10 Best Macarons in Paris: Don’t Settle For Just Any Macaron
Are you wondering where to get the best macarons in Paris? Check out this list the next time you're searching for the perfect treat to enjoy while in the city.
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Booking a ticket to Paris was one of the first things I did when the world started opening up after COVID.
I’ll be there for four full days before departing to the South of France for a month of fun in the sun.
Honestly, I cannot wait to board that long-haul economy flight to Europe.
I’m already daydreaming of all the things I’ll do and see while in the “city of lights”.
Not to mention the delicious croissants, macarons, and gelato that I plan on indulging in the second I land.
It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. It has its own special kind of magic in the air that truly makes you believe love and adventure are always around every corner.
If you want the perfect balance of fun, food, and culture, this travel itinerary will help you spend a memorable and delicious four days in Paris.
I’ve also included some important things to know when visiting the city in case some of you are first-timers.
I know it intimidates some people traveling to places where they speak an unfamiliar language.
While I understand it’s scary to venture into a non-English speaking country, it’s so worth it.
Most people just appreciate it if you try to speak the local language, so there’s very little to be afraid of, especially in Paris where most locals can speak a bit of English.
These are some phrases to learn and use while you’re visiting:
“Bonjour, parlez-vous Anglais?” (Hello, do you speak English?)
“Puis-je avoir l’addition s’il vous plaît?” (May I have the check please?)
“Merci” (Thank you)
“Merci beaucoup” (Thank you very much)
“Bonjour” (Hello in the morning)
“Bonsoir” (Hello in the evening)
“Où est…?” (Where is…)
“Combien ça coûte?” (How much does that cost?)
“Je voudrais…” (I would like..)
“Au revoir” (Goodbye)
Always say hello to people when entering a shop or restaurant. If you don’t, they’ll likely think you’re being rude.
If you’re greeting someone you know well, you’ll want to do a double cheek kiss instead of the traditional hug that Americans are used to.
You’ll also want to practice good table manners by keeping elbows off the table and using your knife instead of the edge of a fork.
Also, don’t make the same faux pas that I did on my first trip—the cheese course in France is a dessert, not a starter.
In France they use the Euro, so you’ll want to check out exchange rates before you head over. Typically, the Euro is stronger than the Dollar.
For example, at the time of publication the exchange rate was 1 USD which is equal to .85 EUR.
Since I prefer to carry less cash and use my credit cards for points, I typically only bring about 100 to 200 Euros with me for shorter trips like this one. Usually I’ll pick these up either at the airport or a local currency exchange center before I depart.
It’s always good to have a bit of cash on you in case you want to tip or indulge in a bit of gelato from a street vendor.
If you find you need more cash, you can always hit up an ATM. Just be ready to pay some sort of banking fee if you do this.
You’ll also want to call your bank and credit card company before you leave to let them know you’ll be out of the country. It’s the worst when they flag a charge as suspicious and turn off your card.
Don’t forget to include any places you have a layover in. I once forgot to tell them I was transiting through Moscow and ended up with my card turned off for almost a day and half before I could get the bank to sort it out.
The touristy parts of Paris are quite safe. I wouldn’t be overly worried, just stay aware of your surroundings like you would in any city.
Pick-pocketing is the most prevalent crime, so monitor your belongings. It also helps to act and dress like a local, since they target tourists.
At night, especially if you’re walking around solo, avoid places like Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est found in the 10th arrondissement. Also keep an eye out in Marx Dormoy, Porte de la Chapelle, La Chapelle, Porte de Clignancourt, Porte de la Villette in the 18th and 19th arrondissements.
Four days in Paris is a solid amount of time to explore and see most of the major sites.
If you want a more relaxing trip, I’d suggest booking seven days. This way you have a buffer to deal with jet lag and aren’t rushing to squeeze in everything.
I fully support Sabrina Fairchild’s famous quote, that “Paris is always a good idea”.
Personally, I love it in the spring and summer. I find all the flowers and gardens absolutely charming that time of year.
Read my post on the best time to visit Paris to get an overview of the best annual events going on each month.
Depending on your preferences, you might find that another time of year is your favorite.
I almost always take a nap on my first day in the city—unless I’ve really gone to town downing cafe au laits all morning.
Since most people visiting Paris end up with a bit of jet lag, I’ve kept the first day nice and light.
After a long flight, the first thing I like to do is drop off my luggage. Since most hotels and
Depending on where in the city your hotel or
Once the afternoon rolls around, you should be able to check into your accommodations. My
Take some time to shower and settle into your space. If you’re really feeling exhausted, take a 20-30 minute nap (any longer and I swear you won’t want to get up).
One of my favorite ways to beat jet lag is to go for a run around my new neighborhood. It gets your blood moving and gives you lots of endorphins to feed your energy levels.
