Today I am recapping our trip to Paris. It was our first trip to the city of Love and not only was it enchanting, but extremely economical.
This was our first major trip leaving Kennedy behind and while it was not easy, it is important to Jordan and I that we continue with our passion to travel and explore. Jordan and I approach travel as a form of relaxation, fun, and also as a means to continue our educational growth. We are firm believers that traveling enriches your life through experiencing how others live and thrive.
So, here is our take on Paris! We packed so much fun into this one week and could have written endlessly, but I attempted to keep it short and sweet. We hope this helps you plan your next Parisian getaway!
Where we stayed &
How we got around:
We stayed in Marais. You can’t go to Paris and skip Marais. It is the closest you will get to medieval Paris and has more pre-revolutionary buildings and streets left intact than any other part of Paris. The small crooked medieval lanes are alive with bars, restaurants, hotels, high and low fashion boutiques, trendy shops, hip designers, old-fashion bread shops, jewelry, wine shops, art galleries, and museums all crammed into one small area. We specifically stayed on the Rue des Rosier in the Jewish quarter. This was once the largest Jewish community in Europe but 75% of the population died tragically in concentration camps. Today the street is full of delis, bakeries, and East European Jewish restaurants. It is definitely worth a stroll down this street unless it is Saturday (during Sabbath) when things are a little too quiet.
Our Airbnb was absolutely perfect for two. It was a small space, but all we needed for our cozy, romantic getaway. There was an actual queen bed in an adorable lofted area above the living space. I say “actual” because many rentals in Europe will have only pull out sofas or air mattresses as the sleeping option. So make sure, if desired, you confirm there is an actual bed/mattress when conducting your search. We also had a small downstairs area with a sink, shower, and mini kitchen/seating area. There was enough room where Jordan and I could have breakfast (and a bottle of champagne) at home each morning to start the day.
We used the metro all day, everyday and just hopped on and off throughout the entire city. Paris is very walkable, but you are able to fit a lot more into your day by including some metro rides. The best bang for your buck is to purchase the tickets in the packets of 10. This is called a Carnet and cost about 15 euros. Some destinations require you to switch lines resulting in more than one ticket for the trip. So, you most certainly want to have more than one ticket handy so you do not get delayed having to purchase more. We also ended up taking about 2-3 uber trips while we were in the city. I would suggest using uber if you have any late night dinners or a very early ride to the airport in the morning. It was a very pleasurable experience for us, and most drivers spoke at least some English if not fluent.
Where we ate:
Jordan and I typically never plan out a meal when on a trip. We love to stroll through the streets, and when we are hungry use yelp to find what is highly rated and local near our current location. We typically do not seek out touristy places, and instead want to experience the most authentic food experience we can find. We had some pretty amazing meals in Paris. We wanted to make sure we had at least one traditional Parisian meal, but Paris is full of culture, and the ethnic food around the city is also a MUST!
Jordan and I spent an entire evening at this restaurant having a full course traditional French meal. We started with an order of chicken liver salad and french onion soup. For our entree, the waiter suggested an order of boeuf bourguignon (beef burgundy) and duck confit, and we ended the meal with a traditional apple tart tatin with fresh cream and creme brulee. It was a magical evening, dining with purely locals. We drowned out the french conversations all around with a bottle of fabulous french red wine shared between the two of us.
We happened to be strolling around one evening near the eiffel tower. It was a bit cold out so we decided, what better than to enjoy a cup of French Onion Soup. We sat down at Le Bosquet and was extremely pleased with their menu. The French Onion Soup was fantastic! We also enjoyed a traditional steak and fries before heading off to watch the eiffel tower “sparkle”.
This is one of the most famous caramelizer and chocolatiers in Paris. After sampling one of his caramels you won’t argue that point! We popped in and grabbed a few handfuls of these delicious caramels and chocolates. While the chocolates were delicious, the caramels were hands down my favorite!
If you ask most Parisians, they will recommend taking a stop into Pierre Herme’s storefront and sampling the macaroons he has to offer. Pierre Hermes worked for the famous patisserie known as Laduree which most consider the biggest name in the macaroon business. Whereas Laduree is known for its beautiful store decor and more traditional offerings, Pierre Herme is known for its innovative and creative flavors.
