This past March I spent around two weeks bouncing all around Italy with a stop in Paris. I brought a friend, Lauren, along who hadn’t really ever been before, so I treated the trip like an Intro itinerary for France and Italy. We both have a shared love of cuisine, wine and cocktails, art, and history so we chose a lot of heavy hitters this visit. Thankfully, for me, Lauren is a photographer and responsible for the all photos of me on this entire trip. It always helps when you get to bring a photographer along.
Grab a pen and start taking notes because here’s how to get the most out of a 2-week itinerary for France and Italy, and you won’t want to miss the places we visited.
The City of Lights is usually at the top of most people’s Europe bucket list. That’s why it’s our first stop. This heavily romanticized city is huge and full of so so much to see. This itinerary is a whirlwind best off and by no means is all encompassing. Things are grouped together by location to make the most of your time in Paris. And if museums aren’t for you, that’s okay! Substitute in some time shopping, or a visit to the Catacombs.
- Arrive to Paris
- Rue des Abbesses
- Wall of Love
- Cafe des Deux Moulin
- Moulin Rouge
- Montmartre: Le Consulat, La Maison Rose, Place du Théâtre, Sacré Coeur
- Palais Garnier
- Eiffel Tower
- Champs Elysees
- Arc De Triomphe
- Half day at the Louvre
- Explore Latin Quarter: Shakespeare and Co, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf
- L’avant Comptoir de la mer for Oysters and Wine
- Bar Hemingway
- Harry’s New York Bar
- Musee D’orsay
- Walk along the Seine toward Pont Alexander III
- Les Invalides
- Grab a bite to eat at Au Canon des Invalides or Le Recrutement Cafe and snap some great Eiffel Tower pics.
- Fly to Venice
Notes about Paris
Travel: Uber, Cabify, Taxis and Chauffeur now are all available for rides but the metro is extensive and really easy to use. Bonus – your metro tickets never expire! If you don’t use them, save them for your next trip to the city of lights.
- Bistro Paul Bert
- L’avant comptoir de la mer
- L’escargot Montorgueil
- Pink Mamma
- Pain Pain
- Bouillon Pigalle
- La Bourse et La Vie
- Le Relais de l’entrecôte
- La Fontaine de Mars
- Le Mary Celeste
- Huitrerie Régis
- Bulot Bulot Oyster Bar
- Le Refuge des fondus
- The Hardware Societe Paris
- Chez Casmir.
- Dirty Dick
- Lulu White Drinking Club
- Le Lipstick
- Sister Midnight
- Little Red Door
- Experimental Cocktail Club
- La Belle Hortense,
Safety: Paris is a big city and just like many others pickpockets and theft are an issue. I personally have never had issues but just the same I stay aware, I wear a cross body bag and I don’t flash money. Nothing goes in my back pocket, ever. It’s best to be hyper aware of these things in crowded areas like the metro or in front of Sacre Coeur.
Hotels: Hotel Locomo, Paris Perfect apartments, Le Pigalle
For more on Paris:
Venice is a dream. It’s on everyone’s bucket list. This tiny city built up of islands is a great place to visit on your first trip to italy. It’s easy to just spend a few days in the city to get a feel of it for the first time, but if you’re anything like me you’ll want to go back. Nightlife isn’t huge in this city so, beware if that’s what you are looking for.
- Grand Canal
- St Mark’s Square
- St Mark’s Basilica
- Rialto Bridge
- Harry’s Bar – home of the Belini – but beware it’s pricey.
- Cantina do Mori – cicchetti Venice’s version of Tapas – but don’t call them that. This tavern was founded in 1492! It’s a piece of Venice’s history. And SO affordable.
- Day trip to Burano and Murano
- Head to the train station and depart for Rome!
Notes on Venice:
Travel: it may seem silly to say this but, there are no cars! Water taxis and gondolas are the ride of choice. I suggest getting a pass for the water taxis for the duration of time you’ll be there. It’s a great deal and they take you everywhere. Gondolas are a fun treat but definitely not the mode of transportation you’ll take often. If you’re not in a boat, you’re on foot! Walking everywhere. Make sure you bring the right shoes.
