Paris, France Part II
This post is a little more special than the last. This post is going to take you through what we did each day we were in Paris. When we were planning for this trip, we pretty much had everyday planned from the minute we woke to the minute we hit the bed. We wanted to make sure we didn't miss a thing, since I had been dreaming of this trip for so long and we never know when the next time we'll get an opportunity to come back.
With the intent of knowing what we were going to do, where we were going to eat and how we were going to get there; when we arrived, we deiced we would leave the itinerary in the hotel and just wing it. Besides, the spontaneity is more fun, right? So lets get started!
Day 1: I'm counting the day we arrived in Paris as Day 1 since who wants to hear about a red-eye flight? Not that exciting people, except my darling husband had us arrive to the AirPort 4 hours early and just basically sat there reading and watching planes come and go.
More about the beef of the trip: when we arrived in Paris, it was only 6:45am there time and Midnight in the states, neither of us slept on the plane so we were a little tired but too excited to waste the day away. So we got to the hotel, left our bags with the concierge and got to walking. We walked from our hotel to the Gallaries Lafeyette. After getting lost a few several times, we finally arrived to the mall around 10:00am and we were famished, so we grabbed some crescents and some espresso's from the cute little bakery across the way from the mall. There we tooled around the mall, went to every floor, all nine of them! And found the jackpot on the terrace... a birds eye view of the entire town, highlighting the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, and everything else in between. It was so beautiful but kind of foggy so it was hard to see. By around noon time we both noticed we were holding each-other up from exhaustion, so we decided to stop by a wine store and boulangerie for some bread and wine for dinner. We brought the bread and wine back to the hotel, checked in and enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal in the comfort of bed. With jet-lag hitting us pretty hard, we were both asleep by 4pm and awoke by midnight. It was a rough nights sleep haha.
Day 2: We woke up late by mistake from a rough nights sleep and missed our hotel's breakfast. So we got ready as fast we could and jetted out the door. We first stopped for breakfast and then kept on our way. We had no intention of doing anything in particular this day, we just wanted to see everything! My little map reader took us to see the Arc de Triomphe first which was absolutely breath taking. I know this is going to sound obvious, but the Arc was truly much bigger than I expected. As we can all see its pretty large in pictures, but when we arrived and I was standing in front of it, it was then I realized how truly gigantic this monument was! From there, we continued on our way to find the Eiffel tower. I remember we kept looking up saying "oh we'll be able to see it here" and then not seeing, until finally, we turned the corner and there it was! The feeling I got is indescribable. It was exactly like the moment when they opened the church doors and I saw Chris standing at the end of the aisle on our wedding day. I can't explain the feeling, but I can remember as if it just happened. Pure bliss.
Carrying on; little did we know, the tunnel we had to cross over to get to the Seine was the tunnel Princess Diana was killed in, so we took a few moments to examine the tunnel and see all the notes people left for her. From there, we crossed the Seine and walked right up the Tower, as close as we could get. It was such an amazing moment to finally be seeing the Eiffel Tower in person.The one thing I've always dreamt of seeing, I was there in person. After a long while of viewing the tower, we continued on to find the original Statue of Liberty. To my surprise, the statue was a lot smaller than I had imagined. I've seen the one in NYC, but not up close and personal, but I could remember the magnitude of that statue, that this one took me by utter surprise how small it was. From the Statue of Liberty, we crossed the Seine again, and walked all the way back down to the tunnel where Princess Diana got in her accident. We stopped for a nice light lunch and coffee. On our trip home, we stopped in the Yves Saint Laurent museum to see the inspiration behind the brand. That was a sight to see! They let us through all these rooms where Yves drawings, designs and sketches were out for display. And we got to tour his original studio, which was amazing for this Fashion Major to have seen! It was magical! From the museum, we decided we'd take a trip back to the Arc to see it at night before we turned in. On our walk home, we were both pretty hungry so we scoped out our dinner restaurant and stumbled upon the most amazing tapas restaurant. We were both so hungry that when the waiter took our plates ( we shared a couple of appetizers) he said to us with a surprised look on his face "wow, good job finishing it all!" HAHA. That still gets us laughing.
