • Provins | Another option for a day out is this medieval town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Places to eat in Paris

  • Aux Merveilleux de Fred, various locations | These light-as-air cakes are actually Belgian but worth picking up anywhere.
  • Angelina, 226 rue de Rivoli | Beautiful tearoom founded in 1903. The hot chocolate is world-famous for a reason—there’s a gift shop too.
  • Crêperie Brocéliande, 15 rue des Trois Frères | Traditional Breton crêpes at excellent prices, especially if you get the 2-course meal.
  • La Vache et le Cuisiner, 18 rue des Trois Frères | Top-quality food and great service.
  • Baagaa, 54 rue de Longchamp | Wagyu burgers and perfectly fluffy/crunchy fries.
  • Le Fontaine de Mars, 129 rue Saint-Dominique | Honestly, I only ate here because the Obamas once did. Luckily it was actually excellent too.
  • Sacrée Fleur, 50 rue de Clignancourt | Home to the best steak ever, this has become our regular pre-Eurostar dinner and is always an excellent last meal in Paris.
PARIS TIPS: what to see and eat in the French capital

Becky

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2 Replies to “5 (more) days in Paris, France

  1. Last time I went we stayed in Montmartre which I LOVE. I must say I’m always in awe of how action-packed your trips seem to be – I definitely need to get more organised haha. Some fantastic advice in here!

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