How to plan a Paris vacation? Paris, the city of lights, the city of love, a city that figures largely in our American imagination thanks to an almost inexhaustible list of movies and TV shoes from An American in Paris to Amélie to Midnight in Paris, a city with a bottomless well of travel recommendations designed for every interest and budget.

If you have a trip booked or are looking to plan a trip to Paris sometime in the near future, you know that the choices seem overwhelming, from the arrondissement of your hotel or rental to narrowing down the experiences you want to have vs the ones you think you “should” have. .

I have visited this beautiful city several times, not enough to make me an expert, but enough to have some very specific recommendations that you will find here. But more importantly, I’ve traveled and researched enough to have collected this shortlist of high quality list of resources that will help plan a Paris vacation that will fulfill all of your Paris fantasies.

Here are my top 6 quality resources you should use to plan your Paris vacation:

Jay Swanson’s Paris in Your Pocket:

Jay isn’t really a tour guide; he’s an expat living in Paris who shares his everyday life and some of the cool places that he sees with his growing audience on his YouTube channel. He’s a wealth of information, but his Paris In Your Pocket online guide is one of the best comprehensive, down to earth, real-life advice guides out there. I’m not getting a commission for sending you to him. I’m telling you as a person who just got back from her 4th trip to the City of Love and still found the basic information like  “Escaping CDG,” and “Tipping in Paris,” and “Is the Touristy Stuff Worth It?” for a few examples, to be really helpful. He breaks down his recommendations by arrondissement (read the “Maps and Vocab” section!), and this time we took his recommendations to visit the Musee de  la Chasse e de la Nature, the hunting and nature museum in the Marais, and the Paris Sidecar Tour. Both activities made this trip extra cool and interesting.

David Lebovitz:

If you are into Paris or food, you may already know about Chef David Lebovitz, an American pastry chef and popular author of cookbooks and memoirs. This page on his website starts with a list of his favorite restaurants, but read all the way to the bottom. You will find a great section on dining tips in Paris, for example, learning the difference between le menu and le carte, as well as other Paris travel and safety tips.

Cara Black:

Author Cara Black writes one of my very favorite mystery series featuring detective Aimee Leduc. Her research often takes her to Paris, and her author website includes a page of a handful of her favorite places to shop, to dine, to take a steam/scrub, and a few other activities perfect for a Paris visitor who wants to experience more than the crowds at the Louvre.


National Geographic Walking Paris:

I’m a big fan of National Geographic’s Walking Paris and the whole Walking (City) series. They are small enough to tuck into your day pack and offer a good overview the city. But the best part, in my opinion, is the series of neighborhood walking maps that take you past monuments and down streets that are sometimes on the tourist track and sometimes just off of it. Follow one walk or all of them, use the suggested walks as a basis for exploring on your own; you can’t go wrong exploring Paris on foot.

I will say, don’t get this book for the restaurant suggestions; I don’t think they are very robust, and it’s in the nature of restaurants to change quickly. Instead, see what Jay Swanson or David Lebovitz recommend, or check out Eater’s frequent roundups of interesting Parisian eateries. (Clicking on the link to the book takes you to Amazon, and I may receive a small commission on your purchase.)

Emily at Midnight in Paris:

This is a Google Map that I made to amuse my mother, a huge movie fan, on the occasion of her first visit to Paris. It’s a non-comprehensive list of shooting locations for both Emily in Paris and Midnight in Paris, two of her favorite shows. As you click on each blue dot, I included some information in the description of the scene as well as any other interesting tidbit of information. Enjoy!

Action Bronson:

Action Bronson, who among other things is a chef, rapper, and wrestler. He’s not to everyone’s taste, but his F*CK That’s Delicious YouTube videos from Paris are one of the best roundups of the Parisian culinary scene that you’ll find. If you are interested in food, REALLY interested in food, it’s worth it to check out his videos. You can watch them here on his channel. For your convenience, I’ve created a Google Map of all the places he ate. If it has more than one location, I added all locations to the map:

 

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