Below you’ll find useful information on what to do, where to stay and other tips for having a fantastic time in Paris, a selected roundup from a seasoned local (15+ years) and former tourism professional. A range of more detailed articles on the following subjects can be found at these links: restaurants, bars, strolls, offbeat activities, and cool events. You may also like to have a look at my Paris book section of Paris-themed books. I also have a good list of other Paris blogs and websites at this link.
If you’d like help planning your trip, you can read more about my background and services here.
Guided Tours & Travel Services
Spend a few hours (or a few days) touring with me. I’ve been living in Paris for over 15 years and I’ve been leading neighborhood and history tours off and on for many of those. I specialize in Montmartre, but I also love the Marais and the Left Bank. I can design romantic-themed or custom tours to suit your interests, email me for a quote here.
Context Travel organizes the best in expert-led small group and private tours for the “culturally curious” in Paris and over 30 cities around the world. You can tour the Louvre with art historians, the markets of Paris with chefs, Versailles with a university professor and explore many other fascinating thematic subjects or historical topics.
Journalist Heather Stimmler-Hall has been running the insider and informative Secrets of Paris website since 1999. She shares her amazing knowledge of the city through her custom designed tours, trip planning services and travel writing workshops organized throughout the year.
Journalist Bryan Pirolli, Ph.D. and Craig Dearden share their years’ experience in touring and hospitality as well as passion for Paris via their tours at The Gay Locals. Not just for gays or tours of the Marais, just gay-friendly, and these two are just friendly in general, and extremely smart and knowledgeable about Paris.
If you’re looking to dress or decorate like a Parisian, book in with Jodie Hutchins. She’s been living in Paris for 18 years and organizes custom shopping and flea market tours. If you’re looking for a variety of assistance with your time or event in Paris, she also has extensive experience as a private concierge.
Lisa Buros-Hutchins, a licensed travel agent, brings her vast knowledge, experience and rolodex to organize your whole trip to Paris and even further afield via her companies Your Paris Experience and Your World Experience. If you want VIP access to places, the best table in top restaurants and first-class service, she can make it happen.
Cooking Classes, Wine Tasting & Other Activities
Located right in the center of Paris, La Cuisine Paris organizes a range of cooking classes led by chefs, highlights include their market tour + lunch, marcaron class and one specifically on souflées (I’ve been dying to try it!).
If you’re serious about wine, you’ll thoroughly enjoy spending a few hours with Preston Mohr of Paris by the Glass. An exceptionally knowledgeable, passionate and personable sommelier, Preston organizes private wine tastings and tours to France’s wine regions, he also leads group tastings and tours through partner companies.
If you’re like a good and entertaining introduction, stop in at O-Chateau or their new interactive wine experience at Les Caves du Louvre (which you can read more about here). The sommelier led tastings are engaging and fun, or you can sample some excellent wines at their wine bar.
The Chamber is the very cool private cocktail club, an extension of 52 Martinis meetups. A membership is definitely worthwhile, however, many events are open to non-members and a higher price. It’s a great opportunity to meet locals, travelers all the while learning about cocktails, wine and other tasty French things.
Accommodation & Smart-Phone Rentals
A Condé Nast selected villa expert, Perfectly Paris offers fantastic service and a nice range of apartments mostly in the Montmartre area of Paris.
Haven in Paris has a wide selection of refined apartments located in the city’s nicest neighbors like Saint Germain, the Marais, Parc Monceau and Montmartre. They also have a wonderful blog on Paris, HiP Paris.
My RoomIn: is a great new concept for choosing a Parisian hotel, they’ve already hand-picked the best in the city, hand-picked room by room. They have hundreds of fabulous rooms and for different price ranges.
Turn your data switch off and sign up for an Insidr Paris smart phone for your stay. A great new service, they provide smart-phones preloaded with useful Paris apps, local tips, thematic guides and even a chat service with friendly locals whom you can source suggestions/advice from.
Safety & Avoiding Scams
Paris is quite the safe city, however, there are situations of petty crime, mostly pickpocketing. If you are traveling to Paris for the first time you may like to have a look at these very useful videos by Safety Scouts. Created by a former Paris police officer, the little videos help travelers avoid scams with very useful and easy to apply tips.
Moving to Paris or Living Like a Local
Expats Paris is a great way to live like a local in Paris, if you’re passing through town or are settling here. It’s a lively and active community of expats from all over the world (and French people) that organizes a variety of social events every month from professional networking to afterwork drinks.
If you’d like to also speak like a local during your trip or especially if you’re coming to Paris for a few months or longer, Frantastique has an interactive and entertaining program of online French lessons, not your average boring grammar lessons! They offer my readers a free 1 month trial (wow!), more info here.