I’m staying a few blocks from the Seine and cannot wait to run along it every morning.
If you aren’t a runner, just put on some walking shoes and go for a long walk around the area.
Besides getting in a bit of exercise, you’ll also get your bearings, which can be very helpful when you’re trying to find your way back home after a long day.
On the way back home from running, I like to indulge in a bit of dessert. The sugar always helps perk me up before an evening of exploring.
I’m already daydreaming about all the macaroons I’ll get at Pierre Herme that first day in town. I’ll probably get a tin of them so I have some to take with me on a picnic by the Seine on the second day of my adventures.
Fun Fact: The French have Goûter every afternoon around 4pm. This tradition of indulging in something sweet is something I’m totally on board with.
Let’s be honest, even the most jaded tourists and locals still love to see this iconic landmark sparkle at night.
I know it was the first thing I wanted to see after arriving in the city for the first time about a decade ago.
Let me tell you, it lives up to the hype!
Local’s Tip: For the best view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling, head to Place du Trocadero. It’s an especially beautiful place to watch the sunset before the tower lights up.
I never feel like going out for something fancy or overly complicated on my first night in a new city. There are some cases (typically when I’m staying in a place longer) where I’ll even just order in and have an early.
But since this is your first night in Paris and you only have four days, you absolutely should go out to eat.
Since you’re already near the Eiffel Tower, hit up one of these low-key places nearby:
I think almost everyone will be ready to crash early on their first day, especially those dealing with jet lag.
Give yourself a break and just head to bed on the early side so that you wake up refreshed and ready to go in the morning.
If you’re still feeling amped up after dinner, grab dessert and a drink or stroll along the Seine for a while toward your hotel.
Hopefully, any jet lag you’re struggling with is minimal on day two. If not, thank god for coffee!
You’ll absolutely want to wear solid walking shoes, and comfortable yet chic clothing for today since you’ll be heading to Montmartre.
I’ll repeat the part about comfortable shoes, because this neighborhood is extremely hilly. If you don’t wear something easy to walk in, you’ll regret it later.
If you’ve brought a
Check out one of these popular Montmartre walking tours!
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, especially in France, where they’re known for their delicious breakfast pastries.
I believe every Petit-Déjeuner should include pain au chocolat, croissants, and lots of coffee.
Depending on what you’re in the mood for, these are the breakfast spots to check out in Montmartre.
After breakfast, head up to the top of Butte Montmartre to see Sacré Coeur. It’s one of Paris’ most beloved basiliques and landmarks.
I highly suggest going inside to check out the 360 degree view of the city from the dome of Sacré Coeur. Fair warning though, you’ve got to climb about 300 steps to get to the top.
Besides the epic view, you’ll also find beautiful Roman-Byzantine style architecture, and the largest mosaic in France on the ceiling.
The best part is that admission is free!
If you’re traveling with kids or just want to take a cool IG photo on a vintage merry-go-round, head to the Sacré-Coeur Carousel.
It’s at the very base of Sacré-Coeur in Place St-Pierre.
You’ll ride vintage wooden horses while taking in the views of Montmartre and the old paintings of Venice on the ceiling of the carousel.
You’ll find artists covering every bit of this quaint square displaying and selling paintings. Some even offer portrait sessions!
I love wandering through this area checking out all the art. Occasionally I’ve even bought a souvenir painting to take home with me.
Fun Fact: During the Belle Époque Montmartre was home to famous artists including Van Gogh, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Utrillo.
You’ll want to go to the Jehan Rictus garden square to take photos in front of the popular Wall of Love.
It’s an art installation on a 40 meter wall featuring over 250 languages and over 300 different ways of saying “I love you”.
That’s not even the coolest part. They made each tile making up the collage from enameled lava so that it can withstand any weather.
You’ll also notice little red flecks randomly scattered around the installation, which represent all the broken hearts. If the flecks were to be put together, they form a full heart.
Keep an eye out for proposals while you’re here. This is an extremely popular spot for lovers to get down on one knee.
After all that walking you’ll have quite an appetite, and what better way to satiate your stomach than with French onion soup from La Mère Catherine?
If you prefer something other than soup, don’t despair, the menu has plenty of other options.
This place is one of my favorites any time that I’m in the neighborhood. The staff is always friendly and happy to speak English if your French is sub-par.
Plus the food is delicious and well priced for the area.
Fun Fact: Legend has it they invented the word “bistro” at this restaurant in 1814. Supposedly during the Russian occupation (after the Battle of Paris) Russian soldiers would stop here for a quick alcoholic drink. They would yell at each other in Russian “bystro!” (which means hurry), because they had to get back into their ranks.
While you’re in the neighborhood, you might as well swing by some of the most popular photography spots in Montmartre.
You will get some beautiful photos to show off online at these spots:
After you’ve got all the pictures your heart desires, head to Musée de Montmartre to take in a bit of culture.
