I’ve always been told that once you plan to go to Paris, you will also need to prepare yourself to fall in love with it over and over again. I now fully understand this statement. Although I was only there for 4.5 days, I soaked in so many wonderful scenes and food. They say “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty and in the point of Life” (originally by Thomas Jefferson). I feel every bit of this. Whether you’ve been to Paris or not, allow me to immerse you into a journey through these lessons and leave your heart yearning for more….
Take on the journey of food
Paris is well known for having awesome food. There is so much that it can quickly become overwhelming when deciding what to have. There are literally cafes and restaurants EVERYWHERE, of which many look alike. Rather than only focusing on specific restaurants, I will suggest my must have foods:
- Croque Monsieur – A warm, toasted ham and cheese sandwich with additional melted cheese on top. As you can see below, they have a way of cooking it perfectly! Sidenote: Even if you are ordering a meal with bread, you must also try the additional bread that’s brought to the table, which is usually a roll or baguette. I’m sure that’s a rule somewhere in Paris 😉
- Fresh Croissants- I literally could have eaten these all day every day. I suggest getting them from a coffee shop of some sort. They are typically extremely fresh because so many eat them on the go. The flakiness is like none I’ve ever had!
- Fresh Salads– Yes, you can typically get a salad from anywhere, but not these unique ones! My absolute favorite was the fresh arugula salad with large chunks of bacon and a poached egg from Les Cocottes. It was topped with a nice vinaigrette and was one of the best I have ever had!
- Sorbet/Gelato- When it’s hot and crowded, this will be your saving grace. I promise there’s something special the Parisians put into the mix because it was much more delicious than ones I’ve had. The strawberry and lemon mixed were my fav!
- Fresh Fish– I am not a huge seafood fan, but when I saw the outdoor seafood stand named Le Bar a Huitres, there’s no way I could not suggest it. This has to be a seafood lover’s dream!
- French Onion Soup- I mean, it’s France… need I say more?
- Try Something New– Whether it’s escargot (well known in France) or beef cheek stew, I’d encourage you to step outside of the box and try something you probably never would at home. I mean…. you only live once right?! RIGHT! The beef cheek is what I took a bite of, which was surprisingly tender and yummy!
- Indulge In Desserts– The pastry shops are fantastic. The chocolate mousse in particular was delightful! It is not overly sweet, which prevents you from having a stomachache or headache. Do yourself a favor and leave the diet at home. Eat what you want and Treat Yo Self!
- EAT CREPES- Confession- Paris was the first time I’d ever had a crepe! I know… crazy right?! But I am so happy I had it in one of the best places I could. Instead of ordering one at a restaurant, get a fresh one from a stand. Perfect!
- Have Tea while people watching- Might I suggest the famous Cafe de la Paix. It’s an excellent location to sit on the patio, drink great tea, and watch the hustle and bustle of Paris!
- All of the Cheese and Wine- Last, but certainly not least, take advantage of Paris’ great wine and cheese scene. I think these were a part of just about every meal I ordered. Oh, and don’t forget that bread to soak it all up!
Journey through Versailles
Versailles is such a beautiful place. If you have time in your exciting schedule, dedicate at least 5 hours to travel to and from Versailles. The Palace and Gardens are such a beauty. To walk through where the King and Queen were and hear the detailed history through the devices provided was super cool! It literally brought the experience to life. They have done an excellent job of preserving the castle as well as the gardens. They also have restaurants in the back that you can explore before traveling back to Paris.
Tip: If you are going during peak season or on a European holiday weekend, get your tickets early. The lines are pretty long (30 min-1 hr). Rather than trigger any level of impatience that you might have, prepare in advance. Even if you arrive early, they will still be long.
Journey through the Louvre Museum
Did you know the Louvre is the world’s LARGEST and most visited art museum?? True statement! It dates back to the 1700s and has over 38,000 objects! As you can imagine, it would take quite a long time to see everything (I’m talking multiple visits folks). The process can be quite intimidating so I’ve created a few tips to help with your experience:
- Considering the size and amount of tourism there is, this is another one to get your tickets in advance for. It will make the process so much easier and faster.
- Plan out what you’d like to see. You can google a map of the museum to help. Many people go to see the Mona Lisa, which is great, but there are so many other beautiful pieces of art to make time for (as displayed in the pictures below).
- Don’t forget to look up and all around you. The architecture and art on the walls are also breathtaking sites to see.
Journey through the history of Paris
Paris has quite the historic background. I felt as if I in a new history lesson in every area I was in. This list barely scratches the surface of everything we saw and the many things we ran out of time for, but it’s a great start!
- The Place Charles de Gaulle (Place de I’Etoile) – Completed in the 1960s, The Place Charles de Gaulle is the meeting point of twelve avenues. The arc is constructed beautifully! There is also amazing shopping in this area.
- Shakespeare and Company– Talk about charm!! This is one of the most famous and oldest independent bookstores around. They are so serious about preserving the privacy of the shoppers as well as the bookstore itself that they do not allow cameras from the inside. From classic to historic to new age, they have books of all sorts. They also have a cute area where visitors can leave notes describing what the bookstore means to them. Super cute!
- River Seine– The River Seine is a commercial waterway in the north of France. It stretches 777 kilometers and is used for recreational use as well. As you walk around Paris, you will see many people relaxing, reading, eating, listening to music, dancing, etc. along the river. It is lively, yet peaceful at the same time. We took a riverboat tour along it, which was really informative and a change of pace.
- Eiffel Tower- I’m sure you all are well aware of the Eiffel Tower. Seeing it up close was just magical (especially if you catch it during the 5 minutes they make it sparkle each hour-which we did. WOOP!) What you might not know is, the tower was completed in the late 1800s and is the most visited paid monument in the world! When you go, take time to see it at night and during the day. You will have completely different experiences each time.
- Luxor Obelisk – This monument seems simple but it is over 3000 years old with a lot of history! It was gifted to France by Egypt in the 1800s. Did you know it has a twin outside of Luxor Temple?! Yep… twinsies!
- Montmartre– Everyone should take time to visit this area. It is a hilly part of town with an artsy vibe. They are also known for their nightlight if you are looking for additional entertainment. I loved the boutiques and restaurants in this area. I also felt like I was around more of the Parisian people than in other areas.
“Get Your Praise On” journey!
Paris also has a pretty religious background. There were two churches we went to in particular. The first was Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral– It is stunning! There was so much art throughout. It was hard to not get emotional while going through. We chose to sit for a moment and pray, which made us feel much more connected. There was a line to get in that was very long, but it also went very fast. I would encourage you to take the time to go inside rather than just taking pictures from outside. It took over 200 years to build. You will see why and have an appreciation for this upon entering. The second we went to was Sacre-Coeur Basilica– This church is at the highest point in all of Paris, which makes for a marvelous view. Although it is fairly old, there seems to have been work done on it to help preserve it. It appears to have new features as well- related to the architecture. The line is much shorter here, but there will still be a crowd. The singing of the nuns was so mesmerizing and something I hadn’t experienced before. Simply beautiful.
The only con I have about my visits to both was the fact that they let tourists come in in the middle of service. It made me feel anxious to leave, as I did not want to add to the disturbance. The respect for the church was diminished, which made the experience less impactful for me.
Well readers, you have officially journeyed through Paris whilst reading! It was an awesome trip that I’d like to partake in again in the future. The beauty I saw and the food I ate was only a small portion of what’s all out there. So who’s with me next time?? 🙂 🙂 🙂
Au Revoir Paris!
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