Of all the cities, we were traveling to Paris was definitely the one I was looking forward to the most, I mean it’s PARIS! The city of romance and all things delicious! While Paris was amazing I found it remarkably similar to visit Rome- lots of cool historical things spread out across a very busy city. We arrived after a quick morning train ride from Brussels, checked our bags at the train station, and set off for lunch.
Since it was our first meal in France we obviously had to share a snail appetizer. While I have had snails several times in the past at French restaurants, I’ve never had them served in the shell! There was a small learning curve with using the device to hold the shells but once we figured it out we downed those snails- quite tasty. I had a salad with goat cheese toasts and Pat ordered the bœuf bourguignon aka Beef Burgundy. My salad was delicious and refreshing but Pat’s dish was probably the best thing we ate in the entire trip. Insanely flavorful, words cannot describe…. And I’m not even someone who generally likes beef very much. Our first dining experience was also made by the authenticity of the restaurant- no English, all locals- generally this means amazing food.
After lunch, we hiked up to Sacre Coeur the Basilica in Montmatre. It was pretty and had great views of the city down below. After a few pics we wondered around a bit more and headed over the the AirBnb. Typically, we love staying in AirBnbs (away from the touristy areas) but this was a bit of negative experience, I won’t go into details but feel free to message me. Everything got sorted out that night we headed out to dinner after settling in and relaxing a bit.
Dinner that night was a recommendation from one of Pat’s friend- La Vache et le cuisinier. It was small and quaint and we arrived early enough to not need a reservation. Pat had also been recommended to have the ratatouille, so we started with that and some foie gras since we wanted to imbibe in all the French food. Both dishes were perfection, especially the ratatouille. For our main courses, I went with a fish dish and Pat had stuffed rabbit. The sauces on both really made the dish and while they were both really good the appetizers definitely stole the show.
After dinner, we walked down by Moulin Rouge to check out the scene at night. I’m not really a big musical fan but if I ever go back to Paris I would definitely try to see a show. By now it was slightly after 9 and we were too tired for anything too touristy so we headed to a bar with NFL Red Zone (it was a Sunday) and watched our teams for a bit. Once our games were over (a very disappointing loss from the Steelers but a win for the Eagles) we walked over the Eiffel Tower to snap some night pics. A few days prior to our trip it was announced that Paris will host the 2024 Olympics so they have the 6 rings on display so we snapped some pics there before heading back to the Airbnb.
The next morning, we had a free walking tour booked that started by the St. Michel Fountain. We grabbed breakfast on our way out (quiche and a chocolate croissant) and arrived in time for our tour which had about 15 people from all over the world. During the next two hours, we befriended some of the other tourists including a really nice woman from Liverpool. From the fountain, we headed through the Latin Quarter and over to Notre Dame.
After learning about the beautiful church, we went over the grand palace. Next, we hit up the Louvre and surrounding areas including the Tuileries gardens. Being outside the vast building and hearing about Napoleon’s crazy ruling was my favorite part of the tour. (Overall the tour was informative but Pat and I both said we preferred the Amsterdam tour.)
nce the tour ended in the gardens we grabbed a quick lunch nearby and then went to Angelina. I read a Paris recap on Laura’s blog and decided we had to go here. It was a warmer day but the drinking chocolate just sounded magical, and it was! After a short wait, we got a table and each got a dessert. Pat got a coffee drink and I ordered the famous drinking chocolate. This was such a decadent meal/dessert. So much sweetness and richness in both the desserts and the chocolate. Highly recommend checking this place out even though it was a bit pricey and touristy.
We strolled through the city and grabbed a quick glass of wine before our 4:00pm Eiffel Tower tour. We had reserved a group tour that allowed us to skip the lines and go all the way up to the top. The tour stopped at the 2nd floor first, and the guide pointed out several landmarks and shared some general facts about the tower.
Next, we headed up the highest point to take in more views. (I’ll be honest- there wasn’t a ridiculously large difference between the 3rd floor and 2nd floor). After seeing every side of the city and checking out the inside of the building (including the restaurant- saving a trip there for next time) we made our descent- not a huge fan of these elevators. We stopped at the 2nd floor and looked around the inside and then Pat suggested walking down the rest of the way with a quick stop at the 1st floor. It really is such an interesting piece of architecture. An interesting fact we learned is that it actually was never supposed to be a permanent structure but it was so loved that it stayed.
