Paris Places

Paikea Houston headshot
Paikea Houston
April 12, 2024

Bonjour, mes cheris!

Welcome to my blog! If you aren’t already familiar with me, my name is Paikea and I am currently in Paris!

Le sujet du jour is just a list of everything I love about Paris.

Avant tout, I want to clarify that everyone’s experiences are going to look and feel different depending on your personal circumstances and preferences. However, these are just some things I really enjoyed in the time I have been in Paris and things I wasn’t immediately aware of when I got here.

D’abordbrunch! I love Paris brunches. You can find them in many different spots all around Paris in many different arrondissements. I know brunches are a thing but I didn’t even realize that they were such a big deal as they are in Paris. I have been to one of the Kozy locations (they are adorable little brunch spots that are pretty affordable and really cute), Le Bimbo in Montmartre, and Le Bistro. Brunches are usually for Sundays (or weekends in general), but many spots have Brunch menus every day of the week. Brunch menus are usually fixed-price menus that have different options to choose from for dishes. They usually have one cold drink, one hot drink, one salty dish, and one sweet dish. Prices can vary but the average is usually from 20 to 30 euros. Price is not indicative of quality, so double-check online for portion sizes, and don’t always trust social media to provide accurate representations of what you are going to be served. Some places will serve you plenty for brunch, with each dish being its own perfectly satiable meal (so getting a value deal) while others will leave you hungry after having two whole plates. My friend and I went to one brunch spot after seeing it online and were sorely disappointed by the amount of food provided and that the “fresh” orange juice did not come from an orange to the glass but rather from a sealed plastic bottle in a mini fridge by the bar. So make sure to do your research if you don’t want to end up stopping by a pastry shop 30 minutes later spending a good chunk of your daily budget on pastries. Most brunches will offer their menus online for you to check out in advance and the pictures posted on Google reviews can be really helpful in choosing your right brunch experience. One of my favorite things to look out for is pancake brunches, as French pancakes are just as fluffy (if a bit smaller) than American pancakes and they come with plenty of savory options. Savory pancakes are so good and often better than their sweet versions. Also, a good thing to know for any type of experience either in or out of brunch: getting a cup of tea is overrated. If you love tea, and you want some tea either with your brunch or any other meal, do not waste your money on tea at a regular restaurant. I am not entirely certain about tea shops or afternoon tea places, but asking for tea in a restaurant usually means a 2 cup little teapot that looks a bit crusty, one questionable brand tea bag, if you are lucky some sugar, and nothing else. This cup of tea will come with the brunch or cost around 5 euros everywhere else. Just a reminder. Tea bags are at most .50 euros, hot water is a negligible cost, and you can add your own honey, sugar, milk, etc and maybe add some spices or have a cookie on the side. You make better tea than any restaurant, and your tea will most likely be significantly cheaper for a much better sipping experience. So skip the tea, try the hot chocolate instead which is usually a better experience. Otherwise, brunch is loads of fun and a great opportunity to hang out with friends and eat good food. 

Deuxièmement, day-trip trains, and “free” journeys. If you buy a Navigo pass and charge it for Zones 1-5, you can hop on a train with a destination to somewhere in Ile de France and pay nothing out of pocket. At the moment yes, a Navigo costs close to 90 euros so it can be quite expensive, but you can make the most out of it by taking trips outside of Paris to the cool and wonderful gems of the region just by scanning your Navigo, hopping on board, and enjoying your day. Many trains run on an hourly to bi-daily basis, so you don’t have to buy tickets ahead of time. With your Navigo you don’t even have to buy a ticket, your Navigo is your ticket, just make sure to validate before you board. The places you can get to vary but a quick Google search yields several options. Just a tip though, check on the SNCF website to check train journeys and when they are running because sometimes train lines will close on certain days and that means your plans to go to one city might not work out. Places you can get to within the region with your Navigo include Provins, Versailles, Giverny, Fontainebleau, Chantilly, Disneyland Paris, Reims, Auvers-sur-Oise, Chartres, Vaux-le-Vicompte, etc. Tons of options to explore France without paying for a train. Furthermore, in Fontainebleau (and most likely everywhere else in Ile de France) your Navigo will work for the local public transport like buses. My friend and I took a trip to Fontainebleau and used not only the hourly trains to the city but also the buses that run in the city itself. As a student with a visa, you also get free access to many of the museums in Ile de France, but if not completely free basically everywhere else in France you can get a reduced price as a student. So other than food costs, everything is budget-friendly! My friend and I actually paid no money that day because we had eaten everything at home and brought along picnic-friendly foods like homemade trail mix and leftovers from dinner. If you don’t necessarily want to leave Paris but still want to feel like you are experiencing something new, many places around Paris offer a sense of peace and adventure. There are several parks all around Paris that are nice to run in, sit in, picnic in, and explore. One of my favorites is definitely Parc Monceau, which is a sprawling park with plenty of different paths and loads of interesting things to see. It can feel a little bougie because this park was intended to attract many wealthy people to settle in by it, but if you want to take advantage of a clean and fresh area it is amazing to walk around. Not only is the park itself gorgeous but it’s surrounded by beautiful buildings and they have those cute little crepe stands. There is a lot of history to this area and the park itself so it can be pretty cool as a historical walkthrough because of how it relates to the history of the rest of Paris. There are also the Tuileries, le Jardin Luxembourg, and others, there are also the much smaller parks. I would definitely make a day of picnicking at different parks all around Paris. 

