San Luis Obispo Travel Guide

After creating guides for several spots in Europe (such as here and here), I figured it was finally time to share one that’s a little closer to home — a San Luis Obispo travel guide!! If you haven’t been to SLO yet, add it to your travel list! This quaint, charming town on the Central Coast has everything you need for a weekend road trip getaway — an incredible wine country, a world famous Farmer’s Market, darling restaurants and bars, and 70 degree weather practically year round.

The town will always have a special place in my heart since it’s where I went to college and met my husband  (we met on the first night at Cal Poly in the dorms and the rest is history). While I’ve always loved SLO, the town is now better than ever! There are so many new restaurants and boutique hotels being added downtown, and entire blocks are undergoing renovations.

Last weekend, my husband and I took a road trip up the coast to visit SLO again, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Below, I’ve put together a San Luis Obispo travel guide below of all the best spots to visit if you’re planning on making a trip to the Central Coast!

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Granada Hotel and Bistro

Located on Morro Street downtown, this boutique hotel is the ultimate spot to stay in the heart of the city. It’s rustic and intimate atmosphere is the perfect setting for a SLO vacation, and it’s proximity to the rest of downtown can’t be beat. Whether or not you’re staying here,  If you’re looking for an amazing place to grab a cocktail, head to their bistro which has both a cozy indoor bar as well as a romantic outdoor patio. On our recent visit, we were able to sit down with bar manager and Root Elixir creator  Dominique Gonzalez, who shared some of her favorite craft cocktails from the menu. My favorite was the Bodega Punch made with local gin and a Tempranillo cordial, which makes it a bright pink! One of the most intriguing cocktails of the evening,  however, was their Old Fashioned that came with a syringe, sphere of ice, and a small gold mallet! The syringe was filled with whiskey, and the mallet was used to crack the ice and release a maple syrup inside. Whether or not you’re staying at the Granada on your trip, the bistro should definitely be at the top of your list to visit!

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Scout 2.0 

This charming coffee shop off of Foothill Blvd. is the perfect spot to grab breakfast before starting your day. Their original location is actually a smaller shop nestled downtown, but this larger spot is my absolute favorite. While it can be pretty busy with students during the school year, grab a cappuccino & croissant and settle in for the small town charm.

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Lincoln Market & Deli

Elliot & I fell in love with the sandwiches at Lincoln Market & Deli during college, and it’s always our first stop when we’re back in SLO. Owned by a local couple, the shop not only makes incredible sandwiches, but they also sell gourmet foods and have a fantastic selection of craft beers. The space, which recently underwent renovations, now has a brand new patio complete with bright yellow umbrellas and stools. Order a Tassajara Delite (personal fav – turkey, bacon, avo and honey-jala sauce), grab a beer from the fridge, and be prepared for complete bliss.

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Edna Valley Wine Country

One of my favorite parts of SLO is how close it is to wine country! Edna Valley is less than a 15 minute drive from the downtown area, and has nearly 30 tasting rooms throughout the region. One of the best in Edna Valley is Chamisal Vineyards, which was the first vineyard planted in the region. The property has an intimate tasting room within a barn-style building where you can try their “Chamisal Flight” of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, and the outdoor patio with views of the vineyard is an ideal place to relax with a bottle (they sell bottles of Malene rosé at the tasting room, too, and it’s one of the best I’ve ever tried!) If you’re interested in learning more about the property, I would highly recommend taking one of their tours as well. You get to learn more about the history of Chamisal, and are taken through the winery to a spot that has a 360 degree view of the vineyars! Our guide C.J. provided an incredibly genuine and knowledgable experience that left us wanting to go back next time we’re in town!!

Another one of my long-time favorite spots in the region is the Balieyana, Tangent & True Myth tasting room, which is located within a historic yellow schoolhouse. Since the tasting room houses three different wineries, there are a lot of wines to taste and select from. I love grabbing a bottle of Pinot Gris and taking it outside to the grass to enjoy with a packed picnic! The view is absolutely beautiful and the lawn is pup friendly which is always a plus when we bring Aspen.

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Mint & Craft

If you’re headed out to the wine region, Mint & Craft is a wonderful place to stop and grab items for a picnic. Recently opened by the owners of Novo and Luna Red (two of my favorite SLO restaurants), this café and mercantile has ready-made specialty wraps, salads and treats that are best enjoyed with a glass of wine! They also carry a range of local products on their shelves, so it’s a great place to stock up on goodies to bring home. Food can also be ordered and eaten on their darling patio on the newly renovated Monterey Street.

