{Long} Weekend Getaway Idea: Paris, France

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Before you think we’re crazy to suggest Paris as a weekend getaway — hear us out. Many look at European trips as completely overwhelming, and it certainly can be when you try to cram in everything you’ve ever read about into a few days. Forget museums galore, walking until your feet feel like they want to fall off, and waiting in line after line for tourist attractions — we’re here to simplify it for you. Check out our tips and tricks to enjoy a {long} weekend getaway to Paris, France:

paris france getaway

Flights:

Luckily for us, there are many options in and out of Newark Liberty International Airport {EWR} or even JFK. There are so many ways to bring the cost of an airline ticket down {like adding in stops} — however, for a long weekend, a non-stop flight is the way to go. To make this long weekend worth your time and money, we recommend heading out on a Thursday night via Uber, arriving Friday morning and departing Paris on Monday, arriving back stateside on Monday.

Accommodation / Hotel Picks:

paris france getaway

Vacation Rental Apartment

Sometimes it helps to keep some consistency in your routine when you’re traveling so you’re not completely thrown off, especially when you’re out of the country. If, for you, that means being able to get up and make your own breakfast and coffee in the morning, then a vacation rental apartment from Airbnb or VRBO is the way to go. This allows you the opportunity to go shopping in your local street markets which is a cultural experience in any city in the world. Pretending to be a local for a few days will truly give you a different perspective.

Hotel Passy Eiffel {3-Star Rated Hotel}

This cute little hotel is located in an upscale neighborhood that has great shopping and restaurants and is conveniently located just across the river from the Eiffel Tower. Depending on the time of year, rates average below 500€ per night.

Four Seasons George V {a Luxury Resort For a Special Trip}

A five-star hotel is synonymous with luxury, however in Paris, they have a ratings tier that is higher than five stars {leave it to the Parisians}. Not only is the Four Seasons George V a five-star hotel, it is also one of the prestigious 24 hotels awarded the “Palace” status. Hotels awarded this status are the most luxurious in the city and meet certain criteria for their offerings, historical meaning of the property, gourmet restaurants, and staff excellence. The hotel in itself is an experience {they spend around 80,000€ a month just on the florals}. If something like this doesn’t fit in your budget this time around, you can still get dressed up and pay a visit for a drink or two.

Places to Eat & Drink:

paris france getaway

Café Constant

Locals all have their favorite cafés and for different reasons. Our pick, hands down, is Café Constant. Located near the Eiffel Tower, this place takes the top spot due to how authentic it is. The atmosphere is warm and inviting {yes, quite opposite from what you’d expect from the French}. The food is, well, splendid. The inside evokes cozy feelings of the front room at Hoboken’s Elysian Café {complete with the velvet curtain across the front door to keep the cold air out}. Note: they don’t take reservations, so make sure you aren’t in a rush.

L’As du Fallafel

The name says it all — great falafel in a very casual place in a fun neighborhood known as Le Marais. After a few nights in a row, sit-down dinners on vacation in restaurants can get a little tiring, making this place the perfect way to change it up. Le Marais was historically the Jewish quarter of the city and it has the feeling of the West Village with cute restaurants and some great shopping.

READ: Weekend Getaway Idea: Miami, Florida 

Place du Marché Saine-Honoré

This isn’t one place, but rather, a neighborhood square. Lined with restaurants and bars, young professionals flock here on beautiful days to catch up with friends and have a good meal —almost like the French version of Washington Street, ha!. Order an apéritif {before dinner drink} and watch the people go by. Take an Uber there and back, so you can enjoy a few before you head back.

Picnic at Champs de Mars

At night, the Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour for ten minutes and it is truly a sight to behold. On warmer nights, the best thing to do is to stock up on some cheese, bread, and wine and have a little picnic right there underneath it in the Champs de Mars park. Looking for a gourmet picnic and don’t have the time to go shopping? Le Paris Picnic will do all the work and deliver it right to you.

Berthillon Ice Cream

No trip to Paris is complete without this sweet treat — made from the finest ingredients, Berthillon’s ice creams and sorbets are pure decadence. Many restaurants will sell their ice cream, but a trip to their storefront on Ile Saint-Louis is worth it no matter the weather. The dark chocolate paired with the salted caramel is a fan favorite.

Ladurée

Even if you’re not the biggest lover of macarons, Ladurée will convert you. With a few locations in Paris, the best one to pay a visit to is on the Champs Élysées. The shop is beyond charming and their packaging is so sweet {no pun intended} that they make great souvenirs for friends and family back home.

