Paris, city of love, city of lights has always been one of my dream cities. Maybe I was inspired by my childhood favourite TV show, Madeline or maybe I was enchanted by stunning Paris streets and wish to get lost while I am wandering. You know my love for Paris is real when I decided to revisit after 2 years. Hence, I decided to share with you my Instagram guide to Paris, including places you have to visit, things you should do, food to try and where to get good shots of you and the iconic landmarks.
I hope this guide comes in handy, without further ado, here is my: Instagram Guide to Paris: Places to Go and Things to Do (in no particular order)
- I highly suggest you to walk and take public transportation while traveling around Paris. Most of the attractions are very close to each other and with walking and Metro, you could access to most of the places easily. I would suggest you to get your tickets in 10, as it will be cheaper. And you don’t need to keep buying it every single trip.
Read more about -> How to Use Paris Public Transportation
- Beware of your personal belongings while traveling during the peak hours, it can be REALLY PACKED (like sardines)
- Be extremely alert of your surroundings to prevent yourself drop into common tourist scams. For instance, the gold ring trick, the string or bracelet scam, petitions, the rose scam, (believe me or not, my friend and I have encountered these on our first trip but glad that we did not fall in it).
- If you are having a major (luxurious) shopping spree in Paris, my advice, take a cab back to your hotel. Or you could ask for black bags to cover your (Gucci, Prada etc) purchases. I got it, it feels good to carry all of your purchases and walk like a Diva but you won’t want to attract pickpockets and all right. You would thank me later.
1. Discover Arc de Triomphe, A Symbol of French Patriotism
Arc de Triomphe, a memorial arch dedicated to those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Aside from taking shots of the front view, you could also climb 280 steps to the top which serves as the observation deck to have a panoramic view of Paris.
***However, if you are like me would want to save some cash, check out my blogpost on 10 Best and Free Spots to Photograph the Eiffel Tower.
Photography Tips: You could either take photographs right in front of it (via the Champs Elysées) but beware of the massive traffic, or you could take photographs from the side which gives your photos more dimensions.
2. Window Shopping at Avenue des Champs-Élysées
After visiting Arc de Triomphe, don’t forget to stroll down the iconic two-kilometre stretch of Avenue des Champs-Élysées which connects the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. It also frequently described as ‘the world’s most breathtaking avenue. I’m the type of girl who don’t like going shopping while I was traveling, but Avenue des Champs-Élysées is definitely an exception. It is so satisfying to feast your eyes with the luxurious boutiques and fancy flagship stores. Not to mention, my favourite things to do including, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and people watching.
3. Grab French Pastries such as Macaroons and Baguettes
How can you not try any French pastries when you are in Paris? You will regret if you don’t. If you are looking for some famous pastry shops to try. Here are a list for you. P.S the one I was holding in the picture above is from Pierre Hermé.
Shops you could try:
PIERRE HERMÉ – If you are into trying bold flavors.
LADURÉE – If you want classic tastes and enjoy a true scent of Paris.
CARETTE – Great variety for all tastes, really close to the Eiffel tower
Photography tips: Why not photography your macaroons with iconic landmarks such as Eiffel Tower?
4. Admire The World Famous, Louvre Museum
To be honest, it is hard not to be in louvreee with the Louvre right (trying hard to make a pun lol). Not only Louvre is Paris’s most famous museum, it is also the largest museum in the world with over 35,000 works of art, including pieces such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. If you are only staying in Paris for a few nights, I would suggest you to SKIP it! Instead, just admire the magnificent blend of modern and old architecture which features glass pyramids from the outside. The best time to visit Louvre (if you are only there for pictures) is before sunset when everyone else was heading back to their hotels or to dinner. Not to mention, you could also have various shots including when the glass structures are illuminated beautifully in the evening light.
Photography tips: Frame the glass pyramids with one of the doors (like my first photo). If you want to capture the entire landscape, capture it from the opposite where Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is situated.
5. Have a Romantic Stroll at Pont Des Arts a.k.a Lover’s Bridge
Pont des Arts which is also known as Passerelle des Arts and lover’s bridge (where love birds used to attach padlocks) is situated between the Institut de France and the Louvre. It was the first iron bridge in Paris. Not only it offers fine views of the Seine with passing boats and Eiffel Tower, its iconic surroundings provide a wonderful spot for a photo.
Photography tips: Frame the bridge with the door to Louvre, which is just right opposite of the bridge. From that perspective, you could even have Institut de France as your backdrop.
