We arrived in Paris on a bright, sunny Monday afternoon. Our hotel was walking distance from Notre Dame so we strolled over that way, soaking up the sun and gorgeous fall colors.
Later that evening we took a river tour of the Seine. It was a relaxing way to learn about the city and take in the sights.
The next day, we got up early and made our way to the Arc de Triomphe for (in my opinion) one of the best views of the city.
I should mention that we used our museum passes to get in. If you plan on travelling to Paris, I highly recommend getting a Paris Museum Pass which grants you access to over 60 museums and monuments. We used ours pretty much everywhere we went.
We then made our way down the Champs Elysees and over to Laduree for some of their famous macarons and hot chocolate. Unfortunately the location at the Champs Elysees was closed due to a fire, so we headed for the one located at 16, Rue Royale, near Place de la Concorde.
If you plan to dine in, I recommend ordering the four assorted mini macarons (pictured above) and, yes, the hot chocolate is worth every cent of those 6 euros! Laduree is pricey, but a luxurious place for a decadent afternoon treat.
Also, you don’t have to be in Paris to enjoy Laduree which now has locations in New York and London. Ah, globalization. Interestingly enough, my husband and I observed that many of our favorite French treats are readily available at home, which saps some of the fun out of international travel. Le sigh.
Afterward, we poked our heads into the Musee d’Orsay, one of my favorites.
Can you guess where we went next?
The next day was gorgeous, so we headed out to Versailles.
We toured the house and gardens.
Then, we stopped in Angelina restaurant, inside the palace, for lunch. It was tasty, but extremely expensive (I’m talking 22 euros/$30 for a salad!). I would recommend packing your own lunch and picnicking on the grounds. Visitors may bring wine, cheese, baguette- whatever you like- in order to save money.
We took in the splendor of the grounds until an unforgiveable experience with a poorly cooked crepe sent us on our way. (More about that in Paris part deux.)
We headed back into Paris to the Eiffel Tower.
We had hoped to go up, but the wait was insane. Overall, we noticed that Paris was extremely touristy which was surprising for early November. We learned that you can reserve tickets online and go strait to the box office to pick them up. I’ll definitely do it that way next time.
Around 7:30pm, we made our way to La Fontaine de Mars for dinner. This ended up being the best meal of our entire trip, a very pleasant surprise. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant. The food was a dream and the service exceptional. You should make a reservation to eat here, but we showed up without one and they graciously worked us in. See my ratatouille with goat cheese and crepes a l’orange below. Magnifique!
Then, we headed over to Trocadero for another great view of Paris.
The next morning we wondered over to Centre Pompidou for some modern art. Even if you’re not a fan of modern art, the museum itself is interesting and has great views of the sky line. There’s also a swanky restaurant up top where you can have a cocktail and peer out over the landscape. Something worth looking into.
Afterward, we strolled through Le Marais- a historic, and tres chic, district in Paris. Based on a recommendation, we stopped in Rose Bakery for some sweet treats. Apparently this place does a great brunch as well.
It had a cozy, rustic, and very friendly vibe. We ordered pistachio and current cakes. And don’t forget those cappuccinos!
Unfortunately, our dinner experience was a disaster. More about that in the next installment on Paris.
On our last day, we did not one but two walking tours. We hadn’t done enough walking already. First, we trotted around Montmartre and then Le Marais.
Our guide in action.
In front of Sacre Coeur.
Between tours, we stopped in a delicious crepe restaurant for savory crepes served with cider, as done in the Brittany region.
This meal made me giddy. The crepes were toasted on a griddle with a crispy armor on the outside and a river of cheese in the center.
I could have died happy after that meal. If you’re ever in the Montmartre area, check it out- it’s Creperie Lepic Assiette very near Rue des Abbesses, the best place for good food in the Montmartre area.
Next up, Le Marais.
We made our way back to Sacre Coeur for the incredible night views.
And stumbled upon a quaint Italian restaurant nestled just off Rue des Abbesses. As we read over the outside menu, a friendly French couple recommended it to us. So glad they did!
And then the Paris leg of our trip was over and we were on our way to Istanbul!
Stay tuned for more on Paris, including some problems to avoid when traveling.
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