The HLC Guide to Paris

“Waiiiit, did you go to Paris?!”

my boyfriend, sarcastically replying to my third consecutive social media post about my trip

So, you may have heard…I went to Paris!

In fact, I went to Paris with eight friends, both old and new, to go see Taylor Swift perform. Some say basic, others say iconic. If you’re in the first camp, I’m shocked you’d deign to read a blog named Haley’s Life in Color in the first place, but I digress.

A friend from high school messaged me asking for my recommendations (apparently my IG content was appreciated by *some* people, thank you) which inspired me to put ‘em into a blog post in case anyone else is traveling to one of my fave cities anytime soon. 

I won’t bother going into specific landmarks or museums since those are pretty self-explanatory (lookin’ at you, Arc de Triomphe). Also, this was my third time in Paris—only the second as an adult, though—and I still haven’t even made a dent, so just know this is pretty surface level. Regardless, I hope it helps!

Bon voyage, besties.

Colorfully yours,


Private Boat Tour on The Seine

This was actual perfection, and split among a big group it wasn’t crazy expensive. My friend David found it and booked it for our first night in Paris, which was a great way to keep us awake and get us adjusted to the time change. 

We brought our own wine and cheese and traveled up and down the Seine while playing our own music. The host is a funny old French man who encourages everyone to dance and drink. He brought the boat by two areas where adult salsa classes were taking place, and we got to clap for and interact with the participants.

Versailles Bike Tour

If you have a full day to spare, this bike tour is incredible. I actually developed a serious fear of riding a bike around age 10 or so, so this is not something I would have ever booked for myself. But the whole group wanted to go, so I decided to face my fears. While the saying “it’s just like riding a bike” is not valid IMO, I did practice three times leading up to the trip and was pretty comfortable by the time the tour came around.

I had been to Versailles before, so I worried it might be redundant, but this was completely different. My visit several years back focused mostly on the palace itself, while the bike tour focused more on the gardens, Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, and other areas it would be nearly impossible to get to on foot since the grounds are ginormous. We even got to go to the coolest food market in the center of town and choose items for an afternoon picnic on the palace grounds.

Flea Market

Several of our group members are super into antiquing, so we headed to a big street market in the 11th arrondissement. On the Saturday we went, there were more vendors than we could count. There was clothing, dishware, art, and more. To find it, you can enter this address: 130 Boulevard Voltaire, 75011 Paris—and bring cash!

There was also a smaller scale street market near our Airbnb, and tons of other options can be found on blogs and TikTok if you’re interested.


On our final night, we had wine and cheese at a place called Monbleu recommended by my Parisian friend and it was so good. We made the mistake of booking a “real” dinner for after but should have just made this the main event. We were used to the American-style charcuterie board with the tiniest morsels of meat and cheese, but these portions were no joke. They have three locations—we went to the one in Montmartre. My friend recommended making a reservation in advance.

Edmond Restaurant at Terass Hotel

This is a chic restaurant with incredible views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, recommended to my friend Caitlin. To be honest the food was just fine, but it was totally worth it for the views/atmosphere/cocktails/service. We were there at sunset and I couldn’t paint a better view! Ok, I can’t paint at all, but you get it. After you eat you can go out onto their rooftop for more drinks—we got to sip espresso martinis while watching the Eiffel Tower twinkle after nightfall. Bisous!

Moulin Rouge

So. Worth. It. This was an incredible show and I’ve never seen bodies move like that, tbh. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and honestly I’m still not even sure how to describe it. It was sort of a cabaret meets Cirque du Soleil. You will see lots of boobs so I guess be aware who you are going with, but my friends and I had our jaws dropped in awe the entire time. You sit at tables and can order bottles of champagne to enjoy while you watch. What more can you ask for? Heads up that you’ll need to secure tickets prettyyyy far in advance.

Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore

Yes, they have two of these in NYC but the experience hits different in Paris. There was a line but don’t be discouraged, it moves fast! I got a few Parisian coffee table books as my “souvenirs” for the trip. If you collect classics, this is the place to go since they have tons of gorgeous cover options to choose from. They also sell their own merch, like cute hats and totes. If you have time, you can sit in their upstairs reading room and borrow from their stacks. It’s a book lover’s paradise.

Jardin du Luxembourg

While every park in Paris seems to be stunning, this one was particularly so. It’s less than a twenty-minute walk from Notre Dame, which makes it a prime place to sit and rest for a bit during your day of sightseeing. There are a couple of coffee/snack stalls if you need some sustenance. 

Commissioned by Marie de Medici, it features a palace, lawns, a vintage carousel, a puppet theater, model sailboats, fountains, and gardens within gardens. There are over 100 sculptures—many of which honor famous women of France and beyond. Girl power, baby.

Saint Germain

While you’re visiting the garden above, walk around the nearby alleyways and streets of the Saint Germain neighborhood. You’ll stumble upon so many high-end shops, charming cafes, gourmet food stores and gorgeous hotels. The historic street in the area is Boulevard St. Germain, known for its old cafes, but my friend Emily and I loved just wandering through the area aimlessly and following the streets that spoke to us.

Jardin des Tuileries

Another gorgeous garden. This one is huge and connects to the grounds of the Louvre on one side and Place de la Concorde on the other, so chances are you’ll be near it at some point during your travels. Grab an ice cream or coffee from one of the stands within it and take a seat around the fountain to people watch or read one of the books you scored at Shakespeare and Co.


It feels silly to list this since it’s probably the most famous area for tourists in Paris, but it’s worth the hype. High up on a hill with adorable cobbled streets, you’ll find a village brimming with artists selling their wares on the streets, colorful bistros with people sipping spritzes, and the Sacré-Coeur church. The views from the top are beautiful, too.

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