Day 3: We both woke up early enough to catch our hotel breakfast and get ready before the sun was even up. Oddly enough, the sun didn't really get into the sky until about 8:30am, probably because we were in the city and all the buildings blocked the sun, but we thought it was kind of odd for the sun to peek through pretty late. From our hotel, we walked to 31 Rue Cambon, which is where lady Chanel started her career. Unfortunately, they were doing some renovations, so we didn't get to see her actual apartment but we went into the store and looked around. I tried to buy the perfume I always wear (Chanel #5) but it was rather pricey, which I thought being in the store of Chanel it would be less, but I was far wrong. From there we walked around the city waiting for our macaroon class to begin.
*Quick side note: when I was deciding what I wanted to go to school for, I was tossing between becoming a pastry chef or fashion major. We all know which path I took but I still have a love for baking and thought it would be so cool to learn how to make Macaroons from a professional french pastry chef, so that we did.
We both made 15 purple macaroon sandwiches to bring back to the hotel and enjoy over the course of our time there. It was such a fun class, the teacher was super hands-on and super helpful. I'm looking forward to making macaroon for upcoming holidays and family members. From the class, we headed home since it was getting pretty dark, and took the long route home to walk by the Moulin Rouge. We some rather unique things in the red-light district and was blown away at the beauty of the windmill adorning the theatre. On our way home, we stopped for some French Cheese, a bottle of wine and a baguette for dinner which we enjoyed again from the comfort of our bed. One thing you should know about me, I never let Chris or myself eat in bed. I am slightly a clean freak and hate feeling crumbs in bed, so we never eat in bed, this was a one-time only kind of thing to do. After finishing our delicious meal, we were both pretty high strung from being up so early and feeling rested, so we got all dolled up and went to the restaurant next door to our hotel for some wine. We just sat there, laughing, chatting and enjoying the atmosphere.
Day 4: On this day, we planned to meet up with the exchange student that stayed with my family and I when I was in high school. After getting completely lost and showing up about an hour late, we finally arrived to the most beautiful restaurant that our friends recommended. From there we toured Montarmare the four of us. This was an unexpected tourist visit for us since we didn't plan to see it, and boy were we thrilled they took us here. It was so beautiful, from all the architecture to the scene from above the city, to the sounds of live music and people buzzing away in conversations and don't let me forget how about the beauty of the Cathedral. All together, this was our calmest day there, but it was filled with beauty, good laughs, good company and best of all, it was unexpected.
Day 5: This was the first day of our Museum visits. Before we left we purchased these passes called the Paris Pass which gets you into see 60+ attractions and a few other random things. Since we wanted to pretty much see everything, it was well worth it. On this day, we visited the Louvre. I was so excited to see everything, until we arrived and realized the size of this museum. Since the Mona-Lisa was our biggest ticket to see here, we jet off trying to find it and ended up getting lost on the completely wrong side of the museum. Though we were on the wrong side, we got to see some really amazing history and art while on our search. Once we realized we were on the wrong side, we regained our footing and went straight for the painting. We fought through a sea of people to finally get up to the front of the line to see the painting right in front of us. It was so beautiful and so invigorating to see something with such history right before our eyes. We walked through the Louvre for about 4 hours and by that time, we were both so exhausted from walking, we left without even covering a quarter of the museum. Before we left the beautiful attraction we thought we would stop quickly for some blog photos and got a nice little surprise instead. I put my purse down inside my umbrella close to Chris who was doing the photos, when I noticed a police officer lurking around us. SO I mentioned to Chris the officer and his response was, if it's a problem, he'll tell us. So we went on with our business until the cop stole my purse right from my umbrella! Yes, you read that right, he stole it! I said to Chris, the cop stole my purse, and at first, Chris didn't believe me until i showed him my purse missing from the umbrella. So we started to chase after the cop, to find him right around the bush holding it, waving his finger in my face saying "Don't do that, people like to steal things around here" and handed me my purse right back. He defiantly taught us a lesson that day. After catching my breath and relaxing from that huge scare, we carried on our way to the Caves du Louvre, a wine tasting in the caves of the Louvre. There we learned how wine is made in the origin of France and sampled 3 bottles of wine. It was so cool to see all that history and learn how the wine is made. From there, we were too tired to continue with anything else, so we just started on our way home and stopped for Croque Monsieur along the way.