Here you’ll find the oldest building in Montmartre, where artists like Renoir and Valadon used to live. Inside it you’ll find an extensive collection of paintings, posters, and drawings, plus the tranquil Renoir Gardens.
It’s a quiet little haven that you’ll want to spend at least a couple of hours exploring.
Parisians aren’t overly dressy and are pretty minimal. So if you’re still feeling cute at the end of the afternoon you can always settle in for a happy hour and skip going back to your accommodations to clean up.
Montmartre and neighboring Pigalle have tons of delicious dinner spots to choose from. These are some of my go-to restaurants in the area:
Okay, so you’ve got a few options for evening entertainment.
You can skip eating at the spots I mentioned above in favor of heading to the famous Moulin Rouge for their dinner show.
Or you can make plans to check out one of these lesser known and just as fabulous cabaret shows:
Make your reservation early if you’re planning on checking out a show!
I’m always ready for a cocktail and late night conversation with locals. In fact, I find some of my best recommendations and tips from chatting people up in bars. Some of those people have even become close friends.
If you’ve still got energy after the cabaret, you’ll want to hang out at one of these cool bars or lounges in the area:
Day three is a bit of a museum day. Since most of the must-see museums are roughly within walking distance, it’s easy to just pop into most of these in one go.
Obviously, you’ll want to continue wearing those comfy shoes because you’ll be doing a fair amount of walking.
It’s also advisable to score entry tickets ahead of time. I’ve included some links below each museum to make planning a breeze.
Depending on how early you start your day you’ll want to grab a fairly quick breakfast in order to arrive at The Louvre around the time it opens, which is typically 9am.
Since I’m always running late, I’ll typically grab a quick coffee and croissant to walk with while I make my way there.
If you’re an early bird, you can enjoy a nice relaxing breakfast at one of these nearby cafes:
After breakfast, make your way to see one of Paris’ most famous ladies at The Louvre.
I prefer arriving within the first hour of opening because it’s less fun enjoying all the art while dealing with the massive crowds that pack into the museum.
If you’re smart, you’ll check off The Mona Lisa first since that’s where most of the crowds form. She’s a lot smaller in person, so you’ll be grateful to not have to fight to get a good look at her.
After you’ve seen her, you’ll want to spend some time wandering around the museum seeking some of their other famous works of art.
My favorite famous pieces in the museum are Venus de Milo and Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque.
The museum has over 35,000 works of art, so you’ll likely spend at least a few hours checking things out.
Local’s Tip: Book a timed entry ticket ahead of time to avoid standing in massive lines when you arrive. On Wednesdays and Fridays they stay open later, so if you’re not a morning person and want to avoid crowds, consider going late at night.
Skip the long entry lines by purchasing your tickets in advance!
Even though The Louvre is more popular amongst tourists, it’s the Musee d’Orsay that has my heart.
It was an old train station back in the day, so it’s got a stunning interior you’ll absolutely want to take photos of.
They have an incredible collection of paintings by masters like Monet, Van Gogh, Manet, Toulouse Lautrec, and Degas.
Besides the epic artwork, they also have a large glass clock that I’m sure you’ve seen on your IG feed.
Book your tickets ahead of time to avoid the long lines!
The Place de la Concorde is between the end of the Champ-Elysee and the Tuileries Garden.
In this historic plaza you’ll find the Luxor Obelisk, and two giant fountains (including the one from the end of The Devil Wears Prada).
It’s also the location of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI’s execution during the Revolution.
One of the things I’m most looking forward to on my next trip to Paris is picnicking along the Seine.
I love grabbing a bottle of champagne, fruit, cheese, and a baguette and settling in along the river.
You can watch the world go by and all your stress just fades away.
It’s also super romantic at sunset, especially if you pick a spot where you can gaze at the Eiffel Tower glittering.
Okay, so obviously after the tragic fire a few years ago Notre Dame isn’t open to the public.
But just because you can’t go inside, doesn’t mean you should skip this national treasure altogether.
You can still check out the exterior and a display of artwork sent from around the world after the fire.
Right across the little bridge from Notre Dame, you’ll find Berthillon gelato.
It’s delicious, and the perfect sugary pick-me-up treat to fuel the walking you’ll be doing.
Paris is a city with tons of unique bridges but the Alexandre III is one of my all-time favorites.
It’s so grand that they’ve classified it as a French national monument.
Trust me, you’ll fall in love with this bridge the second you see it.
Fun Fact: They named the bridge after Tsar Alexander III since it commemorates the relationship between France and Russia.
Everyone should see the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower at least once in their lifetime.
It’s seriously one of the most incredible views in Paris.
Fair warning though, if you’re afraid of heights you’ll absolutely want to skip this one. I do pretty well with being high up, and even my stomach was churning a bit when we got to the top.
