It's all about Paris this week! Now that I have had some time to stop and revisit all of our photos (all 2,531 of them) I am finally getting you a few posts in the coming week(s) sharing with you all about our trip to Paris last month! These posts are bitter-sweet for me; bitter because I don't want it to be over! I know we all say that at the end of a vacation, but in all reality, I'd been dreaming of visiting France since I could remember and now that we've done it, I'm excited to share our memories but also wish we were still there! And Sweet because I get to FINALLY show you all the magic the City of Love has to offer!
A quick run down on our trip; when I was a little girl, I always had an infatuation with France. From the style of cooking, to the style of dress, to the language, just pretty much everything about France; I loved. Fast forward to high school, I was in a French class that hosted exchange students from France for a brief period. It was such a lovely time getting to know the student who stayed with us and understand the culture of France. In the 12th grade we were given the opportunity to visit France and stay with the family that we hosted, however, at that time I was preparing to leave for college in a different state and just couldn't afford it. As every young person would be, I was devastated I couldn't go but knew one day I would make it. Also, Chris and I were dating at the time and he promised to take me to France one day. Fast forward again to this past summer; Chris and I were talking about our upcoming travels and discussed going to France next Spring or Fall, however we have a few weddings coming up in 2019 that are not in the state of NY which means we will need lots of PTO, so we looked at each other and said lets just take a plunge and go over Thanksgiving break (less PTO from the days off). And so here we are today, a week after we returned from our trip to France.
For the first post about Paris, I am taking you through our flight, hotel and places we ate! Before we left, we did a ton of research of where we wanted to eat and what places we wanted to visit for drinks and apps, however, we got so caught in the midst of everything we ended up winging most of our meals. Even the night we had placed a reservations for 2 weeks before we left, we ended up cancelling and making a new reservation somewhere else. We read a lot of reviews before we left for Paris that most places would get booked up well in advance and wouldn't seat you unless you had a reservation. We did not come into any issues with any of the places we went to. We did go during the "off-season" for tourists so that may have been our luck, but don't put a ton of pressure on making tons of reservations before you go. Especially if you plan on walking every where, like we did, the locations may be in a much different location than you expect.
First off - the plane ride. Everyone that we met that has visited Europe a time or two before told us the plane ride was the worst. In our opinion, we went well prepared that we didn't find it to be that bad. First, we had each other which we can keep each other quite entertained with our dad-joke-offs and just being us. Side note- this was the first trip Chris and I took together since our 1st wedding anniversary so it was nice just being together without any interruptions like work, extra-circulars and other things called life lol. Also, the plane had movies, music, tv and much more things to keep us occupied and we both brought a couple books in case we got bored of tv.
The flight to Paris had a single lay-over in DC which only took an hour to get there and an hour lay-over which gave us the perfect amount of time to walk from one side of the airport to the other and hop right onto the flight. Then from DC we were off to Paris. After six and half hours we arrived! The flight from Paris to Rochester was a little bit more intense and not because the trip was coming to end. First, the day we were supposed to be leaving, we pre-ordered a shuttle service form the hotel to the airport. We were dressed and ready to meet the shuttle by 7:30am (Paris time) which is when our shuttle service contacted us to inform us that they would be picking us up at 9:00am. So we went back to our room, got some breakfast and relaxed. Then at 9 we went to check-out of the hotel and catch the shuttle. The shuttle ended up being 45 minutes additionally late to the already late service. And to make things even better, they dropped us off at the wrong terminal.
Inside the terminal, everyone spoke French and everything was written in French so Chris and I kept asking for help to find out where we were supposed to be, but they sent us on a wild goose chase. We were in the wrong terminal and only had 1 hour and 10 minutes to get on our flight. We hadn't gone through security, or checked our bags or anything at this point. If you have been to the Charles De Gaulle airport then you know what I'm talking about, if you haven't let me explain to you, each terminal is quite a distance. So far apart that you have to take a train to get to each terminal and let me not forget to mention all the stops in between the terminals. As you can probably guess, Chris and I were running through the airport and panicking we were going to miss our flight. We were dropped off at terminal 3 by our shuttle service and had to be in Terminal 1, on the complete opposite side of the airport!! Luckily, when we arrived to check our bags and go through security, our flight had been delayed by an hour so we were right on time or else we would have missed the flight! The first flight was about 9 hours and 10 minutes, which was rather long, but I ended up finishing my book and Chris watched a number of movies. Also, the complimentary wine helped to relax our nerves (lol). The second flight from Chicago to Rochester was only an hour and the layover gave us enough time to get our bags, grab some coffee and make a couple quick calls. So the flight situation wasn't all that bad.