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

The Station

This wine bar and shop on Higeura Street is a dream! The Station mainly focuses on imported wines as well as local small batch bottles, which you can either drink in their bar or buy to-go. They also serve coffee, using beans from Santa Barbara’s Dart Coffee Co. The exposed brick, modern furniture, and fun wallpaper make the space an Instagram dream!

A few Other favorites:

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Sidecar Cocktail Co

This hip downtown cocktail bar and restaurant has one of the best weekly happy hours in the city. Their extensive drink menu, “California craft” cuisine, and cozy vibe make this place another must-visit, even if it’s just for a quick cocktail. If you want some fun entertainment, sit at the bar to get an up close view of their amazing bartending skills!

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Libertine Brewing Company

San Luis Obispo is quickly becoming a beer city, with new breweries seeming to open each time we visit! While the region is perhaps best known for the Firestone Walker brewery, there are several small new breweries downtown like Libertine,  which has 76 taps and specializes in “wild” sour beers.

San Luis Obispo Travel Guide | The ELL Blog

Madonna Inn

A trip to SLO isn’t complete without stopping in at the Madonna. If you haven’t seen their wildly decorated rooms or the pink floral carpet, pop in for a bit. Their pink champagne cake is the BEST, so head into the restaurant for a slice and glass of bubbly!

 

Hope you enjoyed my San Luis Obispo Travel Guide! And special thanks to Visit SLO CAL and Molly Kern for putting together this wonderful trip! x

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

After traveling to London several times over the past five years, I’ve begun to develop favorite spots to explore in the city. On our most recent visit, we ended up selecting staying in both Shoreditch and Holborn, which are home to many amazing local spots for food and drinks. If you’re looking at staying in two different areas while on a trip to London, I would highly recommend these two neighborhoods! They both have an incredibly local, hip feel, and are really easy to access via the tube.

Since I’ve previously shared my favorite spots to stay Shoreditch and Holborn neighborhoods, here are the rest of my recommendations for places to eat and drink in the areas. Even if you’re staying in other parts of London, any of these places listed below are worth a visit!

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Favorite Eats and Drinks around London

Shoreditch Area:

Dishoom Shoreditch: This Indian restaurant is known for having a long wait, but believe me, it’s WORTH IT. The Shoreditch location has an intimate feel even though the restaurant is quite spacious. The eclectic/vintage vibe is carried throughout the space and onto their covered garden patio, which is furnished with soft seating, hanging plants and market lights (I’d recommend a table out here if you can!). The wait is made pleasant with complimentary hot chai tea, and the bar area is the perfect spot to grab a cocktail and appetizer before dinner service. Ordering a range of dishes is highly recommended — and don’t forget the Chicken Tikki Masala, which is England’s national dish! We talked about this meal for the rest of the trip, so don’t miss out on this spot if you want a truly exceptional dinner.

Radio Alice Pizzeria: Located in Hoxton near Shoreditch, this Italian restaurant serves authentic sourdough pizzas in an old Victorian school space. Their chic decor, framable menus, and vintage seating make this restaurant a delightfully Instagramable spot. If you love authentic Italian pizza, it’s definitely worth a stop, too.

The Culpeper: This is one of my FAVORITE places in the city to grab a drink. The four story space is home to a pub, restaurant, and hotel, and is located within a historic building in the Whitechapel/Shoreditch area. The spot is incredibly popular among locals, with people spilling out into the street in the warm summer months drinking Aperol spritzes and beer.

Leman Street Tavern: Another great spot for an evening street cocktail, Leman Street Tavern is just a block away from the Leman Locke Hotel. They have live music on the last Friday of the month, and the space is bustling with locals sipping after-work cocktails.

Hopscotch: If you’re looking for an intimate, hip eatery in the Shoreditch area, head over to Brick Lane and try out Hopscotch. The small kitchen, which can be seen from the dining area, cooks up small plates inspired by British, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Food is meant to be shared and comes out on colorful ceramic plates, and a basement “Drinking Den” is available for late night “proper “cocktails. This is also one of the few spots that seems to be open for late night dining!

Holborn Area:

• Drury Lane Bars and Restaurants: This street in the Holborn/Covent Garden area (close to The Hoxton Holborn) should not be missed! It’s filled with local restaurants and bars without the central London crowds. Hot spots to check out include Jar Kitchen, Barrafina, The Sun Pub, Farmstand, and Drury 188-189.

Bread Ahead: Looking for a fun bakery in the heart of London? Bread Ahead is located at Seven Dials, and serves up fresh baked sweets and breads. Their filled doughnuts make for the perfect afternoon treat.

Holborn Whippet: If you’re into craft beer, this public house  in Holborn with an extensive beer menu is a great spot for an afternoon break. Grab a pint and hang out under the awnings outside.

