I am so thankful that my parents gifted me with a trip to Paris for my 30th birthday. It has always been top on my list of places to visit, and the dream became a reality. I wanted to make sure that my first trip to Paris was memorable, and that I was in a place, in my life, to truly appreciate all of its culture, beauty, and magic. When it was time to say goodbye to Paris, I was really sad. But that just means I need to go back. 🙂
So, I have always had a huge fear of flying over water. But it wasn’t that bad. It really, really wasn’t. The journey began at noon on Tuesday with a brief layover in Detroit, and by 6 pm Tuesday night we were Paris bound. After watching a few movies, and having dinner on the plane it was already 8 am Wednesday morning, and we were in Paris. I will never forget flying over Paris and looking out the window to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower for the first time. It was amazing.
Of course we hit all the main tourist attractions, but when I travel I like to truly immerse myself in the city. Generally, I’ll chose to stay in a neighborhood, where locals live, away from the hustle and bustle. I want to see the real Paris/New York/LA/wherever I’ve visiting, not necessarily all the crowds and tourist areas.
We stayed at Hôtel de Banville. This hotel was located in the 17th arrondissement. The neighborhood was so cute! I want to live there. The cobble stone streets were lined with cafes, markets, restaurants, and the hotel was only a 15 minute walk to the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe. Plus it was a minute walk to the metro station, which is very user friendly. Don’t be intimidated because it’s in French. I found the metro to be the easiest most effective way to get around the city, aside from walking. We did use Uber a couple of times, but traffic can be heavy at peak hours, so plan accordingly. By my third day in Paris, I was referring to the hotel as “my apartment.” And the view. Wow.
Croissants, Macaroons, and Coffee
While in Paris, I definitely indulged…a lot. I had a croissant and coffee every morning. And it was delicious every morning. But my favorite breakfast spot was Café des 2 Moulins. *And it is right around the corner from Moulin Rouge, and across the street from the best macaroons I’ve ever tasted. (But I’ll get to that). At the cafe I ordered a croissant and the iced hot chocolate. Oh my. It was the best beverage I’ve had in a LONG time, and I was tempted to go back to the cafe later in the trip…just to get another one! Unbeknownst to me, this cafe was used in the 2001 film Amelie, and they were also shooting a movie while we were enjoying our breakfast.
If you’re looking for what I found to be the best macaroons I had in Paris, then that will take you to La Bonne Cochonnerie. Luckily, this shop was right across the street from the cafe, and it was so cute! As soon as I walked in there were locals buying their baguettes and so many desserts that it was dangerous. I ordered two macaroons: the strawberry and “The French” which was a combination of strawberry, blueberry, and vanilla. These treats truly melted in my mouth. The were not too sweet, and had just the right amount of crisp to them. Plus, they were modestly priced at 2 euros each. My only regret here is that I didn’t order more. I wonder if I can order more online…
*I did go to Ladurée. And I get it. It’s a staple in Paris, so if you have the time and want to check it off your list, then go for it. However, I found the experience to be over priced ($34 for 12 macaroons), extremely crowded (we waited in line for about 20 minutes), and the macaroons were just okay. I would say you can definitely find taster macaroons for a fraction of the price at any corner bakery in Paris.
Mona Lisa & More
After fueling up on goodies and snapping a few pictures at Moulin Rouge, it was time to start sightseeing. I wanted to get all the big things done in one day, so the rest of my time in Paris could be a bit more laissez-faire. We were able to ride to the metro everywhere that day for a grand total of 3 euros each. I’m telling y’all, the metro is the way to go. Next stop was The Louvre & The Eiffel Tower.
Thursday was a long day, so after visiting all those places it was time for dinner and bed.
Friday was such a wonderful day! We spent most of the day in The Latin Quarter. Very easy to find; just listen for the famous Notre Dame Bells. This is a really vibrant neighborhood that’s full of life. If you’re looking cute trinkets, delicious food, and culture you will really enjoy this area. We ate pizza twice at La Solita Taverna, which is right in the heart of The Latin Quarter. Be sure to get the margherita pizza. It’s only 9 euros, large enough for two people to share, and absolutely delicious! While in the neighborhood I was able to go to Shakespeare & Company and peruse the shelves. It’s tiny, but there are definitely some good finds. I also went around the corner to The Abbey Bookstore and spent about 45 minutes taking it all in. If you are a lover of books, literature, and the arts, this is an absolute must. My favorite purchase of the trip was from this bookstore. Hidden amongst all the treasures I found a beautifully annotated 1945 copy of Emerson’s English Traits. I cannot wait to get cozy on the couch, with a glass of Parisian wine, and sift through the previous owners findings.
Friday night I felt like an absolute princess. I get dressed up and go to dinners often, but there’s nothing like doing that in Paris, with Eiffel Tower views. My mom took me to a lovely dinner at Cafe de l’ Homme with breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower. And the food was exquisite. I’m still thinking about the mashed potatoes…yep. They were that good. And my mom is still dreaming of the lamb. 🙂
I am seriously still on a cloud.
Saturday I was able to visit the former home of Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, and spend some time in Place Dauphine.
What a lovely neighborhood. The cobble stoned streets are lined with cafes and restaurants, picturesque flowers are on everyone’s windowsills, and it feels like you’re on the set of a movie. It was wonderful. There was even the cutest little brother and sister playing tag in the park. Adorable.
After some relaxing and people watching, my mom and I added a lock to this lovely bridge. 🙂
Sunday & Monday were both very relaxing days of brunch, walking, shopping, picnics, and just truly enjoying the city with my mom.
Wonderful Sunday Brunch at Maison Lacombe
Picnic at Place des vosges – Marais
Our last night in Paris 🙁
Paris was everything I imagined and so much more. A week in that city will definitely change you. The city is truly magical, and I cannot wait to go back. I am so happy that I was able to share this experience with my mom. She’s my best friend, and it is a memory we’ll have forever!
I took close to 1,000 photos. Yikes, I know. So if there’s anything you want to see a picture of I’m pretty sure I have it. You can just let me know. 🙂