Recently I returned from my whirlwind trip to Paris, Barcelona, and Rome. I've been wanting to visit these places ever since I can remember and even though the trip was tiring, I'm so glad I did.
Even though it was a lot in a little amount of time, I'm glad that I did as much as I did! I may never make it back to Europe and I didn't need a lot of time to feel like I "explored", so being able to see a lot was perfect for me and if I ever do make it back to Europe, I would do the same thing again.
I was going to include everything in one post, but after typing it all out and adding in my pictures I realized it's a little much and I'll just do one city at a time. So here is what I did on my trip to Paris!!
Paris day 1
After an overnight flight we arrived in Paris on November 4th in the morning. After finding my group members (sister and cousin) we checked into the hotel, freshened up, and started our day. We got a snack at a little bakery attached to our hotel and that was my first impression of bakeries in Paris. They were cute, small, and oh so yummy.
With croissants in hand, we explored Montmartre, a neighborhood near our hotel that had shops, cafes, cool buildings, and more bakeries. French people treat their baked goods like works of art and it's so cool to look at them.
We did so many turns throughout this neighborhood that we ended up getting lost and had an adventure getting back to our hotel. Our hotel wasn't on the street maps and the people we tried to ask didn't speak English. We eventually got back to our hotel because a sweet lady walked us back to it. What's this now about French people being rude?
Once we found our hotel we looked up places for supper and ended up eating at a local cafe down the street. I got homemade lasagna and espresso. We went on a late walk and got some cappuccino, and it was so yummy! Coffee shops are not sit-and-do-your-homework type things...they are full, boisterous, and with people dressed to the nines! It was some really yummy cappuccino.
After that we called it a night, though sleeping was a little difficult with the jet lag.
Paris day 2
We started the day with complimentary breakfast in our hotel. I was pretty impressed. They had many croissants and baked goods, cheese & meat, fruit, and a free cappuccino and espresso machine! Best believe we took advantage of that 😉
After being fueled up for the day and after visiting a flea market, we saw the Arc De Triomphe and shopped on Champs-Élysées. We had lunch in a restaurant off the boulevard and got to sit on the top floor overlooking the street!
From Champs-Élysées we walked to the Eiffel Tower and on the way saw the Seine River. Though it might sound stupid, the Eiffel Tower was way bigger than I thought it'd be! I guess in all the pictures it's far away and you don't really know the size until you're standing right next to it.
There weren't many tourists in the park surrounding the tower, so we were able to sit for a bit eating crepes from a crepe cart.
From the Eiffel Tower we ventured over to La Grand Epicerie. That is probably the biggest and coolest supermarket you'll ever see! I would have loved to bring back lots of food, but I settled on some cool soaps instead.
It was already dark at this time and I was ready to call it a day. I was just kicking myself because I brought an already heavy bag, then filled it with heavy stuff (hey, I wanted to be prepared) and carried it around all day! I was all concerned about sensible footwear but I didn't even think about sensible purse wear 😉 I tried to pay my cousin and sister to carry it around for me but that didn't work....darn.
Paris day 3
Last full day and we spent the morning at the Louvre. It was the only free admission day for the month and the line was soo packed. We almost didn't go, but the line moved pretty quickly and we were able to go in! It's an overwhelming amount of things to look at, but if you're a huge art and museum person, then that place is for you.
After the Louvre we went to Angelina, which is reportedly the most famous hot chocolate and old time celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn called it their favorite place. I can see why it's so famous..it's beautiful and ritzy inside. The hot chocolate was good, though it was like drinking melted chocolate, so you kind of felt sick if you had too much. Maybe balance it out with some good vegetables 😉
We did some shopping at Rue Saint-Honoré, but strangely all places were closed on Sunday so we did some window shopping. Which is actually a pretty cool thing in Paris because they dress up their window displays and everything looks different in a new place so it was cool to see. Some people were getting their Christmas decorations out and I was really excited 🙂
After grabbing supper, we did lots of walking and looking at stuff. I feel like that's one of the best ways to get a feel for a city! Even though my feet and back were barking for a massage (nice going big purse!), it was a great time in Paris exploring a new, iconic city.
-Flea market. I got some vintage scarves but also some newer items as well. I wish I bought more there because the clothes were so cheap!
-Cappuccino at Cafe Flore. So yummy!
-The breakfast at our hotel. I think I should make cheese, meat, and bread a daily occurrence!
-Walking around exploring the city and finding cool things such as a band playing on the steps.
-People said that Parisians were rude and I didn't necessarily find that to be the case. We were obviously American but made the effort to speak our little french, and I found most people to be kind and understanding.
-I assumed there would be lots of cafes because that's what you think of when you think of Paris, but there are so many cafes. On every street, sometimes two in a row. How do they all stay in business?
-They don't have lids on their to-go cups. They weren't next to the cups at the hotel, and when I got a coffee to-go at a stand, no lid was offered to me. The total opposite here in America. Either I was supposed to ask or maybe Americans are always in a rush and Parisians discourage being on the go?
-When eating out, we were rarely given our check. We would wait and wait...maybe even up to a half hour after clearly being done. My sister actually fell asleep waiting. Our waiter even sat down for his supper at a table next to us. We eventually had to ask. Maybe that's what we're supposed to do but I hope that wasn't rude!
-I thought just because we were in Paris the food would automatically be good. Maybe I didn't eat at all the right places, but I wasn't particularly wowed. I did like the baked goods and gelato though!
Overall a great time!
Stay tuned for the Barcelona post soon!