5 Essential Items For A Perfect Paris Experience

It’s no secret that Paris is my favorite destination in the world.

I have visited Paris twice now and I have not been able to see everything this city has to offer.  Paris is a city perfect for the wanderer, the person who wants to find themselves, the art connoisseur, and the fashion lover.  I could go on and on listing all this cities attributes.  Those of us that love it and have been there know exactly what I mean.

Trying to come up with a short list of essential items that you need in Paris to make your experience perfect is difficult, but the items I listed were things I used everyday or almost everyday.  Some of these items can easily be purchase there.  Nonetheless these 5 items were key to making my Paris experience perfect.

  1. The number one item is my IPhone 6.  In order to use it in Paris I purchased a Data Sim card here in the US that I could use over there.  I purchased mine from Cellhire.  It came in the mail with instructions on how to use it.  As soon as we landed in Paris, I switched it out with my regular carriers sim and set it up.  I purchased the 2 GB option and had plenty of data for using my IPhone out on the street for navigating purposes, sharing on social media, and anything else I wanted to do.  I  had free WiFi in our Paris For Rent apartment, so I did not need to use it there.  I know there are several options for sim cards available, but went with this one since my carrier recommended it and the ease of use could not be beat.  I could take lots of pictures when I did not want to use my regular camera and instantly share them for the friends back home. (and my Instagram feed too)
  2. Next comes the app that literally saved my life!  Sidekix!  This app is a miracle.  No lie.  It is a walking navigator that can be used in a ton of places.  I just entered my destination and my cute ballet slippers took me step by step there.  We did use the Metro and the RER also, but mostly we walked everywhere.  In fact one day we walked from the Latin Quarter, to Notre Dame, to Pere Lachaise Cemetery.  All with Sidekix. It is the coolest app ever and if you love to walk and discover cute little side streets anywhere, it will get you back to your hotel/apartment if you get lost.  Which when you are in Paris you totally have to do! I will continue to sing the praises of this app forever!
  3. And now for the stuff you must have and can easily pick up in Paris since, after all, who goes to Paris and does not shop?  You need a cute colorful scarf to spice up all the black you are going to be packing.  If you are like me, My travel wardrobe consists of black and gray items.  A simple black dress, a black skirt, jeans, black leggings.  All that black makes for some dull outfits.  Enter the brightly colored scarf!  A scarf adds much needed pizzazz to an all black outfit. No need to bring anymore than one scarf from home.  You need one to double as a warm wrap for the flight to Paris, but after that, I would suggest to buy a few (or a dozen) while you are in Paris.  There is no shortage of places to purchase them.  All the souvenir shops have them, but my favorite places to buy them are at the street markets. I purchased the most colorful purple, pink, orange, and blue cashmere and silk scarf at the Marche Monge, a small market located in the 5th Arrondisement.
  4. The umbrella is a must have.  In Paris it can be sunny one minute and rainy the next.  Especially in Spring and  Fall.  I carry an umbrella with me if there is even a hint of rain in the air.  In Paris there is absolutely no reason to stay inside if it is raining.  In fact Paris is stunning in the rain.  Unless of course if it’s a cold rain, that can dampen the charm of any city. Why miss a cities charms just because of a bit of rain!
  5. Lastly you cannot be in Paris without a cute lightweight market or shopping bag.  One of the first things you will notice is no one carries their baguette and cheese for dinner home in a plastic bag! Plastic bags are a no-no, in fact the common flimsy plastic bag are outlawed at supermarkets, corner shops, and fruit and vegetable shops. You can purchase the cutest reusable bags for next to nothing from Monoprix.  The bonus is they make a cute souvenir and you can actually bring home a bunch and hand them out to friends as gifts and not only will you be giving them a taste of real Parisian life, but being eco-friendly at the same time. They also come in a cute little pouch so you can throw them in your purse and you always will have a shopping bag with you!

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  1. David | 8th Feb 17

    That’s awesome that you have had such an amazing time there. I have been to England but not to the continent and I’ve always wanted to see Paris. These are good, not often thought about, tips for the trip.

    • Lori Helke | 20th Feb 17

      Thanks for the comment David! I have been to England too and loved it. The history, just cannot be beat in Europe. You must go to Paris at some point.

  2. Kirsten Rosetti | 8th Feb 17

    Sidekix sounds like an awesome app! Thanks for the recommendation. I love walking around and discovering hidden gems in old cities. 🙂

    • Lori Helke | 8th Feb 17

      It is such a great app. If you use it you will have to come back and let me know what you think!

      • Lori Helke | 8th Feb 17

        I absolutely agree with your suggestion Hanka! I wore a cute pair of Cobb Hill Mary Janes almost exclusively in Paris. I did have a pair of ballet flats along as a backup. Shoes are so important! It’s hard to be happy if your feet are hurting!

  3. Hanka | 8th Feb 17

    I´d also add a second pair of shoes in your backpack – I did it during our trip to Paris a few years ago and it was a brilliant decision since we walked a lot and I had sore feet from my flats.

    • Lori Helke | 8th Feb 17

      Oops, I posted your reply up above Hanka!

  4. Tami | 8th Feb 17

    Seems like you had a lot of fun! 🙂 I’d love to go to Paris! Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    • Lori Helke | 8th Feb 17

      You must go someday!! Thanks for the comment Tami!

  5. Carla Rexroth | 8th Feb 17

    I will always have Paris! I love that city so much I didn’t want to leave, Lori. I also blog about midlife … stop by and see me sometime 🙂

    • Lori Helke | 8th Feb 17

      I am always so happy to meet fellow Paris friends! Thanks Carla, and I did check out you blog and subscribed!!

  6. Karen Burns | 3rd Aug 17

    Envying your ability to walk around Paris in cute shoes! Not a possibility for me (“bad feet”). My iPhone is a 4S and I’ve never tried one of those map apps but totally agreed on umbrella, scarf, and shopping bag. Monoprix has made different kinds of reusable bags over the years — yours is an especially cute one. My only “tip” is to have two walking-around bags—one a very small (basically a wallet on a strap) travel purse you can wear crosswise over your body. This is where you keep your money, credit card, cell phone, passport and metro pass. The other is a large tote for your umbrella, scarf, map (yes, I use a regular map) and whatever else you don’t think you can live without (sunglasses, pen and notepad, chapstick, etc). Thieves who look at you automatically know that the good stuff is in the wallet-bag (which you naturally keep very close track of) and the boring stuff is in the tote. This system has served me for many years. When in close quarters (i.e., metro) I always keep my hand on my wallet-bag.

    • Lori Helke | 4th Aug 17

      Absolutely great suggestions Karen! The Sidekix app was a lifesaver for me. It was so nice to navigate without having to bring out the paper maps. I especially loved you suggestion for the 2 bags. I have learned to keep my bag tight to my body, especially in the touristy areas! Thanks for the comment!

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