Join me as I take you through our time in Paris, France. What to see, what to do, & what to eat. Enjoy!
Paris is a place I have always wanted to see and explore and was at the top of my bucket list. Our very last stop of our European adventure and I’ll admit, Paris stole a piece of our hearts. We both fell madly in love with this city the moment we landed and took the beautiful drive to our hotel. We landed just before sunset which made for a picturesque car ride during the golden hour that highlighted Paris’s delicately landscaped interstate system. That alone was a perfect “bienvenue à Paris” (welcome to Paris). The way our flights were scheduled, coming and going, it left us with only two full days in the City of Lights. We had to make the most of our time while here and I would say we succeeded. We did so by planning ahead and using the process I covered in a previous post on “How To Plan Your Next Vacation“. By being organized and pre-planning, we were able to explore and see so much more. I am excited to take you through many of the lovely sites that we experienced, things we explored, and the amazing food we enjoyed while here. If you are planning a future trip to Paris, I hope this will help in your planning and you enjoy this lovely and charming city as much as we did.
Where To Stay:
Hotel Vernet – This hotel exceeded my expectations. Upon arrival we entered into a beautiful, welcoming lobby and were greeted by the kind hotel staff. While my husband was checking us in, I explored nearby and noted a cozy sitting room, a great meeting area with a gorgeous fireplace, and a stunning atrium where breakfast is served in the morning. Once we were checked in we were guided to our room by way of a beautiful vintage elevator, the icing on top of the cake. Upon entering our room I was delighted to find a comfy bed that I could not wait to jump in, paired with a beautiful bathroom that had warm towels awaiting on a heated towel rack. The bathroom was classically beautiful, and if you have not had the pleasure of having a warm towel waiting for you right out of the shower, head to Paris and stay at Hotel Vernet. This will definitely be a feature I lobby for when we build our next home. Hotel Vernet is located near the Arc de Triomphe in the 8th Arrondissement on a quiet side street that is one block from the Champs-Élysées, which I feel, made for a prime location for my first time in Paris. We were able to easily navigate throughout the city from our hotel once we learned the underground metro system and we were within walking distance to so much leaving everything at our finger tips and a city to be explored.
Jardin des Tuileries – My favorite place in Paris. If I lived here, I would live HERE! There are no words to describe how great I felt the moment I stepped into the Jardin des Tuileries. Every time I look back at our photos, I get the warmest feeling that takes me right back to that moment I was strolling around with my husband in awe of its beauty. Spend some time here when you visit, whether it be a picnic for lunch or a bottle of wine before sunset with your beloved and snuggling up in their arms.
Montemarte – A large hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement that is primarily known for its artistic history and night club district. Many great artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Renoir once lived in or around here. At the peak of Montemarte lies the white domed Sacred Heart Basilica that can be seen across Paris. Once we made it to the top of this unique area of Paris we were met with a stunning view over looking the city. Please be sure to visit Montmarte and take in the history, beauty, and uniqueness of the area and the surrounding streets that lie waiting to be explored.
Places To See:
Grand Palais – One of the most iconic Parisian monuments, located in the 8th Arrondissement, is a beautifully designed historic site whose original purpose was to house great artistic events for the city of Paris. Every time we strolled by I couldn’t help but stop and stare at this beauty.
La Maison Rose – THIS.PLACE. The name says it all. Such a beautiful little spot in Montemarte that is screaming, “Hey lady, take a pic of me and put it on your Instagram!”
Arc de Triomphe – Within the 8th Arrondissement lies the Arc de Triomphe. Construction started in 1806 under the order of Napoleon and was completed in 1836, 15 years after Napoleons death. Not only will the beauty and size of this monument take your breath away, but watching the locals speeding around it with no lanes in sight will make you thankful you are not cruising the streets along with them.
Palais Royale – The Palais Royale was on the top of my list to see. The vast amounts of courtyards and gardens made me want to literally skip throughout it the entire time we were there. Once a personal residence, then turned property of the king makes for a location rich with history. Once again the gardens at Palais Royale hold a special place in my heart, just as the Jardin des Tuileries do. What can I say? I have a thing for parks, gardens, and flowers. Even while in NYC I could stay in Central Park the entire time and be as happy as a clam at high water.
Avenue Montaigne – THE place to shop high end and luxury brands. This avenue is Carrie Bradshaw’s dream and I have to say mine too. During our early morning stroll down Avenue Montaigne it was quiet and peaceful, and I loved it. Taking in all the beautiful surroundings and stores was exactly what I was hoping for when we planned this on our route.
Places To Eat:
Ferdi – Stop what you are doing, get on Expedia, and book a flight to Paris and eat here, BUT FIRST, pick up the phone and reserve a time slot. I can see why Kim K. flew to Paris while pregnant just to eat here. I will forever covet the meal we had at Ferdi and can’t sing its praises enough. Known as “the best burger in Paris” I can confirm these claims. We also had the Mac n’ Cheese with dinner, holy moly y’all! To finish this already “healthy” meal we went with their famed churos. The only thing I would have changed about the churos is that it would have come with cinnamon sugar as well. But even without the cinnamon sugar they were a delightful ending to a very filling dinner. At Ferdi reservations are a MUST, as it is small location and very popular as well.
