Sunday morning we left for Paris. We took the Eurostar from St. Pancras Station. I love that train ride. I would almost prefer to travel by train within Europe than by plane. It’s so comfortable (literally, more leg room) and you don’t have to go through all the hassle of security.
The ride went by quickly and we were in Paris and checked into our hotel with the whole afternoon to spare.
So my family could familiarize themselves with the city, we took them on a boat tour on the Seine.
I love the view from the river – especially when you go under the bridges by the Louvre and then past the Ile de la Cité where you can see Notre Dame.
Afterwards we took an Uber to Dinner. It was one of my favorite meals of the trip, but it might have been because we were all starving. Cafe Central is where it’s at.
Then we walked a little ways over to the Champ de Mars to get a good view of the Eiffel Tower.
Then we all rode the elevator up to to get a view from the Eiffel Tower.
We didn’t go all the way to the top. Most of my family did, but Zach, Kenny, and I went back down to get a crepe. Nothing is more magical that seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night. Call me cliche…but really.
We enjoyed our crepes and then made our way back to our hotel.
The next morning we all set off for the Arc de Triomphe. Luck would have it that the Arc had been closed for a while and opening day was Monday, the exact day Zach and I had planned to take my family there. The view from the Arc de Triomphe is my favorite – more than anywhere else (inducing the Eiffel Tower). The arc is in a giant round-a-bout and all of these streets combine at the base. In every direction you can see tree-lined streets and Parisian rooftops. It is so dreamy.
Then, because it’s just down the street on the Champ-Élysées, we went to Laduree for some macarons. I bought a giant round box – 15 macarons if I’m being honest – and between Zach and I we had them all gone by the morning. FIFTEEN.
We took our goodies and made our way to the Pompidou via the Metro. There was an exhibit that had opened and the lines to get in were around the block.
We had planned to eat at one of our go-to Paris restaurants [Geoffroy l’Olive] but it was closed because it was a religious holiday. “Whit Monday”. So we hopped in an Uber and made our way over to Notre Dame to eat lunch at a nearby cafe. We popped inside the cathedral after our lunch for a bit and even though it was overcast, the stained glass windows still looked amazing.
After going through Notre Dame we went over to the [new] Love Lock Bridge. It used to be the Pont de Arts, but they tore the railings off of the existing bridge and replaced it with reinforced steel and glass. (That means that the other two locks that we have attached to that bridge are gone.) But people wanted to keep the tradition alive – so they all just moved to a different bridge. We bought our locks on said bridge – close to the Musee d’Orsay – and did it again for good measure. You can never be too superstitious.
Then we walked over to the Tulleries. We passed through the gardens and over to the Louvre. We went through the mall entrance so we could see the “DaVinci Code Pyramid”. We needed a photo in front of it – it is tradition. We got a photo together on our first trip to paris in 2007 and have done one EVERY SINGLE TIME we’ve gone back.
…and we had to take a unique one, for posterity.
After the Louvre we walked to the Madeline. After walking through we went across the street to the Paris London Cafe.
Then we made our way back to our hotel and picked up a few crepes at a stand on the way.
The next day my family went to Versailles. Zach and I decided to stay in the city and we weren’t going to meet up with my family until 6:00 pm. So before venturing out, we made an early morning run to the Louvre. There were less than a handful of people anywhere and we made it to the courtyard right when the sun was coming up.
After we were all showered up we took the Metro to the St. Martin Canal. Zach found a little place that you could rent a boat to cruise around. They even packed you a picnic basket – including some beverages of your choice.
The boats were small but surprisingly fast. We sipped on our sodas zipped around the canal.
Zach was a wonderful captain. He later convinced me to try my hand at driving. You would think being raised with a boat that I would be a natural…
…but I almost ran right into the tour boat in the above photo. Luckily, I recovered. But the tour boat occupants were just as scared as we were for a brief moment.
We returned our boat and made our way over to le Marais. We stopped in a few stores – including Nike and Supreme – and stopped at a cafe for some lunch. I managed to buy a few gifts for Sloan at COS before we had to make our way over to meet my family for dinner.
We ate at Pizza Amalfi – another tradition. The staff hasn’t changed in almost 10 years. The same sweet man, I never remember to ask his name, recognizes me each time. He calls me “Principessa” and usually gives me some sort of treat. What was this visit’s treat? A photo op with him in his special hat and sunglasses…
Shocker: we had crepes for dessert on our way back to the hotel.
The next day my aunt and uncle had set up an all-day bus tour to Normandy. So it was just the six of us for the entire day.
We rode the Metro to Montmartre.
We walked up and down the streets. First to see the Moulin Rogue, where my Dad was truly convinced he could “go in and just take a peek”. At 10:00 am in the morning, as if a show were going on.
We managed to arrive at the basilica just as a service was starting. It was very interesting to watch and even more beautiful to listen to. One of those sisters had some real pipes on her.
We walked back down the long way through one of my favorite areas.
We had lunch at Cafe St. Regis – famous for their croques. After lunch we took the Metro to the Catacombs. Zach and I decided to walk up to the Luxembourg Gardens while my family walked through the museum. We both had never been – and it was better than we expected.
We walked the grounds and then did some people watching until it was time to meet back up with our crew.
Then we all made our way to the Louvre. Wednesday nights are the only evenings that the Louvre is open later than normal hours – it was what we did on our very first date. We took my family through the Denon Wing to see the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, and of course – my personal favorite – Nike.
We then went over to the Richelieu Wing where we walked through the Napoleon Apartments. We refueled with some macarons and croissants at the Paul on the main level. We only spent a few hours there – but felt like we had seen all of the highlights. We even ran into Zach’s brother an sister-in-law totally on accident!
We had dinner at Blend – a very unique burger restaurant – and then walked back to our hotel afterwards where we managed to enjoy our last crepe of the trip from a cart on the street.
Paris is my favorite city. I think it will always be. Tomorrow, if it were possible, the three of us would move there. Every time we go back I am that much closer to convincing Zach to actually do it. With that being said, Paris was not my favorite part of this little adventure. Venice and Rome won me over again – and they were the perfect finale to our family Euro Trip.