Happy Tuesday Everyone!
It’s yet another month in quarantine, how are y’all holding up? I’m officially bored now that I handed in all of my school assignments but I’m trying to fill up all of this free time with productive things like wedding planning, writing blog posts, and playing Animal Crossing. Priorities, obviously.
Okay, back to the task at hand.. I get a lot of questions asking what exactly we did when we went to Paris, and I thought it would be most helpful to lay it all out in a blog post for a one-stop, quick, and easy spot. I also just really miss Paris, and despite all of this COVID-19 craziness, I’m not doing the best at convincing my fiancé to want to relocate across the Atlantic, so this might be a good way to reminisce! Either way, let’s get right into it!
Friday – February 7th
Seth and I booked our tickets to Paris, like, crazy early. I knew I wanted to take a trip to Paris over Valentine’s Day for probably over a year and we bought our tickets sometime around September because we found deals so cheap it was impossible to pass up. Like I’m talking $400 round trip per person. I also made it a point to make sure the tickets would leave on Friday night, so that the plane would arrive in Paris on Saturday morning and we would have the entire day to just start exploring. This is what my grandparents did years ago when they took me on a trip to England, and it’s just something I found that sets you up best for beating jet lag and not wasting any time. So, as you might expect, we left the Newark airport approximately 7pm and landed in Paris the following morning, ready to go!
Saturday – February 8th
Once we landed, it was like a literal whole new world just in the airport alone, I can’t even describe to you the amount of boujee the Paris airport had.. like picture landing in your not so glamorous airport outfit and being forced to walk past Gucci at 7AM. I mean, I’ve never had a walk of shame, but it had me wondering is this what it’s like? That being said, I was also already amazed. Something that appeals to me so much about Paris is the fashion and I was thrilled to be greeted with it as early as some of my first steps in the country. But anyways, enough about the airport.
After our driver dropped us off at the hotel (pro tip: spend the extra money on someone to pick you up from the airport and take you back at the end of the week), we checked in, dropped our bags off, and were basically off for the rest of the day already.
Because we couldn’t really plan times on Saturday, we got tickets for two things, the Musee d’Orsay and the Arc de Triomphe; however, our tickets for both of these things had no reservation time. This means we could just show up whenever we wanted during operational hours. The tickets were also skip-the-line tickets so we had no problems getting in to either place right away.
So first we hit the Musee d’Orsay. Like I said, because we didn’t want to be restricted by any sort of time limit, we opted to just explore this art museum ourselves, no tour. I don’t regret this at all so I don’t necessarily think it is worth it to spend the extra money. I’ll also tell you that the Musee d’Orsay was probably my favorite museum that we got the chance to see. If any of you know me, you can probably understand why–Vincent Van Gogh. Seriously, when we got to the part of the museum where lots of hist work was showcased, I couldn’t help but literally geek out. I also am just in general more of a fan of the impressionist movement in art, so getting to see in person pieces by Monet and Degas was just really cool. Honestly, I could talk a ton more about the Musee d’Orsay (even the building itself is just gorgeous) but I’ll keep it at this: It’s a must.
Once we wrapped up at the Musee d’Orsay, we had a quick bite to eat across the street for lunch. We didn’t plan out most of our meals so often we would just look at menus posted on the window and decide from there. I’ll definitely write up another blog post soon though giving the low-down on the places we found to be the best!
From here, we made our way to the Arc de Triomphe. We did a ton of walking this day, so we actually walked from the Musee d’Orsay, all the way up the Champs-Elysées, to the Arc de Triomphe. I’ve mentioned this before, so sorry if I sound like a broken record, but this was yet another highlight of the trip. I have this weird love for arcs and this is like the ultimate arc on my list so of course we had to see it ASAP. There are a ton of stairs to get to the top, but it’s worth every step. After paying respect to the unknown soldier, you can see Paris from all angles and there is nothing more beautiful than getting to take in the architecture.
After Seth had to gently nudge me down the steps and away from the Arc, we spent the rest of the evening just walking around Paris and becoming familiar with the roads/streets. We walked home that night and saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle and I remember basically freaking out I was so excited, but as for excursions that pretty much wrapped up Day 1.
Sunday – February 9th
So to say that I was excited for Sunday is an understatement. I planned for us to have another morning at a museum, but then to spend the rest of the afternoon/evening in Montmartre. I’m not sure if this would be offensive to actual Parisians, but I picture Montmartre as like the Brooklyn of New York City. It’s just cool. Anyways, I digress.
So we first hit the Louvre on Sunday! Again, another absolutely stunning building that I almost appreciated more than the art inside, don’t attack me I’m not sorry. Like I mentioned before, the Musee d’Orsay is more of my taste when it comes to art so while I appreciated all of the amazing things I saw in the Louvre, it was a little less exciting to me in some ways. That being said, there was always something around each turn that would surprise me and reignite that excitement. For example, we ended up down in the foundation of the building and because that was something I never would have expected to see, I found myself with a totally new appreciation. We got to see the iconic Miss Mona Lisa, which was a somewhat bizarre experience only because of how they rush you through and how far away you end up standing from it, but still something you get to check off your bucket list at the end of the day. If I were to recommend anything, I might have swapped our audio tour for an actual one and spent the entire day there, trust me there is enough to look at that I’m not even sure if one day could ever be enough. What we did suited us for our trip, but it would give me an excuse to go back for sure.
