City Guide: Paris

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


The next stop on our trip was the chicest city in Europe, Paris! We booked an Airbnb in Le Marais, which was a good area filled with all kinds of people and shops, but if I did it again I would probably stay in St Germain. We walked through there during our time in Paris and it was just so quant filled with small roads and tons of restaurants. On our first day in Paris, we got in late afternoon because we took a while trying to figure out the Metro from the airport. Once we got the hang of it, it was a great transportation tool for places that were too far to walk to. The one downside to the metro is that it is a little sketchy and with everything going on over there, we were all a little on edge. So, we really only took it when we absolutely needed to. If you do plan on taking the Metro, I recommend buying the tickets in packs. We did the 10 pack for each of us (lasted us all 5 days) and you get a discounted price. After getting situated, we picked up falafels for dinner from L'As du Falafel, which is a very famous falafel place in Paris. 


The line was super long, but the line moved quickly. The food was delicious and I would definitely recommend if you want a quick grab and go meal. They also offer sit down dining, but we just pick ours up and enjoyed them down by the Seine. It was a perfect way to see Paris on our first night. 

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The next day we started off early to see Notre Dame before it got crowded. It was the most beautiful church I have ever been in. It was HUGE!






The stained glass windows were amazing and all the historical info they had was very educational and fun to read. I really wanted to go up and see the gargoyles, but we didn't have time and no one else cared that much to see them. Sigh, maybe one day. When we left, the line was about 200 people, so if you can get there early do it! Next we headed to Jardin des Tuileries. There is a Summer carnival held there from June until August.
We went early afternoon, so there weren't that many people. It was fun to walk through and look at all the different rides, games, and carnival food options. After wandering through the carnival, we wandered around the park. It was a big park and had many great places to hangout. We took a seat near a fountain and just people watched for a while. Next, we headed to the Louvre. We aren't big museum people, so we didn't plan on spending much time here. There was a pretty long line, but we had bought the 5 day Paris Museum Pass, so we got to skip most of it. Overall though, I don't think the Paris Pass is that great. I would suggest getting it for one or two days and using it at the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, because those were the only places that we went to that let you skip the lines. 
The Louvre was huge and would take you days to see everything. We had seen enough Italian art, so we skipped that section and went straight to see all the other art sections, including the Mona Lisa. 













She's a wonderful piece of art, but not as great as everyone makes her out to be. She is a lot smaller than I imagined. They also have the whole area heavily guarded, so I could only get as close as the picture shows above. I had to fight off a lot of tourists to get this close. We also saw some amazing sculptures, including the Winged Victory of Samothrace. 




Overall, we spent about 2 hours here and saw a enough art for us. If you are a big art or museum buff, definitely block off a lot more time to really see everything. After the Louvre, we headed to try some macaroons from Laduree. The line was out the door, but it was worth the wait. 


We got a total of 6 macaroons- 2 salted caramel (the best!), Marie Antoinette tea, chocolate, vanilla, and fig date. Our favorite was clearly the salted caramel, but the Marie Antoinette tea was a close second. My love for macaroons grew even more during this trip! After, we wandered around the St. Germain arrondissement and I feel in love with the area. There were so many adorable shops and restaurants! Next, we headed home to freshen up for dinner. We decided to go to Comptoir de la Gastronomie because it was fairly priced and not too fancy. So many restaurants in Paris are super fancy and we are so not into that. I am so happy we chose this place, because it was one of my favorite restaurants on the whole trip. The service was great and the food was amazing. I am a HUGE foie gras fan now thanks to this place. 



We ordered the foie gras appetizer that came with bread, foie gras stuffed ravioli in a truffle sauce, and duck with a balsamic glaze. This place was seriously amazing and a must go to if you're in Paris! 

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The next morning, we headed out to a nearby market, Marché des Enfants Rouges, to pick up some groceries for dinner. 



The market had everything you would need and even sold different types of food during the day. It would be a great place to go for lunch and try out a bunch of different things. After dropping the groceries off at home, we headed to our cooking class at Les Secrets Gourmands de Noemie.



