We started out our European adventure in Paris, which was beyond all expectations I had for it. After flying for about 15 plus hours, through the night, and feeling a little ragged…the jet lag was real. BUT, everyone I talked to told me it was best to just stay up and soldier through until it was night there, so that is just what we did. I for sure think that it helped us to get adjusted.
We ended up staying in an AirBNB in Le Marais, which we learned later is considered one of the quarters where the fashion/art students live. It has such a cool vibe, and it felt really safe. It just so happened that this tiny bakery was right next to where we were staying. I’d had a lot of people tell me to try the almond croissants while we were there, and to try and find the chocolate ones if possible. We decided to wander into this little bakery, unaware at that point that there are bakeries on every single corner. I saw that they had the almond croissants, but had already sold out of the chocolate ones. We decided to split one, just to see if it was good. It is probably in the list of top 10 best things I’ve ever had. We devoured it, and ended up going to back to this bakery every single day we had in paris. The next morning i tried the chocolate croissant for breakfast, and it blew my mind. The name of the bakery is Willy’s Boulangerie. The croissants are called “ Pains chocolate amandes.” Get them.
Let me just say that we made it a point to try a lot of different pastries while we were there, and nothing could beat the croissants from Willy’s.
That night, despite our jet lag, we had planned to do a night bike tour of Paris. This is another thing I’d %100 recommend. It was so helpful doing it the first day because we got to see a lot of the major landmarks up close, we were able to experience some of the city, the night tour made a stop at Berthillion’s Ice Cream (amazing), and you end on a boat cruise down the Seine. It’s pretty dreamy.
On the bike tour we saw the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, the love lock bridge (although there are no longer locks on it), we rode past Saint Chappelle, past the ferris wheel, and by a lot of other museums and buildings I can’t remember now…My family told me this was a MUST, and I was so glad we listened. Do it. We did it through Fat Tire Tours, & I’d highly recommend them. We met some others who had done their daytime bike tours, and they said they were awesome as well, so I’d highly recommend them!
The next day we took the train to Versailles. This was probably one of my favorite things we did in Paris. Versailles is HUGE. If you are planning on going there, plan on spending at least half a day there. It is amazing. Explore the palace, because it’s gorgeous. The hall of mirrors is unreal. Whatever you do, do NOT skip the gardens. Marie Antoinette’s gardens were the best part of the grounds.
They have a Lauderee’s on the grounds of Versaille, as well as an Angelina’s. We got some macaroons at Lauderee’s, which were delicious! The shop itself is so darling. We were planning on going to Angelina’s for dinner, but it closes early there, so be aware of that if you have the same plan. We didn’t ever make it to Angelina’s, but if you do, I hear the hot chocolate is out of this world.
Also, if you are interested in seeing the Paris Temple, know that it is right by Versailles. So, see it while you’re there!
Just another note, if you want some delicious macaroons, but don’t want to pay the price they are at Lauderee’s, they have some amazing macaroons at all of the McDonalds in Paris. I know that sounds weird, but they are pretty bomb.
Some other places we hit while we were in Paris…
Sainte Chapelle – This was probably one of my favorite buildings we saw the entire trip. This is a quick stop, and is worth every minute. The stained glass windows are out of this world. It’s beautiful.
The Louvre – We actually just saw this from the outside, & didn’t end up going in. We rode our bikes around it at night, and it was delightful. Even if you aren’t going to go in and see the artwork, go walk around outside. It’s stunning.
Arc De Triomphe – Climb up into it. Worth it. The view from the top of the Arc is so amazing. You have a 360 view of all of Paris. It’s pretty legit.
Notre Dame – We didn’t actually end up going in to Notre Dame because the line was insanely long, but walking around the grounds was amazing. It’s such a beautiful building! Something you for sure have to see.
Shakespeare & Company Bookstore – This book store is absolutely the cutest thing ever. If you purchase a book, they will stamp it saying you bought it there. It’s right next to Notre Dame, so stop in if you are close!
