Parisian Living

My Perfect Day in Paris with Meghan Donovan

by Paulina Trigos

HiP Paris is pleased to feature Meghan Donovan. If you would like to win one of her curated Paris itineraries, head over to my Sweepstakes where you can win a week in my Paris apartment, a Paris, Perfected trip planning service, French linens, cookbooks, and so much more. Additionally, you will be helping my non-profit Veggies to Table work to end hunger in our community. Merci! – Erica

(Left) Four wine glasses on top of a wooden table that sits in the middle of a restaurant. / (Right) A woman with a light brown jacket and blue jeans sits in a green chair in the middle of a park in autumn.
Top: The Medici Fountain @paris_shuffle / Meghan in Café de Flore @meghandono
Above: Inside Le Bistrot Paul Bert @byrosielouise / Paris in Autumn @meghandono

Born and raised in Chicago (but a Francophile at heart), Meghan Donovan always wanted to travel the world. Eager to indulge her wanderlust, she has lived many different places including London, California, Paris and, currently, New York. Meghan created the blog wit & whimsy in 2006 while in college. It has grown into a space where she shares her passion for travel, fashion, and beauty. She also founded Paris, Perfected— a trip planning service that offers personalized travel recommendations. We recently spoke to Meghan about what her perfect day in Paris would look like. Here are some of Meghan’s favorite spots in the City of Light!

(Left) A woman with a black dress crosses the street and head toward a café with a white and red tent. / (Right) A person holds a cardboard cup with a croissant on top of it next to a wooden door and an intercom.
A stroll in the 7th arrondissement @meghandono / Coffee and croissants @meghandono

How did your love affair with Paris start?

The first time I visited Paris was in October 1994 when I was 11. My family had moved overseas to London and on a bank holiday weekend my family took a train through the Chunnel to Paris.
My life would forever be changed by that trip as I couldn’t get enough of the city and have been returning ever since. I began studying French in 4th grade and continued taking it every year through college where I graduated with a minor in French. My studies included a stint abroad in Paris where I spent four months exploring the city, taking courses, and learning as much outside the classroom as I did in one. 

Now I have a business built around Paris and get to return often. 

Where do you stay in the city?

I tend to be an equal opportunist when it comes to the neighborhoods I stay in when in Paris. But if I had to narrow it down, my favorite arrondissements include the 6th and 7th, as well as the 1st and 4th.

I love staying in an apartment if it is for a longer period of time. Otherwise I am always trying out new hotels to see if I should recommend them to my Paris, Perfected clients.

(Left) A bike leaned against a black lamppost in the middle of a busy plaza underneath a green tree with pink flowers. / (Right) A person holds an ice cream cone with one red scoop and one brown scoop.
Bike in Place Dauphine @vagabonde.tenenbaum / Berthillon ice cream @meghandono

How would your perfect day in Paris begin?

My perfect Paris day would start by waking up at one of my favorite hotels, Hotel Thérèse. Then I’d walk over to the gardens of the Palais-Royal. I’d get a coffee at Café Kitsune or Télescope Café and enjoy it in one of the iconic green chairs that line the park’s gardens, sitting by the fountain and soaking up the Paris sun.

(Left) A woman with a white t-shirt, black pants and white sneakers holds a white coffee cup behind the window of a coffeeshop. / (Right) A woman with black heels, blue jeans and a black trench coat stand in the middle of a hallway with mosaic floor tiles and brown columns.
Ob-La-Di @obladicafe / Meghan in Palais Royal @meghandono

I’d slowly make my way to Le Marais on foot and just wander. I’d get another coffee at Ob-La-Di before settling into an outdoor table at Café Charlot for their warm goat cheese salad, a crisp, cool glass of Sancerre, and fabulous people watching. After, I’d be sure to pop into my favorite shops including Kerzon, Papier Tigre, OFR Bookshop, and Merci.

Following lunch and shopping I’d head to Île Saint-Louis and get a Berthillon ice cream cone…my favorite flavor combo is chocolate and raspberry. 