We then hopped on the metro and were off to Montmartre. I can’t remember the exact stop we got off at but I remember walking up the stairs and seeing this district for the first time and just being in awe. Taking in the cobblestone streets and cafes adorned with hanging flowers was a literal dream come true, and I knew that this was a place that I wanted to walk around for hours. Lucky for us we had a walking tour scheduled in just a few hours so we stopped for lunch/dinner and had the best creme brûlée I’ll probably ever eat in my entire life.
After finishing up, we headed down to the Moulin Rouge to meet our group for the walking tour. It was a small group and while the tour was generally short (only about an hour and half) it was extremely effective and I learned things I never would have known otherwise. Like the stories behind Dalida, the statue of the man walking through a wall, and the Place du Tertre. We got to also see Van Gogh’s apartment and the Sacre Coeur, which we went back to visit in more detail on another day.
After the tour, we spent the rest of our evening watching Feerie at the Moulin Rouge. I think they seat you based on first come-first serve so we actually got there early and had really good seats. For those of you that don’t know, if you plan on seeing a show, you should be comfortable with some nudity. I was well aware of this before buying tickets, and I knew that this was a show I absolutely had to see in person so I was not uncomfortable in the slightest seeing it or taking Seth to see it. Regardless, it might just be something to keep in mind for yourself and your own comfort levels! I don’t want to talk about the show too much because going in blind is best and I think what will leave you the most impressed, at least that’s what works for me!
Monday – February 10th
Disneyland day! Okay so I know that adult Disney lovers are like the epitome of annoying, but I don’t even care. I made sure that if we were going to Paris we could schedule a day in for Disney because I just had to experience the Paris version of a place I hold so dearly to my heart. I can tell you that I was not let down.
We left for Disneyland from Paris, so our ticket included transportation to the park via executive coach bus. The ride takes about 40 minutes to arrive, so don’t expect it to be just around the corner. Once we got off the bus, I dragged Seth right to the castle! Of course, I realized I had forgotten my ears so I then dragged him into a shop to purchase some for the day. I mean, seriously, was is a day in Disney without a pair of ears? Nothing, obviously. So once we got back to the castle, we asked a couple to take our pictures and I think you all know where this is going next–Sethy proposed. Honestly, I could write an entire blog post about the proposal story so maybe I’ll save that for another day, but to say that I was equally shocked and thrilled at the same time would be an understatement.
We spent the rest of the day riding as many rides as we could and debating back and forth whether Disney World or Disneyland is better, and honestly, I’m not sure if I will ever have an answer on that. We then had dinner at Bistrot Chez Remy (I literally told Seth I wouldn’t go to Disneyland unless we had reservations for this place) and missed our bus back to Paris so we took an Uber home, no big deal.
We didn’t spend any extra money on getting fast passes and I don’t regret this either. For the most part, the lines were manageable; however, it might have also had something to do with the time of year we had gone so keep that in mind if you’re planning a trip! I also think that generally, one to two days would be plenty of time to spend at Disneyland. We chose to only do one day because there was so much other things that we wanted to still experience in our time in Paris and I personally felt like we would be wasting precious time if we did another day.
Tuesday – February 11th
On Tuesday, we started our morning with a breakfast reservation to Angelina’s. This is a place I’ll likely include in my round-up of places to eat while in Paris so I won’t elaborate too much, but it was the perfect way to begin yet another morning in Paris (especially because prior to this day, I was mostly just eating a chocolate croissant for breakfast).
We then spent the rest of the morning just walking around. We had a lunch cruise on the Seine that we didn’t want to be late for so we basically explored the cafes and streets surrounding the area before boarding. My best friend, Chris, actually surprised me with the tickets for this lunch cruise for my birthday and I think it was so sweet of him to do, especially because it was obviously unnecessary. That being said, I got to try food I never would have otherwise (i.e. foie gras), and the entree (reminiscent of a chicken marsala) was delicious.
After we got off the lunch cruise, we basically had to book it to the Opera house, Palais Garnier. We had tickets to a guided-tour that Seth really smartly suggested we pick up before our lunch cruise so that we wouldn’t have to wait in any lines once we got there except for security. It was literally perfect timing. If there is something I can recommend, it would definitely be to try and visit the Opera house. It is an absolutely beautiful building and if you can get a tour, even better. You get to see the suite in which inspired the Phantom of the Opera and you learn so much history of the building and time period in which it thrived. Our tour guide was also amazing, she was the epitome of a quirky, takes-no-nonsense, theater teacher that you can probably picture from high school, and I loved her from the minute she introduced herself. If I could have changed one thing it would have been to take it a step further and buy tickets to see the ballet that was being performed that week, but hey, there’s always next time, right?
