May 14, 2019

Merci, Paris! Part 01

I’ve always romanticized Paris in my mind, but my initial trip there in 2016 with my family served as a reality check for that film perfect daydream that I’d always clung to. The truth is that Paris is a city spun out of complicated history, decadent culture and markers of modernity, and while it wasn’t exactly how I’d imagined, experiencing it for the first time is something that I won’t forget. 

When Rachel & I decided that our 2019 trip would be a return to Paris for us both, I was eager to experience the city again, this time armed with realistic expectations and a relaxed itinerary. Our trip ended up being so lovely, even with all the unexpected mishaps we went through, and I’m excited to chronicle our experiences for you all!

[As a special note, anything I particularly loved during our trip is marked with a heart – it’s something I’d personally recommend taking the time to do if you’re planning to go to Paris. I’m happy to answer any more questions if you’ve got them, so feel free to leave a comment or reach out via email or DM on Twitter or Instagram!]

Paris Travel Tip #1: You can find regulated taxis at the airport that will take you into the heart of Paris to wherever you happen to be staying for 50-60 euros. However, if you don't have too much baggage, I'd highly recommend using the public transit system to get to where you want to go, which costs a whole lost less (about 15-20 euros total depending on where you're going).
  • Relais de L’entrecote: Our first lunch spot! Central, cheery location, where the waitstaff communicates almost exclusively in French, but worth visiting to try their steak and frites. And if you’re not too full, order the crème brûlée for dessert.
  • Jardin du Luxembourg: Even though it started pouring rain as we walked around, it was lovely to wander the gardens. There’s scattered statuary, plenty of growing things and a fountain area that I’m certain would be even lovelier to experience on a warm day.
  • ♥ Musee d’Orsay: If I’m being honest, I preferred this museum over the Louvre. The museum itself is housed in an old railway station, and the artwork and statuary you’ll find on its floors is an eclectic, fascinating mix of artists and time periods.
  • Pont Alexandre III & Fontaine des Mers: Because the weather improved outside, I suggested visiting my favorite Parisian bridge (which was in the area!). Our walk along the Seine was lovely, and the views of the museums, the bridge and the Eiffel Tower were wonderful. We ended up seeing my favorite Parsian fountain as well, located just beyond this bridge and by the Concorde, and decorated with symbols of the sea.
  • ♥ Les Artisans: Our first dinner spot! The initial decision to eat here was because it was just around the corner from our AirBNB, but we were pleasantly surprised. It’s a charming, cozy little place (and seems like a neighborhood favorite), the staff were incredible warm and accommodating and the food was delicious!

Paris Travel Tip #2: You can actually download Kapten, the French version of Uber, to get places. But using the Metro is relatively easy to do and much more cost efficient! Just make sure you check that you're on a train headed in the right direction (Google Maps will also indicate the right number exit to use when you get to your stop), be aware of your surroundings, check how the doors operate (some open automatically, while others require a button push or handle turn) and also triple check for any construction or weekend schedule changes (which are posted in station or can be found if you use City Mapper).
  • ♥ Hardware Société: Our first breakfast spot! Located a brief walk away from Sacré-Cœur, this Australian restaurant was a great place to have our first meal of the day. The place itself has an ambience that invites visitors to sit and stay a while, and the food and coffee were certainly worth every euro.
  • Sacré-Cœur: Rachel hadn’t gotten to see this church on her last trip, so we wanted to include it on our itinerary! I do love how striking this church is, inside and out, and I still felt the same awe I experienced the first time I stepped through its doors.
  • I Love You Wall, Montmartre and Moulin Rouge: We spent a couple of hours wandering the nearby streets. We stopped to visit the I Love You Wall (and found the Tagalog phrase iniibig kita), popped into shops (including a bookstore and Fragonard), wandered up and down hilly streets, and saw both La Maison Rose and Moulin Rouge.
  • Buvette: Lunch spot! We’ve been to this same restaurant in New York, but it felt like we should go to visit their Parisian branch. The food was still enjoyable (we split a croque monsieur and a waffle), and the place itself was comfortably cozy (though a little dark for my liking, personally), so it’s a good option for a brief food break.
  • ♥ Eiffel Tower (and Trocadero): How can you go to Paris and not visit this iconic landmark? This was not the only time we stopped to see La Tour Eiffel, mind you, but I’ll never forget this day. We ended up taking pictures three times – once from the surrounding park, once from Trocadero in the pouring rain, and once more in Trocadero when it cleared up.
  • ♥ Carette: This café is just off Trocadero (the spot and the Metro stop), a convenient location if you’re in the area for the Eiffel Tower view. It was a classy little café, perfect for us to dry off and wait out the rain, and I loved their house blend tea and croissants.
Paris Travel Tip #3: If you plot out your trip beforehand with an itinerary (which I highly recommend doing), you'll likely discover that it's easy to walk from one place to another. We tried to center our daily itineraries around specific neighborhoods so that we could do exactly this. It saves you some money and allows you to see more of the area you're in too!
Be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow to find out about the second half of our trip!


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