After this weekend, we have one main thing to say.
J’ai deux amours…..Mon pays et Paris. (I have two loves…..my country and Paris.)
To put it simply….. WE FREAKIN’ LOVED PARIS. We stayed in the beautiful city of lights for about 3 days, and saw so many wonderful things. It was truly a dream come true…. So bear with us cause this blog is gonna talk a lot about sweets, but it may not be so short!
Before going to Paris, we had heard from multiple people how the French people would be rude and would have poor service, that the city would be dirty and gross, and that we would be scammed and over-charged. Not sure what Paris they went to, but this surely was not the case for us! We were greeted with nothing but the sweet sound of Bonjour and many French smiles. We stayed in the 3rd Arrondissement of Paris near the Republique Metro stop, and it was quite a perfect location. We were within walking distance to the Notre Dame, Places des Vosges, St. Chapelle, The Louvre, Love-Lock bridge, Bastille, and much much more. To keep things organized, we’re gonna cover the “Must-See/Do” things that we experienced and then we’ll talk about the food…. (and wine) cause that deserves a blog in itself!!!
We arrived on Friday afternoon and checked into our hotel around 1pm. Thank goodness that we looked at how to get there from the Gare du Nord station, because if we hadn’t we would have been a little confused! SHOUT OUT TO GOOGLE MAPS…. YOU ROCK! The metro was easy to figure out and literally can get you anywhere in this great city.
After we checked in, we headed straight out to follow our list for the day! So much to see, so little time. (Like you could seriously spend a month in this city and not see everything….) During the first day, we managed to make it to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Love Lock bridge, St. Chapelle, Places des Vosges, Bastille, The Louvre (sorta… just to take our typical tourist-y pic and then went back later but we’ll get to that…) and then we ate dinner at this great place on a market street in the 7th Arrondissement and made our way to the Eiffel Tower for pics and our Boat tour on the Seine River. Here’s pics from the day!!!
View from our hotel window… a cute little street down below!
Our Hotel was great for the price and location, but there was only 2 outlets in the whole room. This became kind of a joke if you can imagine four girls in one room trying to get ready with two outlets and the need to charge four cell phones. Quite a challenge.
First stop, Places des Vosges! The oldest square in Paris. Cute little shops border the square and there are park benches and grass that people were hanging out at.
After visiting the square, we continued walking to the Notre Dame Cathedral….. so now we’re gonna just take a second to talk about the doors in Paris that we saw during our walks because we were in LOVE with the doors. They are all so grand and unique and beautiful and ornate and gigantic and basically every other word that describes amazing-ness. If you never thought twice about the doors around you, Paris will make you think again. The streets basically shout “HEY CHECK OUT THESE DOORS AND THIS IRON WORK!!!” Maybe it’s just us…. or maybe it’s not. Here’s some of the beauties that we captured.
Random door on the corner of a block in Paris…. statues, carvings, bright berry colored paint…. but it’s totally casual. Nothing to see here y’all.
One of the million Blue colored doors we passed. LOVE THEM. Blue, Pink, Green….. all gorgeous and so Luxe looking. It’s kind of hilarious because there’s like these amazing doors and then random shack-y stores next to them or grafiti like on the same block. These Parisians don’t know how beautiful their everyday lives are! So chic, so effortlessly regal!
So now that we took a little detour to freak out over these excellent entry ways, let’s re-shift focus back to the Notre Dame! This Cathedral sits right on the banks of the Seine River, and is just perfect. The flying buttresses and rose windows are captivating!
Dat Rose window doe…. I see you there….
After this visit, we made our way over to what we found was one of many Love Lock bridges in Paris. This city must really be the City of Love to have this many locks hanging on these bridges!!! A LOT OF LOVE, PEOPLE!
Bridge with Notre Dame in the background
Laura being all cute and stuff putting her lock on the bridge while I sit with my love-less lock-less self and photograph the moment for her…. So cute….
Magical moment at the bridge. It started raining while it was sunny, so at first we were like “CRAP… WHAT IS GOING ONNNNN!!!” and then this magical rainbow appeared and we were like WOW you can’t make this stuff up. God, you did good. What a beautiful moment!!!
