Paris is a great place to be foot loose and fancy free with a group of girlfriends for the weekend. It’s pretty centrally located so easy to get to from most places especially if you are in Europe, Middle East or Africa but it also isn’t too far from the East Coast in the US & Canada. To be honest it is a fabulous destination regardless of who you are going with or what time of year you go. Summertime is always beautiful with plenty of outdoor dining options and fountains to lazy around. Winter can be a great though as it makes for shorter lines and fewer crowds at museums and attractions. We recommend you just go when it suits as no matter when you go it will be fabulous.
The Eiffel tower is always a must see.
Here are a few of our favourite places for the perfect weekend in Paris.
Hot Chocolate – Angelina Paris has the best hot chocolate but be warned it might ruin hot chocolate for you forever because you will never find such good hot chocolate again. Luckily you can buy some to take home with you.
Lunch – Pink Mama – There are a few Pink Mama’s at various locations around Paris so find the one closest to you and head on over. They do not take reservations so get there before the opening if you want to be seated for first service. If you miss first service they will put you on the waiting list. Be sure to have one of their cocktails when you are there!
Shop – Galeries Lafayette is an upmarket French department store chain. Its flagship store is on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris and if you are in Paris at Christmastime visiting their famous Christmas tree is a must. L’Officine Universelle Buly, also known as simply Buly 1803, is divine. The interiors are inspired by 17th and 18th century apothecaries and their skin care products are all natural and just to make it even better they have an in house calligrapher, who beautifully scripts your name and product on the packaging of every item you purchase.
Do – It’s hard to go past Paris’ famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées. The museums are also difficult to pass up including the Louvre and The Centre Pompidou but if you are going to be there during high season make sure you book in advance. There are a few other hidden gems that are hard to pass up too. The Sainte-Chapelle is a stunning gothic chapel with breathtaking stained glass windows and well worth taking a detour to see. Atelier Lumieres is a wonderful experience involving moving projections and loud opera. You usually have to book in advance for this but occasionally you can get tickets on short notice. Père Lachaise Cemetery is also a great visit with its fascinating history and beautiful gardens. It is the largest cemetery in Paris and the most visited one in the world. If you take line 3 and get off at the Gambetta station you will enter the cemetery near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then you can head downhill to see the rest of it.
Cocktails – Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris is a recipe for a good night out. Get there for opening otherwise, you might need to wait a while for a table. They only let in enough people as there are seats. There is even a podcast you can listen to ‘We’ll Always Have Paris – The Ritz Paris Bar ‘ to prepare yourself for your visit. If you want to feel Parisienné then The Bar at Hotel Costes is the place for you. At the time of writing, it is currently closed for renovation but should be opening again soon.
Dinner – Balagan offers up a modern Arabic dining experience. The food is beautiful but that makes it very hard to get into so you make sure you book well in advance. For a casual family, brasserie try Bistrot Paul Bert or Brasserie Lipp both are consistently great and very French bistros.
Stay – Mama Shelter has two locations in Paris, Mama Paris East and Mama Paris West (opening this summer) and is great places to say if you don’t mind being on the outskirts of the city. Alternatively, if you want to be in the middle of it is take a look at Paris Perfect which offers up a good selection of centrally located apartments.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame, The Centre Pompidou
Travel directly to Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris from any major city in the world. It is easy to catch public transport from the airport to whatever area of Paris you are staying in.
Rachel Nelson is a New Zealand expat who has lived and worked in the US, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UAE, Qatar and Germany.
Adi Bukman is an Australian expat who has lived and worked in France, Holland and Germany.