6. Get Your #OOTD Shots at Domaine National du Palais Royal
Domaine national du Palais Royal was created by the Cardinal Richelieu in 1633, which situated not far from the Louvre. Palais Royal used to house royal families up until the Palace of Versailles was built. The highlight of this place is definitely its architecture including the 280 modern black and white striped octagonal columns that remind me of chess. P.S Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton also held its fashion week at Palais Royal. Hence, fashionista out there, I bet you won’t want to miss the opportunity to have your #OOTDs taken here right?!
Photography tips: Every corner is so aesthetic, it is hard not to take some decent shots. Make use of the different heights of the columns when framing your shots.
7. Stroll at Jardin du Palais-Royal
Continue your stroll from Palais Royal to enter the Jardin du Palais-Royal. This enclosed space features two large garden areas divided by a lovely circular fountain. If you wish to unwind and relax at a quiet place, this garden is perfect for you. You could a green chair, relax your feet and enjoy a cup of take-away coffee and a book.
8. Reminisce Your Childhood Disney Movie – The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Notre Dame
I bet most of you have watched the famous Disney movie – The Hunchback of Notre Dame when you were young. Notre Dame is one of the oldest and grandest Gothic influenced churches in the world. The entrance is free so seize the opportunity and go inside. However, make sure you visit on non-peak hours. Take a tour around the back of the cathedral to discover a beautiful park which in the springtime is filled with cherry blossoms.
Photography tips: If you want a shot without the tourists, the best time to go is early in the morning (but if you are like me who don’t really mind, then it’s fine). If you want to capture the entire monument, Île St Louis offers a great view over the Seine towards the cathedral with some greenery in the foreground.
9. Get Dazzled By The Opera Palais Garnier
The Palais Garnier Opera House is a 19th-century architectural masterpiece, which built by Charles Garnier and opened in 1875. It is opened to visitors during the day staging opera and dance. My favourite part of The Palais Garnier Opera House is definitely its architecture, ranging from painted ceilings by Chagall, interiors and exteriors that glitter in gold to detailed carved staircases.
Photography Tips: Get off at the Metro station “Opéra” and you will be right opposite of Palais Garnier Opera House, where you could capture the entire monument. You could also focus on the details of the architecture.
10. Watch Sunset and the Eiffel Tower Sparkles at Trocadéro
When visit Paris, the top of your bucket list is of course the Eiffel Tower. Trocadero, which sits across the River Seine is surely the perfect spot to get unobstructed view of the Iron Lady. It’s often flooded with tourists trying to get that perfect shot, if you want to have the Eiffel Tower all to yourself, try to get there before sunrise. However, if you don’t mind, arrive before sunset is definitely my favourite. Not only, you get to secure a spot for the lighting ceremony, you get to photograph Iron Lady with different sky colour as the backdrop.
Photography Tips: To add more interest to your photo, frame one of the sculptures with the Eiffel Tower like my first photo. You could also zoom in to focus on the details of Iron Lady.
11. Eat Crêpes
When in Paris, eat crêpes even though crepes don’t originally hail from Paris, they actually come from Brittany. You’ll be surprised that City of Lights is positively littered with crêperies – whether they’re sit-down restaurants or take-away windows. Regardless you are have taste buds towards savoury taste or the sweet taste, you are sure to find one which you love. My favourite combination is the classic Nutella and Banana.
12. Admire Heavenly Gorgeous Stained-Glass Cupola at Galeries Lafayette
Galeries Lafayette is hands down the most stunning and photogenic mall in Paris. You should definitely pay a visit even though you do not have shopping in your mind. With its luxurious gold painting grand foyer, stunning stained-glass cupola, it would definitely elevate your Instagram game.
Photography Tips: Go to the second or third level to best photograph the dome and architecture.
13. Have a (FREE) Spectacular View of Paris at Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Terrace
After admiring the enticing architecture, don’t forget to head up to the 7th floor, where the rooftop terrace is. Galeries Lafayette’s Rooftop offers a 360 degree views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower above the Grand Palais, the Palais Garnier, the old Parisian buildings and monuments. Most important, it is free!
14. Hunt for the Sinking House of Montmartre
OMG, is this house sinking? This was my first impression when I stumble upon photos of sinking house on social medias. Sinking House, is the most famous and popular optical illusion around the city. Every time you look at the photo, you will feel confuse. But, wait how to find it? It’s easy, the sinking house is in Montmartre right next to the Sacre Coeur. You will spot it on your right-hand side, when you walk up the final set of steps to get to the Sacre- Coeur.
