I have been LUCKY in my life to do quite a bit of traveling. This summer I traveled with a friend to Paris. She had never been to Europe and she knew that I had been a fews times. She said she really wanted a travel buddy and wondered if I would be interested… (who could say no to that!!!) I had been to Paris once before, in college, nearly 5 years ago… I had seen a lot of the main attractions, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d’Orsay but this trip was different… I not only saw main attractions but let my days unfold spontaneously. We had general “plans” of exploring certain areas but let ourselves venture out and say “YES” to things if we felt ourselves being drawn to something… like macarons or takings pictures of pretty architecture across the street. It was AMAZING! The best way to take a trip! While we were exploring I started realizing things about Paris that I knew I HAD to share with you!! (All of these photos were taken with my iPhone… sorry if the quality is sub-par… working on editing the real ones for a later post!!!)
1. The pyramid entrance is not the only entrance at the Louvre. Avoid a 3 hour long queue and get yourself to Porte des Lions entrance across the street. We waited in line for maybe .25 seconds. AMAZING. Thanks to our fabulous tour guide, Anne who showed us the secret passage way. Anne was our Louvre tour guide and an AMAZING one at that… you MUST contact her at Paris Private Tours by Anne… more on our story with Anne in another post!!!!
2. Eat dessert at every meal. There are too many amazing things to eat to limit yourself to once a day. The hot chocolate at Angelina, eclairs, macarons at Ladurée, I kid you not I ate ALL of those things and more AND I LOST weight on vacation. Walk it off… hahaha, but really.
3. Don’t try and plan your Eiffel Tower picnic on a Monday. All the cute market stores are closed on Mondays and you’ll have to resort to buying your things at a mini mart… it was still good… but not the “same”. Also be prepared to be bombarded with guys trying to sell you beer and wine on the lawn by the tower… we got very good at pretending they weren’t there…
4. Not all Parisians are rude. I have to admit… I was a little nervous about going back to Paris a second time. The first time I went in college, the parisians were so MEAN to us! We literally got kicked out of a restaurant for not knowing French! This time was a complete 180… everyone was SO nice. From waiters to random people we met on the street… I mean a guy literally waved me down because I dropped my chapstick… good man! We made new friends every day… Jean at Jean Hwang Carrant cookies (she’s from KANSAS of all places!) and our fabulous designer friends and hosts of our stay, Alexis and Marilyn at Marilyn Feltz Paris.
5. Stay central. We stayed 2 to 2.5 miles away from everything. It was PERFECT. Very walkable! Our apartment was the perfect size for us and was SUPER safe. And as I said in #4 our hosts were even cooler… Paris FASHION DESIGNERS… seriously?????!!!! So coooool.
6. Go to restaurants recommended to you by the locals. Alexis and Marilyn recommended going to the Hotel du Nord. So of course we did! We got the most amazing brioche bread pudding! Jean recommended a fantastic wine and tapas bar literally right behind the building where we were staying called Frenchie. Both places were SO GOOD! BEST. LAST. NIGHT. IN. PARIS!
7. Take some “me” time out of your day and journal. Pick a garden, any garden, grab some lunch and plant (haha) yourself there for at least an hour! We loved the Jardin du Palais Royal. Beautiful fountains and pretty trees.
8. Take a day to visit Versailles. Trust me, you’re going to want to get up early and literally take the WHOLE day. Buy your tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in the ticket line but you WILL have to wait in the security line. (We waited for 2 hours… BUT it was WORTH IT). We walked through EVERY garden at Versailles AND toured the palace AND toured Marie Antoinette’s chateau. Wear your walkin’ shoes folks and be prepared to be in awe.
9. Eat at a new restaurant or cafe for every meal. Eat up! Try something new! We tried to never eat the same thing twice! Get the croque madame… it will not disappoint. It’s like their version of grilled cheese and it. is. delicious. You can’t go wrong with crepes of any kind but Nutella crepes have my heart.10. Walk EVERYWHERE. You will see SO much and create an exciting adventure each day. Why be stuck underground when you can walk along the Seine. We took the metro maybe 3 times… we just walked everywhere. There are endless places to walk to, endless sights to see, endless corners to turn… and don’t come home until you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower sparkle.