Luckily for you, I thought it would be nice to share my Paris recommendations so that you can plan your trip in advance and avoid repeating to strangers, "excusez-moi, parlez-vous anglais?".
Now, everyone has their favourite spots in Paris (and please feel free to share them in the comments - they'll be useful for my next trip!), but these are some of the more unusual things to see and do. There's not much point telling you to go to the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame - those are a given!
Places to visit
- Palais Garnier, 8 rue Scribe - head there on a Wednesday morning for an 11.30am guided tour. Nearest tube: Opéra.
- Galeries d'Anatomie Comparée et de Paléontologie, 2 rue Buffon - don't do what we did and queue up at the wrong building! You want the big building near Gare d'Austerlitz. Nearest tube: Gare d'Austerlitz.
- Close by is the Grand Mosquée de Paris, 2 bis Place du Puits de l'Ermite - it's a really beautiful building and for just three euros you can wander the grounds and take lots of pretty photographs.
- Visit the Trocadéro first thing in the morning, for beautiful, uninterrupted views of the Eiffel Tower. Nearest tube: Trocadéro.
- Musée d'Orsay, 62 rue de Lille - head to the top to see the view from the big clock. If you've travelled by Eurostar, keep hold of your ticket and bring it with you - you can claim 2for1 tickets! Nearest tube: Musée d'Orsay.
- Take a walk at dusk through the Jardin des Tuileries, 113 rue de Rivoli, and rest your tired feet on those famous green chairs. Nearest tube: Tuileries.
- Browse through endless shelves of books at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bucherie - it really is the best bookshop in the world. Nearest tube: Saint Michel Notre Dame.
Places to eat and drink
Paris is, in my opinion, an expensive place to eat out. The last time the Texan and I went to Paris we were students and spent most of our weekend trying (unsuccessfully) to find restaurants where we could afford to eat. We took a different approach this time. Instead of agonising over spending 60+ euros on lunch, we decided to embrace la vie francaise and have one big meal a day. We bought breakfast from the local bakery for a few euros and stocked up on cheeses, cured meats, olives and a bottle of red at the supermarket in the evening. A two/three-course lunch kept us full for most of the day, and this worked out to be a pretty cost effective way of enjoying all the amazing French food without feeling too guilty about it!
- Le Grand Colbert, 2 rue Vivienne - walking distance from Opéra, this is the perfect place to go for lunch after your tour of the Palais Garnier! Nearest tube: Bourse.
- Auberge Etchegorry, 41 rue Croulebarbe - make sure to say hello to the resident kitty while you're there. Nearest tube: Place d'Italie.
- And just next door is another good restaurant - La Touraine, 39 rue Croulebarbe.
- Le Pure Café, 14 rue Jean Mace - this is the most authentic French café I've ever been to, and you can sit where Jesse and Céline sat, so you have to go! Nearest tube: Charonne.
Places to shop
- Merci, 111 boulevard Beaumarchais. Nearest tube: Chemin Vert.
- Frederic Garrigues, 2 rue Saint Gilles. Nearest tube: Chemin Vert.
- Yodoya, 6-8 rue Saint Gilles. Nearest tube: Chemin Vert.
- Odetta Vintage, 76 rue des Tournelles. Nearest tube: Chemin Vert.
- EW, 21 rue Saint Paul. Nearest tube: Saint Paul.
- Mamz'Elle Swing, 35 rue du Roi de Sicile. Nearest tube: Saint Paul.
- Vintage Desire, 32 rue des Roisiers. Nearest tube: Saint Paul.
- Village Saint Paul, rue St Paul. Nearest tube: Saint Paul.
- Au Petit Bonheur La Chance, 13 rue St Paul. Nearest tube: Saint Paul.
- Kilo Shop, 69-71 rue de la Verrerie. Nearest tube: Hotel de Ville.
- Kiliwatch, 64 rue Tiquetonne. Nearest tube: Etienne Marcel.
- Window shopping at Place Vendome. Nearest tube: Opéra.
- Download Tripadvisor to your phone - it works even on airplane mode, and it saved us so much time and arguing when looking for good places to eat!
- If, like me, you don't have roaming on your mobile, map out the places you want to visit before you go and take a print screen.
- Keep hold of your Eurostar tickets - you can often use them to get 2for1 tickets to museums and exhibitions.
- Be careful about opening hours - Paris isn't a 24/7 city like London and the shops and museums can have unusual (to a Londoner) opening hours, so make a note to yourself before going to avoid missing out.
Please do let me know if you have anything else to add to the above - I'd be grateful for your recommendations too!