The Perfect Day in Paris
A quick travel guide to explore the hidden gems of the city.
The USA Abroad! series is a look at the experiences of Americans who are having an international student experience in Europe.
Seeing all of Paris in a day is near impossible, but you can still get a wide glimpse of the city in under 24 hours. For first-time visitors, you are going to want to knock out the basics: the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur. You could hit all these bases in a day, but after living in this city for more than three months, I want to point out a few hidden gems far from where the tourists migrate.
How to get around Paris
I myself am not a local by any means, though I no longer consider myself a tourist in the city. The first thing that would ensure a sufficient day in Paris is knowing how to navigate the Metro system. The city has one of the best metros I have ever come across, and is similar, yet much cleaner, than that of the NYC subway system. The Metro can take you anywhere and everywhere for a very low cost. This is the most efficient way to travel as the traffic around the city can get pretty bad.
Begin in the Marais
To start the perfect Parisian day, I would begin in my favorite section of the city, the Marais. The Marais is my favorite spot for many reasons — the cobblestone streets are walkable and not too crowded, and the neighborhood is full of culture, shopping, and food. It’s also where the best vintage and thrift stores in the city are found. Here is my list of the must-hit vintage and thrift stores in the Marais:
- Kilo Shop: This is a multiple location vintage store with a plethora of affordable pieces. The Kilo Shop charges your item's weight by the kilo.
- FREE'P'STAR: A popular chain thrift store in Paris with very cheap pieces. They have a 1 euro bin and if you look hard enough you can find designer vintage for as little as 10 euros!
- Episode: Similar to the Kilo Shop, this store is full of vintage finds from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.
- Hippy Market: Like its name, Hippy Market is a groovy store with a large vintage selection. It particularly has a great jacket selection!
- Chez Snow Bunny: This is a women’s vintage store that curates vintage 90s and 2000s pieces. This store is more on the expensive side, but the items are so unique and beautiful.
- NUOVO: This vintage store is one of Paris’ most popular as it has been circulating around social media. This contains a vintage curation that is perfect for a European wardrobe. The prices vary, but there are some affordable options!
- Predilection: This is a concept vintage store that is my favorite in all of Paris. Its selection is so unique! However, it’s a very expensive store as most pieces are designer vintage!
- Come On Eileen Vintage: This store is a gem! It is filled to the brim with vintage pieces. The bag and shoe collection are to die for, and it is a must-hit on your Marais tour!
Next stop: the Louvre
After some time in the Marais, I would make my way up north toward the Louvre. Before entering the museum I would take a stroll in the Jardin du Palais Royal. The Louvre is free for all students and European Union residents, so it's a no-brainer. I have been to this museum about five times, and I still haven't seen every piece of art.
Walking to Notre Dame & Shakespeare and Company
After the Louvre I would head toward the Seine River and walk over the bridge for a quick glance at Notre Dame. Right near the Notre Dame is my favorite book store in all of Paris, Shakespeare and Company. This bookstore is one of the most famous in all of Paris, and arguably one of the most famous in the whole world. The bookstore was founded by George Whittman, and the store has severed as a hangout for some of the most famous authors of all time.
And finally, a sunset picnic at the Eiffel Tower
Following Shakespeare and Company, I would end the day with a picnic by the Eiffel Tower at sunset. There is so much to see in Paris, and I still haven’t seen it all, but I hope this guide helped offer some ideas to those who were planning a quick stay in Paris!
|Alena Nitti is a communications studies major and a creative and cultural industries minor with a focus on fashion and media at Chapman University in Orange, CA. She is currently abroad in Paris studying fashion for the spring semester. Alena has an affinity for fashion, vintage clothes, photography, and writing.|
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