I am still pinching myself over and over because I can’t believe I actually had the opportunity to go to Paris… and stay for six whole days! It has always been a dream of mine to visit Paris and as of today… it is my favorite city I have ever visited. That’s right… FAVORITE! It is so enchanting and magical; I am already planning my next trip back. Even though I was lucky enough to spend six days there, there is still so much more to see and do! Hopefully this will give you a good idea about how to navigate Paris and what are MUST SEE spots.
When I first arrived to Paris I knew I would be completely overwhelmed, so I went ahead and booked a bike tour to straighten myself out a little bit and get a good idea of what the city has to offer. The ride focused on a local’s perspective of Paris while showing you the hottest food and drink places in the city. After navigating my way around Paris, I headed straight to the Eiffel Tower, because hello… you can’t visit Paris and leave without seeing the Eiffel Tower! There are so many markets around the tower so I bought myself some macaroons and champagne, and watched the sunset. It was magical. One thing that actually surprised me about the Eiffel Tower was how grand it was! I knew that it was going to be big… but it seemed so much bigger than big! It was grand.
My agenda for the next day was to tackle the St. Germain neighborhood. Because Paris has so much to offer, I tried to break things down by neighborhood, arrondissement in French, in order to see things optimally. (Side note: There are 12 arrondissements in Paris). St. Germain was one of my favorites. I started the day off by visiting the Saint-Chapelle. It is a gothic style building created to hold relics by King Louis IX. It also held Jesus’ crown of thorns for years AND cost more to obtain the crown of thorns than to actually build the building! How crazy is that?!
From there I headed to Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, which, even if you aren’t a big reader, is worth stopping by because the street that it sits on is so magical. Next I headed to Café de Flore for a typical Parisian lunch. A typical Parisian lunch (to me), means sitting outside, ordering lots of wine, and pretending to be French when clearly you aren’t. Oh and putting away an entire basket of bread by yourself… but who is judging? You’re French at this point! After eating a “typical Parisian lunch” you need to follow it up with a “typical Parisian dessert”. If you guessed French pastries… you’re right! I headed to Pierre Herme for decadent cakes and macaroons to go… I wanted to enjoy them in the Luxemburg Gardens (another must see in the St. Germain neighborhood); and enjoy them I did! These desserts were “melt in your mouth delicious”!
It took me a few days to tackle the Le Marais neighborhood. In my opinion it is the trendiest, most fun neighborhood to be in. My favorite things in Le Marais consisted of eating, drinking, eating, drinking, and gawking at the architecture… as I was eating and drinking. There are tons of bars and restaurants in Le Marais and I had many favorite, bucket list worthy, must see spots. One of my favorites included the speakeasy, Lavomatic. Lavomatic is situated on the top floor of a Laundromat, and to get there you have to enter through one of the washing machines! I’m not going to tell you which one, because like me, it will be fun for people to watch you try to figure it out on your own. If you do figure it out you’re in for a treat. The cocktails and atmosphere are great! I don’t know if you can classify a drink as “fun”, but if so, Lavomatic has it covered. From smoking drinks, to drinks with cookie crisps, to blended drinks, they have something for everyone.
My other favorite places in the Marais neighborhood included Le Mary Celeste – an oyster/cocktail bar; and Experimental Cocktail Club – great for a late night hangout.
Another day of my Parisian holiday was spent exploring the Montmartre neighborhood. It is where the famous Sacre-Coeur stands tall at the top of a hill. The Sacre-Coeur is a catholic church built to hold the “sacred heart” of Jesus. It is absolutely stunning! You can go in the church for free, which I would suggest doing because the architecture inside is just as beautiful as the architecture outside. Apart from the Sacre-Coeur I loved Montmartre because of the street art behind the church. You can spend hours wandering the streets looking at local artists work. The streets are long and winding so you can get lost for hours here. And it is totally worth it too!
After leaving Montmartre I made the long trek to the Opera neighborhood to go to Harry’s New York Bar. This bar is famous for the invention of the Blood Mary… and exactly why I wanted to visit! It’s also called Harry’s New York Bar because the bar itself is made from wood that was shipped over from New York during the prohibition. Inside there is tons of American college flags… I was able to spot the Huskers (from my home state), and Clemson (my alma matter)! After drowning myself in a couple of Bloody Mary’s I was craving cheap eats so I headed to the Latin Quarter. The Latin Quarter is quite overwhelming, but the gyros and falafels make it worth it! It is a street of cheap food and a must see if you’re in the city of love! The street is buzzing with energy and is perfect for people watching while you enjoy your meal.
My last day in Paris was bittersweet. I was able to experience the quintessential Parisian day, however it was overshadowed by the fact that I soon had to leave. I got up bright and early to head to the Louvre. You can buy a museum fast pass in Paris, but I found that if you get up early enough for the opening… you don’t end up waiting too long. I found that that was more worth it because I didn’t end up seeing a whole lot of museums. With that being said, I got to the Louvre at opening, and only had to wait about 30 minutes. I think that the building itself had me more in awe than the art inside. I know I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it is the truth! The architecture just blew me away! And the Louvre of course is famous for housing the Mona Lisa.
After leaving the Louvre I stopped at Angelina’s for an afternoon treat… their infamous hot chocolate! If you are a chocolate lover like myself, I seriously urge you to try their famous hot chocolate. It is something that I never want to forget. It is the definition of divine, rich, and decadent.
Well, that was concludes my Parisian getaway. Au revoir Paris! I left a huge piece of my heart with you.