Ah, Paree! Paris will always have a hold on my heart. I feel so cliche that Paris is a city I have fallen in love with, but I think anyone who has ever visited would agree that it is beautiful and amazing and pretty much the best place on earth. Last year when we were traveling we did a brief visit to Paris and as we exited the metro stop immediately decided we must come back.
Above: Traditional hot chocolate from Angelina their original store on Rue de Rivoli
Above Left:L'as Du Falafel, the most sought after Falafel in Paris Below: E.Dehillerin, amazing kitchen supply store
- Everything in Paris is a yay. But seriously...
- Eiffel Tower, duh. So these are our tips for ol' Eiffey. As soon as you know the dates you will be in Paris make a reservation for the top of the tower. We looked about 3 months out and they were already booked for the top. But the second plan of action is to reserve tickets for the second floor-- then you can bypass the first line. And then get right into line to buy tickets to the top. If you can, time it so that you can be there near when the sun goes down and you can be on it when it lights up and sparkles! In July is sparkled at 10pm. OH! And you must get Champagne when you are on the top.
- Angelina's Hot Chocolate: As I was told, and I will pass it on to you, even if it is hot you must get traditional hot chocolate. The spot I went to was Angelina's. You can sit down for lunch and get the hot chocolate, but they also have a little bakery in front that you can go in and get a to go cup. And it's a little cheaper than if you get it at the table. I will admit it was a bit rich for me...but you still gotta do it.
- Ladurée for Macarons just makes you feel special.
- Notre Dame: This trip we actually didn't go there, but the last time we were in Paris we did. It's a must even though the lines are long.
- The Metro was awesome and easy to use. The only thing that is kind of annoying is that the tickets are tiny and good for one ride/line. We always bought 20 at a time and had to keep the good ones separate from the used ones, and that sometimes got tricky. They do have a week pass but it resets every Monday (I think...it might be Sunday) regardless of what day you buy it. So if you are going in on a Monday it's great. If you're going in on a Friday like us, it might not be the most cost effective. Also check on the hours, they stop at some point in the night and we almost didn’t make it back to our hotel.
- The La Marais area is where we stayed and I LOVED it. It is the Jewish neighborhood of Paris, so it's an interesting mix of tradition and contemporary. There are lots of small boutiques and great restaurants. Apparently it is kind of the new "it" neighborhood. But it also wasn't too loud at night either.
- Deyrolle is a taxidermy shop, really interesting. I wish I could have taken photos there but they don't allow it. But the man fixing the fox told me that I could take a phone pic of him working :-)
- If you love to cook, or just like looking at cool places, E.Dehillerin will amaze and thrill you. It is the place that the chef's come to shop. They have everything from cheese molds, to cookie cutters to antique copper pots. Ryan bought a really nice chef's knife as his France souvenir.
- Versailles: Beautiful. Gardens are beautiful. Get there as early as you can, lines are long...we waited 2 hours in the rain. If you sign up early enough you can avoid lines by signing up for a guided tour. But they don't do all of them in English, so make sure to plan ahead. The one our day was at 2pm. So you could try to perhaps do the garden's first and then do the tour. The gardens and the extra buildings out back took us around 2 or 3 hours.
- St. Germain is also a really neat area with some more boutiques, a little more fancy than La Marais. But I loved that most of them were specialty. And that's where I got my France souvenir...stay tuned for that :-)
- Good Eats: - L'as Du Falafel - If you are looking for something quick, easy, inexpensive and yummy to munch on as you walk around the La Marais area, L'as Du Falafel is your spot. I've never seen a line so long for a Falafel, the the man who takes your order is a little pushy and very proud-- as he should be. - Le P'tit Troquet in the Rue Cler neighborhood. The staff is sweet, the food was superb. We had a traditional pork cheek stew and beef with a rosemary sauce. That rosemary sauce is seriously the thing dreams are made of. - Briezh Cafe is the only place that we visited again from our first Paris trip. For dessert get the crepe with caramel sauce and caramel ice cream. They get busy fast, so make a reservation. And take me with you. - Les Bonnes Soeurs in the Bastille area. Fantastic risotto and the presse de chèvre (goat cheese with tapenade and tomatoes on top) was awesome. Servings were generous. - Bofinger Brasserie Mmmmmmmmmm. It's a brasserie but it's really fancy. Onion soup-- good. Oysters-- good. Duck -- good. Salmon -- good. All good. Make sure you go to the original one though...Rick Steves says it's better for some reason.
- Ok. I might get some grief for this. But I wasn't a fan of the Louvre. We felt more obligated to go than I think we really wanted to. And seeing the Mona Lisa was probably my least favorite thing we did because people were so pushy and it was so crowded. Soooo this is my thought on it. If you don't have a ton of time in Paris I would skip it unless you feel it in your bones that you have to see that famous smirk.