May 15, 2019

Merci, Paris! Part 02

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 #4: Make sure to check (and double check) all the opening hours of everywhere you intend to visit in Paris. Many places close relatively early, while others close on specific days of the week. We ended up having to rearrange our plans a little bit in order to hit up some of our stops on this trip!
  • Galerie Vivienne: This spot was, perhaps, the biggest disappointment of our trip. It’s an arcade with covered passageways that is populated with shops and restaurants, and while there was one particularly beautiful passage we wandered into, it ended up being much smaller than we thought and it was under refurbishment in other areas. I’d like to visit when all the scaffolding is gone, just to see if I’d feel differently!
  • Ob-La-Di: Even though it was well out of our way, I’m glad we ended up stopping by this café for breakfast. It also has a cozy (if a little cramped) neighborhood vibe, and we both had lattes and peanut butter and jam on toast, as well as splitting a scone, and it was a delightful breakfast on a day that was dreary and cold and wet. 
  • ♥ Sainte-Chapelle: I didn’t have the chance to visit this chapel on my first trip, so we also added it to our itinerary. It’s smaller than it looks from the outside, but it was so worth the visit. The stained-glass windows, the detail in the architectural design, the statuary – it all left me awe-struck, even if we were surrounded by an immense crowd of tourists. 
  • Notre-Dame de Paris: While we were in Paris, all access to Notre-Dame was (understandably) blocked so you could only see it from across the street. It’s still a striking landmark, but seeing the damage was heartbreaking too even though they are working on reconstruction. 
  • ♥ Shakespeare & Company: Just across the street from it, however, is a bookstore that’s well-known: Shakespeare & Company. In better weather, there are books left outside for browsing; indoors, it’s crowded and cozy and filled floor to ceiling with English language books of all sorts. There’s a separate area for children’s books and poetry, and you can also pop upstairs for some cozy corners to sit and relax and older books to look upon. I enjoyed my second visit and walked away with two new books for my shelves! 
  • Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole: The exterior of this restaurant is lovely, and it’s very different from its old-fashioned, lavish interior (or at least the part where we were seated had that vibe). I did enjoy the escargot and truffle pasta we ended up sharing, but I wouldn’t consider this a restaurant that is a must-try. 
  • Ile Saint-Louis & Berthillion Glacier: The weather stayed fair just long enough for us to walk down the main street of the island across from where Notre-Dame is. There are plenty of little shops and restaurants to pop into! We ended up being unable to visit the actual Berthillion Glacier location (it was closed while we were there), but they were serving their ice cream at a variety of cafes so we still got to try it. 
  • ♥ Rue Cremieux: We arrived at this street just as the sun was beginning its descent, and we were pleasantly surprised to find it empty and perfect for taking photos. It’s a short street lined with colorful houses on either side, and it’s well worth seeing! 
  • Le Pure Café: Rachel is a big fan of Before Sunset, so we had to go out of our way to visit this café. We ended up in a perfectly cozy nook where we had foamy cappuccinos to warm ourselves. 
  • ♥ Eiffel Tower & Carette: We returned to Trocadero to end our day, simply to fulfill one of my personal wishes: to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. We took dozen of photos as the sun was setting, before taking a brief dinner break at Carette (where we had delicious French onion soup and sandwiches) and then ending the night by seeing the sparkle of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. 

Paris Travel Tip #5: Book tickets beforehand for popular tourist destinations. We did this for Saint-Chapelle, which allowed us to skip the line and go in much quicker than we would have otherwise. We hadn't counted on visiting the Catacombs and Paris Opera, and trying to book tickets online within a few days of the visit was difficult. We'll definitely try to book those before we visit next time! 
  • Les Artisans: We kicked our morning off with breakfast at our neighborhood café, and this spot deserves another shout-out for their breakfast! I enjoyed the salmon scrambled eggs and coffee, but the winner of the morning was the freshly baked croissants. 
  • Palais Garnier: We would have liked to visit the interior of the opera house (which we will do next time!), but it was still cool to see the exterior of this Parisian landmark. 
  • Galeries Lafayette Haussmann: It’s worth visiting this department store just to see the most famous part of its interior, because the architectural detail was exquisite. (There’s a walkway that stretches out into that central area so you can take better photos, and that’s worth the experience!) That’s not to say that we didn’t end up browsing their merchandise a bit, because we totally did. 
  • Café Kitsune, Palais-Royal & the Pyramide du Louvre: We ended up wandering over to where Café Kitsune, a very small coffee shop, is located and grabbing coffee to warm ourselves up. I think it would be a more delightful experience if the weather was warmer and less wet since you’d be able to sit in the park it’s situated in. We ended up randomly stumbling across the Palais-Royal and stopped for photos, before we proceeded to the Louvre to see and, you guessed it, take more photos in front of the pyramid. 
  • Angelina: Even though we had to wait (it was less than 20 minutes), I have to say that this place is well worth the hype for the pastries and hot chocolate. I did enjoy the savory dish we had (croissants with herb cream cheese), but the desserts (a sundae, millefeuille and strawberry tart) were delicious and the white hot chocolate was a total winner! 

  • Umbrella Sky art installation at Le Village Royal: On our last day, right before we had a last breakfast at Les Artisans and popped into Chanel again so Rachel could pick something up, we made our way to Rue Royal to visit this art installation. I’ve seen so many photos of similar spots from other friends, but it was really cool to see all these colorful umbrellas suspended in the air in person!

Paris Travel Tip #6: Be prepared for the weather to be all over the place (particularly if you travel in spring)! We thought it would be warmer (spoiler: it wasn't) and sunnier (spoiler: it rained for more than half the trip), and we were underprepared for that... though we did have umbrellas at the very least.

Be sure to check out the first part of my Paris diary if you haven't already!


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