Wednesday – February 12th
The rest of the week, we relaxed our schedule and took it down to trying to really see one thing that was still on our list. Wednesday happened to be a half-day trip to the Palace of Versailles. This was another guided tour and we took a bus from Paris to Versailles, which was actually really convenient. That being said, a half-day truly was not enough to truly experience Versailles. While we got to see a lot of the classic, iconic parts like Marie Antoinette’s room, the Hall of Mirrors, the marble courtyard, and the gardens there seems to be so much more that we could have explored on a much less superficial level. I would also love to go back when it gets a little warmer and experience all of the fountains actually running!
Thursday – February 13th
On Thursday, we had tickets to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. That being said, it basically torrentially down-poured so we only got to go halfway up instead. Yeah, I guess you could say this was kind of a bummer only because we can’t say that we went to the very top but in the grand scheme of things I genuinely don’t care. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but the Eiffel Tower is by no means my favorite part of Paris and while I still wanted to say that I got to see it, my interest in the landmark does not extend much past that.. truly I’d rather just watch it sparkle from a distance every night.
At this point in our trip I think this was the day that we really decided to just relax, especially with the rainy weather. We still went out and did some random exploring and, of course, eating but that about wrapped up our Thursday!
Friday – February 14th
And then it was finally Valentine’s Day (: We didn’t have anything planned for the morning so we got up early and headed back to Montmartre. There were a few things that I wanted to see in the day and we also wanted to actually go into the Sacre Coeur. When we got there, we walked the streets but in a pattern that was taking us straight to the artists’s square. Our tour guide on Sunday mentioned that many of the artists that work in the square are often older because they wait so long on an approval list to work here, and I would have to agree, he was right. Regardless, you can tell that this square is packed with talent and it is a must-to to walk around a see the styles of all of the artists from portraits to landscapes. While I myself am not really into portraits, it is a dream of mine to go back one day and buy one of the landscapes. Seth and I found one artist that we were particularly fond of and spoke with briefly. In another lifetime we would have bought the painting on the spot, but when I tell you it cost a nice chunk of change, you’ll just have to trust that that is no exaggeration.
The Place du Tertre was then just a corner away from the Sacre Coeur so we made our way over next. Going inside is free and we arrived at a time in which there was some service going on so not only did we get to explore the building, but we got to see that as well which I thought was kind of special. The building is beautiful (heck, basically every building we saw was) and is worth the trek. I also wanted to go to the top of the dome so we took some time to do that next. To go to the dome is a small fee, but again, in my opinion worth it. I feel like we spent a lot of time on our trip looking out at Paris from so many different views and they were all unique in their own ways, making them memorable.
After we came down from the dome, we made our way towards a district we had not yet seen to have a tour at the Catacombs. This was one of Seth’s favorite parts of the trip and I’m so glad we could fit it in. We opted for a guided tour, and for this, it is again definitely worth the extra money. Our tour guide’s name was Leo and she was an absolute expert on the Catacombs telling us stories and facts all throughout. She was even able to point to many of the bones of tell what some of these individuals died from or what diseases they probably had.
For those of you that might not know, the Catacombs of Paris is home to more than 6 million individuals bones and served as a solution to eliminate the problem of overflowing cemeteries that Paris was facing. It’s a very eerie sight, especially on Valentine’s Day, but one that is also very very cool if you are up for it! I would without a doubt recommend!
Saturday – February 16th
The only thing that we had planned on Saturday was a croissant making class. As someone who really enjoys baking (even though I’m not necessarily the best), I had this idea that it would be really fun to try and learn how to bake a French staple while in Paris. So Seth and I debated between classics like macarons and baguettes but ultimately decided on croissants. It was pretty cool because they teach you how to laminate the dough and fold and score different designs. You also get to take home a ton of your freshly made creations so we were basically stocked.
We then ended up at Saint Laurent buying boots and fangirling over the fact that I got to buy something designer while in Paris. The ultimate goal, obviously. After this we had the rest of the day to ourselves to start packing and getting ready for our flight home the next morning. Towards the end of the night, we stopped at a grocery store and stocked up on things like random Fanta soda flavors that we still wanted to try, candies, chocolates, and chips. We had a little pizza party in our hotel room and after it got dark we headed out to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle one more time. It was nothing planned, but it was a really good way to end our trip.
Sunday – February 17th
Because I included our travel day before, I’ll briefly include our travel day home. As you can probably expect, we checked out early in the morning, got picked up by our driver to go back to the airport, and was on our way home. We stopped in the airport to bring home some Laduree macarons for family and friends, but that’s about as exciting as it gets (:
And so that concludes everything we did while in Paris! I obviously didn’t include exact timings to everything because it really is going to be doing what works for you and your schedule. I feel like some of our days were more tightly packed than others but somehow the timings always worked out and I’m so grateful for that. If you find yourself planning a trip to Paris in the future, definitely do so with a spreadsheet. There were a few times where we had to move around plans because I had us double booked for something without realizing, or there just wasn’t reasonably enough time to get from one place to another. But with the right amount of planning you will be able to make it work no matter what!
I hope this was helpful and also fun to read! Please always let me know if you have any questions and I’m more than happy to share/elaborate more on our experience!
What are some of the things that sounded the most fun to you? Or were the most weird? Let me know! And..
Until next time,