Panoramic shot of the Notre Dame, Love lock bridge, Seine River and THE STINKIN END OF A RAINBOW. Like come on, this is real life? Paris, why are you so good to us?
After this we walked a little more to St. Chapelle, where we stared at some even more impressive stained glass windows… and got in for free for being students in Germany!
This church is incredible. It was under construction when we got there which kinda stunk cause we didn’t get to see the interior in all of it’s glory, but we got pretty close! The entire church is wall to wall and floor to ceiling stained glass, and the ceiling displays an intricate design of navy with white stars on it.
Our next stop on the list was the Louvre, but on the way we enjoyed some cute flower shops, the typical street architecture, crepe stands and street markets!
We then quickly stopped at the Louvre for some photos before heading to dinner!
Cliche Tourist Paris First-timer pics…. Are we doing this right?
After this we got a little turned around in the city of lights during our attempt to find some food, but after pizza and a glass of wine, the stress levels were back to a normal zone and we continued our night walk to the Eiffel Tower before boarding our boat for the tour.
We took a night-time city boat tour through the tour company Bateaux-Moches and really enjoyed seeing the city at night! The Seine River runs so closely to many of the city’s sights, and it was a great and relaxing way to end our first night in Paris. The hot wine they sold us was also not a bad extra!! So yummy and warm!
DAY 2 IN THE CITY OF LIGHTS
We woke up early and went to breakfast! We all decided to try the chocolate eclairs but here’s a picture of what our options were! YUM! Pastries and coffee…. breakfast of champions! (And maybe people with high cholesterol, but we can ignore that part.)
We headed to the Eiffel Tower early this morning to beat the line to ride to the top! Kind of a tourist trap, but still really cool. There are tons of people with clip-boards running around asking you to sign them for their petition to whatever heart warming cause they are after, but DON’T SIGN THEM! Pick-pockets in disguise. Gypsy life and up to no good.
On the second deck of the tower workin’ those cliche berets!
Up at the tippy-top!
Back safely on the ground!
We tried to be cute and take jumping pics, but the hair in our face problem was a real issue. So to those of you who successfully snap one of those shots…. we pat you on the back.
Next stop of our Parisian checklist was to Champs Eleysee and the Arc de Triomphe. We stopped to grab lunch near the Arc de Triomphe and each tried a Croque Monsieur, a typical French sandwich. (Basically a grilled cheese sandwich on steroids… so yum!)
Arc de Triomphe
When we walked down Champs Eleysee, we stopped in at the super high end stores and pretended we could totally buy things there and weren’t simple college girls traveling on a budget. Not sure if we had anyone fooled, but it was fun to see the window displays and to go into the mothership of Louis Vuitton.
Of all the stores on Champs Eleysee that we pretended at, there was definitely one that we had no intentions of pretending with, and that was none other than Laduree! This little vintage parisian style cafe has been made famous for not only having what is known to be some of the first macarons in Paris, but has been made notable by none other than many of our favorite’s TV series, Gossip Girl. We channeled our inner Blair Waldorf and loved what we saw!
The pastry boutique is preciously decorated with traditional pastels and marble. It really takes you back to what you always envisioned Paris to be. The line to get in this place is seriously OUT THE DOOR. The amount of people at this place made us really wonder if these are the best macarons in Paris, and so, our quest to find the best began.
We tried Macarons from lots of shops, but we found our top 3 that had to be mentioned.
1. McDonalds…. like what? Yes. McDonalds Cafe in Paris carries Macarons. Who would have thought?! We tried them for the joke of it if nothing else, but were pleasantly surprised by the taste. The downside of these little sweets was that they were in a cool fridge before you bought them, so they were kind of cold and chewy. But cheap and still special in their own way.
2. Laduree…. you got the whole spiel on this a second ago. Super great and the cute packaging can’t be beat…. but we decided that the next on our list are our favorite!
