Paris, je t’aime. I went for the first time as a pre-teen and I have been yearning to go back ever since. There’s just something so magical about the city. I decided to go to London, it was a no brainer to visit the City of Lights while I was in Europe. There are so much to see and do (and eat) while in Paris! Even though it was my second time in Paris, it was a completely different experience.
After my morning at The Louvre, I grabbed some lunch at a corner cafe and had one of the best sandwiches I have ever tasted. France definitely know their bread! It was so nice to sit down and enjoy some French cuisine after a morning of flying and walking. After refueling, I took the metro to the 18th arrondissement to Sacré Coeur. Sacre Coeur is a beautiful Roman Catholic church built in 1914 (but consecrated in 1919). I went inside but they do not allow photography inside the church which was bummer but understandable. I’m not sure how I came up to the church cause I ended up behind the church and missed out on climbing up all those infamous stairs. But no worries, I had to climb those stairs to get down. I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with the 18th arrondissement. The arrondissement has beautiful charming streets with cute cafes and open markets but the area around Sacré Coeur has a lot of scammers and pickpockets. Be careful around that area cause they have no shame in their game and will approach anyone. There are also a lot of tourist shops around that area as well. While I do love myself a “I Heart Paris” shirt, I don’t necessarily want to see store-after-store selling t-shirts and magnets. Oh well, c’est la vie!
After a full first day, I headed back to the hotel to change and grab dinner. I saw great reviews for this one restaurant near my hotel and wanted to try it out, but since I was in Paris in July/August, they were closed for a month for holiday. I live in the wrong country! With that being a bust, I decided to just walk around and see where I could stop and grab dinner… I was in Paris, amazing food capital of the world so I wasn’t to worried. Next time though, I am going to eat at that restaurant (if I can remember the name of it, ha).
The amazing thing about staying so close to the Eiffel Tower is that you get to see that beauty anytime you want and you’re also so close to Les Invalides and Ecole Militaire as well. Not a bad evening stroll to walk off your dinner. While walking around, I ran into this really nice American family who showed me this amazing gelato shop. Day 1 was in the books and a complete success!
The next day, I woke up early and headed off to the Palace of Versailles. I spent almost all day there but I did get back into the city in time to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. If you have the time to wait (the line is pretty long), it is definitely worth it to go to the top of the arc. The views are amazing! What I did not have time for was to go inside Notre Dame de Paris. I literally got there 10 minutes after they stopped allowing people inside. So close! I guess this gives me yet another reason to go back to Paris. After taking some pictures outside the cathedral, I decided to walk back to my hotel instead of riding the metro. I walked through Saint-Germain-des-Pres in the 6th arrondissement which is one of my favorite parts of Paris. It is classic “Paris” to me. Cafes, boutiques, art galleries, it has it all and more.
On my last day in Paris (tear), before heading off to London, I went to the Eiffel Tower. I figured since I was staying so close to it, I could save it for last. Well with my luck, two of the elevators were getting worked on (all summer) so they were not selling tickets online. I was freaking out inside since I knew that morning would be a time crunch since my train to London left that afternoon. Maybe this was a sign? Since I had to buy tickets there at the tower, I left super early… but I guess not early enough. The tower opens at 9:00 in the morning and I got there around 8:00 and the line was already massive. I guess everyone had the same idea as me. After waiting for what felt like a couple of hours, I went to the very top of this 986′ tall structure. I have to be honest, the top was scary! You are totally enclosed but I was still having a mini heart attack. At one point, I swear I felt the tower swerve and grabbed this random lady next to me. She was not impressed. On the way down, I stopped at the lower level (2nd floor) which was still high (377′) but way more manageable for me. This area is not enclosed and it was pretty windy the morning I went but the views are second to none!
After my morning adventure, I still had some time to kill before my train to London. I decided to walk over to the Jardin du Luxembourg and I was still on the hunt for some macarons since the Laduree I went to on the Champs Elysees was closed when I got there… that seems to be happening a lot to me. The garden is a beautiful area of the city and is owned today by the French Senate which meets in the Palace. It is probably most known for it’s model sailboats which you can rent and sail in the basin in front of the Palace. I also walked by some tennis courts while there and saw some people playing. How cool would it be to play there?! And for those people, it’s probably no big deal, this is where they always play. I secretly hate them.
I almost gave up on my hunt for an (open) Laduree when all of a sudden I walked past one leaving the Jardin du Luxembourg in Saint-Germain. I was so excited that I totally missed the stairs down inside the shop and nearly ate it in front of everyone. I snapped a couple of pictures once inside and got yelled at. I guess they don’t allow photography inside their stores? Oh well, I got my pictures… and macarons!
Paris is always a great time. I’ve been there twice now and there are still things I want to see and do but didn’t have the time the first two visits. The next time I go, I definitely want to take Aiden. He’s old enough now to appreciate the city, actually he would be around the same age I was when my parents took my brother and me. Full circle!
Have you been to Paris? What are your favorite things to do/see/eat while there?
What is something I need to add to my to-do list the next time I visit?
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