I loved this Eclair shop because it seemed like a work of art when you walked in the doors rather than somewhere to get sweet treats. Each eclair was beautifully designed and looked delicious. I wish I could have tried them all, but I was already almost 10lbs heavier from all of the wine! This is a fun experience if you are just looking to sample some Parisian sweet treats!
We stumbled across this crepe shop right outside of our Airbnb. It was delicious! Surprisingly we preferred the savory crepes over the sweet variations. I think we ended up having at LEAST one crepe a day from here. They made this crispy cheese rim on the savory crepes that is to die for! There are many shops around the city but the prices and street food vibes of this shop were worth the trip!
L’as Du Fallafel
Located at 34 Rue de Rosiers (literally right next door to our Airbnb apartment entrance). This is a kosher middle eastern deli that is famous for their falafel sandwich with eggplant and hummus. There is without a doubt always a line outside of this restaurant, but it moves quickly and is worth the time. Lenny Kravitz actually noted this as his favorite restaurant in all of Paris. Go for lunch and grab the falafel sandwich. You will not be disappointed. Don’t forget though, they are closed on Saturdays for Sabbath.
What we did:
Clearly, an absolute must when in Paris. I recommend making sure to see this beauty both by day and by night as it provides a unique experience in both settings. There are many places you can see the tower from throughout the city, but make the effort and go close up – right underneath if possible! In the evenings, the tower sparkles every hour on the hour for 10 minutes, and it’s breathtaking.
Obviously, you must see this beauty. If you can afford it in your schedule spend a day aimlessly getting lost in the Louvre. Also, I recommend trying to time it where you are there after nightfall. Seeing the Louve in the evening is breathtaking. Don’t forget to wear your comfortable shoes because you will walk miles in this giant complex.
Musee D’art Modern
We loved exploring this museum at night as it is open later than most all other galleries. After dinner we went in and it felt like we had the whole show room to ourselves wandering around getting lost in fun art. I honestly am still learning how to appreciate modern art, but that hasn’t stopped us from attending modern art museums whenever we visit somewhere new. It was a fun experience and we always seem to enjoy ourselves a little more than we do at traditional museums.
Located on the left bank of the Seine the Musee d’Orsay houses the largest collection of impressionist and post impressionist masterpieces in the world. Featuring the greats such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. My personal favorite was the Monet Water Lilies gallery. It was nothing short of absolutely BREATHTAKING. I am a bit biased as his water lilies are a personal favorite or mine, but I was not disappointed when getting the see them for the first time in person. The scale of them was larger than I imagined, and how they were displayed in the gallery was simple yet stunning. I recommend attending this museum and having some time to just sit down and appreciate the history displayed in front of you.
Notre-Dame de Paris is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and best-known church buildings in the Catholic Church in France, and in the world. Jordan and I went on the day we arrived (weekday) around noon. We were able to walk right into the church with no line, and also at no cost (it is always free of charge to walk). We ended up touring the cathedral, and when completing the loop inside the church decided to take a seat, pray, and reflect on the beauty for a moment. Little did we know they conduct midday mass and we were seated right in the front row when the priest walks out to begin service. Dressed in our travel lounge attire, and eyes WIDE open (in shock), we sat through an hour mass in French in order not to walk out and be disrespectful. It left us with quite the memory, and a fun story that I am sure we will cherish for years to come.
Arc de Triomphe/ Champs Elysees
Put on your walking shoes and take a stroll down one of the world’s most famous avenues. Filled with shopping and alive with so many cars, people, and sights. We were able to meet two of our friends and take the mile long stroll from Place de la Concorde ending at the Arc de Triomphe. If you are not blown away by the scale of this gorgeous icon then you most certainly will be entertained watching the locals so quickly and easily navigate the busiest and most famous roundabouts in the world.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. We took a quick metro ride to Montmartre and then walked from there to the front of the church. The walk up was so quaint through a small neighborhood that feels like old time Paris. The view of Paris from this point is one you must see!
Until next time Paris!