The week before our flight to Paris, the weather couldn’t seem to make up its mind which made for an interesting packing and planning process. That is, we were prepared… to wing it. So imagine our surprise when, instead of a wash out, we had a radiantly glowing city until ten o’clock every night, captivating our already enamored hearts the way only Paris can.
In the al fresco capital of the world, that’s all you need. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever make it to Paris the first time around, and now I was headed there for my third. It was about to be my first Paris springtime and Alex’s first time flying out of the country altogether (seriously!), so we were beyond excited on so many levels.
What brought us to Paris was primarily a family affair. My sister had been living in Paris for almost a year and was graduating with her Master’s. We were determined not to miss the event, nor pass up the opportunity to see the city with our very own Parisienne.
We stayed in Le Marais district close to Hotel de Ville in an A La Carte Paris apartment (a local apartment share site), close to the action and apparently a very desirable neighborhood among the locals. We were welcomed with a bottle of wine and local chocolates and awoke to the smell of freshly baked pastries and espresso from the boulangerie downstairs. You bet I had a flaky, buttery croissant for breakfast every day. We were hooked. There are worse ways to start the morning if you ask me.
Getting around by walking, the metro, or the RER was incredibly easy. It allowed us to maximize our time in Paris with plenty of room for family get-togethers, day trips, and spontaneous moments – everything that we had hoped for this trip and then some. We explored our neighborhood plenty, which was an easy walk to Centre Pompidou, Notre Dame, and Sainte Chapelle (one of my faves!) and an easy distance from the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens. Obviously, viewing the Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars and from Trocadero are a must, both during the day and at night. Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe can be a nice walk with shopping stops. For a bit of a trip, Montmartre and Sacre Coeur takes very little effort, while Versailles and Giverny are well worth the journey for a day or two. As a bonus, the French Open started its qualifying week while we were there. Making it to Roland Garros was one thing off my bucket list and now I’ll always remember it as the same year that Rafa won his 10th French Open. Wish we could have seen him too, but perhaps another time.
Really, I could go back to all the major tourist attractions and my favorite spots in Paris over and over and over again and still feel like there’s never enough time to soak it all in. Spending hours waiting in long lines everywhere didn’t seem like the greatest use of our time or it could have been motivating to get museum passes in the colder months. Because of how nice the weather was that week, we couldn’t peel ourselves away from roaming the streets of Paris during the day and winding down with a bottle of wine along the Seine with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower light show at night.
I’d say the best part to come out of this trip is Alex’s newfound (love) appreciation for all things French. I’m trying to ride this wave and get ourselves back there ASAP.
What’s your must-do/favorite part about Paris? I’ll share my recommendations combining my Paris experiences in its own post soon, including some perfect al fresco opportunities you have to try. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or check out the Official Paris Tourist Office website and the Consulate General of France in Boston for my fellow Boston residents out there. Feel free to link up with your post or favorite related links in the comments as well!
Thanks for reading!