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JQ Louise is a food and travel writer based in Boston. She has written for Teen Vogue, Style Me Pretty, Paste Magazine and several other publications. You can also occasionally find her on the Food Network Snapchat! She loves to share her travel tips and tricks on her blog jqlouise.com and her Instagram account @jqlouise. Catch her first book called “Boston Food Crawls”.

Paris is a magical city filled with exciting places to go, delicious food to eat and amazing cultural gems to see. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your next trip to the City of Lights.

1. Leave room in your schedule

Paris is filled with a lifetime’s worth of sites to see. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, pick a few big key spots or activities you care about the most and stick to that list. Do ? not ? over ? plan. Allow plenty of time for wandering through the streets and lounging at cafes. Paris is a people-watching haven! And don’t worry – you can always come back again to see all the things you missed on your first trip.

2. Watch your budget closely

You’ll find every luxury in Paris, for a price. But luckily, you can also enjoy many luxuries on a budget! For example, many Michelin-starred restaurants have much more affordable lunch menus. Or, if you are dreaming of staying at one of the top hotels but can’t afford a room, why not check them out for afternoon tea? You’ll get top notch service and be able to luxuriate for an afternoon. I recently enjoyed tea at the Park Hyatt Place Vendome and it was just perfect! So do your research to find ways to stay within your budget.

3. Consider taking a day trip outside the city

One of my favorite things to do when I am in Paris, is to actually head outside of the city to Versailles. Versailles is a 17th century palace about 30 minutes outside of Paris. You can just hop on the train to enjoy the acres and acres of manicured gardens, plus the gigantic palace itself. Oh, and you are guaranteed some epic pics!  

4. Know when to splurge

Setting a specific budget for a trip helps you keep track of where you can splurge and where you should be more frugal. And for a trip to Europe all that starts from the moment you step on the plane to your destination. Paris is at least an overnight flight from the United States, so you are in for 6+ hours onboard. And luckily for all us millennial travelers there are so many more airline options available these days. Budget airlines are offering amazing services at a fraction of the cost of many traditional carriers. On a recent trip to Paris we flew in the Norwegian premium cabin and were able to enjoy a ton a leg room, in flight dining and a first class level of service and not to mention complimentary drinks throughout the flight. Sometimes it is worth it to start off your big trip with some self-love!

5. Don’t shop till you drop

Paris is home to every designer you can think of, but if you wish to shop or even visit their flagship store, be ready to wait in line – a long line. If you want to visit the flagships of any of the big boys, i.e Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Goyard, etc., get there at least 10-15 minutes before they open to make sure you can get in right away. Otherwise, the wait times just to enter could be an hour or more if you arrive later in the day. So if a new bag is your treat-yourself-moment on your next trip to Paris, get there early so you can come home happy.

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