Paris, France stole my heart instantly. It's a city filled with so much history, priceless art, beautiful architecture, incredible food and amazing people. This trip with my boyfriend was everything I expected it to be and so much more, and I can't wait to share with you all Paris through our eyes. Hungry for that true Parisienne feel, we wanted to make the most of every day we were there. This city is a definite must for any traveler and I'm almost certain you'll fall in love with it instantly too.
L E I S U R E
They say that the best way to see Paris is on foot, so you better prep your trip with some comfortable shoes. This whole trip was for fun so it was all play and no work, just the way I like it. Every street has its own charm, hidden alley ways, and courtyards just waiting to be discovered. Being an interior design student, my love for architecture allowed me to appreciate the facades of all the buildings so much more. Most of our days were spent walking between arrondissements, getting from one beautiful side of Paris to the other.
Being a fashion lover, shopping was definitely on the list. If you're into designer things, Rue Saint Honore and Avenue Montaigne is where you'll want to go. Check out which days the stores are closed so you can avoid showing up to a place that isn't open. For other shops including food and clothing, Champs-Elysees is a great avenue to walk down, especially if you're heading towards the Arc de Triomphe.
If you're not up for walking, the Metro is fairly easy to take, not to mention very affordable. For most of our trip, we opted for public transportation and even tried out the Velib bikes, a really easy way to rent bicycles for a few hours if you're planning on sight seeing. There are many ports throughout the city, which makes getting from one place to another very easy.
There are several touristy locations that are a definite must, and some that are more off the beaten path. Since it was my first time in Paris, there was a lot that needed to be crossed off my list, from famous landmarks to museums, to places I just wanted to go to after coming across photos from Instagram. It will definitely be in your best interest to put together an itinerary, grouping together things that in close proximity to each other, so that you can make the most of your days in Paris.
For Museums, I had many on my list but unfortunately only made it to three. The Louvre is a no-brainer, housing many priceless works of art and so much history in one place. The location itself is a dream and the Pyramids are a beauty to see in both the night and day. I also recommend going to Versailles, and plan for that to be a whole day as well. The Palace and surrounding gardens are absolutely breathtaking and you'll find yourself in awe with the grandness of this place. I would advise anyone to get their tickets ahead of time for the museums if you're absolutely certain of the days you'll be going. Try to avoid the long ticket lines or see if there are times where admission is free. If you're into architecture, Fondation Louis Vuitton by Frank Gehry is a truly incredible building. I was amazed at the entire space, which is also a museum.
When it comes to landmarks in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is the first thing that comes to mind. Though my boyfriend and I skipped going to the top of the Eiffel, we went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe as well as Montparnasse Tower, so that our views of Paris also included the tower. If you go to Trocadéro, it boasts a great view of the tower. Churches that we went to see included Notre Dame as well as Sacre Coeur Basilica, where we sat at the top of a hill with an amazing view of the city. The Opera is also another decadent space worth checking out, with decadent hallways and a beautiful grand staircase.
F O O D
Alright, so food is a very important part of this trip and I definitely had amazing meals throughout my entire stay. Starting with breakfast all the way down to desserts, everything was absolutely incredible. We had a variety of cuisines, from French to Japanese, and in the city where food is one of the most important things, these places we tried out did not play around.
For breakfast, our hotel, Hotel Gabriel, offered a complimentary continental breakfast, which was great for days that we just wanted to get the day going or for days we wanted to just lounge around the room a little bit longer. What they tell you about the bread is true. It's all amazing and you've definitely got to find your way to a bakery or at least order some fresh bread and have some amazing French butter along with it, or chocolate, whichever you prefer. Some places we had breakfast included creperies, Cafe de Flore, Holybelly, and Paperboy.
I have to admit that my boyfriend and I had crepes practically everyday, and I could list the 8 or 9 places that we went to but Breizh Cafe was the best. I recommend making a reservation there as it does get pretty packed. For macarons, if you're into the more regular flavors, go to Ladurée. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, try Pierre Herme for their great variety of special flavors. I also recommend going to Angelina's for breakfast or tea time. They have a hot chocolate that is amazing though I actually prefer the hot white chocolate. It's heaven.
For lunch or dinner, we would just search for some recommended places. Our first dinner included an amazing meal at Les Cocottes, which is located near the Eiffel Tower. Some nights, we were in the mood for Japanese and one of the best udon bowls I have ever had is from Sunikiya, located near the Louvre. Frenchie was a great little sandwich spot to grab a quick bite. If you're looking for burgers, Ferdi is the best, but you need to make a reservation by SMS.
I would like to thank CALPAK for supplying me with an incredible set of luggages to bring along with me on this trip. I was able to securely pack my belongings without worrying about the hassle of a lock or damaged goods, and they were roomy enough to bring home some souvenirs. I'll admit, I'm not the best at packing lightly so when all the damage I did from shopping still perfectly fit into our luggage set on our return flight home, I knew I made the right choice by going with CALPAK. I can't wait for these to come along with me to more countries in the future.