As you may have seen on my Instagram account last month, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Paris this summer. Paris is one of those places that you dream about your entire life. Most kids dream about going to Disneyland, but my dreams were filled with croissants and baguettes and the romantic streets of Paris. Maybe it’s because in Canada we learn to speak French from a young age, or even the countless images you see of the beautiful city. Regardless of the reason, I am amazed to say the city surpassed even my expectations. With only 5 full days in the city of lights, we had to pair down exactly what we wanted to do. A good mix of strolling, shopping, eating (and drinking) and of course, sight-seeing! My main priorities were seeing The Louvre, Versailles, The Eiffel Tower (of course) and then other than that, I had no expectations or agenda. It was nice to go to a city without having too many to-dos.We arrived bleary-eyed off of an 18 hour red-eye trip and were determined to stay awake until at least 8PM. We were successful. Luckily, we were staying in a great neighbourhood, the 7th arrondissement, which had lots of fabulous little restaurants and cafes. We didn’t have to go far to get to the Metro (our chosen method of transportation), dinner, and even shopping!
While I could really write about 10 blog posts about Paris, I will try and narrow down my favourite things to do/see/eat in a list of 10. Here it goes!
#10: The Eiffel Tower at night. We finished dinner early and decided to head to the Eiffel Tower to have a glass of champagne. We completely forgot, until we got there, that the Eiffel Tower actually has a light show at 10PM. It is so worth the wait and was completely magical.
#9: The Louvre. You could truly spend months in The Louvre, and I can’t wait to go back. From the Egyptian Sphinx to the structure itself, it was an incredible afternoon of learning and viewing the most incredible art collection.
#8: Champs-Élysées. While I didn’t have a Chanel purse in my budget, just walking the streets in this neighbourhood and popping into each store was gift enough. While I may have a plan to head back in about ten years and buy something fabulous, marvelling at the storefronts and enjoying a Parisian afternoon was good enough for me. You can spend a whole day here, easily. My favourite shops were Dior, Chanel, and Céline.
#7: Dinner at Le Comptoir du Relais. Little did we know, this charming bistro down the street from our hotel had been written up in Bon Appetit. We found this out later while reading a magazine in Provence. True to it’s popular reputation, the restaurant was full by 8PM, and traveling with 9 people means getting there early to secure a table. But we didn’t mind! We were able to enjoy the evening sunshine, a bottle of wine, and amazingly delicious food. I’d recomend the foie gras, a cheese and charcuterie plate and the green salad (washed down with fresh baguette and French wine, of course).
#6: The “Love Lock” Bridge. While I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding the padlocks on the bridges in Paris (safety first!) I have to admit that locking up “my love” with Peter in Paris was maybe the most romantic thing I’ve ever done. The sun was setting, the river seine was reflecting the beautiful light, and there were families, friends, and lovers making a statement to their love for each other. Ok, enough cheese!
#5: Shopping Saint-Germain-des-Prés District. While shopping in the Champs-Élysées did have its merits (and big stores), I really enjoyed the rainy morning I spent bopping around Saint-Germain-des-Prés. My favourite store was definitely Maje, which had the most amazing collection of sweaters. I had to pair down my five choices to 1 and have worn it about 10 times since then. An investment piece I’ll have for a long time, that’s for sure! They also had the most incredible floors, which I’m convinced are necessary to replicate in our closet.
#4: Crêpes at midnight. I may have had one or two crepes in my time (none of them memorable), but I was determined to seek out a delicious crêpe in the motherland of the sweet desserts. We stumbled upon a cute restaurant in our neighbourhood with chalkboard writing (of course we did!) and ordered the nutella crêpe. It was delicious.
#3: Dinner at Entrecôte. The fact that there are no pictures of this meal is a testament to the incredible food we were served. We had a couple of friends who told us to check it out, and boy are we glad we did! It’s truly an experience in every sense of the word. You sit down and they ask you how you like your steak cooked and what you want to drink. That’s it. Moments later, you’re served steak frites with the most amazing green pepper sauce. Worth every last bite.
#2: Lounging at a café and people watching. Enough said. Nothing better than sitting in Paris, drinking a café au lait and watching people go by. This could take up a whole afternoon and there are plenty of cute cafés to do this in.
#1: Luxembourg Gardens. We were lucky to stay only a couple blocks away from what turned out to be the most beautiful garden. I got in a couple of runs, and on our last day we decided to press pause with a bottle of bordeaux. I wish we could have done this more!
Just looking at these photos makes me want to book a flight there right now! Stay tuned this week as I recap Provence, our weekend in London and perhaps a look at my favourite French wines (available in BC!)
Au revoir for now!