Café de Paris – Our very first dinner in Paris. Once we made it to Hotel Vernet after the sun had set, we quickly freshened up and went on the hunt for a relaxed first dinner in Paris. Located near our hotel and the Arc de Triomphe lies a sweet little Parisian café. My husband had escargot and I had a ham and cheese melt. Our late night dinner off of a quiet Parisian street, with the Arc de Triomphe in view, was the perfect “welcome to Paris” and made for a sweet memory.
Ladurée – You can’t see Paris without a macaroon, and a macaroon from Ladurée was even better. My all time favorite is Pistachio and it was everything I dreamt it would be.
Café de Flore – What Instagram dreams are made off. Located on a beautiful little corner in the 6th Arrondissement you’ll find this little gem of a cafe that is one of the oldest coffee houses in Paris. We enjoyed a table for 2 facing the streets of Paris for lunch on our last day and it was the quintessential Parisian experience.
Casa Luca – Our last dinner in Paris, located near our hotel and the Arc de Triomphe, was this quaint little Italian restaurant. I couldn’t leave Paris without trying a Parisian pizza and this Parisian pizza was fantastic! It only made me wish I could pack up this place in my carry-on because I would eat here all the time if I had it back home.
Café Ruc à Paris – This was an impromptu find on our way to Grand Palais after leaving the Louvre. Due to having four large chocolate croissants along with breakfast, Momma needed a salad. My husband and I both went with the grilled chicken caesar and it was exactly what I needed. Yummy, filling, but light enough that I didn’t waddle out and could continue to function the remainder of the day. Located on a prime corner of a busy street, this café will give you all the Parisian feels.
Activities To Do:
Flytographer Photoshoot – A romantic moment captured forvever makes my heart so happy. I am in love with each and every photo taken, it would be hard not to love them all considering the beauty that surrounds you. I talked more about our previous experiences with Flytographer in my recent post here. Flytographer is a wonderful way to caputure that special moment if you are planning a special trip with your family or loved one to document memories for a lifetime. We used Olga and I absolutely LOVE her. She was so kind, funny, talented, and always made you feel comfortable.
La Tour Eiffel – A must see for Paris. Getting “Skip the Line” passes for the Eiffel Tower through Paris Passlib’ is a must, as the line is long, and this got us right in and out. The view is exquisite and a panoramic view of Paris.
Catacombs – I cannot tell you how sad I am to say we weren’t able to get to see the catacombs on this trip. The day we had it on the agenda their credit card machine was down, making the line extremely long. Sadly the length of the line was longer than their hours and they closed leaving a large amount of broken hearts. This will be top priority for our next time in Paris and I can’t wait.
Boat Down the Seine River – This was part of our Paris Passlib’ and I am so glad we did it. It was a lovely ride down the seine and made for a romantic time to take in the city from the water at sunset.
Moulin Rouge – If you are looking for a “cheeky” touristy thing to do, check it out. On the particular night we chose, we had been awake for a very long time on very little sleep from the night before so I have to admit, we were dosing off and did not get the full effect of the show. From what we did experience, I would say the venue and show were a bit more dated than I would prefer, but I guess that’s part of the appeal. But overall, I am glad we were lucky enough to have experienced it and to have been a part of its storied history.
Notre-Dame Cathedral – Notre-Dame, the archetypal French Gothic cathedral, was stunning, inside and out. The line was long and in the hot sun, but moved fairly quickly. Once inside, the beauty, detail and magnitude of this cathedral was astounding. In addition to absorbing the beauty indoors, you can spend plenty of time outdoors on the grounds enjoying the gorgeous garden areas as well.
Musée d’Orsay – This beautiful museum is a must while in Paris. The design alone is a sight to be seen. The beautiful atrium and grand scale clock over looking the Seine is divine and well thought out. It contains so much history and art from the likes of Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, and Cézanne just to name a few.
Louvre – It has been said that it would take over four months to see all that the Louvre has to offer. I can see why they say that, I could spend an entire day just staring at the outside of this huge, beautifully designed, once lived-in palace, that encases so much history and art. The Louvre has so much to offer and houses the famed Mona Lisa among countless other famed pieces of art and history. One tip I learned is that you can bypass the long lines at the main entrance at “Le Pyramide” by using the underground side entrance at “Le Carrousel du Louvre”.
Things To Get:
Paris Passlib’ – The official Paris pass through the visitors bureau. Order before your trip, and it can be waiting for you upon arrival at your hotel. I recommend also getting the skip the line pass for the Eiffel Tower as the line is long and this got us right in and out. This pass gives you unlimited access to the metro systems as well as other means of transportation throughout the city. As well as access to all museums, a boat tour down the seine, a bus tour of the city, and we added to option to skip the line at the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower Ornament – I purchased plenty of these gold beauties to give to my family and friends. It makes for a sweet present to take back home.
Parisian Coffee Cup – You can’t go all this way and not bring home a little treat to make your morning coffee more Parisian. I picked up two cute mugs at the Eiffel Tower that contained a adorable map of the city.
French Books – We picked up the cutest book for our future littles that makes me so happy. Being a HUGE fan of “Where’s Waldo” as a a child this book, “Paris Hide-and-Seek”, made me excited to flip through. I can’t wait to share it with our future little ones one day.
More memories from Paris…