Springtime in Paris
This month, one of my dream trips came true! It has been a whirlwind last 2 months, which is why I haven't been blogging much, but part of that time was a magical 2 weeks in Paris with my love. I wanted to post a recap of the trip in case anyone is planning on going! Here is a day by day breakdown of what I did/ate and many of the pictures are slideshows so make sure to click through!
As soon as I arrived after working all day and then flying all night, I discovered one of the worst things; my suitcase wasn't there when I landed! This had happened the month before on a different trip, but that was the way home - this was much more serious given it was a direct flight, during arrival and on another continent. Luckily, Delta is on it so I got it the next day.
Once I moved past that initial panic, we went to get some toiletries and clothes for me and began the adventure! We had croque monsieurs for lunch at La Dome followed by walking along the Seine to take a ride on the Roue de Paris to catch a view of the whole city from up in the sky. We also stopped at Monoprix (a delightful French grocery store) and Piccard - a preservative free, all frozen food store that is mind-blowingly good (try the duck confit!).
We were originally supposed to stay in Le Marais but ended up staying in the 8th arrondissement, which is right on the Seine riverbank and right between the Champs-Elysees and Eiffel Tower. It was a perfect spot - right by 2 metro stations and all the shopping I could ever dream of. Every single fashion house was on our street: Dior, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Valentino and every other tempting place to spend hours. We were also next to the Hotel Athenee - where Carrie stayed with Petrovsky in the Paris episodes of Sex and the City.
Our flat was through Airbnb and it was great with a terrace that I enjoyed many croissants on because it faced the Eiffel Tower.
This day started before the sun even rose since we had to be at the airport for when my luggage landed to avoid it going to a warehouse where it would be lost for hours. The one benefit was that we got to circle the Arc De Triomphe! It was a Sunday, so we walked along the Seine to take in the views and the beautiful bridges. We decided to take a River cruise down the Seine going past all the gorgeous buildings - literally every single building is breathtaking. To end this perfect day, we had a picnic under the Eiffel Tower with meats, cheeses, bread, chocolate and wine!
This was my first exploration day alone - Dustin had to work during weekdays, so I took the metro all over the city to take in as much as possible. My first stop was Rue De Rivoli to go to Angelina for their well-known hot chocolate. I got pastries there as well and had a picnic in the Jardin des Tuileries before heading to the Louvre. This was one of the things I was the most excited for! My minor was Art History before switching it to marketing, so I was most excited to see everything in person that I had studied in books. It was overwhelmingly beautiful - so many famous pieces of art, statues, relics and the structure of the building itself was equally as stunning.
My favorite statues are housed there and it was very surreal to see them in person - specifically the Cupid and Psyche statue, which is my all-time favorite.
After wandering for hours, i worked up an appetite and went to La Carrousel Bar Brasserie for a carbonara lunch. For dinner that night, we went to L'Avenue, which was delicious. It faces all the glorious fashion houses and I've read it's a spot celebrities frequent.
This was shopping day (although almost every day turned into a shopping day)! I went to the Champs-Elysees, a touristy but necessary spot for all Paris travelers. There were 2 Zara stores and a Zara home store, so I was in heaven. I went to Laduree to pick up some croissants and pain au chocolate and macarons but had breakfast at George V where I indulged in nutella crepes and a pot of darjeeling tea. With a full stomach, I began the shopping day. I stopped for lunch in a cute cafe called Le Bistro Marbeuf, which was between our flat and Champs-Elysees where I had a charcuterie board and wine.
Later this day, we decided to be very touristy and go to the top of the Eiffel tower! No matter the city, I always have to go to the top of the tallest building.
I started nearly every morning by having croissants and pain au chocolate on the terrace and it couldn't have been more perfect. I went back to the Rue De Rivoli for a little more shopping. I went to Galignani book store first and picked up a Carrie Bradshaw favorite: Love Letters of Great Men. Then I went to the Jade et Julia boutique and found a scarf and ring I couldn't resist. While in France, I had to have French onion soup - or really just onion soup there, so I stopped for a delicious bowl at Cafe Rivoli Park.