All that walking and touristing made us hungry so we stopped a highly rated restaurant up the street. We each got a 3-course tasting menu and we both chose to start with soup. Mine was a snail soup and Pat’s had some sort of corn in it but they were both fantastic. For the main course, I got a monkfish dumpling and Pat got some sort of pork dish with roasted endive. For dessert, we shared a cheese course and mango crème brulee. This was the busiest day of our whole trip so by the time we finished dinner we were ready for relaxation and an early bed time.
The next morning, we got up and indulged in another fantastic French breakfast- croissants and quiche FTW, before heading over the the Arc de triomphe. Although we had driven past it a few times already (omg that traffic circle is insane- it’s about 4-5 lanes but with no lane markings) it was so amazing up close and personal. Pro tip- you enter from an underground tunnel marked but not by a huge sign. Under the arch there is the tomb of the unknown soldiers from WWI.
Afterwards we strolled down the infamous shopping street Champs Elysees. Basically, every big name and designer you could think of is located on this street including the (massive) flagship Louis Vuitton store.
We decided to head back to see Notre Dame up close and personal since on our tour the previous day we didn’t get to go inside. After snapping some photos of the beautiful church, we headed to the back to see the buttresses. It was cool how different the back looks from the front.
Declaring ourselves famished it was time to head to lunch. I had several recommendations to go to a standing room only tapas place called L’avant Comptoir This may have been my favorite dining experience in France. With no seats, you stood at the bar and ordered from cards hanging from the ceilings. Starting out with a glass of vino and freshly warmed bread, served with a slab of butter the size of my head for the whole restaurant to share, we turned our attention to ordering. We selected a few small plates to order: beef tartare, calamari, a goat cheese dish, fois gras skewers, an orzo dish, and cold fish based pudding. I know that last dish sounds gross and weird but it was so authentic and both of our favorite dish of the day. Such a fun and delicious lunch!
Properly stuffed we headed over to this cool wine bar I found when researching our trip. It was called Wine Touch and the way it worked was you loaded up a card with money and then put the card into a machine containing the wine and chose the size of the pour from a taste to a glass full. I’m not sure how much we ended up spending (including the bottles we got to go) but we had a great time talking to the owner and learning about the wine regions of France. Of course, we also loved tasting the wine. While we were there I think we planned our next European adventure- hello Burgundy and south France. Highly recommend checking this place out if you don’t get out of Paris to visit an actual winery.
We did a little souvenir shopping and went to back to the room to relax before our dinner reservation. I had discovered via Chelsea’s blog this awesome sounding French restaurant. You chose two adjectives to order and the chef creates a personally tasting menu for you. So cool, right?! Unfortunately, it was restaurant week so the menu at Maguey was a pre-fixe but since the reviews were so fantastic we decided to check it out anyways. It was a very tasty meal including a fun appetizer, a lamb entrée, a cheese course, and then parsley ice cream with mango and sesame. I know that dessert sounds weird but that ice cream was unbelievable!! If you know of herb flavored ice cream in the US please steer me in that direction.
For our grand finale in Paris Pat booked us a nighttime boat ride down the Seine to see the monuments all light up at night. The views were amazing and we could bring wine aboard too. Of course, I ruined the romantic setting by spilling wine on myself not once but twice. Pure class. I guess all that wine tasting earlier had caught up with me because the boat was traveling the speed of a ferry. The boat ended at the Eiffel where we took in some more beautiful night views including the lights show where the tower sparkles. Stunning, I could watch it all night.
The next morning Pat woke with a worsening cold so I let him sleep in and went for a short jog before our long day of travel to Munich. I also checked out the Statue of Liberty replica I had learned about on our tour the day prior which was cool. I’m sure one day I will make it back to Paris but I’m more intrigued to explore some of the countryside.
Have you ever been to Paris?? Have you been to other cities in France?
Stay tuned for my Munich recap!