Day 6: This was the most jam-packed day we had the entire trip so I am going to try to summarize our day. We started the day with breakfast at the hotel, from there we headed straight for the Palais Royale. It was such a beautiful place filled with the black and white columns. Right from there, we carried on our trip to see Saint Chapelle - I've never seen anything like it before in my life, all the stained glass windows were breath taking. From Saint Chapelle we went to the Notre Dame, where we spent a lot of time. On this day, one year ago, my grandfather passed away. He and I were pretty close and though I knew one day that day would come for him, it was hard for me. So we decided to take a minute, light a candle and say a few prayers for him while we were in the Notre Dame. This was something really special. From there, we toured around the church and signed ourselves up to climb one of the bell towers. While we waited, we walked over to see the fountain of Saint Michael and grab some Vin-Chaud's and Crepes. Then we were ready to climb all 387 steps of the Notre Dame bell tower. This view was so amazing, and climbing the tower definitely helped work off those crepes we just consumed haha. We took our time soaking in the view from the bell towers and from there we carried on to the Pantheon. This was a rather unique exhibition, as I didn't do my research and Chris told me he wanted to see it, so I just followed him. We got to go into the cript and see where Voltaire and other famous French people were buried. From there, we hopped on one of those hop on- hop off busses and rode down Champs Elyese since we'd already walked it once and its a pretty long street, until we arrived at the Arc again to climb to the top. We went straight in and saw the city from above for the 2nd time that day but from another angle and at night. We watched the Eiffel Tower do its twinkling show from the top of the Arc which was by far one of my favorite memories. And from there, we were so tired, we got on our walk back home and stopped along the way to our new-favorite restaurant for some French Onion soup and wine.
Day 7: We had a slight mishap with our Paris passes, we bought a 3 day museum ticket, but when we arrived to one of the museums they said it was for only a 2 day tour pass, so I was a little perturbed. Anyways, we walked over from our hotel to the Musee D'Orsay to see the art from many famous artists. Since I went to an art school, you can probably guess how much I love art haha. We saw tons of paintings from Van Gough, Picasso, Renoir (whom is my favorite artist) and many, many more. We spent a good 3 or 4 hours in the museum soaking up all the beauty from the famous paintings. From the museum, we just took our time walking around the city and enjoying the views. We ended up revisiting the restaurant we went to the night before for more of there amazing soup and called it a night from there.
Day 8: Our last full day in Paris. We woke up leisurely and got ourselves ready for the day before we got started on our walk to the Eiffel Tower. On our adventure to the tower, Chris surprised me with a little shoe shopping and bought me two of the most beautiful pairs of booties a girl could ever dream of. How I got so lucky with him, I have no idea, but I count my blessings every night I go to bed with him beside me. Moving on; we arrived to the tower and it just took our breaths away. From the size of the tower, to the beauty and all the history it represents. From there we began the ascend to the top with a stop directly under the tower, then to the second floor where we both realized how happy we were to have saved this for the last day. We say this because if we saw what we saw from the tower on our first day, all the rest of the views would (like from the top of the Arc and Notre Dame) we would have been comparing the views and nothing could top the siting from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Then from the second floor we went all the way to the top. It was so windy that on one of the sides, we couldn't even move. We went from one side of the tower, to the next and back around again and again just trying to soak up the view. Luckily, while we were up there, they opened the champagne bar up for a quick 10 minutes and we both got a glass to cheers with at the top of the Eiffel tower. On our way back down, we took the elevator to the second floor and then climbed the stairs the rest of the way down. That was a very dizzying experience but well worth it. From there, we found a park bench not too far from the tower and just sat there looking at the view and reminiscing on our amazing trip. I have to say, moments like that are the highlight of my life. Just there with Chris to relish in the moment is something so special to me. From our park bench (long) moments, we carried onto our last meal in Paris. We found a perfect little restaurant that had heaters and blankets for us to sit outside and see the view of the tower. We took our time eating, shared a bottle of wine and enjoyed the time we had together. We finished dinner just in the nick of time to scurry across the Seine, find a spot to sit down and watch the Eiffel Tower light up the night sky one last time. We were actually quite rebellious, every spot was swarmed with people, so we ended up climbing into an empty fountain and sat down with a direct view of the Eiffel Tower. It was such a special moment. And from there, we just walked back to the hotel and enjoyed our last evening in the streets of Paris.
Well, I hope you all felt like you were there with us! Haha. I owe all of the credit for these photos to Chris, he's the master behind the lens.
Stay tuned for another post about Paris next week! Thanks for reading! Xo, Sarah