Later that day, I had my favorite part of my solo adventures; I took a Mastering French Sauces course so I could really live out my inner Julia Child. It was at La Cuisine near the Hotel de Ville, and I chose this course but they have many others - when I go back, I will definitely do another one focused on pastries. It is made for English speaking visitors, so it was easy to follow along. I learned how to make chocolate sauce, caramel, mayonnaise, french vinaigrette, bechamel, a port wine sauce, red wine and shallot reduction and a Bearnaise. It was was a group setting, but my class happened to only have half the amount of students so it was hands on and wonderful.
This was an adventurous day! After sauce class, I stopped at some stores and took the metro back to where we were staying so we could meet for dinner at Chez Francis. They have a small menu but the most perfect outdoor sitting area with a direct Eiffel Tower view!
This morning was a bit random and all over the place. It started in St. Germaine - another great shopping area! I went to Le Bon Marche, which is a giant French department store similar to Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdales. I stopped and sat in the Square Boucicaut to take in the views before heading over to lunch at Bistrot de la Tour Eiffel for spaghetti bolognese. During the evening, I went to Montmatre - a beautiful village on a hill that looks over all of Paris. The only downfall of it is there are SO many stairs. I had to stop at Scaramouche for a gelato break. There are tons of cute little shops here along with the Salvadore Dali museum, which I tried to go to but for some reason my credit card wouldn't work there! Then I went to the Sacre Couer - one of the most beautiful churches. You can walk the 300 stairs up to the top of the dome, but I chose not to because it already has great views from its front steps.
For dinner, we went to an adorable Italian place around the corner called Babalou where we had pizza and wine followed by tiramisu and lemoncello sorbet!
This day started out great because I had breakfast and tea at Laduree! I had the eggs benedict, a latte and pot of tea (with pastries of course). It's a garden theme, so it's the perfect place for tea. I did a bit more shopping and then we headed to the Musee d'Orsay.
The Musee d'Orsay is a beautiful museum on the Seine riverbank and it has 2 huge clocks on its riverbank facade. There were works by Monet, Manet, Munch, Van Gogh and O'Keeffe. This museum is large but a little more manageable than the Louvre.
After the Musee d'Orsay, we walked to the Opera area and had dinner at Les Cocolettes followed by dessert at Pizza Pino near our flat.
On this day, we went to visit Versailles and its gardens. I love gold, marble and mirrors so this was essentially my dream home on an extreme scale. It was surrounded by gold gates and the gardens seemed to go on forever. We toured the gardens first and stopped to have a picnic in the grass near the pond. It was perfection.
The best part of all: the Hall of Mirrors, which is all mirrors and chandeliers where there used to be magnificent parties.
To finish off this day, we visited the Eiffel Tower at night. My favorite no matter the city is staring at large, sparkling buildings. Something about them just takes my breath away and this one takes the cake. It is the most beautiful thing I've seen - especially at night because it sparkles every hour after sunset. We brought champagne and had a perfect evening. Also, you can drink everywhere there so picnics with wine are no big deal!
We had breakfast at Laduree again - sensing a theme here? It was too delicious and cute and conveniently located to not keep going back. Then we went to the Galeries Lafayette, which is another Parisian version of a mall, except it had the best views of Paris from it's rooftop terrace!
For our final meal, we saved the best for last and went to Le Train Bleu - an incredibly gorgeous restaurant that is actually in a running train station. We took the metro and walked through to the train station and there it was - you don't even have to go above ground. It is at the top of a grand staircase and overlooks the running trains on one side and the city streets on the other. It was simply magnificent. The tablescape, the ceilings, the food - everything was stunning.
This is hands-down my favorite trip ever, and I will forever remember it. I even kept a journal of our adventures there in addition to this so no detail slips my mind and it's something I can pass on. I can't wait to go back and a piece of my heart will always be in Paris.