Abroad blonde shares her expert guide in Paris, France

There’s a reason they call Paris, France the city of love. From the countless proposals under the Eiffel Tower to the whimsical candlelit dinners (did you know that the snail is generally considered an aphrodisiac?) to the beautiful and unique architecture that surrounds the streets of the city, the romance flows endlessly in the City Light. Spending even a few days there breeds the hope of your life turning into an IRL romantic comedy.

Its dreamy atmosphere — along with its legendary food scene, intriguing history, and appeal to partygoers and cultural travelers — is what drew travel professional Kiersten Rich to the city. Rich is the founder of the award-winning travel blog The Blonde Abroad, specializing in solo travel for women. Ranked among the top 10 travel influencers by Forbes, The Blonde Abroad is a major online resource with thousands of curated travel guides for destinations around the world.

This means you can trust his judgment when it comes to which popular tourist destinations are actually worth visiting. And Paris? It is 100% worth it. “No matter what budget you’re working with — whether you’re a student or on your honeymoon, you can find so many cool things to do in Paris,” Rich says.

Below, we asked Rich to share his guide to an unforgettable trip to Paris.

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WHY PARIS?

Paris can mean so many things to so many different people. It is one of the best destinations for solo travel, ideal for a mother-daughter trip, of course, a top romantic destination for a honeymoon or a couple’s getaway, and perfect for a family vacation. From iconic sites to history to gastronomic delights, there really is something for everyone.

What is one thing every first-time visitor should see or do in Paris?

It’s so hard to pin down because there are so many quintessential Parisian moments to experience, but if I had to pick a few, I’d say grab some cheeses, wine and bread and go picnicking on the Seine. Wake up early to wander around Montmartre before it gets busy – the former artists’ village is located just down the road from Sacré-Coeur (which is the highest point in Paris), you will have so a fantastic view of the city and then you walk around the neighborhood. The bakers arrive early, the cobbled streets are empty and it feels like stepping back in time.

And then, of course, you have to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle! No matter how many times I’ve seen this, it’s just as magical every time. There are tons of viewpoints all over the city, so take your pick. It sparkles every hour after sunset.

Paris travel guide
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Going to the French bakery for a coffee and a croissant in the morning?

It really depends on the neighborhood I’m staying in, and honestly, there are so many wonderful bakeries and cafes in the city, you can’t really go wrong!

Fun Fact: Did you know there’s an annual contest to find the best baguette in town? They judge for things like density, crispness, size; France takes its bread and pastries VERY seriously. I don’t know who judges it or how one becomes a judge… but I definitely volunteer as a tribute!

Paris travel guide
@theblondeabroad

Best meal you’ve had in Paris?

Oh my God, you ask all the hard questions! As I mentioned above, Paris is a foodie city. I can’t say I have a favorite restaurant but I’m a sucker for quiche and salad. Oh, and a perfectly simple French omelette. *chef’s kiss*!

Food is one of the main reasons I travel – to learn how the locals eat, to sit alone in a café to people watch and, of course, to indulge in the flavors of the destination! Paris is one of the best cities for a next-level dining experience.

Best bar in Paris to enjoy a glass of champagne or a cocktail?

I love old historic bars and cafes and Paris is FULL of them! Café de la Paix, Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, for example, are all beautiful brasseries built in the 1800s and made popular by iconic artists in the 1920s (think “Midnight in Paris” vibe ).

Paris travel guide
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The best way to admire the city’s iconic architecture?

Personally, I think walking around the city is the best way to experience it! Grab a pair of comfy shoes (Parisians are known for their sneaker game) and head out to explore. Get yourself a metro pass to be able to go from one district to another.

The coolest hotel or place to stay in Paris?

There are so many beautiful hotels in Paris, but definitely check out what’s on offer on sites like Airbnb. I have rented amazing apartments with a view of the Eiffel Tower for much less than a hotel.

That said, I loved my stay at the Mandarin Oriental Paris! The location is amazing, within walking distance of the Louvre.

Paris travel guide
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A must-see museum in Paris?

So much! Although the Louvre always tops the charts, it is huge and can be very overwhelming. For a much more intimate experience, head to the Musée de l’Orangerie where you can see Claude Monet’s famous series of water lily paintings “Les Nymphéas” – it’s massive and takes up the entire room. Another favorite is the Musée d’Orsay, which is housed in a former train station and features mostly French art from the 1800s.

For something off the beaten track, head to the Musée de la Vie Romantique in the 9th arrondissement, just at the foot of Montmartre. It’s an old cream-coloured building with light green shutters, with a greenhouse, a garden and a cobbled courtyard… and it’s as romantic as it sounds!

The place was once the meeting place of many 19th century artists and writers like George Sand and Eugène Delacroix. Today, you’ll find everything from French literature to paintings, antiques, jewelry, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time. As a bonus, the greenhouse-turned-tea room serves up delicious treats and is a lovely spot for lunch or tea.

Paris travel guide
@theblondeabroad

Best time of year to visit?

April or May is great! You always hear people say “Paris is so dreamy about spring…” and they’re not wrong! Although April is still quite cold, you are greeted by beautiful cherry blossoms all over the city. And, maybe it’s just me, but it seems people are happier as they shed their heavy winter coats and the daylight lengthens a bit.

Another great time to visit is between September and October. The weather is relatively mild — neither too hot nor too cold — and most of the summer tourists are gone.

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