Fall In Love with Paris
Last September we took the trip of my dreams and visited 5 different cities in Europe. We wanted to do a little sampler tour figure out what our favorite places are and go back to explore them more in depth someday.
Paris was the first stop on the list. It is a city I completely fell head over heels in love with.
Our flight to Paris was long but uneventful. We had one short layover in Chicago followed by red eye 8 hr flight to Paris. I can’t sleep on flights to save my life but landing in Paris gave me all the energy I could ever need. We went throughTaxi from CDG airport took about 40 mins to our hotel on the Left bank of the Seine and was 55 euro. We had a very smooth ride to our hotel and our driver was very pleasant.
We stayed at the Artus Hotel in Saint Germain des Près . Fairly new and modern hotel, a little quirky in a fantastic area of Paris. The room wasn’t huge, but it had all the amenities that you need plus bed was very comfortable. But most of all I just loved the location. There is so many cute cafes and restaurants around every corner. I would absolutely stay in this area again.
Paris Photo Shoot:
We arrived in Paris for our 8 year wedding anniversary. And what better way to celebrate than with a photo shoot in the city of lights? Our photographer was very French and ever so slightly difficult to understand but he captured some incredible pictures while taking us around the city and giving us some history lessons along the way. We felt like total newlyweds but it is so wonderful to look back at these pictures.
Places we ate in Paris:
Food: The food in Paris was beyond incredible. I pretty much ate my weight worth in croissants. Some of our favorite spots are below.
Le Bistrot d’Henri . This restaurant is the ultimate French Bistro. Family owned and established 25 years ago, this place exceeded every one of my expectations. The food was incredible. The Chateaubrilland tender steak in green pepper sauce and served with potatoes au gratin. Which was soo good. We also ordered the beef bourguignon which was hearty and the meat so tender it was falling apart. For dessert we got the chocolate mousse and creme brulee both excellent and highly recommend.
Another fantastic cozy place for dinner is Chez Gabrielle. This intimate, family owned restaurant is close to the Arc de Triomphe. For an appetizer we got the foie gras (duck liver). That was a first for me and it was actually quite good! For dinner we both ordered the steak which was perfectly cooked served with a cream sauce. It arrived with scalloped potatoes which were nice and soft, with lots of cheese and sour cream sauce. For dessert we got the pear in cognac and creme brulee both incredible.
One of my favorite lunches in Paris was also the simplest. We got the most delicious grilled ham and cheese sandwiches by a little shop close to the Louvre and took them to enjoy by the river. There was just something so magical by the simplicity of it.
Laduree. When in Paris, you have to eat macarons right? Well this place is supposedly where macarons were invented. The store is absolutely beautiful and everything was artfully displayed. The macarons, on the expensive side, but hey you are in Paris so it’s worth every penny. And they were also really delicious. Crisp yet chewy and not overly sweet.
Getting around Paris: We walked a lot but sights are pretty spread out so we also used Uber as well. It was easy and convenient.
Places we visited in Paris:
The Eiffel Tower. You can’t go to Paris and not see it. If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, then you have seen our miniature version. But the actual one in Paris is quite impressive in size. Also the light show at night is not too be missed. After watching the light show we took a carriage bike ride back to our hotel late at night. It was a little chilly but really fun and quite the experience.
Notre Dame. I was absolutely devastated when I saw the news that this captivating cathedral was on fire. I feel so very blessed to have seen it. On the morning we went, it wasn’t very busy so we took our time exploring it and lighting candles.
Sainte Chapelle. This Gothic style Royal chapel is just down the street from Notre Dame and definitely not to be missed. It might just be the most beautiful chapel I have ever been to. The stained glass in this place is incredible and when the light shines the whole room is illuminated. This is a not practicing chapel and I recommend buying your tickets online. It was easy to buy on their website and we skipped any lines.
For all of your art lovers out there the Louvre is a must. You can spend months in that place and not see everything. I booked a guided tour ‘Welcome to the Louvre’ (directly through them). It was 1.5 hours long which for me was perfect. I enjoy art in small doses. Our guide was fantastic! They give you headphones so you can hear your guide and she took us around all the most popular masterpieces. She was Italian but spoke fantastic English and she did a great job explaining the meaning behind the art. And yes we did see the Mona Lisa which dare I say it found to be overrated. The painting is much smaller than I anticipated and HIGHLY protected as I’m sure it needs to be. I much preferred The Virgin and Child with Sainte Anne by Da Vinci instead.
Arc de Triumphe. So we didn’t get to the top of the Eiffel Tower but we decided to climb to the top of the Arc de Triumphe instead. And I think it’s a much better view. We went late at night after dinner and it was incredible to see the City of Lights lit up at night. We also burned off some calories going up all the steps leading to the top.
Luxembourg Gardens. These gardens are absolutely enchanting! Perfectly manicured and full of fountains and beautiful statues. It is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon and have a picnic.
I feel like we barely scratched the surface and I can not wait to return to Paris. Every time we turned a corner, I felt like there was so much to discover and see. We visited in mid September and I really feel like it was the perfect time of year. The weather was beautiful and warm (but not too hot) and the sights didn’t feel overly crowded.
Have you ever been to Paris? What is your favorite spot in Paris?