The Chicken Shop: As I mentioned previously in my post about the Hoxton Holborn, Chicken Shop is an incredible spot for rustic, homestyle food! It’s located below the hotel, but can still be accessed from the street. Don’t forget to get a slice of apple pie afterwards!

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Our Stay at The Hoxton Holborn | The ELL Blog

Welcome to one of my favorite hotels EVER, the Hoxton Holborn in London! We absolutely adored staying here on the second half of our trip, and would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable boutique hotel in the city.

The Hoxton’s central location made it extremely accessible (it’s a block from a tube stop), and since its nestled in the hip Holborn neighborhood, it came without the tourist crowds! And if its location wasn’t good enough.. how amazing is its interior?! The hotel has a very urban 70s vibe going on, which I loved (similar to the Ace if you’re familiar with that brand). Since the Hoxton is in a large concrete building, the lobby has exposed concrete walls and white-washed brick, which are complemented by vintage light fixtures and mid-century furniture.  The spacious lobby has several lounge areas that are perfect for taking a break from the city, too. This is where you can also find one of the hotel’s two restaurants, Hubbard and Bell. We grabbed a drink at the bar on our last night there (they truly put the craft in their cocktails), and even ordered dinner to our room for a cozy night in. Their other restaurant, Chicken Shop, is actually located beneath the hotel, and serves up amazing homestyle food (their chicken avo sandwich and apple pie are a must). On the first floor you can also find the cutest nail salon, Cheeky, as well as an AMAZING coffee shop, Holborn Grind — go for their avocado toast if you’re obsessed like me.

As for The Hoxton Holborn’s rooms, I was so pleased at their size. We opted to stay in one of the smaller rooms they offer, and found it to be SO much bigger than our Paris hotel room. When we walked in, they had a “London Chill” music station playing on the radio, which I thought was a perfect touch.  Since it was our wedding anniversary, they had also left us a bottle of champagne and a silver “Let the Good Times Roll” silver balloon on the bed — side note: all hotels should leave balloons when you check-in, it makes you feel really special! The room was beautifully curated, from the pink hashtag pillow on the bed to the wallpaper covered in Charles Dickens’ villains (the author lived in Holborn, and just so happens to be one of my favs). The room was incredibly functional as well, with an armoire that had a pull-out coffee and tea station and the cutest diner-style hotel mugs (traveler tip: buying coffee mugs or something you use on a daily basis from a hotel you love is a great way to keep the spirit of the trip alive at home). They also provided a Holborn neighborhood guide filled with all of the best local spots to eat, drink and shop, which we definitely put to use. One of the best perks of the hotel, however, was their daily breakfast bags. Each day, room service left two paper bags on our front door filled with yogurt, granola, fruit, and fresh orange juice. It was the perfect way to start the day since we could snack while we figured out the rest of the day’s plans!

Above all, The Hoxton Holborn is not only incredibly designed and executed, but it is a wonderful value as well. I don’t think you could find a better option if you’re looking to stay in central London without the crowds. We will definitely be making a return visit next time we’re in the city. If you’re looking to stay in Shoreditch (East London), Amsterdam, or Paris, The Hoxton also has sister hotels there as well!  And good news for those of us on this side of the pond… The Hoxton is opening up a location in the hip neighborhood of Williamsburg in New York this year!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two

If you’re looking for some of the most fun and instagrammable spots in Paris, you’ve come to the right place. The second half of my “How to Spend 5 Days in Paris” guide is here, and it’s full of fun spots to eat, drink, and see in Paris’ most picturesque neighborhoods (see the first part of the guide here).

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL BlogHow to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part Two | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris: Days 4-5

The second half of our stay in Paris contained even more rosé, cheese, and amazing meals than the beginning! Here are some of my favorites that I highly recommend adding into your itinerary if you’re visiting the city.

• Stroll the shops and cafés on Rue Montorgueil: This pedestrian friendly area in the 2nd arrondisement was by far my favorite part of Paris! Rue Motorgueil is foodie heaven, filled with adorable cafés, shops, restaurants and bars that make you feel like a local. We ended up in the area 3(!) times on the trip since we loved it so much. Some of my favorites include: Matamata Coffee Bar (coffee, sandwiches, and tropical wallpaper), Miss Bahn Mi (a pink Vietnamese sandwich shop), Filakia (amazing Greek souvlaki), and La Maison Stohrer (oldest patisserie in Paris). On certain days of the week, the beginning of Rue Montorgeuil also has an open market.

