Paris has been on my bucket list for years. I had romanticized the city, and man, did it live up to my expectations. Take a look back on our spectacular excursion!
Eurostar: Just getting to Paris was a great experience. Not only was the Eurostar extremely convenient and fast, but we also got to look out the window and enjoy the view. The English countryside and gentle meadows of France were speckled with tiny farmhouses amid green fields and hedgerow fences. The continental breakfast on the train really made me get in the Paris mood.
The Louvre: Our first big activity was visiting the Louvre. I’ve heard that you can spend something like two weeks walking through the entire museum, and after going, I completely agree. We spent a few hours marveling at some of the most incredible pieces of art I have ever seen. The sculptures stood out to me the most—masterpieces of both hard work and design.
Literature Tour: This was one of my favorite things we did on the entire trip! I’m a huge Hemingway fan, so when I found this tour online, I knew we had to sign up. It was great because it hardly felt like a traditional tour, but instead, like our Paris friend was showing us the local spots around town. We walked and chatted and saw some of Hemingway and his friends’ old digs, and even got to enjoy a drink at a local café.
Le Centre du Monde: This restaurant was our first real meal in Paris, and it was everything I imagined a French dinner to be… inviting atmosphere, delicious food, and in particular—escargot. I was hesitant to try snails, but, when in Rome, right? I thought they were surprisingly good! The sauce was what really had me—an addictive butter and garlic marinade that I couldn’t resist dunking my bread in.
Eiffel Tower: Rather than stand in line all day, we opted for a behind the scenes tour of the Tower. We still got to enjoy the view, just not all the way from the top. Instead, we enjoyed the view from the lower decks but got to see the engine room and the Champ de Mars’ underground bunker. I highly recommend going this route if you ever visit.
Catacombs: As a ghost nerd, I was really looking forward to going underground and seeing the catacombs in person. It was cold, damp, and creepy. I loved walking through the ancient tunnels and imagining the lives of the 6 million people whose remains reside here. The funny thing is that you become desensitized to the bones once you have been surrounded by them for a couple hours.
The Seine Batobus Boat Ride: I loved our quiet boat ride along the Seine. You get to look out at the left and right banks while the guide describes the various places and buildings on either side as you drift by. All of the most iconic sights are fanned out perfectly along the river, and you can begin to place yourself back into the era of the lost generation, drifting peacefully through time.
Chanel: Seeing the original Chanel store is every fashion lover’s dream. I felt completely underdressed for the occasion as we had been hoofing through Paris all day with backpacks and Skechers; nonetheless, I went inside because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. It was just as classy as I had imagined it to be, and I hope one day I can go back, but this time I’ll make sure to dress the part.
Le Cochon a l’Oreille: We didn’t have a reservation this evening, and after being turned down across the street, we were recommended to head over to this cozy restaurant. The incredibly friendly waitress didn’t speak any English, but she still made quite the impression on us. She was so accommodating and kind, we couldn’t help but love her. The restaurant itself was something out of the movies, with all of its Parisian ambiance. We sat outside under the awning, sipping wine and enjoying the warm evening, with classic French music playing softly in the background. I was so caught up in the moment the only picture of my food I took was of the delectable goat cheese salad, something I found Paris to be quite expert in providing.
La Parisienne: I ate a ham and cheese sandwich every day we were in Paris. I ate them cold, warm, you name it. This bakery was right next door to our hotel, and after walking by it one afternoon we decided we would go back for breakfast the next day when the croissants would be fresh. Having both a fresh croissant and the classic ham, cheese, and butter sandwich in Paris is definitely a MUST DO when you visit. Nothing in the states compares.
Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, Conciergerie 3.5-hour Tour: This was the only day it really rained on our whole trip. As we walked from sight to sight, I instantly thought of the movie, Midnight in Paris, and the quote “Actually…Paris is the most beautiful in the rain.” After experiencing it, I would definitely agree. The rain made it feel like we stepped into a painting. Seeing Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle in person was breathtaking. I loved the gothic architecture and unparalleled stained glass. But nothing compared to seeing Marie Antoinette’s prison, the terrifying Conciergerie. It was unreal to see the dress she was executed in over 200 years ago. I’ll never forget it. I could have stayed there all day.
Love, Locks, and Walking: My favorite way to get around Paris is definitely by walking, and we did a lot of it. We got to really embrace the city by strolling along its streets, and I wish we’d had more time to explore. We ended up getting to see lots of picturesque hidden gems, like the Tuileries Garden. I had brought a lock for my suitcase, and once we walked past the Love Lock Bridge, we remembered the tradition of lovers attaching their locks in a display of romance and commitment. Unluckily, we noticed that they had taken down all of the locks that once adorned the bridge and put up a material that prevented any further romantic attachments. However, locks were now being placed on other bridges instead. Joel and I decided we would come back the next day and put a lock on one of those other bridges. The bridge at Pont de Solferino has our lock attached! Joining the romantic tradition was so special, and it was a great way to end our trip to Paris.