If I had to choose between Rive Gauche and Rive Droite, the latter one is my favourite. Both have great things to offer and I might be a bit biased as I used to live on the right side. So what to do and see on Rive Droite?
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris or Sacré-Cœur is, after Notre Dame, one of my favourite building in Paris. If you have seen Jean-Pierre Jeune’s Le Fabuleux Destin d‘Amélie Poulain, you will recognise the church and the merry-go-round at the bottom of the stairs. I would recommend visiting this early in the day to avoid crowds. Also, at least in the past, the area got a bit shady after sun set with pickpockets and aggressive hustler/vendors targeting tourist. If you decide to check Montmartre and you love movies, the Mouling Rouge is worth a visit. This is best visited after sunset so you can admire the windmill when it has its lights on. When you walk on the streets of Montmartre you can definitely understand why so many artists were inspired here. The absinthe probably helped, but the bohemian vibe is still strong.
Jardin des Tuileries. You have to enjoy a picnic in Paris. Go to the boulangerie, get yourself fresh croissants, pain au chocolat and a baguette, go to a park and enjoy the weather. The pastries, tarts, cakes and macarons are sublime in Paris so do yourself a favour and do not even try to count the calories!
At the top of Champs-Élysées you can find the Arc de triomphe. You can go to the top to enjoy the view if you want. I haven’t been to the top, but I would rather spend my money to go on top of the Eiffel Tower as I imagine the view is better from there.
Paris is so full of iconic monuments and places you need time to visit them all. Musée du Louvre is the museum all the museums. The building itself is gorgeous and stunning! Le Louvre is worth visiting after sunset as you get beautiful pictures of the Museum as the are is flooded in lights from the pyramids and surrounding buildings.
Give yourself some slack when visiting the Louvre. It is so big and has so many artefacts you have to enjoy it in small pieces. You can tour the Louvre with the map and enjoy just the high lights, focus on one of the wings or just freestyle it depending on your mood and timetable. Buy a ticket online to avoid the queues and if you are lucky to be in Paris at the beginning of a month make use of their free access to the permanent collections on the first Sunday of each month.
My absolutely favourite part of Paris that I usually spend the most time in is the fourth arrondissement or arrondissement de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. My old neighbourhood is so quaint and charming. This was my home away from home and I cherish it dearly.
There is a cafe in Le Marais called L’Etoile Manquante (34 Rue Vieille du Temple) that I make sure I visit every time I am in Paris. We had diner de conf here when I studied in Paris. Their salad d’etoile is amazing. The first time I ordered it nearly a decade ago it came with blue cheese, but they keep changing it and it is near perfection every time! Packed with small cafes this area represent Paris at its finest for me. So take a seat outside any of the cafes, order a strong coffee or even a glass of wine and enjoy the atmosphere and the people.
Shopping in Paris? Home to many international brands, you can spend a fortunate shopping along Champs-Élysées. If you want to do some affordable shopping in Paris, I would recommend going to Les Halles (which they have renovated to look much more nicer when I lived in Paris) or Le Defence. Sure, you get the standard European chain stores there, but those are at least affordable.
I noticed walking around the city how Paris has changed. There used to be Monoprix and bakeries around every corner and now you have to look for them. France has faced terrorist attacks since I moved away and you can see how it has influenced every day life. Before you go to big shopping centres you need to show your bags and there is also heavier police presence around famous sites and big public areas. Despite all of this Paris is still a city where people still walk hand in hand and enjoy a coffee and people watching outside a cafe. And I think we need the city of lights to shine a light for humanity. À bientôt Paris!