Weekender: Paris for Valentine’s Day

For my first post, I wanted to retroactively review my beginning-of-the-year adventure. By Valentine’s Day—aka only a month and a half in—I was already itching for another break post-Christmas, so I took advantage of the conveniently placed President’s Day long weekend following V-Day. I love to travel, and luckily get to more than most. It may sound nerdy, but there is nothing I love more than exploring a new city and learning the culture, history and landscape. With Paris, there is nowhere more romantic, so it has always been a bucket-list getaway for me. I have been several times before and keep going back because it encompasses so many things that I love: chocolate croissants, gorgeous architecture, fashion, and the list goes on and on. So, I grabbed my boyfriend, Leigh, and we booked a short-long-weekend stay in a fabulous Airbnb with exquisite porch views and a cozy ambiance.

We took off on a Friday around 1pm, landed at the Charles de Gaulle Airport around 6:30am Saturday morning and then took a short Uber into the city (which are actually super easy to use over there). When we arrived, it was right after Paris had had a bad stint of flooding, so parts of the Metro were still shut down making Uber an easy (but not the cheapest) way to get around. TIP* You’ve been warned: Landing early sounded like a great idea to get the day started early since we were only going to be there  for a short period of time, but nothing opens until almost 9am. Plan accordingly!*

My Mark & Graham suitcase was a birthday gift from my parents because my old carryon was so beat up. I got my navy Anthropologist edition Steamline vanity luggage during their sale, which is perfect for carrying things you don’t wan’t broken like perfume, iPads, cameras, etc. since it is a hard case.

First stop was to the apartment to drop our bags, freshen up and then head out to explore. We didn’t really have a plan, so we set out to find the hop-on hop-off city bus tour we booked with Big Bus Paris that hit all of the major spots and acted as a free ride, which was perfect since Leigh recently injured his foot and was in a walking boot. Also, while our apartment was picturesque and in a great neighborhood (the outskirts of Le Marais/Bastille), it was a little far out for walking to the 1st Arr where most of the tourist attractions/landmarks are. While it was a little far out, the concierge service was very accommodating and met us “early” in the morning to let us in so we could get started with our day.

We started at the cutest, tiny latte and beauty bar, Glow on the Go! ($), for an avo toast and a matcha latte for sustenance and caffeine—both of which we needed badly thanks to jet lag—and then headed to Notre Dame. We had so much fun strolling through the cobble-stone streets lingering along the Seine on the way there that were filled with adorable cafes and Vespas. Once we arrived, we hopped in the incredibly long line to enter the church, but they did a fabulous job of keeping it moving and cycling people in and out—It took us maybe 15 minutes to get in without a guided or audio tour. Next, we hopped on the Big Bus and road around for about an hour to an hour and a half listening to the history and stopping at Musee D’Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, Champs de Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, and then popping off at the Louvre next to the Tuileries Garden to stroll around a bit. Leigh isn’t big into art, so we mainly stopped by the museums to see them and kept on our way. Adjacent to the Tuileries Gardens is a superb souffle restaurant called Le Souffle (ingenious, right?). We were starved because we had only been snacking on chocolate croissants and espressos throughout the day. When I say the souffle is to-die-for, I mean it. Not only was it impressive to look at (larger than my head!), but the consistency and texture were perfect. Leigh ordered a blue liquor drink that was known as some sort of French delicacy and I got an Aperol Spritz because, why not? Then we headed back to the Airbnb for a quick nap and freshening up for dinner.

At the end of the first day, we were pooped. But the best was yet to come. That night we went to dinner at Monsieur Bleu ($$$$) which is known for the best Eiffel Tower dinner views—and they right. We got dropped off across the Seine by the Eiffel Tower and walked across Lovers Bridge to the restaurant that resides in the Palace de Tokyo. We timed it perfectly so we could see the sun set on the way there, and it was a gorgeous blue-sky day so we got very lucky that the night was clear too, allowing for a glowing sunset. If you haven’t ever been to Paris, you may not know that the Eiffel Tower sparkles the first five minutes of every hour, which some people think is hokey but I LOVE it. Sparkles have always been my thing: whether it was the reflection of the sun on the water or diamonds in a pair of earrings, I love it all. Seeing it as the sun was setting and into the darker night sky was truly magical. So romantic!

The next day we woke up very slowly, it took us a minute to get going because of the time change, but then we had a delicious breakfast within walking distance from our apartment at East Mama (known for their pizza—yum!). It was bumping’ with the late night crowd, so we knew it had to be good because we were in a more “local” area. We got a good chuckle out of the wait staff who were all wearing NY Yankees ball caps.

Once our bellies were full we were on our way to the Opera House! When I was little, the movie Phantom of the Opera scared me so badly that I didn’t even want to go in the first time I visited Paris. It’s safe to say that I got over it because now it is one of my all-time favorite places to visit. It is so beautiful and you are instantly transported back-in-time every time you walk into it. It’s definitely on my bucket list to go back and attend a performance! Next we were off to Montmartre via the good ole Big Bus. It has two routes, one that hangs around in town and hits all of the main tourist attractions and then another that heads a little further out of town and drops you off near Sacré-Cœur. We had some pretty magical, action-packed days, but this little jaunt was definitely my favorite. It is somewhat of a hike up a hill from the Red Light District (where the Moulin Rouge and gentleman’s lounges are), but it is so worth it. The view of the city is breathtaking, and luckily we got there right as the sun was setting. It can get PACKED, more so than any of the in-town attractions, so don’t get scammed by one of the tourist-shop owners on your way up if you want to get something to eat or to buy. We then followed a side path up to Montmartre where there is an adorable square filled with local artists and brasseries, and conveniently right next to where we were having dinner just a couple blocks away at Pink Mama. We also stumbled upon the cutest pink chateau.

 The next day, we regretfully woke up and flew back home. Taking off around 9am Paris time and landing around 4pm Atlanta time. What a fun trip! For those of you thinking, “Three days isn’t enough for a hop across the pond.” —You’re right; It left us wanting more and wishing we could have just stayed longer. But, you’re also wrong in the sense that it was a perfect getaway and didn’t leave us broke, and did make us appreciate the opportunity, even if only for a (very) short time. I highly recommend you stretch your wanderlust-stricken legs and try it out. For now, that’s all. Until next time, Parîs.

Xx,

Betty G.

P.S. If you have any questions about our trip more in-depth, please reach out!

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