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A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Paris

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The best time to visit Paris
Paris is an all season destination and has something to offer in every season. Having been to Paris in every season, I think autumn and winter are my favourite as they are less busy and most romantic. Summer can be fun but it is just too much chaos. Spring is very pretty and when I visited in May, I remember it being quite wet for most of the visit. Everyone complains about rain in England but have you met rain in Paris? LOL


A first timer’s guide to Paris: Where to stay in Paris
Hotel Rochechouart
Montmatre has always been one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Paris. Hotel Rochechouart is on Boulevard Rochechouart in Montmatre. It boasts of art deco architecture, modern luxury and has been in existence since 1929.

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The best thing about its location is that it is only a 15 mins walk from Gare du Nord, which meant that we did not need to get a taxi. We simply walked down while fully immersing ourselves in the vibe of Montmatre.


We stayed in Hotel Rochechouart when we visited Paris with our baby, Adanna. Our suite opened up to a Juliet balcony, overlooked Boulevard de Rochechouart and one could see Sacre Coeur in the distance. It had 2 rooms – a living area and a bedroom. This was perfect because we set up our baby’s cot in the living area.

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Hotel Le Walt
For our girls’ trip to Paris, I decided to stay a bit more central so the 7th arrondissement was my pick. I had saved Le Walt a while ago after seeing it on Instagram and immediately prayed it was available. To my surprise, it was. We had wanted a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower, which was what drew me to this hotel. However, after looking at room sizes, we decided to settle for the Executive room – best choice ever! It was a big room – big for a central Paris hotel and the bathroom was lovely.


Hotel Le Walt is a 4 star boutique hotel situated between Champ de Mars and Les Invalides. For a first timer’s guide to Paris, I totally recommend Hotel Le Walt. We really had the best stay here from the kind staff to the clean rooms; I would totally rate Le Walt 10/10. The fact that there was a metro station 30 seconds away, École Militaire was also a bonus. Across from the hotel is a Carrefour supermarket, which was convenient for late night snacks. The area had a lot of restaurants dotted around and we made a mental note to try as many as possible. Read on to see if we did try them all.

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A first timer’s guide to Paris: Getting Around Paris
Paris’ metro is one of the best in the world. I’d compare it to the London underground so if you can navigate London’s underground, Parisian Metro will be a breeze. If staying in Paris for a week, get the Paris metro card. For this, you will need a passport photo and ID. I always find uber relatively cheaper than in London. So when we were in Paris with our baby, uber was an easier, less stressful option. Between the metro and uber-ing, we were able to get around pretty easily.


A first timer’s guide to Paris – What to do in Paris
Jardin du Luxembourg
I have always loved a garden visit on every trip. We got there at about 8.30 for a morning walk and it was the best decision. For the 1st 30 mins or so, it felt like we had it all to ourselves, which was quite cool. We walked around and admired all the pretty flowers and took so many videos to fill our phones. Our final stop was the Medici Fountain, which; in my opinion is one of the most beautiful spots to visit in Paris. It was originally built in 1630 by Marie de Medici and moved to its present location by 1866.
After our lovely stroll around Jardin du Luxembourg, we walked just across the road to one of my favourite cafés, Au Petit Suisse. It is such an unassuming café and the perfect spot to people watch.

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We were lucky to be sat next to an interesting car owner who parked his car right in front of the café. Whilst I’m not great with recognising vintage cars, this one was a beauty.


Champs Elysées
Is it possible to visit Paris without checking Champs Elysées out? Yes, it actually is. When we visited months ago with Adanna, we didn’t dare go to Champs Elysées, as I really was not ready to navigate the busy street with my baby. However, on this girls’ trip to Paris, it felt like a great time to revisit my old friend. It was a lovely stroll down from the metro while admiring all the things along the route. From spotting usual faves like Ladurée and the massive Louis Vuitton store; to admiring the cafés that have popped up all along the street.
I remember thinking about my 1st time on Champs Elysées and how that trip and that moment changed my life.

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L’Arc de Triomphe
The fact that L’Arc de Triomphe is at the end of Champs Elysées will forever feel epic to me. I always stand in the middle of the street and look left to Place de la Concorde and right to L’Arc de Triomphe. And it feels so…wholesome. Like, yes this is Paris.
For a first timer’s guide to Paris, I recommend visiting L’Arc de Triomphe just in time for sunset. It was the most beautiful sight. We found a bench, sat and stared lustfully as the sun set slowly and beautifully behind the arc. I had never seen that happen so it was as much an exciting sight for my friend as it was for me.
It’s not a surprise that Paris really makes me happy and watching the sunset on L’Arc de Triomphe is one that will stay with me for a long time.


Palais Galliera
I was determined to find a new “Eiffel Tower” spot and I found one that I think might still be somewhat of a hidden gem. I contemplated between Palais Galliera and Palais de Tokyo as it is just opposite. We had an understated view of the Eiffel Tower from the steps of the Palais Galliera and it was a delightful sight. Palais Galliera is a fashion museum that opened in 1977 with collections from the 18th century. It is located in the 16th arrondissement and is one of my favourite places to have a peek of the Eiffel Tower. The building is really pretty and as with typical 18th and 19th century Parisian architecture, it is super imposing. I’m sure it will get more popular with time as yet another Eiffel Tower photo spot but for now, it remains a bit of a special gem.

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Explore Montmatre
One of our afternoons was spent exploring the beautiful streets of Montmatre. We strolled through the popular and instagrammable café, Le Consulat to Rue de l’Abreuvoir and took photos in front of La Maison Rose. Rue de l’Abreuvoir is one of the oldest and prettiest streets in Paris. It is one I love skipping down whenever I’m in Montmatre. The houses on either side are believed to have been there since the 1320s so it’s a lovely transportation back in time.
A first timer’s guide to Paris – The Eiffel Tower Hunt
When we visited with Adanna, I was keen to check out a few new Eiffel Tower spots and our first was Avenue de Camoëns. I say new because I had not visited them yet in all my travels to Paris.


Avenue de Camoëns turned out to be one of my favourite spots to view the Eiffel Tower. Although we got there quite late in the afternoon, it was not too busy. We took some photos; people watched (it’s a great spot to do this), had a little chat with a newly married couple and just passed time there while Adanna slept in her stroller. Once she was awake, we walked down the steps and headed to Avenue de New York and finally, Trocadéro. We spent the evening watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle through the French air. Before we headed back to the hotel, we had a mooch around the 16ème arrondissement. There was a little patisserie on Avenue Paul-Doumer where we stopped for some cakes.

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The best spots to view the Eiffel Tower around Trocadéro
Any 1st timer in Paris will most likely have one request – To see the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is a popular icon like the Statue of Liberty in New York and the London (cough! Tower) bridge in London. There are so many spots to view the Eiffel Tower from which include up close, in and around the Eiffel Tower, hidden streets, bridges and even from hotel room balconies and windows. It is definitely the monument to build your hotel or restaurant around and you can watch people flock there to catch a glimpse.

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