I will be honest with you, when Dan choose to go to FRANCE, I was the least excited about PARIS. Maybe it was because it is so well known or that you see pictures of the Eiffel tower plastered everywhere. “Why is everyone so obsessed with PARIS?” I thought. But then I went… and all I can say is, I get it. There is a charm to PARIS that cannot be described but only experienced.
Did you really visit PARIS if you didn’t see the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc De Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Notre-Dome, etc?
In my opinion, you have to see these historic monuments of FRANCE. Were they my favorite part? No. Was it worth seeing – 100%.
Eiffel Tower – there is something magical about it. We didn’t choose to climb all the way up, you most definitely can. You can purchase your tickets in advance or the day of, its up to you. My favorite part was just getting glimpses of it as you walked the streets of PARIS. Fun fact – the Eiffel Tower lights up (or sparkles) every night on the hour for 5 minutes. I didn’t know this piece of information prior to going which would have helped us out, haha. We showed up at 1015 wanting to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle in all of its glory and waited till 1100 for that moment. And when it did, oh was it ever was magical (I screamed in excitement).
Louvre – Catching the first glimpse of the Louvre surprisingly takes your breath away – pictures don’t do it justice. I do suggest taking time and seeing the Louvre. As with the Eifel tower, you can purchase your tickets online in advance, or the day off. I advise you to buy them online in order to avoid waiting in line and wasting time. How much time you want to spend in the Louvre is totally up to you – if you’re a history buff you could spend all day there. If you’re like me and can’t handle crowds for too long – 2 hours does the trick. If you choose to do the latter, I would suggest to stick to one or two sections of the Louvre and do them well as there are plenty of fascinating things to see everywhere you turn.
Arc De Triomphe & Champs Elyses & Notre-Dome -As we roamed the streets of PARIS we found ourselves at these quintessential monuments. As you could imagine, tourists EVERYWHERE. We appreciated them for what they are worth, took some photos and then peaced out.
My favorite part about PARIS was roaming the streets and indulging at local restaurants/bakeries/cafes – all day long.
Our typical mornings in PARIS started out at local cafes sipping on cafe crème paired with the flakiest croissants ….okay, maybe two croissants.
EXPRESS BAR – Our first morning in PARIS we stopped at Express Bar since it was really close to our airbnb. We kept it really simple & French – croissant(S) and coffee. You really can’t have a bad croissant in FRANCE. I didn’t experience one.
Chez TROQUETTE – Our second morning in PARIS we enjoyed our café crème & croissant at this gem. It had a real mid-century modern feel to it. If you’re in the 11th district, this is a cool spot to drop by.
Quintessential PARIS – every café had chairs lined up facing toward the streets. People just sat there, catching up with friends & family while casually people watching.
Others we wished we would have had the time to visit: Ble Sucre and Farine & O.
Disclaimer: I don’t want to deceive anyone. I did not look up ANY restaurants that I am sharing with you. It was all Dan and our good friend David. They are the foodies and the reason WHY we travelled to FRANCE. Bella & I were simply along for the ride and ate our merry little hearts out. Yes, I know… we are spoiled.
Au Sauvignon – We just landed in PARIS after taking the red eye, we quickly changed and just went for it. Our first stop was this quaint little french bistro. We started off with sharing a bottle of wine & an assortment of meats, pates on bread. All you need in FRANCE is bread, wine, cheese & croissants. This was my diet for 11 days.
L’avant Comptoir de la Mer – For lunch, we took a stroll over to Comptoir de la Mer, a tapas style seafood restaurant. Upon our arrival, the place was packed with people, sitting at the bar, standing on the side, in every nook and cranny. We made our way in and scored a great spot at the bar right beside a mound of yellow butter – at that moment, we knew we were in the right place. An interesting feature of this restaurant was that the menu was actually displayed by hanging pictures throughout – how cool is that?! Once we started chatting with the bartender/waiter, she immediately treated us like old friends, cracked jokes and laughed while busting her butt behind the counter – she was absolutely awesome. Once it came to ordering food, we asked her for her favorites, and boy are we glad we did – The freshest tuna tartar, salmon tartar and coriander shrimp made its way to our table along with fresh crusty bread and that perfectly salty yellow butter (I’m drooling just thinking about this again!). It was so delicious that our friend that didn’t enjoy seafood very much found himself having a hard time staying away.
Le Siffleur de Ballons – This restaurant/wine bar/wine shop was listed by the guys as one of the MUST GO restaurants in Paris in our planning spreadsheet (Yes we have a very detailed spreadsheet for our trips as my husband is an accountant). This restaurant had an awesome vibe that projected the fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously, but they take their wine seriously and the wine we had definitely supported that! Again paired with fresh bread, Saucisson (a dry cured sausage that you need to order with every meal) and an assortment of local cheeses, was exactly what we needed/wanted!
One of my favourite moments in PARIS was having a picnic along the RIVER SIENE. This is the thing to do here when meeting up with friends/family – everywhere you go, people are gathered together on small blankets, indulging in baguettes, cheese & wine. While the more typical (& touristy) spot to picnic in PARIS is in the park in front of the Eiffel tower. We did as the locals and headed to the river. The lesson here is that sometimes less is more and that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a memorable time with great company.
We were lucky to have been in FRANCE while the 2018 World Cup tournament was going underway. We watched FRANCE play against ARGENTINA outside a cafe (near Rue du Nil) along with the hundreds of Parisians that were overflowing from the restaurants and bars into the streets. The energy of the crowd was invigorating. Every time FRANCE touched the ball, the anticipation and excitement grew, when the goal came, the crowd went nuts. FRANCE won that game and went on to win the entire tournament, but you all know that by now.
We booked an airbnb and rented an apartment in the 11th ARR. in PARIS. The apartment was simple but met all of our needs because in PARIS, you shouldn’t waste any time hanging out at your AirBNB besides sleeping, and even that, in moderation!
You do not need a car while your in PARIS, this is a walking city. We used an uber from the airport to our stay and then used the subway system the entire time to get around the city.
PARIS, you exceeded my expectations, we loved you && we will definitely be back, even if it’s just for a weekend getaway.