Are you a Paris Virgin? Join us on the ultimate first-timer’s trip to the City of Light where you and a small group of like-minded women will conquer the city like the iconic ingenues of yesteryear. Do Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace, Anne Hathaway or French icon Catherine Deneuve bring to mind the Paris you’d like to explore? Perhaps you want to live like Emily in Paris. Look no further – this is the trip for you! We’ll visit the must-see historic sights while weaving in culture, shopping, food and wine (of course!). As if that wasn't enough, there's an optional trip extension for a VIP visit to Versailles, the magnificent palace built by King Louis XIV in the 17th century, and home to the most famous woman of France, Marie-Antoinette.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Check into your 4-star hotel, the lovely Hotel Recamier right in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Près (6th Arrondissement). For hundreds of years, Saint-Germain-des-Près was its own little village, and it still feels like it.
We’ll meet in the hotel’s lobby around 4pm for tea and introductions and then we’ll head out for a leisurely stroll through Saint Germain area so you can get to know your neighborhood.
In the late afternoon, we’ll return to our hotel to freshen up. Perhaps on the way back, we can stop in at the famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Company.
Back at the hotel, you may even want to take short nap to ward off jet-lag. Or, if you feel energized, we can direct you to some of the best shopping areas nearby or you can relax at a cafe and watch Paris go by. At this time of year, it stays light until after 9pm, so we can extend our day a bit.
We’ll reconvene in the lobby of our hotel around 7pm for some welcome champagne before heading out to embark on a sunset dinner cruise on Ducasse sur Seine, Alain Ducasse’s spectacular river boat restaurant along the Seine. La pièce de la resistance is seeing the City of Light illuminate before your very eyes!
Champagne Welcome Drinks
Ducasse Sur Seine Boat Cruise
After a little sleep-in (kick that jet-lag to the curb!) and breakfast at the hotel, we’ll take the Metro to the Eiffel Tower. There, we’ll meet up with Krystal Kenny, photographer extraordinaire, for a personalized and group photo shoot! Imagine having professional photos to commemorate your first trip to Paris!
After our photo shoot, we’ll enjoy a quick trip up to the top of the Tower with our skip-the-line tickets. What first-trip to Paris would be complete without a ride to the top of La Tour Eiffel for a birds-eye-view of the city?! Suitable inspired, we’ll stroll over to lunch at La Fontaine de Mars, one of our favorite restaurants in Paris.
We’ll walk off our lunch with a stroll to Esplanade des Invalides where we’ll marvel at the extraordinary Hôtel National des Invalides. FYI, It’s not a hotel at all. It was built in the 17th century by Louis XIV for those who had served the royal army. Containing a hospice, barracks, convent, hospital and factory, the Hôtel was a veritable city. It’s now a military museum and houses Napoleon’s tomb.
We’ll continue our walk to the extraordinary Musée d’Orsay, one of the world’s most enticing fine art museums. Its permanent collection houses hundreds of breathtaking original works from Master of Early Modern and Impressionist art. We’ll focus on the Impressionists with a guided tour to see masterpieces from Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh and Auguste Rodin.
The rest of the afternoon is yours to rest, people-watch from a cafe, or do a little shopping around St. Germain des Pres.
Dinner tonight will be at La Cuisine de Phillipe, a classic bistro serving traditional French cuisine and specializing in soufflés.
After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll taxi over to the right bank to the Marais, one of Paris’ most delightful areas. We’ll start with a visit to one of Paris’ many outdoor food markets, Marche Baudoyer, to see how Parisien’s have done their shopping for centuries. You’ll marvel at the variety and presentation of the produce, cheese, meat and fish, and almost anything else you can imagine. (Most Paris apartments are small, and have small refrigerators, so a daily visit to a local market is not uncommon).
We’ll continue on to The Carnavalet Museum. Opened in 1880, it’s the oldest City of Paris Museum. For over 140 years, the continuously enriched museum collections have told the story of Paris, from prehistory to the present and it's been recently revamped, so the museum sparkles.
We’ll have lunch at one of the best crêperies in Paris, the Breizh Cafe. Not only will you find extraordinary crepes at Breizh, but they’re also committed to the development of organic, local and sustainable agriculture from their home region of Brittany.
This afternoon, you’ll have free time to explore the beautiful Marais, home to some of the best shops in Paris. Wander down Rue des Rosiers, stop in at Buly for some perfume, sit for a cafe and a Pastis in Place Ste-Catherine, and stroll through the Place des Vosges. Make your way back to the hotel via taxi or Uber, both of which are plentiful.
Tonight, we’ll have a lovely dinner, one that’s sure to be a highlight of the trip at Le Bon Saint Pourçain.
Wake up today and after a light breakfast we'll head out for a guided market visit followed by a cooking class at one of our favorite cooking schools in town, Cook with Class. You'll learn to shop the markets like a Parisian choosing only the best and freshest ingredients and then you'll make a sumptuous French meal using those ingredients. We'll dine together on the fruits of our labors with wine of course!
The rest of the afternoon is yours to relax and explore. Perhaps enjoy some quiet time in the Tuileries Gardens reading, writing postcards, or perhaps updating your travel journal.
After a big day, dinner is on your own. Order room service or pop outside and convene at one of the nearby cafés.