When we booked our flight, we bundled it with the hotel (and terrible shuttle service) which was most cost effective for us. Moving right along to our hotel. We stayed in the cutest little hotel in the 17th district. Each "town" was a numbered district, which I was not informed of this before we left, but somehow Chris knew about this (which is completely fine by me since he did most of the map reading haha). The hotel wasn't too far away from "big ticket" items which made it very manageable to walk every where. The hotel was on a one-way street that had a ton of unique boutiques and adorable restaurants. We actually enjoyed our neighborhood so much that we ended up having dinner on our street every night but our last night. Now, I don't want to give the wrong impression of the street cause it was a perfect street to stay on for our first visit; during the days it was a bustling street, lots of noise and people, but towards the middle of the night it quieted down nicely. The street did have a few bars and restaurants that stayed open pretty late. Which made it nice for us since most of the days we were getting back pretty late from touring around the city. The street itself was just the cutest, it was decorated with Christmas lights strong from one side of the street to the other and each restaurant and store front had their own version of Christmas decorations. It made the whole stay very elegant.
Now lets actually talk about the hotel itself and not the surrounding area. Most of the staff spoke pretty good english and were all so very helpful. If we had a question or needed to borrow something like a wine bottle opener, they were eager to assist. They said hello every time we entered the lobby and goodbye every time we left. The hotel room was pretty spacious for the two of us. When you walked into the room, it had a large tv, desk and chair and large armoire adorning the wall of the door. Then you see 2 floor-to-ceiling windows that could be opened with a little balcony for you to sit and people watch. The bathroom was attached to our room making it nice to have that privacy. It was a very petite bathroom, but perfect for the two of us. They came every day and turned down our bed and cleaned the bathroom for us, which was not expected, but a sweet surprise. Lastly, we opted in for breakfast everyday to keep the cost of eating low while we were over there. The breakfast was in the basement, which was shaped almost like the center of a plane. Every morning Chris and I had Cafe au Lait with crescents, jam and yogurt. Ahh I can taste the sweet taste of jam with the buttery crescents as I write this post. Of course, they had more options but we felt like being Parisians while we were there so we ate like them. All together, I would be delighted to stay there again if we visit Paris in the future. I highly recommend Le Art Hotel.
Now for the meat of the post (get it? Cause I'm going to share food with you? Haha it's a stupid joke but I couldn't resist.)
Since our breakfast was covered with the hotel, we only had breakfast out twice; the first day we arrived and the second day because we over slept from jet lag.
- Le Ricaux, we had 2 espresso's, 1 chocolate crescent and 1 regular crescent. We enjoyed everything, it was the first taste of France and it was by far better than I dreamed. The chocolate crescent stole my heart but don't let me fool you, I enjoyed both crescents.
*Something we noticed while we were there, was when you order a hot beverage, they temper the beverage so you can instantly start drinking and not have to wait for it to cool down. We noticed this maybe after our fourth day there when we got a hot cocoa. It was wonderful but definitely took a moment of adjustment when we came back to the US.
-A small Boulangerie that was in the middle of the town circle, here is a link on Google to where we were cause I can't seem to find a name. We had 2 espresso's (again, we became espresso feens while we were there, so much so that I asked for an espresso machine for Christmas lol) and 2 chocolate twists. At first we weren't sure what they were, but let me tell you, if you visit France, you must get these! They are filled with vanilla custard and topped with chocolate chips, twisted in a crescent.
-Bert's: this was a quick coffee refill that ended up being a really long coffee shop experience, in a good way. We stopped into Bert's in between a long hike from our hotel to the Arc, then to the Eiffel Tower, then to the Statue of Liberty and then back to see the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. We were both hungry and wanted to sit down for a minute. We had a cappuccino, espresso, lemon poppyseed loaf and a chicken sandwich, everything was delectable. As I mentioned before, this was suppose to be a quick stop, but we both were enjoying the atmosphere in the coffee shop that we just sat there talking for about an hour before we realized it was getting dark.
