Bonjour! I'm back with another Paris post (recap one HERE and recap two HERE) and I hope y'all aren't tired of them yet. It was such an incredible trip and I could talk about the City of Light all day, especially the food :). But we'll get to that! In this post, I wanted to share our very favorite things we did and saw, plus some things we wished we'd had time for. I feel like you could stay a month in Paris and still not hit all the major sights, there are so many! As with traveling anywhere, it's important to do your research before and figure out what attractions most interest you/your travel companions. I read a lot of travel blogs and books the month before our trip and planned out our itinerary pretty much to a T; I wouldn't have done this pre-Bear but with a child, it just makes things easier to have a game plan. Of course we left a few days open for sightseeing, shopping, etc. which is also wise as you never know what you'll spontaneously decide to do on a vacation. Those days usually turn out to be my favorite!
SWEATER | JEANS | BOOTS | BAG | EARRINGS
photos by Alina Sepp Photography
FAVORITE THINGS WE DID IN PARIS:
1. Versailles- A must-do in our opinion! The whole trip took about 5 hours because Versailles is an hour outside of Paris and our tour was 2-3 hours. I recommend doing a guided tour; we had an English guide that walked us through the palace and told us about each room/the history which was so much more fascinating than if we'd just walked around not knowing what we were looking at. The best and most incredible part of all was the gardens; Bear had so much fun getting lost in the mazes and roaming the property.
2. Seine River Cruise- We loved seeing all the major city sights by boat one afternoon; the ride was about an hour and you could sit inside (where it was warm) or up on top for an even better view. We were given headphones and a guide told us all about the sites in English so it was very informative on top of being such a relaxing ride! You can also ride the Bateau Mouche- for 15€ you can hop on or off wherever and whenever you like all day long. Stops include the Musée d'Orsay, Louvre, Eiffel Tour, Champs Elysées, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
3. Disneyland Paris- This was an obvious favorite since we had our little man with us! Zach and Bear had never been to a Disney Park so they didn't have anything to compare it to but I'll be honest and tell y'all it wasn't quite the same as Disneyland in the states. While it was amazing (SO beautifully decorated for Christmas) there weren't near as many rides and we had several break down on us. Overall though, it was a magical experience and we'd definitely do it again. Because there are fewer rides, you can definitely do Disney Paris in one day. It's also about an hour drive outside of the city so I'd recommend getting a coach service to take you to/from the park.
4. Big Bus Tour- The BEST way to see the city, in our opinion. You can pay for a pass as many days as you'd like (we did 3 total) and the bus takes you all around the city, stopping at major destinations. You're given headphones when you get on and can sit on the lower level or up top- the buses are double-decker. A guide tells you all about the city as you go, so sometimes we'd ride for several hours never even getting off, just learning about the history of Paris and enjoying the sites from the bus. It's "hop on, hop off" meaning you can get off at any stop and buses come around every 5-10 minutes to pick you up. It's really convenient and such a great way to see the city.
5. The Louvre- I'll be honest and say this wouldn't be top of my list as I'm just not a huge museum person (though Zach is), but it's something you have to go and see if you're ever in Paris. I mean, it's home to the Mona Lisa after all. We bought two day museum passes and could visit almost any museum in the city as much as we wanted during those two days (even though we were turned away from a few). If you're an art person, I'd definitely recommend getting the passes. If not, it's probably cheaper just to pay entry at one or two museums you do decide to visit. We bought our museum passes on the same days as our bus passes as this just made it easier hopping on/off the bus since a lot of the stops are actually at museums.
6. Notre-Dame- This stunning cathedral mostly makes the list thanks to Bear, as he was suddenly obsessed with gargoyles during our trip. We climbed the 387 very narrow south tower steps all the way to the top just so he could see the gargoyles up close and we were blown away by the breathtaking views of the city. Historically, construction on Notre-Dame begun in 1163 and was completed in 1345. Napoléon was crowned here, and kings and queens exchanged marriage vows before the altar- pretty cool stuff! But yeah, we were there for the gargoyles (which ironically, as scary as they may be to look at, were originally placed there to ward off evil spirits).
THINGS WE WISHED WE'D SEEN:
1. Palais-Royal Gardens- The Palais-Royal is a 17th Century palace with tons of designer boutiques like Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs; I knew to stay away from here for a reason! ;) What I really wish we'd gone for, aside from the shopping, is to enjoy lunch or tea time outside in the beautiful manicured gardens. Tucked behind the walls of the palace, locals say this is one of the city's best kept secrets.
2. Moulin Rouge Show- Okay maybe I shouldn't wish we could've done this but I totally do! If we ever go back sans-kids, this will be happening. They say the shows at Moulin Rouge are out of this world and a must-see!
3. Luxembourg Gardens- Bordered by Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, these lovely gardens are beloved by Parisians longing to bask on a lawn chair in the sunshine or enjoy an impromptu picnic. For this reason, we decided to forgo Luxembourg since it was a little too chilly to bask in any sunshine during our visit. This is also home to the city's oldest carousel (a Parisian staple, we learned) and the Musee de Luxembourg which is said to house beautiful art.
BEST FOOD WE ATE:
1. Crepes from Au P'tit Grec- Never met a crepe I didn't like but these were honestly the best I had in Paris (and I had a lot!). They're absolutely delicious and only cost around 5 euros apiece; plus the portions are huge.
2. Hot chocolate from Angelina- Just trust me on this one, you have to try it. Even if you're in Paris in the summertime, it would be worth the sweat for this absolutely divine cup of hot cocoa. Angelina also has yummy pastries- I had a delicious eclair that I'm still dreaming about.
3. Burgers at Ferdi- My friend Sara told me we HAD to go to Ferdi while in Paris because they have the best burgers you'll ever eat and turns out she was right (Kim Kardashian's favorite restaurant in Paris for a reason). Be sure and make reservations (there's a phone number to text on the website here) as they book up weeks in advance and rarely have a cancellation.
4. Frenchie Togo- The CUTEST restaurant with the most amazing maple syrup–cured smoked bacon scone for breakfast, and the pulled pork barbecue sandwich on soft brioche buns for lunch (yes, we went back twice). Their hot dogs are also supposed to be delicious if you're craving American cuisine while abroad. Website here.
5. Cafe de Flore- Hands down my favorite cafe we had the pleasure of dining in while in Paris, Cafe de Flore is every bit as atmospheric as it is tasty. Read all about the rich history of the beautiful cafe here. Also a great spot for photographs!
I feel like I could keep rambling and adding to these lists all day; I did leave the Eiffel Tower off the "favorite things we did" list which wasn't an easy decision! While we LOVED seeing the tower and going up inside of it, I wouldn't put that on the top of our list. I still think it's worth doing while you're in Paris since it's the city's most notable landmark and a beautiful one at that. If you're wanting pictures with the Eiffel Tower in the background, definitely go to Place de Trocadero. It's the ideal spot for Eiffel Tower photos and if you go first thing in the morning, it won't be crowded.
We're off for a fun family evening and I'm so excited! Dinner at Cheesecake Factory (my fav), a little Christmas shopping, and looking at lights. I love this time of year so much. Hope you're having a fun, festive holiday season!