It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another travel photo journal. This time is all about PARIS!
City of Paris has been my dream city for many years. My husband promised to take me there, and he kept his word. Last February, we traveled to Europe for 2 weeks. After exciting 5 days in London, we took a train to Paris. On my birthday! (<- The tickets were the lowest that day! Yay!) As you can imagine, I couldn’t have asked for better birthday. Seriously, just coming to Paris is fantastic, let alone on your birthday!
We arrived in Paris early evening, around 5pm. As we felt extra adventurous, we took the metro to city center, expecting my phone will guide us straight to the hotel. But nope, the map refused to load and we walked in all direction, trying to figure out which way we should walk. After about good 5 minutes, I decided to ask some teenagers for help. They were extremely nice and pointed us in the right direction. Hotel was just 3 minutes away.
Our first dinner in Paris was at an Italian restaurant, FontanaRosa. Ironic, I know, but it was highly recommended by our hotel and it was practically next door. The service was amazing and the food was exceptional. Our waiter spoke english and went above and beyond to explain the menu to us. (They didn’t have English menu.) We were the first customers at around 7pm, and it got filled up shortly after. (I’d recommend to make a reservation in advance.) I don’t remember what I ordered, cuz everything was in French. But my appetizer was super delicious. And I had the best tiramisu as a birthday cake. 🙂
After dinner, Garrat and I strolled toward Eiffel Tower. Gosh, words cannot describe the beauty of it. When we first saw the tower, it was all lit up and gorgeous! Simply breathtaking
We started the day with a brunch at Crêperie Suzette. Oh my gosh, their crepes are simply to die for. I’m serious, we practically licked out plates clean. Even though our waiter didn’t speak english, he was so incredibly nice and fun. They did have an English menu. I enjoyed delicious crepe with smoked salmon and crème fraiche on the side. For dessert, I had salted caramel white butter crepe. Garrat had super classic crepe with egg, ham and cheese and pear hot chocolate crepe with vanilla ice cream, pictured below. If you’re in Paris, this place is a must!
Then, we headed for a long walk to Pont des Art – the Louvre – Garden of Tuileries – Champs-Elysees – Arc de Triomphe.
The bridge is literally bursting with love locks! I’ve seen so many unique locks there. Red heart-shaped, pink, blue, yellow, you name it, they have it.
I couldn’t help but leave a tiny lock with our names. We put it on the side rail, so hope it don’t affect the problem with weight on the bridge.
Since it was beautiful sunny day, we decided not go in to the Louvre. Instead we walked straight through the garden of Tuileries.
Such a peaceful garden open to public, great place to relax.
On our way to Champs-Elysees, we had to stop by Cafe Angelina! I’ve heard so many praises about their hot chocolate before. And it was totally amazing. The cafe itself is ginormous, but we were seated right away. The hot chocolate was rich and absolutely heavenly. However, I thought the pastry was just ok, nothing spectacular.
We walked off the calories from one place only to consume some more at another. Haha While doing some shopping along Champs-Elysees, we stopped by Laduree, jaw-dropping gorgeous store, filled with all kinds of sweets. So many macarons to choose from. I was in heaven!
And our final destination of the day was Arc de Triomphe. We got there just around sunset. Man, did we work our legs to climb up to the top! Never ending stairs spiraled up. It was all worth it though.
The view of Champs-Elysees from the top of Arc de Triomphe.
And here is view of Eiffel Tower.
The next day, we spent all day at Château de Versailles. This place was filled with extravagant decorations, marvelous paintings, so much gold and chandeliers! I was walking in there and exhaling ohs and ahs pretty much non-stop.
And the garden. HUGE garden!!! It was so pretty in February, I can only imagine how it is in summer! Garrat and I just strolled through the garden, soaking up the nice weather.
After a fascinating day-trip to Versailles, we had quite an appetite for seafood. We ordered a huge platter of seafood mix at Le Suffren. For dessert, I had creme brûlée, which was pretty good, but nothing extraordinary. However, Garrat’s chocolate cake was simply delicious! All I could say about the food is “Très bien!” If you love seafood, this place is for you.
