Paris is a dream city. It’s romantic, it’s beautiful, it’s Paris. I’m not sure if there’s another way to put it that gives quite the same chill. I spent 2 days in Paris (3 technically, but Friday was lost to travel, so it doesn’t really count). During those days, I walked 30 miles, ate loads of bread and smiled so hard my cheeks hurt.
We spent the evening of our first night at a cafe and the Louvre. Both of which were perfect Parisian experiences wrapped up on exhaustion.
Our first official day in Paris was rainy. I spent the morning at a coffee shop called Fragments. During my misty morning, I learned that Paris is not a morning person city. At 7 am, it felt more like 4 on the empty, dark street and in the deserted coffee shop. Either way, my cappuccino was warm and some alone time with the Goldfinch was welcome (if you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy and get started. It’s a perfect cold weather book).
We left the hotel around 9:30 and walked through different neighborhoods swiftly, trying to catch a river boat tour and ditch the rain. On our way to the boat, we strolled past the modern art museum and Notre Dame. It was sad to see it in the state that it’s in, but hopeful to see the plans for restoration.
The river tour was dreary too, but the foggy mist gave it a dreamlike quality. We sailed past Notre Dame and under the Eiffel Tower. Seeing Paris from the Seine is such a different experience from walking the streets. You see the city away from the crowds, only getting a hint of the direct street culture but all that it has created.
The moments after the boat tour made up one of my favorite experiences. A friend and I went to lunch and ate soup and escargot, after which we weaved our way to Luxembourg Gardens. If you haven’t been, make sure your next trip to Paris features it. The pink flowers and beautiful landscape were picturesque, but lounging with locals was the best part. I didn’t omit a tourist vibe here like I did when we wandered around the base of the Eiffel Tower. I was simply a girl out for a stroll in the park. Everything about Luxembourg Gardens screamed Paris, from the fountains to the benches with beautiful couples.
Our adventure continued into a French pharmacy, where I spent too much money on oil (Nuexe Huile Prodigeuse) and lotion (Embryolisse) both products are clean, according to Goop, and are basically magic in my book. They have completely transformed my dry winter skin. I always recommend making French pharmacies a to-do item on your list when visiting the country.
From here, we visited the library, Galeries de Lafayette and some souvenir shops. Then, had some mediocre dinner under the Eiffel Tower. While traveling in cities like this, I’ve learned that the closer you are to a tourist destination, the less quality the food is. I don’t want to speak for every place, but it’s a trend.
Next stop of the night: Bastille. If you ever want to find a young and thriving night scene, look for this one. There’s a street in Bastille with bars like the Drunken Mermaid that attract people from all over Paris. There’s lots of dancing and bar hopping to be done. If you haven’t noticed, I’m not a huge nightlife gal. So, I’m not a go-to tip person for this part of travel. However, we did meet some really nice locals and saw a cool new part of Paris for a night.
The next day was a bit less exciting because we were absolutely exhausted. After getting in at 3 am and waking up at 6 to pack and get dressed, we walked through a market and picked up a baguette to eat while heading to breakfast (when in Paris, right?).
Breakfast was spent at a place called Pain Pain. The little cafe/bakery was packed, and with good reason. The mouthwatering croissant left my fingers greasy as the flakes split apart and fell to the plate. My friend’s quiche was dense and delicious. The mille feuille we shared was delicate and sweet, leaving us full and wishing we could eat more.
Montmarte is my favorite area in Paris. The artsy hill is home to a beautiful church, quirky boutiques and talented artists who line the streets. It’s hard not to stop in every gallery in search of new little treasures to take home. If you’re in Paris make sure you carve out plenty of time to eat and walk these streets, and try for a Saturday because Sundays are for slow reading in the park and most stores are closed.
I will end my Paris story at Montmarte because I think it’s the happiest ending and I wish I would have spent more time there. I will be back to Paris in December and hope to have many more stories and experiences to tell. Paris, I love you.