• Get in line for dinner at Ober Mamma: While researching for our trip, I came across several recommendations for this Italian restaurant in the 11th arrondisement. Ober Mamma is extremely popular with the locals (as are the rest of the Big Mamma group’s restaurants), so waiting in line before it opens is standard practice. Since we were spending just 5 days in Paris, we wanted to make sure and get in on our first try, so we showed up at 6:30 (doors opens at 7). The line was already about 30 people deep, but we were able to get in and grab a table in the front bar area. The food was absolutely incredible, and the staff were fluent in Italian which made ordering so much easier for us after studying abroad in Italy! Homemade pasta is served in copper pots, while their tiramisu is scooped right from it’s baking dish table side. This restaurant is not to be missed if you’re looking for an amazing dinner. The group’s newest restaurant Pink Mamma just opened a few weeks ago, and I’m already dying to go back and try it!

• Head out of the city for tropical drinks at Polpo Brasserie: This oasis on the Seine is definitely worth the bit of a trek outside central Paris. To find out more, read my post on it here!

• Have a balcony picnic with finds from the grocery store: While traveling, one of my all time favorite activities is going to the grocery store. It might seem strange, but I have my reasons! Grocery stores are typically for locals and aren’t catering to tourists, which means the prices are great  and you get to see what it’s like to be a local. We stopped in at one near our hotel and managed to get tomatoes, cheese, bread, and wine for about $12! After grabbing ice at the hotel bar, we took our spread out onto our balcony and people watched. Whether or not you have a balcony, you can easily grab these items and find any nearby park to sit at.

• Find the flamingos along the Seine at Rosa Bonheur: After visiting the Musee d’Orsay (which I recommend if you love impressionist art, or if you just want to see the gorgeous train station), we walked along the Seine and found a bar on the bank with the cutest pink sign. Naturally we had to go in, and grabbed a bottle of rosé and some patatas bravas to have on the deck. This was my favorite rosé memory of the trip since the prices were fair (I think the bottle of Le Saint Andre was about $18) and the wine was amazing — I just wish they sold it in the US! There’s another floating barge with a bar next to Rosa Bonheur too, and they both turn into Parisian night clubs when the sun goes down. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon break or an evening out, definitely check out this spot.

• Discover the islands in the Seine: If you visit Notre Dame, you might not have known you were actually on an island. The chapel sits on Île de la Cité, one of the two natural islands that are in the Seine. My favorite one, however, is it’s next door neighbor, Île Saint-Louis. This charming little area in the 4th arrondisement is connected to the rest of the city via four bridges, and feels as if it is stuck in time. The calm and historic streets are lined with several local shops, including ones that sell cheese, pastries, and speciality foods (where I found the best French olive oil). We grabbed sandwiches and found a group of benches near the water to have lunch. There was a live band playing in the streets above, and it all felt perfectly Parisian.

• Buy fresh flowers at Marché Bastille: This open market has an incredible array of vendors selling fresh produce, meats, breads, cheeses, and flowers. There are strawberries set in pink tissue paper baskets, endless cheese wheels, and tomatoes in every color — definitely a bit of heaven. I also found a bouquet of coral peonies here for just 6 euro, which was half the price of any other penoies we’d found in Paris! The area around the market is filled with specialty shops and cafés too, so I would really recommend visiting if you’re trying to find a local experience.

•  See the colorful houses on Rue Cremieux: Near the Marché Bastille, Rue Cremieux is a narrow street lined with pastel colored houses. It’s incredibly charming, and definitely worth a stop for some vibrant pictures. Get there early if you want the street to yourself since it’s a pretty popular spot to visit!

Fill a box with macarons at Ladurée: A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without macarons, and there’s no more iconic spot to get them than at Ladurée. Their Champs-Élysées location makes you feel like a princess, where you can sit and enjoy their signature desserts on a street side patio with a glass of champagne in hand. They also offer a full menu as well, but I prefer to just visit for a box of their perfect macarons.

Skip the metro at the end of the day and walk home: At any time of day, I prefer to be above ground seeing the beauty of Paris rather than in the metro. This is especially true at night when you get the chance to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle! Since the tower is visible from almost everywhere in Paris, I recommend walking back to your hotel at least one night to see the city light up.