Our 4th day in Paris was cold and rainy. We checked out Notre Dame from outside and kept walking to the Louvre.
Since we didn’t purchase the tickets online, we had to get into the long queue. After 1.5 hours in line, we finally made it into the Louvre. If you’re planning to check out the museum, I highly recommend purchasing the advance ticket.
The Louvre is humongous! It’s one of the world’s biggest museums. Hence, after couple hours of browsing around, we called it quits. We had seen the important stuff, like Mona Lisa. By that time, rain had stopped and it was sunny and beautiful again.
My friend had advised us to go to 4th arrondissement for some falafel. “They have the best falafel in the world!”, she claimed. As David Leibovitz recommended here, we headed to have some falafels at L’As du Falafel, but unfortunately it wasn’t open. I almost cried when I saw the closed windows, as we had been walking so far to get here.
Luckily, there was another falafel shop right across the street, Mi-Va-Mi. Oh Em Gee, the BEST falafel sandwiches! Not that I had many, but this one was amazing! Light and fluffy inside, and crispy on the outside falafels stuffed inside the pita bread with other veggies and sauces. You get your sandwich at the window and find a less crowded area to stand and gobble up your food. Loved the experience. I even recreated falafels at home and will be sharing the recipe on Monday!
After delicious quick lunch, we went to Amorino for dessert! We had ice cream (hazelnut, chocolate, pistachio and crème brûlée) and crepe with caramel sauce. So, so good!
Our last full day in Paris, we started at the nearby open market. Great selection of fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, flowers, baked goods. You can find anything and everything here. And this one was smaller market, I can’t even imagine what the big ones look like.
Then, we headed to Eiffel Tower. Finally, I know! The lines had started forming at all 4 corners. We got into the shortest one. When we found out why it was the shortest, it was too late. 🙂 Our entrance was only for stairs only to the 2nd floor, and from there you can get another ticket to go to the very top. Oh well…
We climbed up the stairs, admiring its structure and beautiful view of the city.
The view of the city from the 2nd floor was still remarkable. We decided not to get into another line to get to the top. Maybe ext time. I’m sure we will be back in Paris again!
Look, how the queue had grown immensely. I’m so glad that we didn’t had to wait that long.
Montmartre was our next destination. We got off the metro at Blanche station, from there you will see iconic red Moulin Rouge. Then, we walked north-west toward Moulin de la Galette, the famous windmill built in 1622. It’s also popular from the painting by Vincent Van Gogh.
The streets in Montmatre are quite steep, but I found taking this route was the best decision, because you walk right into beautiful Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a Roman Catholic church. This church is beautiful inside and out.
After a quick tour inside the church, we took the stairs down and walked toward the station we came. Basically, we made a full circle here in Montmartre.
One thing to note, if you’re traveling here, be careful and stay far away (or even run) from those who try to solicit tourists. We had an encounter at the bottom of the Sacré-Cœur with about 10-15 african men, who surrounded us and wrapped colored thread around my husband’s finger and demanded for a small bill (not change) to let us go! Since we were on high alert, we didn’t lose anything, but I think they wanted to distract us, while others pickpocket or something. Not a pleasant experience, but after this incident, we were ready to be aggressive, if needed, in order not to get into similar situation. Moving on…
We had our last dinner here in Paris at a quintessential Parisian bistro, Le Cafe du Commerce. This three-story restaurant had a cozy atmosphere, friendly staff and absolutely delicious food. We ordered their specialty Limousine beef steak for two. This huge 35-oz steak came with 4 different sauces and bone marrow. Great food, too bad we had no space for dessert.
And finally, I have to mention about our hotel. We had a pleasant stay at First Hotel Paris. Small, clean and elegant, this hotel is conveniently located in the city center. Super close to Eiffel Tower. And metro station was just across the street. Below is the view from our room, peek into our room and hallway.
Our hotel had a breakfast buffet every morning. Unlimited coffee, freshly squeezed juices, wide selection of croissants and bagels, cheese and meats were the reason why we chose to take advantage of their service on more than one occasion. Very convenient.
That is it for today! Hope you enjoyed my photos. See you next Friday for our last travel post. It’ll be about ROME!
Have a great weekend, and thank you for stopping by!