Photography Tips: After taking your photo, tilt your picture to the left so that the bank of grass is level in the photo and Walaa!
15. Prepared to be Swept Off Your Feet by Montmartre Neighborhood
Montmartre, is actually a large hill situated in the 18th arrondissement which overlooking Paris. It is the old artist area which gives off an old village vibes with its architecture and cobblestone pathways. Not only, it’s home to the breathtaking Sacre Coeur Cathedral,Place du Tertre, to the world famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. It also gives you an impressive view overlooking the whole city. Not to mention, you could also find many cute cafés, colourful buildings and breathtaking vantage points. Montmartre is definitely my favourite neighborhood in Paris.
16. Admire the iconic Sacré-Cœur
Sacré-Cœur, which means ‘Sacred-Heart’ in English is a reference to the heart of Jesus, which is also the representation of his divine love for humanity. The Sacré-Coeur is one of the most iconic monuments in Paris. Not only it offers you stunning Roman-Byzantine style architecture which covers the ceiling that is decorated with the largest mosaic in France measuring about 480 m². It is also one of the best spots to take a look at Paris skyline.
Photography Tips: To take a full shot of the Sacré-Coeur, I would suggest you to take it before you climb up the fleet of stairs or before you take the tram up. Don’t forget to take a panoramic shot of the city after you reach the top.
17. Picnic at Champ de Mars
If time allows, you should definitely have a picnic in Paris. And one of the best spots is Champ de Mars which is a public park right under the Eiffel Tower. Get yourself a fresh baguette, some macaroons, some cheese, and a bottle of wine and you can have a romantic picnic.
18. Wandering around Neighbourhood Surrounding the Eiffel Tower
While you are in Paris, just let yourself get lost in the neighbourhoods around the Eiffel Tower. Not only you will find some hidden spots to take photos of the Eiffel Tower peeking out from the old Parisian building which will add an interesting element to the photographs. You could also seize the opportunity to admire Parisian buildings and alleys.
19. Be-In-Awe of Pont Alexandre III
The Pont Alexandre III was built in the same period as the Grand and Petit Palais for the 1900 World Exhibition. This bridge is often called the most enticing one in Paris because of its extravagant features such as gold adorned details, candelabras, cherubs and nymphs. Moreover, you could also get awe-inspiring views of Paris in all directions. When the sun starts to set, this bridge is also very popular for couples who are getting married to take their wedding shots.
20. Get Yourself a Rose-Shape Gelato at Amorino
I know gelato is originated from Italy, but if you happen to be in Paris and you have never been to Italy, you must try Amorino. Not only they make the prettiest gelato. They are so delicious! The forte of Amorino is they use spatula to serve and shape the gelato into beautiful roses. Each petal may be made using a different flavour. So, you could actually choose as many flavors as you’d like!
21. Take Metro Line 6 from Trocadero to Bir-Hakeim
Want to have a gorgeous view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine? You don’t need to hop on the cruise, all you need is hop on the Metro and travel from Trocadero to Bir-Hakeim. Prepare your phone or camera and make sure you keep your eyes open when it passes Passy station. Thank me later.
22. Check Out The Two-Tier Steel Bridge, Bir-Hakeim
Aside from Pont des Arts and Pont Alexandre III, Pont de Bir-Hakeim which is a two-level bridge is definitely a one-of-a-kind bridge you would not want to miss.The upper level is used by metro line 6, while the lower level is for motor vehicles, with a bicycle path in the centre. Since it is situated near the Eiffel Tower, not only it gives you beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower and the banks of the Seine, it’s a great place for photos. P.S You’ve probably seen the Bir Hakeim bridge in the movie Inception.
Photography Tips: Use bridge posts to frame your photos. You can also stand in the middle of the bridge to get a shot like above.
23. Stop By Gare du Nord
If you stay at the 10th arrondissement, and you happen to travel by Metro, make sure you have a quick stop at Gare du Nord. The Paris Gare du Nord not only is an important hub for locals. It is also the station for trains to Northern France and to international destinations in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
That’s all for my Instagram Guide to Paris: Places to Go and Things to Do. I hope that this guide comes in handy while you are planning your itinerary and also gives you some inspirations in taking travel photographs.