-Restaurant Le Louvre: I don't recommend eating here. We were both so very hungry and didn't want to leave so we grabbed something quick while we were there and ended up hating it. We did a vegetarian quiche that tasty fishy and I don't mean as a joke, I mean it tasted like it had fish in it and said no fish in the label and a mozzarella and turkey sandwich that had no flavor in it. So if you think you will get hungry I recommend hitting up the street vendors before you go in to Le Louvre.
-Street vendor Crepes by the Notre Dame: we grabbed 2 crepes, 1 cinnonman sugar and 1 Nutella crepe and 2 Vin-chauds as we waited to climb the bell towers and it was fantastic! Truly the best crepes we've ever had and the vin-chaud was like a mulled wine with seasoning and fresh fruit. So good! Highly recommend getting street vendor crepes while in France.
-Street Vendor hot dog and beignets: so Chris kept seeing the french version of hot dog in restaurant windows and he asked if we could give one a try one of the days we were there. Its 2 hot dogs that are filled with cheese, laid on top of a small french bread covered in more cheese with a little dijon mustard. To our surprise it was by the BEST hot dog we have ever had! So good.
-Petite Leon: This place was the cutest little place we visited. It was so tiny but the food was dynamite. They served tapas which was exactly what we were looking for on this day. Funny story: when Chris and I finished our plates (we shared everything) the server came over and saw we finished everything and he said "woah good job". It made Chris and me laugh.
-Bouillon Chartier: We visited this restaurant with some of our friends that live in France. The atmosphere alone was something to talk about. Everything about this place was beautiful. The four of us shared a bottle of wine, all tried different apps (this is the place we tried Escargot which were delicious) and enjoyed an entree and dessert. All together this is a must-do restaurant! The wait is a little long and they don't take reservations so I recommend getting there early.
-Tablapizza: This was a late night dinner run, we went out for a large lunch with friends and didn't expect to be hungry. After a long day of walking around, we went back to the hotel room and around 10pm Chris and I were both hungry so we went out looking for food and this was the only place open around us. So we had 2 Pepsi's (which is weird for me since I don't drink pop) and split a BBQ chicken pizza. It was delicious!
-Le sauret: This was the one and only place we enjoyed Croque Monsieur. We both were talking about trying it one of the days we were there and so glad we tried it here. With a little dijon mustard and a rich Bordeaux wine, it was better than we could have imagined!
-Felexio's: This was the only place we visited twice because it was SO good! We both had glasses of Bordeaux wine with a cheese that I'm forgetting the name of now, and french onion soup. Boy was this soup rich! It was the best we had ever tried and loved it so much we both wanted another bowl of it then next day! Let me not forget to mention, they served pickled olives while we waited for our food and even those were sooo good. Man now I am craving this soup again haha!
-Resaturant Le beajolais: This was the last place we tried for our "departure" meal. After we climbed the Eiffel Tower we wanted to stay close by so we can watch it twinkle one last time and I am so glad we chose this place. We didn't have a direct view of the tower but we could see enough of it while we sat under heaters on the patio. We shared Frog legs for an appetizer and Chris ordered the free-range chicken, as I ordered Steak-frites. Both meals were good, however I am not one to eat my meat when its red and this was the reddest meat I'd seen so I was a little perturbed by it, but I still ate it and enjoyed our last meal in France.
-Les Puces de Batignolles: This bar was next door to our hotel so the very first night we were in Paris and the night we "went out" we went here. It is a fun place to sit and enjoy the views of everyone around us. The wine selection was very good for a good price point.
Since we walked everywhere we went, by the end of the day if we went out to dinner we typically had a glass of wine with our meal or grabbed a bottle to bring back to our hotel to share with our farmers market cheese and baguette. Other than that, we didn't really go out for drinks other than the two times we visited this place.
As I mentioned earlier, I will be sharing several blog posts with photos from our trip. This was just the beginning. If you are planning or get the chance to visit Paris, I highly recommend doing a ton of research before you go, but not too much that you have everyday of your itinerary planned out. The spontaneous days were the most fun, in my opinion but you should always be prepared in case you need to bring something extra for something you want to do while you are there. Stay tuned for more Paris!