Dining Suggestions: Cantina do Mori, Bar all’Arco, Trattoria Al Gazzettino
Hotel Suggestion: Hotel Marconi
I have been in awe of Rome since the first time I set foot off the metro and climbed to the light of day. Historical buildings towering over you, everywhere you turn your head something else is being unearthed. The pasta is fresh and amazing, Aperol Spritz are readily available for take away and I highly suggest you take one – or two as you tour around the city.
- Arrive in Rome!
- Explore Spanish Steps
- Trevi Fountain
- Piazza Navone
- Gelato from Giolitti
- Roman Forum
- Mouth of truth
- Circo Massimo
- Castel Sant Angelo
- Vatican City
- St Peter’s Basilica
- Sistine Chapel
- Pack your bags and head to the train station, we’re going to Modena!
Modena isn’t on everyone’s list for the first time they visit Europe, or hell Italy for that matter. But I am going to tell you why it should be. Emilia Romagna is one of the best parts of Italy in my opinion and some of the best things in the world come from there. Prosciutto, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan cheese, need i say more? While you’re here you’ve gotta try the Tortellini en Brodo, a classic pasta of this region, as well as Lambrusco! Modena is home to this light bubbly red – my personal favorite find from the region. It’s available dry or sweet, but I prefer it dry. It’s perfect for Aperitivo.
- Take the train to Bologna and upon arrival pick up a rental car to drive to Modena
- Arrive in Modena!
- Explore the town of Modena
- Hosteria Giusti
- Dinner at Frigeri
- Tour a Lambrusco Vineyard – Cleto Chiarli
- Tour Acetaia Malagoli Guido – a balsamic farm! And if you book in advance you can have a homemade Italian dinner with balsamic in every way made by the owner of the farm himself. If you’d like to learn more, check out this post from a few years back.
- Return the car back to Bologna
- Take the train to Florence.
Notes on Modena:
Travel: Taxis are hard to come by if you’re beyond the city limits, renting a car is the best way to get around here and be able to see surrounding areas.
La Selvatica is my favorite place to stay, its rustic for sure but full love art and love and so much kindness. You can read more about them in this previous post.
Florence took me by surprise on my first trip. I knew I would like it but I didn’t know how much. Standing next to the Duomo you feel as if you’ll be swallowed whole by it. It’s a lot smaller of a city than Rome or Paris but it’s packed full of culture. I’m obsessed with the apartments I stayed in – I stayed here in 2020 as well, it’s so centrally located, with tons of space, and an AMAZING shower – which if you don’t know are hard to come by in Europe. The unit I stayed in this past time even had the original painted ceilings. If you are interested in staying here send me a message and I’ll send you the link on booking.com!
Visit the Duomo,
piazza della repubblica
Galleria Accademia Firenze – Statue of David! Get your tickets beforehand or you’ll spend all day in a queue and may not even get to see it.
Get Lunch at La Prosciutteria
Grab dinner at Trattoria ZaZa or il Teatro – you won’t be disappointed.
View on Art rooftop cocktail bar offers an AMAZING view of the duomo.
Leather Mercato surrounding Mercato Centrale – head out and buy some fine leather goods! Bartering is not only accepted but expected.
Aperitivo at Piazza Santo Spirito – better than any other happy hour i have been to, buy a drink and it comes with food! Volume is great for this.
Piazzale Michelangelo for the most amazing view of the city – go at sunset and sip a negroni for me.
Fly Back to the US!
As you can see, this is a jam-packed 2-week itinerary for France and Italy. Another idea is to tack on a few days in Champagne and/or the French Riviera in order to see more of France than just Paris. This past trip being more of an intro tour for my friend Lauren I wanted to show her all of my favorite places during the time she had free to travel. Subscribe below to receive updates, more itineraries (including more ideas for France) and access to pre-launch group trips with Girls Who Go, and become part of the Girls Who Go Girl Squad today!