Troisièmementcertain streets are absolutely gorgeous like Rue Montorgueil which has a patisserie that claims to be the oldest in Paris called Stohrer. This may not be your standard boulangerie patisserie because it does focus more on sweets than breaded goods. However, they offer some of the greatest sweets I have ever tasted and if you ever find yourself in the district it is a great place to check out. All over Paris, you will find certain streets that hold a treasure trove of shopping opportunities, delicious restaurants, and gorgeous views. Certain districts in particular will be hubs for everything you need to have a fun day within the city. Off of Saint-Paul on Line 1, you have quick access to a beautiful street, with walkable and charming winding medieval roads. From Saint Paul, it is also a fairly quick walk to one of the prettiest parts of the Seine, as well as Berthillon. In my personal opinion, it was one of the best ice cream shops in all of Paris. There can be a line during rush hour and they aren’t open for after-dinner gelato, but the line moves quickly and I personally believe the best way to enjoy it is as the sun is over the tops of the buildings while you sit by the Seine. Off of the Odeon station (and many nearby stations) you will find winding streets full of gorgeous restaurants and specialty food stores. Maison Georges is a pretty well-known chain chocolate shop which is a bit pricey but nice regardless. I like to get a smoothie and dinner at Le Relais Odeon which is usually one of the only restaurants not completely booked. The food is okay, not too pricey, but what they do offer (at least while I was there) was an all-fruit, delicious, and legitimate smoothie. Most smoothies in France are, sorry to say, trash. They are mostly ice or some sort of frappe. The ones at this restaurant were mostly fruit and tasted super delicious. If you are a smoothie lover who is sadly being deprived of everything good and glorious in this world, then you might want to give this place a try. Another pretty well-known place that is blowing up on social media right now is called Du Pain et Des Idees. I would get there a bit earlier or during mealtime lulls, and I definitely recommend getting the pistachio and chocolate escargot which is just a rolled pastry that is rolled with with a pistachio cream thing and chocolate bits. I usually dislike pistachio-flavored things but that escargot was so delicious! They also had many different types of pastries that you won’t necessarily find in some of the more chain boulangeries/patisseries. Unlike Stohrer, this place has more bread-based goods. They also offer some salty options that are also delicious like their mini paves which are breads that are stuffed with different flavors like olives, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, etc. A place that you can find in several spots around Paris is A la Mere de la Famille which has been recommended to me by several locals as being the best value for taste chocolatier. I will be visiting them soon to see for myself but I definitely say anyone should give it a try if it is approved by the locals. There are also the open-air markets found everywhere in Paris on certain days and times of the week. They sell antiques, sometimes food, fresh produce, clothes, jewelry, everything you can think of! Keep your eyes peeled for all the ones that pop up. Some occur several times a week like clockwork, some only pop up once or twice a month. I have been to several, and I actually live on the street where one shows up three times a week, and I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone visiting Paris. 

Enfin, Paris is full of wonderful things to check out while you are here, and not all of them are the standard pre-approved tourist destinations most people check in on a week-long trip. If you want to take advantage of your time in Paris, there is so much more to see than just the tourist attractions, even if they are also pretty great.

À la prochaine!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs
Paikea Houston headshot

Paikea Houston

I am a person who loves her family, good food, and sunshine. I always believe in trying things at least once for failure is never certain. I'm here to take you along with me to travel further, work harder, and dive headlong into the great wide world!

2024 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
Explore Blogs