It was such an amazing experience and the owner and chief Noemie was wonderful! Luckily, no one else booked the class for that day so it was just us 3 and her. Her space is my dream kitchen with everything you would ever need! The menu for the day was Provence style with an eggplant purée dip, vegetable gratin, seabream fillets with a basil sauce, and a chocolate tart for dessert. Everything was delicious and we also learned a lot. If you are interested in a cooking class, I would highly recommend this one! After a long day, we decided to stay at our place and enjoy some wine and cheese for dinner. We picked up different types of cheeses (including my new favorite- truffle brie), crackers, and some wine at a cheese store nearby. Anna and I watched the Italy vs. Germany game at a bar that night and had a blast! It was so cool to watch a European soccer match while in Europe. They love their football!

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The next day, we headed to the catacombs about 30 minutes before they opened to get in line. Unfortunately, the line was so long we decided it wasn't worth the wait. If you do want to go, I recommend going an hour and a half to two hours before they open to beat the line. Instead, we got on the Metro and headed off for Versailles. 



The line was so long, but it moved pretty quickly. We were only in line for about 45 minutes total. The Paris Pass does not let you skip the line for this one, it just counts as your ticket. The palace was so crowded, it was hard to really take in everything. Everyone with audioguides was clogging up the walkways and it was very annoying. It only took us about an hour to an hour and a half to go through the whole place. Once we finished with the palace, we headed to grab some lunch from La Place


It's a creperie, so we each ordered crepes and they were all amazing! There was a little wait, but it was well worth it because there is nothing quite like a great crepe in Paris. We also got a side of potatoes, which were equally amazing. After lunch, we headed back to Versailles to see the garden. We thought the Paris Pass would work, but it did not. It would of costed us an additional 9 euros each, so we decided to skip it and head back to Paris. 


We did get some good pictures from the windows of the palace though! Once we got back in Paris, we did a little shopping. The weather had been so cold, we needed some more cold weather clothes. We definitely did not pack for this kind of weather! We ended up finding a couple things and even walked by Pierre Hermé on the way home. We had to hop in and grab some macaroons to compare to Laduree. 



We got 6 macaroons- 2 pomegranate and chocolate, salted caramel, rosé, chocolate with salt, and Brazilian chocolate. 100% these blew Laduree out of the water. They were so fresh and melted in your mouth. The salted caramel was my absolute favorite! This is a must visit while in Paris. For dinner that night, we went to Derriere. It was only a two minute walk from our place so it was very convenient. It is pretty hard to find it you don't know where it is. It is in-between two of their other restaurants, 404 and Andy Wahloo, behind some residential doors. Luckily, we walked by it the nigh before and knew exactly where it was. 



We had made a reservation that day for 8 o'clock. Once we got there, we were seated immediately and were some of the first ones there. This was another one of my favorite restaurants of the whole trip! The atmosphere is really cool. It is set up like a house with different types of rooms, including a game room. The seating is mostly lounge type seating, but that didn't bother us. To start off, we got some foie gras (I told you it was an obsession) and wine. For dinner, we ordered beef cheeks and a lamb special of the day. Everything was absolutely amazing! Everything we ordered was slow cooked and had so much flavor. Another must go to while in Paris! 

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For our last day in Paris, we had a decent amount planned. We started the morning off walking down Champs Élysées and hoping in shops on our way to the Arc de Triomphe.  Honestly, the shopping wasn't that great and I probably wouldn't go back there just for that. It was a little confusing figuring out how to get across the intersection to the Arc de Triomphe, but eventually we found the under ground tunnel. The line was so long, but luckily the Paris Pass let us skip it. We climbed to the top and got to see some amazing views of the city. 




After, we headed off to find some wine, cheese, and a baguette for lunch by the Eiffel tower. Once we got everything we needed, we found a good spot across the river from the Eiffel tower. We couldn't sit in the area right near the Eiffel tower because it was closed for the Euro Cup viewing parties. We had a long lunch and just enjoyed people watching. We tried more truffle cheese, which was amazing! 



After lunch, we headed to our champagne cruise down the Seine. It was through O Chateau, a wine bar and restaurant in Paris. The cruise was so much fun and our tour guide/sommelier was amazing! 


He educated us on champagne, sparking wine, and all about Paris. We got to try 3 different types of sparkling wine and see some of Paris' most beautiful monuments from the water. If you have the time and like sparkling wine, I would definitely recommend this cruise! For dinner, we went to O'scia for pizza. We had passed it multiple times and every time, it was packed. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures, but the pizza was great! They hand make it in house and it is so fresh. We also got their calamari, which was delicious as well! 

Overall, Paris was a beautiful city filled with so much history. We didn't even scratch the surface, so I will definitely be back sometime in the future, à bientôt Paris!

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