Your first time

… in Paris.
Going to a city for the first time can be a minefield of organisation and time management. Where do I go? How long do I need to stay? What are the must sees? Guide books such as the Lonely Planet give you a very good idea of all the main tourist hot spots you should go to in any city in the world. But, I am a believer in seeing things and doing things on your first trip to a place that aren’t necessarily in the guide books. Oh, you will still have time to see the sites and to visit museums, but doing something a little bit ‘local’ will make your first time that little bit extra special.
Here I present to you the top 8 things I recommend you do on your first trip to Paris!
1. Take a walk, it doesn’t matter where. My recommendations are Montmartre, the Marais or along the river. What wonders will you discover?

2. Have a picnic at the Eiffel Tower – at night is the best, with the tower twinkling every hour until 1am.

3. Take a boat ride on the Seine. You’ll get a unique view of the city. Watch out for my personal favourite – Henry IV Bridge. It’s the one with all the faces on it. Stories say that just before the bridge was finished, King Henry held a party to celebrate the opening, and the faces you see on the bridge are the guests at his party.

4. Visit a Patisserie and try a real croissant or macaroon – hell, try both!

5. Have dinner at a local restaurant, sit outside and watch people go by. Eat at 8pm or later if you want to be like a local.

6. Visit the Luxembourg Gardens, my favourite gardens in the whole of Paris. Take along a packed lunch and sit by the gazebo. There will usually be a free concert of some kind playing there.

7. Take a small group tour. Chocolate, museum or city – it doesn’t matter. This will give you some info on the city from a local or an expat that you won’t get anywhere else.

8. Visit a cemetery. You may or may not have heard about Parisian cemeteries. Let the photo below speak for itself and go and see one of these uniquely Parisian places.

Whether it’s your first time or your fifth time in Paris, I recommend you do a few or all of the above. But for first timers, doing things that aren’t in the guide books will make a place special in your mind. No longer will your first time be rushed, full of long lines and exhaustion. Take the time to see and appreciate the city of Paris like a local.

Happy travelling!

Ali. x



  1. Brilliant list! I think that you should also stop by Sainte Chapelle, even if you’ve seen a billion churches (very easy to do when in Europe). And buy freshly baked baguettes in the afternoon, nom.

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