Sacre Coeur – Getting here is about a 25-30 min ride on the metro because it is on the edge of the city, but it was the most incredible view of paris. The basillica itself is incredible to look at, but you are at the top of the hill in Paris, and can see over everything. It’s breath taking. It’s an awesome place to sit, and chill on the steps and take it all in. SO worth going here. I’d totally recommend it.
The Catacombs – I didn’t really know what to expect with the catacombs, but it was really cool. You get to walk the tunnels of Paris underground, which is lined with the bones of over 6 million bodies that died during the time of the plague, & the french revolution. It’s pretty cool!
Disneyland Paris – We actually didn’t plan on going here initially, but because we had a change in our plans we decided to do so. It was super fun. It is definitely different from Disneyland in America. It’s smaller. BUT, it’s still fun! It’s cheaper to get into, and they have two parks you can go to. They have some rides that are different than the ones in America. If you have spare time in Paris, it is a really fun place to see. However, if you are trying to hit as much as you can in a little bit of time, I wouldn’t put this at the top of your priority list. Also, one thing I LOVE about Disneyland/Disneyworld is the food experience. I think that is part of what makes it so fun & magical. The ice cream, the special mickey treats, etc. This is not a big thing at Disneyland in Paris. The food options are actually pretty slim, and not that great. You may want to bring some of your own food, or buy some baguettes & crepes before you go to take in with you.
Crepe a Ding – There are a million places to get crepes in Paris, and I’m sure a lot of them are the same. We had a lot that were so-so. However, this place was BOMB. The owner is super fun. If you can beat him in connect 4, you get your food for free. If you don’t, you get your picture taken for the, “wall of losers.” There are all sorts of different combos. I had the banana nutella crepe, because it’s my favorite. Whit got one that had white chocolate, pears, raspberries, and speculous. It’s a super fun, hip place. They serve the crepes HOT and fresh. So good.
Ober Mama – This was an AMAZING italian restaurant. When we ate there we actually saw that there are 4 connecting restaurants all over Paris, so you may want to look that up as well. It took us two tries to get in here because it fills up QUICK. We got there right when it opened, and got in. I think they may have taken reservations. The pizza there was awesome, the salad I had was delicious, & the desserts all looked unreal.
Au Petit Grec – This would be the other crepe place that I’d ABSOLUTELY tell you to go to. We stood in line for an hour here. It’s a tiny little place that you order and take away, or eat at their little bar stools. If you go here, I’d recommend getting both a savory, & a sweet crepe. The savory crepes have meat/cheese/egg/veggies. The sweet ones were pretty normal as far as what goes in them, but they were so good. I think if you go here a bit earlier the line isn’t quite so long.
Gaston’s – This was Whitney’s favorite place we ate. She ordered the Croque Monsier, which is a typical french meal. It’s like a ham & cheese panini. She had hers with an egg on top, and she also loved their hot chocolate. I had french onion soup there, which was good. This place is right by Notre Dame as well.
La Brioche Doree – I actually saw these around Paris, but didn’t eat here until we were leaving the Paris airport. They have a selection of baguettes stuffed with different things, and then they pop them into the oven to make it into warm/melty goodness when you order it. I had a sandwich with ciabatta, tomato, mozzarella, & basil. It was out of this world. I don’t know why I thought it was so good…but it was SO GOOD. So, If you are looking for a quick bite in paris that isn’t as expensive, stop at one of these spots. Whitney also had an eclair from here that she loved.
Paul’s – I had a lot of people tell me to try stuff from Paul’s. It’s a bakery chain that they have everywhere. I wasn’t a huge fan of everything I tried. I think my chocolate croissant from Willy’s was just hard to beat. 😉
Berthillions – I mentioned this was on our bike tour. The ice cream here is amazing!! I had the chocolate and the salted caramel, and I loved both of them! The people with us said that this place claims to have the, “best ice cream in the world.” I don’t know if I’d go there…but, it was good!
I’m sure I am leaving out some details, but the truth is you really just can’t go wrong. Paris really is just so incredible. I can’t wait to go back!!