3. Pierre Herme
We dub Pierre Herme the winner of THE BEST MACARON in Paris. Not only were they beautiful and individually unique, but the flavors they offered were very creative. We even tried one that was supposed to taste like Violet and Iris…. not sure what that actually tastes like in real life, but it was worth it to try their flavor of the month. All the Macarons in Paris were great, but these took the cake for their melt in your mouth experience! Definitely a Must Stop at in Paris!
After Champs Eleysee, we made our way over to the 18th Arrondissement of the city, which is called Monmartre. Here we saw the basilica of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica).
After viewing the basilica, we walked around the area for a little while and found the famous Moulin Rouge.
We ended day 2 in Paris with an AMAZING meal. We were tired, and decided to try to find a place in the 3rd Arrondissement close to our Hotel, and thankfully we landed at a complete 10! The restaurant we happened upon was called L’Evidence, and was so so great! The prices were moderate for a nice dinner, and the food was incredible! We all ordered different pastas, and got bread and wine. (Some of the best wine I’ve ever had!!) We topped the whole dinner off with some Creme Brulee, and had to be rolled home after eating. The best part about our dinner though wasn’t just the food, but the service. The owner is actually a dual citizen of France and the USA, and has lived in none other than the great state of Texas!! He even showed us his Texas driver’s license and told us all about how much he loved the Cypress area in Texas. He also gave us some free italian drinks which was a plus, and in return he got a nice American tip. If you find yourself hungry in Paris, L’Evidence is a great place to find!
Excuse the mood lighting. lollllzzzzzz…… We would post pics of our pasta cause they were plated so beautifully but we all dug in before any photos could be taken…. oops!
On our third and final day in Paris, we spent the morning at the Louvre Museum. On the first Sunday of every month, the museum has free entrance. This sounded like a super idea to grab onto, until we got there and realized that the line to get in wrapped around the pyramid in the square at the Louvre.
ALERT!!! SECRET TIP ABOUT THE LOUVRE:
Thanks to our friend Lizzie, we were able to skip the line! She read in a book that there is a “side entrance” to the museum that can be used to avoid the line. We looked hard and serious for a side entrance, but had no success and finally gave in to asking one of the guards at the museum. They quickly pointed us to a statue and said to take the stairs to the underground at the left of the statue. We ran over and they were right!!! Always use the Du Carousel entrance at the museum found next to the thing that looks like a smaller version of the Arc de Triomphe. Saved us about 2 whole hours of waiting in line….. yay!
Hangin’ out with Mona…. She’s much daintier in person!
just some of the many incredible ceilings at the Louvre
Statue of Ramses II
The Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Veronese
We saw so many incredible works of art at the museum, but listing them all would take all day for you to go through! These are just a few of the highly recognizable ones we thought you may enjoy.
We also visited Napoleon III’s apartment at the Louvre…. so cool!
Dining room of Napoleon III
Some of the Crown Jewels they had on display
We left the Louvre and enjoyed lunch at a take-away cafe in the Tuileries Garden near the Louvre Museum. After our Museum filled morning, we walked around the city to fit in some last minute sight seeing and we happened upon what ended up being my favorite Arrondissement of Paris. The 9th district of Paris is home to the Opera building, Galeries Lafayette and many other beautiful areas. We loved the cleanliness of the area and how ritzy it felt. We enjoyed some our Pierre Herme macarons at the top of the stairs at the Opera house, and basked in the sunshine of our last day in the city.
Loved the flowers on the balconies all over Paris
In the 9th arrondissement
After a great last day, we headed back to the hotel to get our luggage and found ourselves back at Gare du Nord where our wonderful weekend began. Before we knew it, Paris was behind us and our Thalys train was started on it’s 3 hour journey back to Bonn. The memories we made in Paris are moments that we will never forget. This city and it’s people made imprints on our hearts that will last forever, reminding us that beauty is everywhere, and you are as chic and amazing as you believe yourself to be! If you made it this far through this post, congrats! We’re sorry it was such a long one, but a city as overwhelming as Paris couldn’t be condensed any more than it already was. If you ever have the desire to go to Paris, DO IT. Do not miss out on this city in your lifetime. You’ll thank yourself after!!
Until next time,
Kelsey & Laura