After breakfast, we’ll conquer the Louvre, the largest and perhaps most famous museum in the world. Our private guide will help us navigate our way through the maze of hundreds of thousands of pieces of art spanning several thousand years of history and culture. We’ll come away with a better appreciation and understanding of the some of the most distinguished pieces of art in the world.
After our morning at the Louvre, we'll have lunch at Willis Wine Bar. Since the menu changes daily, we are in for a treat!
Our next stop will be through Jardin Du Palais Royal, Jardin Des Tuilleries and the Place De La Concorde. Or there will be an optional visit for those who desire to see Monet's Water Lilies at L'Orangerie. They were painted for the space.
We'll spend our afternoon strolling through Pont Royale and Saint Germain; past Laduree, Place Furstenberg, Les Duex Magots. Our destination will be Pharmacia Du Four and Bonaparte for skincare and cosmetics. They have the largest selection at the best prices.
We’ll take a break from French food tonight and journey to Morocco at Le Méchoui du Prince.
We’ll start our last morning embarking on a foodie tour of our favorite spots in St. Germain des Pres. You'll taste some of the best cheese, pâté, charcuterie, and produce to create the perfect picnic which we’ll enjoy in the magnificent Luxembourg Gardens. Beloved by residents and students on the Left Bank, the 25-acre garden is an early example of the French formal garden and includes an orangery and orchard. Queen Marie de Medici commissioned the gardens introducing the latest innovations from Italy, including fountains and a grotto that can still be seen today.
After lunch, we'll stroll the park with Casey learning the history of the Luxembourg Gardens, as well as many other unique insights.
This afternoon is yours to do some last-minute shopping or see any sites we haven’t yet visited. You can’t see all of Paris in a week … you’ll just have to come back again!
Our final repas tonight will be at a convivial neighborhood bistro which has been open since 1970 for some homey comfort food.
Unless you’re joining us for the trip extension to Versailles, it's sadly time to head home. But first we must have a hearty breakfast together. May this be just the first of many trips to Paris and la Belle France.
“America is my country, but Paris is my home”, Gertrude Stein.
But if you're joining us for the Trip Extension to Versailles, more adventure awaits!
Isn’t it time to embrace your inner princess?! Our add-on day will be spent in Versailles, just a short 1-hour drive from Paris. The Palace of Versailles is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th and 18th century art. Louis XIII’s old hunting pavilion was transformed and extended by his son, Louis XIV, when he installed the Court and government there in 1682. A succession of kings continued to embellish the Palace up until the French Revolution. If you’ve never been before, it’s one of the most majestic, awe-inspiring palaces you’ll ever see.
We’ll enjoy a guided tour by a true expert of the main public rooms of the chateau which started as a royal hunting lodge but was transformed into the opulent palace and primary residence of the Louis the XIV, known as the Sun King. His descendant (great, great grandson) Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette also lived primarily at Versailles, making considerable changes in the building and gardens.
We’ll lunch at Angelina In The Garden; located within the famed gardens. After lunch, we’ll have time to wander in the gardens and visit the Trianon palaces, as well as Marie Antoinette’s charming hamlet.
We’ll also visit the recently renovated and newly re-opened Queen’s chambers. These rooms have been intricately refurbished to look as they did when Marie Antoinette lived in the chateau.
To fully pamper our inner princesses, we’ve arranged time for spa treatments (1hr each) at the Waldorf-Astoria Trianon Palace, steps outside the Chateau. This is the perfect time to relax and de-stress with a full body massage or facial.
Post spa visit, our private driver (gilded coach, anyone?) will return us to our hotel in Paris. Dinner is on your own, or with your newly made friends at a café or bistro of your choice, suggestions will be given.
This gem of a hotel is nestled in one of Saint-Germain-des-Prés’s most secluded spots, in the very heart and tradition of the Left Bank spirit. A timeless treasure and a haven of privacy, Hotel Récamier exceeds all expectations.
This trip will be led by Casey O’Brien Blondes, a GG2P Colleague based France since 1992. A dual-national and author of two travel and lifestyle books about France, Casey knows Pairs and its history and vibrant culture intimately. Casey receives rave reviews from GG2P clients!
You'll never forget your first trip to Paris
Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is known worldwide for the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame cathedral, and the Eiffel tower. It has a reputation of being a romantic and cultural city. The city is also known for its high-quality gastronomy and the terraces of its cafés
Museum or other entry fees
All in-town transport except transfers to and from the airport.
All meals unless noted plus 2 glasses of wine with dinner
Everything stated in itinerary
All tastings and tours
Round-trip airfare to France
Expenses of a personal nature – telephone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc.
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
You are going to want to fly into the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.
The trip officially starts on the September 7th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Paris, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early you can book that directly on the website under the Ad On's button. We will make sure that you are kept in the same room that you will be in for the trip.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
Paris in September means the onset of the autumn season with the golden autumnal colors enveloping the city. This month sees a large variation in temperature with an average high of 21° C and an average low of 12° C. There are chances of rainfall but visitors can expect more sunny and long days to enjoy the city.
This trip will be led by Casey O’Brien Blondes, a GG2P Colleague based France since 1992. A dual-national and author of two travel and lifestyle books about France, Casey knows Pairs and ,its history and vibrant culture intimately. Casey receives rave reviews from GG2P clients!