Attractions / Things You Must Do:

paris france getaway

Museums

It seems like everywhere you turn in Paris, there is another museum to see. It can be extremely overwhelming and honestly who wants to spend their entire trip inside when the city itself is a feast for your eyes? If you’re looking for a manageable museum, Musée d’Orsay is it. As a Beaux-Arts train station that was built in the 1800s, the building alone is a sight to behold. Inside, you’ll find recognizable works from the likes of Monet, Manet, and Degas to name a few. Even if you weren’t an art major, you’ll recognize many pieces in their collection and you won’t leave feeling exhausted.

Nighttime Boat Cruise

While Paris is gorgeous by day, it is equally as stunning by night. The best way to see it in all it’s illuminated glory? A boat ride, obv. Better known as Bateaux Mouches, you have the choice of a dinner cruise down the Seine River or just a leisurely ride. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Place Trocadero

Every visitor to Paris tries to get the perfect picture with the Eiffel Tower. You know, the ones where people are pinching the tower by the top of the structure. Those are taken at Place Trocadero, a large esplanade located directly across the Seine. Day or night, you’ll get the picture you were looking for.

Louis Vuitton Flagship Store

It always seems funny to see people going crazy on vacation at stores that they probably have at their local malls back home. So while we could easily visit Louis Vuitton at the Short Hills Mall or on 5th Avenue, there is something enchanting about their location on the Champs Élysées. As the brand’s flagship store, also known as Maison Vuitton, it is the largest LV store in the world. Floor upon floor of gorgeous leather goods will surely dazzle you. With the Euro to US Dollar exchange rate in our favor, you can pick up that bag you’ve been wanting. The best part — on most items, they can monogram your initials in your choice of font and color. It’s free to do and after your purchase, they will escort you to the top floor of the building where your item is given to the artisans and they monogram it right then and there. Makes for a great souvenir {and treat} for yourself.

See More: Weekend Getaway Idea: Newport, Rhode Island

HG Insider Tips:

paris france getaway

  • If you go between March/April and November {after we set our clocks ahead an hour and before we set them back an hour} the time change will only be five hours as France does not observe Daylight Savings Time. It makes the time difference a wee bit easier to manage.
  • When most people arrive in a new place, their instinct is to look at their watch and think about what time it is back home. Don’t fall into this trap. You will always immediately feel more tired than you really are. Ignorance is truly bliss when you’re dealing with time changes. On your first night in a new time zone, always try to stay up as late as you can and never nap on the first day. This will allow you to get a full night’s rest and wake up at a normal hour.
  • The French have a reputation for being prickly and unfriendly. You’ll quickly learn that this is not the case and you may even come to envy the ease with which they shrug their shoulders in indifference {still trying to master that one}. Knowing a few key words will go a long way and melt their seemingly icy exterior quickly. Here are a few key words to know:
    • Bonjour {bon-juhoor} – Hello {said only during the daytime and always said to a shopkeeper when entering their store}
    • Bonsoir {bon-swah} – Good evening
    • Merci {mare-see} – Thank you (always said to a shopkeeper when leaving their store)
    • S’il vous plaît {seal voo play} – Please
    • L’addition s’il vous plait {lah dission seal voo play} – Check, please!
  • In France, it is not customary to tip the way we do in the States. Waiters/waitresses would find a 20% tip borderline insulting, so it’s best to just leave a few coins {depending on how much your bill comes to}.
  • The Métro is a super easy and clean way to get around the city. It’s important that you keep your ticket, even if it’s a single ride ticket, until you completely exit the station at your destination. If you don’t, you run the risk of being fined by the police.
  • You can plan out the majority of your trip, but the best thing to do in the city is to just leisurely stroll. Get lost down a little side street. Pop into a quaint café for a glass of wine. Pretend you are the first one to discover these roads. It’ll be worth it.
  • If you’re a runner or a biker, bring your sneakers. Paris has some spectacular running routes and is a very bike-friendly city. Years before NYC saw Citi Bike, Paris had the concept with Vélib.
  • Parisians do not hit restaurants for dinner before 8:00pm/8:30pm. If you’re wanting to score a table at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, go on the earlier side {between 7:00pm-8:00pm}, but just know that you may be the only ones in the place. If you’re thinking of going that early, it’s important to check online or to call to make sure they open before 8:00pm.
  • A city like Paris will always leave you wanting more no matter how much time you spend there. Remind yourself that you can go back. The French mentality is to slow down and savor. Keep this mantra in mind as you move about your day.

Have you ever been to Paris, France and followed any of these tips and tricks? Share with us in the comments!

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As a corporate event planner, Ashley's job takes her all over the globe, allowing her the opportunity to incorporate her love of travel into her professional life. She was a Hoboken resident for 8 years before she took a quick 1.5 year intermission to pursue her dream of living in Hawaii and working at a luxury resort. In addition to trying to perfect her shaka, Ashley is usually hanging with her French bulldog Beau (he goes by Beauregard when he's feeling fancy), meeting friends out for a glass of wine, dragging herself out for a run, or working on her travel blog, The Wandering Ash.