Studying abroad in Florence, Italy this past semester was a no brainer for me, even if it meant sacrificing my chance for a typical American 21st birthday. Except for me, it was not much of a sacrifice at all. In fact, it was my dream situation. I mean, how many people get to celebrate their 21st birthday in a place as incredible as Europe? I knew that this was my chance to make my birthday something I’d never forget, which meant I needed to spend it in the place I’ve always wanted to go; Paris, France. My love for fashion, beautiful architecture, rich European history as well as baked goods made Paris the perfect destination for my 21st birthday and not to mention, one of my best friends Brittany was studying there!
F O O D
One of the trendiest and most “Instagramable” places in Paris. The crowd was fairly young and the location was great. They open their doors at 7pm and do not take reservations so you’ll want to get there early and wait in line. The service was great and quick and there were plenty of options for food and cocktails. Be sure to try the truffle pasta and big mama cocktail.
Perfect place for gluten and dairy free Parisian treats! We had the éclairs and they were to die for. Make sure you stop by on the earlier side because they will sell out.
For any Gossip Girl fans, tea at Ladurée is a must! Obviously, everything on the menu was a bit pricier than what it would be anywhere else but the experience makes it worth it. Make reservations ahead of time to make sure you are seated and to avoid the line. All the macaroons are incredible but you HAVE to try the licorice one, I swear it’s not what you’d expect.
Other places to try: Yummy and Guiltfree, NOGLU, Boulangerie Chambelland Paris, The Ritz
Food to try: Croque Monsieur, French Onion Soup, Moules Frites, Crêpes
T H I N G S T O D O & S E E
What I loved most about this trip was that I did not go in with an itinerary or a huge list of things I wanted to see. Keep in mind though, I was going to stay with someone who had been studying abroad there and knew the ins and outs already so I didn’t feel as though I needed to have a plan. My best recommendation would be to take Paris day by day. Do not stress or rush to get to everything. It is a huge city so prioritize a few things and then just enjoy exploring a new place.
This was obviously on my must list. The lawn is the best place for photos and if you plan on staying a while bring a picnic!
My amazing friend Brittany planned this for us for my birthday. It was a unique and fun experience that I thought was a perfect gift and something special for my trip to Paris. You get to bring home a travel size of your own perfume that you created yourself. My perfume had scents of vanilla, tobacco and strawberries!
SHAKESPEARE & CO
Incredible bookstore with every book imaginable. They stamp any book purchased with official logo from the shop. They also have a coffee shop next door so you can enjoy your book with a coffee or snack.
This was a bit out of the way (needed to take buses and trains to get to), but for me, it was a must-see. It was pretty crowded but moved fairly quickly. Beautiful architecture and colors. I recommended listening to the audio guide because there are some interesting facts. You can also rent a golf cart to drive around the grounds.
S H O P P I N G
Paris has the most incredible shopping. For someone who loves fashion like me, this was the place to be. From vintage stores on random street corners to Zara, you would never be without a great place to shop.
AVENUE DES CHAMPS ELYSÉES
This is a great area to go shopping in because it has everything from Sephora to Chanel. It is a great area for pictures in front of the Arc de Triomphe.
This is one of the coolest shopping malls I have ever been to. Not only does it have a huge selection of clothing, accessories, makeup and more, but it also has the most incredible displays and architecture. Even if you are not looking to shop, this is definitely a place you should check out!
N I G H T L I F E
The wait in line outside in the cold was worth it. You enter this bar through a washing machine. There is very limited seating so you have to wait for a table to open up. The only catch is you MUST order a drink and if you’re not feeling like drinking, water costs about five euros.
NO ENTRY: PINK MAMA
While I never got to go here, my friend said it was really cool. It is down through the meat locker of Pink Mama. Try some Italian liquor and cocktails while you chill on the plush pink velvet seats.
Hope you enjoyed my weekend in Paris. If you have any places or things I should try during my next trip to Paris leave them below!