Ah Paree. The same time that I went to Greece about 6 months ago (see my Santorini post here), Jibin and I also went to Paris on the way back. I had gone to Paris before with my Mom and sister for one day and while we had done quite a bit (Eiffel tower, Notre Dame and Palace of Versailles) there was still so much left to do and see! Paris really is a magical city and it definitely is just like the movies. And by the way no one was snooty or rude to us like the first time I went- they were more than helpful!
We stayed at a hotel called Hotel Duminy Vendome which was not as big; however, it was in the PERFECT location- right around the corner from the Ritz where Coco Chanel’s apartment was and by 31 Rue Cambon (if you don’t know why 31 Rue Cambon is so amazing, then keep reading this post and you’ll find out its’ significance).
We walked EVERYWHERE. Paris is definitely walkable just like Rome and NYC of course. You can definitely get a metro pass which is very simple to use, but we always walk anywhere and everywhere that we can like NYC– especially with it being such a gorgeous city.
The first day (the airline had lost our luggage, but that didn’t stop me from exploring the city and shopping) we walked on over to the Louvre museum. We literally went in to see the Mona Lisa which was surrounded by hundreds of people.
However, we wanted to explore other things as there is much more to the Louvre than the smallest Mona Lisa I have ever seen- I was so shocked. We did Rick Steves tour on our own which took us to many of the highlights, but honestly I could have spent the whole day there!After that we walked on over to La Palais Royale where we saw Toni Collette shooting a French comedy film called Madame (but we didn’t know it at the time).
After this, we made our way over to Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe where we also ran into Madeleine Martin from Californication.
We spent the rest of the day shopping and up and down Champs-Elysees while eating at the original Laduree and Pierre Herme and spending most of our time on my favorite- Avenue Montaigne which is a street off of Champs-Elysees with many stores, restaurants and the famous Hotel Athenee where many scenes of Sex and the City were shot.
We ate dinner on Avenue Montaigne at L’Avenue (yes, it was on Sex and the City) where I fell in LOVE with French food- avocado, toast, crepes, baguettes, cappuccino’s, hot chocolate and macarons oh my!
At night we walked over to sit in front of the Eiffel Tower and just stare at it for hours- the entire view of the tower from Palais de Chaillot is absolutely breathtaking… the tower lights up at night on the hour every hour and it is gorgeous. Up close I am actually not a fan of the icon with the brass looking blocks, but at night.. I could just sit and stare at it for hours at a time.
We started the second day (well, I started the second day with a morning run which the Parisian’s don’t ever exercise so a fair warning they’ll stare at you and laugh while you’re running) with a full on breakfast at a different Laduree location with a restaurant and dining menu.
Afterwards, we headed over to Notre Dame (gorgeous cathedral- make sure to go inside) and Saint Chapelle followed by a stroll through the Le Marais district which is hip and young where many French locales can be spotted.
Of course- we strolled along to Pont Neuf and the Love Lock Bridge. We hadn’t planned on buying a lock, but of course we were smittened when we got there and added one on with the billions of others. We grabbed a baguette and headed on over to the gorgeous and ever so peaceful Luxembourg gardens.
We decided to sit down and have some afternoon hot chocolate and tea at Cafe de Flore (yes, it was on Gossip Girl) while we people watched and made a quick stop to Ralph Lauren’s restaurant called Ralph’s on Saint Germain (another favorite alley of mine). After our three lunches, we headed on over to Musee d’Orsay which by the way has some of the best architecture on the inside as it used to be a railway station. We ended the day with Palais Galleria Museum of Fashion which housed some elaborate pieces by famous designers, but everything was in French so we just skimmed through!
Dinner on the second day was my favorite- we had reservations at Baccarat (yes, also on Gossip Girl) which also houses a gorgeous cristal room. The food was surprisingly delicious and made me fall move in love with the French food. Of course we closed the night with another stroll past the Eiffel Tower just in time to see the lights again.
In the morning, we headed over to 31 Rue Cambon. The birthplace of Coco Chanel to see the gorgeous staircase and take the iconic picture where it all started. It felt so surreal to be standing in her atelier- definitely sent shivers down my spine! One of these days Ill go up the staircase when I can make an appointment with haute couture!
The third day we made our way over to the metro for the first time and went to Versailles. We spent about a couple of hours at the Palace of Versailles (another breathtaking monument) and sitting in the gardens. We headed back to the Marais district again and had dinner at Cafe Louis Phillipe (yes, also on Gossip Girl) which was again infiltrated with locals making it all that much more fun.
We ended the night with a gorgeous Seine river cruise which gives a great overview of the city which made me write down more things I wanted to do the next time I go to Paris: stay at Plaza Athenee, dine at cador patissiere and Cojean by the Louvre or la petite auberge, try ice cream from Berthillon, visit St. Louis island to see expensive mansions, visit St. Germain for free salsa dance lessons, dine at Le grande colbert (where they dined in Something’s Gotta Give), Rotisserie de Beoujelia and Kong Bar and Restaurant (also on Sex and the City).
That night it was also the 9 year anniversary of Princess Diana’s death so we got to see the shrine at the tunnel. Lastly, we walked on over to the Ritz and headed over to Hemingway and marveled at the city which was a blur the past few days while we headed back to reality…