Then it’s over to Île de la Cité. I’d pop into Place Dauphine before heading to the Left Bank to enjoy the Luxembourg Gardens. Not before stopping into Pierre Hermé to pick up a few macarons to enjoy in the park.

(Left) A silver cup with one red scoop and one white scoop of ice cream next to a glass of rosé. / (Right) Two coffee's, two smoothie bowls, one brown bag and a crystal vase with pink roses are placed on top of a marble table.
The perfect combination @meghandono / Nutritious food in Ob-La-Di @mathilde_mu

What is your favorite daytime activity in Paris? 

I love a long petit déjeuner. I’ll bring a book and split my time between people watching and reading, while enjoying coffee and croissants. There’s nothing like watching Parisian life go by on a café terrace on a warm, sunny day.

(Left) A woman with a white dress and a picnic basket sits on a green chair in a park where a beige building and green pastures are seen in the background. / (Right) Pastries and coffee on showcase inside of a coffeeshop.
Meghan relaxing in Jardin du Luxembourg @meghandono / Café Kitsuné’s delicious pastries @helenamogorron

What is your favorite museum?

For me no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Rodin museum— one of my very favorites because not only is the home itself where Rodin lived stunning, but the gardens are also a delight to wander through. 

How would you end your day?

Before dinner, I’d grab a cocktail at Le Bar at La Réserve Hotel and then head out to Le Bistrot Paul Bert. Their steak frites and soufflé au Grand Marnier are divine. This is a quintessentially French bistrot and the perfect meal if you only have 24 hours in Paris.

And of course, no 24 hours in Paris is ever complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle. So before turning in for the night I’d walk through the courtyards of the Louvre, all lit, and get a peek at La Tour Eiffel sparkling.

Do you have a favorite arrondissement or area in Paris?

Whenever I have the chance, I’ll head to the 11th. I like how it feels tucked away from masses of tourists and offers great food options.

(Left) A woman with a white shirt and a watch is taking a croissant from the green table in front of her. / (Right) A park with green trees and a lake in the middle with some Roman columns in the background.
Croissants at Café de Flore @meghandono / Parc Monceau @hoteldaubusson

Any favorite hidden gems?

I think the stunning Parc Monceau is often overlooked by tourists. When I studied abroad in Paris I visited regularly. I am always sure to stop by on my trips to the city.

What do you love most about Paris?

The fact that the city is always surprising and inspiring me. I dreamt up the idea for my Paris trip planning service one day in 2019 while wandering the streets with no agenda and now I consider Paris, Perfected my dream job. And the light— there’s nothing like the light in Paris. I’ll never tire of it. 

Addresses:

Hotel Thérèse – 5 rue Thérèse, 75001 Paris

Palais-Royal – 8 rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris

Café Kitsuné Palais-Royal – 51 Gal de Montpensier, 75001 Paris

Télescope Café – 5 rue Villédo, 75001 Paris

Ob-La-Di – 54 rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris

Café Charlot – 38 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris

Kerzon – 68 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris

Papier Tigre – 5 rue des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris

OFR Bookshop –  20 rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003 Paris

Merci – 111 Bd Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris

Berthillon – 31 rue Saint Louis en L’ile, 75004 Paris

Jardin du Luxembourg – 75006 Paris

Pierre Hermé –  126 Bd Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

Musée Rodin – 77 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris

La Réserve Hotel – 42 Avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris

Le Bistrot Paul Bert – 18 rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris

Parc Monceau – 35 Bd de Courcelles, 75008 Paris

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Written by Paulina Trigos for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.

Written By

Paulina Trigos

A Puerto Rican in Paris, Paulina has been living in the City of Lights for four years completing her degree in Creative Writing and Film. Paulina spends her time looking for new exhibitions to discover and finding secret places in her favorite city. Passionate about culture, history and the arts, she loves Latin American literature, Bossa Nova and the D’Orsay. If she’s not in her usual reading spot, the Jardin du Luxembourg, you can usually find Paulina listening to local bands in her favorite music venues. Paulina is currently on a mission to find the best soupe à l’oignon in Paris – we will let you know once she finds it! View Paulina Trigos's Website

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