Book your tickets early so you can avoid waiting in the massive ticketing line. I made the mistake of just showing up and had to wait over an hour to score my ticket.
Book your Eiffel Tower tickets early to skip the massive lines!
If you’re not quite ready to descend the Eiffel Tower, book a reservation to dine in one of the tower’s two restaurants. The less formal option is Le 58 Tour Eiffel and Le Jules Verne is the fancier
For dining with a view of the iconic Eiffel Tower, make reservations at one of these places:
Since this is your last night to go all out, swing by one of these spots for a late night cocktail:
For your last day in town, I’ve laid out the perfect plan for a bit of culture and a lot of delicious Parisian foods.
Soak in every minute while you explore today!
On your last day in the city, it’s only proper that you eat all the croissants that you can handle.
After all, everything tastes better in Paris, especially the pastries.
These are some of the best croissant spots in town:
I know some of you are thinking, “really, isn’t Versailles far enough away to be a whole day trip?”
It’s actually just a quick 20 minute train ride out of the city.
Just hop on the RER train that departs from Metro stations in the middle of city and ride it to the Versailles Château Rive Gauche station. After that, it’s just a couple minute’s walk from the station to the palace.
You can pay for entry to either the chateau or gardens, or get a ticket that includes both (which I recommend).
Inside this World Heritage Site, you’ll find ornate architecture, lavish gardens, and plenty of history.
You’ll want to spend at least a few hours exploring all that Versailles offers.
Book your tickets early to avoid waiting in any lines!
One of my favorite things about Versailles is it’s astounding gardens.
The first time I was there my friends brought a bottle of wine and sandwiches and we had the most delightful impromptu picnic.
It was so much fun sitting there imagining the historical figures who may have also enjoyed picnicking on the same patch of grass.
I highly recommend packing a picnic or picking up snacks to enjoy on the lawns of Versailles. It’s a once in a lifetime memory.
Local’s Tip: Don’t forget to bring a bottle opener if you bring wine. We forgot and had to do a lot of googling about alternative ways to pop the cork out of the bottle.
Have you heard about The Phantom of the Opera?
Chances are you’ve either seen the Broadway show, film, or maybe even read the classic novel.
Growing up I was a massive Phantom fan, so I can tell you about all three versions if you need filling in.
The Garnier Opera House is where the story of the phantom unfolds. Needless to say, I massively geeked out when I got to visit the Garnier a few years ago and have the photos to prove it.
Even if you aren’t into The Phantom of the Opera, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be into checking out the insane architecture and artwork inside this landmark venue.
You can either book a guided tour or pay for entry to explore on your own (which I did).
Plan ahead and book your tour tickets online!
I’m slightly addicted to the macarons at Pierre Herme, so I’ll swing by a shop anytime I pass one.
Since it’s roughly time for Goûter, do yourself a favor and pop into the shop’s storefront a few blocks from the opera house at 39 Avenue de l’Opéra.
My favorite flavours to indulge in are Ispshan, Rose, and Mogador.
The Ispahan is a combination of rose, lychee, and raspberry that tastes out of this world!
The Mogador is a milk chocolate and passion fruit macaron that’s just as mouth-watering.
Visiting the Arc de la Triomphe is something I’m hoping to finally cross off my Paris bucket list on my next visit.
The best part is that it’s free to visit the ground level of the arch. Just take the underpass to access it, since crossing the roundabout is incredibly dangerous.
It’s best to visit in the early evening when the flame is lit at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Head up to the observation deck for a stunning view of The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and the Champs-Élysées all shimmering in the distance.
Fair warning, you’ll need to pay an admission fee to access the interior, museum, and observation level.
Local’s Tip: Be ready to climb roughly 50 steps to reach the top of the observation deck.
Talk to any Parsian and they’ll complain that Montparnasse Tower is the eyesore of the city’s skyline.
They’ll likely also admit that the view from the sky deck on the 56th floor is one of the best in the city (because it’s the one spot where the building can’t ruin the skyline).
If your timing is just right and you can enjoy the sunset and the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris.
I love wandering around it imagining how much fun historical figures like Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds had running around St. Germain in the 1920s.
If you want to chill at one of the same cafes as them, just head to either Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots. Both were extremely popular spots in the 1920s and still draw sizable crowds today thanks to their history.
If you’re looking for somewhere fancier, head to one of these spots:
Paris is well known for its jazz scene, so it only makes sense you should experience a bit while you’re in town.
These are some of the best venues to check out:
I hope this guide helps you to enjoy Paris to the fullest while you’re traveling.
Just remember to indulge in all the pasties and champagne while you’re in town and to say yes to all the adventures that come your way.
It’s truly a magical city, and I hope you fall in love with as much as I have.
Let me know in the comments below what you’re most looking forward to doing in the “city of lights”.
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