Hope you enjoyed this guide to 5 days in Paris! Still more to come on our final days in London, including the incredible hotel we stayed in!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One

Oh how I miss this city so much already! Paris in the early summertime is a dream, and I can’t stop obsessing over all of the memories from the trip. We spent 5 days in Paris, and managed to experience more of the city than I could have imagined. I’ve broken the trip into two parts, and am sharing my favorite highlights from the first few days below!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

Where We Stayed: The Amastan Paris

Since this was only our second time to Paris and we didn’t know the city as well as London, we wanted to stay in a fairly central location. After some research, we found the the darling  Amastan Paris located a few blocks off Champs-Élysées. This boutique hotel had everything we were looking for and more. The rooms were designed in a navy and white color palette with modern wood and gold accents. Our room also had doors that opened to a balcony overlooking the streets, from which you could even see the Eiffel Tower. One of my favorite memories from the five days we spent there was celebrating our anniversary on the balcony with fresh macarons and champagne, and watching the top of the tower sparkle.

While the room was definitely on the small side compared to any of the other places we stayed, the design, location and price made it completely worth it. Downstairs, the Amastan had an interior courtyard bar which was the perfect spot to grab a drink when we arrived. I was obsessed with the communal marble table and the garden patio tucked in the courtyard of the building.  If you’re looking to stay in central Paris with easy access to all of main sights, I would really recommend staying at the Amastan!

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris, Part One | The ELL Blog

How to Spend 5 Days in Paris: Days 1-3

Our first few days in Paris were spent walking around and getting our bearings for the city. We barely used the metro at the beginning of the trip since we wanted to see everything above ground! Because this was a return trip for us, we didn’t feel the need to do some of the main attractions again. So our time was spent wandering, sitting at cafés, and taking in all of Paris’ beauty. Based on my favorite parts of the trip, here are some suggestions for the first few days!

Picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower: Picnicking in Paris during the summertime is a must. We wanted to find a local market to pick up some items, and we stumbled upon the perfect street near the Arc de Triomphe. Markets filled with fresh produce spilled onto the streets, and nearby shops sold bread, cheese, and yummy pre-made French dishes. After picking out some items –French potato salad and rosé were my favs — we headed straight for the tower and ate in the late evening sunshine (the sun doesn’t set till almost 10pm in the summer, so there’s plenty of daylight!)

• Stroll Rue Cler: We loved charming Rue Cler last time we were in Paris, and we loved it even more this time around. The street is full of cute cafés, markets, and flower shops, making it the perfect stop between our hotel and the Eiffel Tower. L’Eclair is one of our favorite spots on the street, where we ate a late night meal of salmon tartare and rosé on our first day there.

• Sip mojitos in the Latin Quarter: When Paris is over 90 degrees and equally as humid, frequent stops for something cold were necessary. We were so happy to find out that mojitos are really popular cocktails at cafés, since they are our favorite summertime sip! Maison Sauvage near Boulevard St. Germain was a perfect spot to grab one, where you can sit beneath fringed umbrellas and people watch in the Latin Quarter.

• Walk Champs-Élysées towards the Tuileries Gardens: Staying steps away from Champs-Élysées meant spending quite a bit of time on the boulevard. While the shops and cafés that line the street are a huge attraction (and the Arc de Triomphe is pretty gorgeous), I felt like the area was a bit too touristy for my taste. However, the grandness of the street is a sight to behold, especially when you walk away from the shops and head down towards Place de la Concorde.  This huge public square filled with gorgeous fountains leads directly to the beautiful Tuileries Gardens. Here you’ll find plenty of outdoor seating, perfectly manicured paths, and even a charming carousel.

• Wander the streets of Montmartre: The winding alleyways through the hills of Montmartre are some of my favorite streets in Paris. The area seems to preserve the idyllic romantic history of Paris, which I adore. While we were there, we grabbed a sidewalk table at Le Saint Jean for lunch, where I had the best fresh chicken salad filled with hard boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes, and beets. We actually found ourselves back in Montmartre on our final day of the trip too, and stopped back at the same café for their live jazz night. There’s something special about sitting at a street side cafe listening to live French music! If you’re in Montmartre, don’t forget to head up to Sacre Cour to see the sweeping view of Paris. Once you’re there, you can find another one of my favorite spots nearby, Grenouilles Paris. This small shop specialized in Parisian beer and amazing sandwiches made on fresh baguettes, and is worth a stop if you’re looking for a quick lunch!

• Walk across Pont Alexander III: This is by far my favorite bridge in Paris. Not only is it featured in one of my all time fav movies Midnight in Paris (go watch it now if you haven’t seen it!), I think it perfectly captures everything that is beautiful and romantic about Paris. The black ornate street lamps, gilded details, and grand statues at each end make it so easy to photograph. Honestly, I almost preferred walking on the bridges on either side of Pont Alexander just so I could look at it!

Coming up in the second portion of the “5 days in Paris” series, I’m sharing where to find the best collection of local restaurants, how to get into one of the most popular Italian restaurants, and where to go for flamingos and rosé on the Seine!