Paris Travel Guide
Back in November after Thanksgiving dinner my boyfriend started driving towards a direction that wasn’t home. I knew we were going on a short trip, but the destination was unknown to me. He instructed me to pack a bag with warm clothes. How non-descriptive right? Thank goodness I had my best friend, who knew the destination, at hand to tell me to not bring my Columbia jacket and instead my camel pea coat. PHEW.
As we pass the first airport sign in Baltimore, Josh hands me a gift bag. I’m the most anxious person in the world. I didn’t take the news well that I wasn’t going to know my final destination until moments before arrival at the airport. I opened the bag and inside was a tour guide-book of Paris. Because I know Josh, I assumed it was a joke and we were headed towards Paris, Arkansas, or something he would find hilarious. It took about 10 minutes of pure confusion for him to convince me, we were in fact on our way to a flight that would take us all the way to the most romantic city in the world. (WHO DOES THIS?!!?) –Josh, apparently.
I was apprehensive about sharing a “travel guide” of my trip to Paris because it was such a personal trip for me. I tried my best to stay in the moment and soak in every single second while we were there. As a blogger, I constantly am taking photos and notes of places in order to share, but this trip was a little different for me. I brought only my cell phone around and didn’t write down a single restaurant that we went to. (I don’t regret it either!)
But after crowd-sourcing on Instagram and sharing a ton of snaps I took from my phone, I thought I could put together a little something for those who want to hop on the crazy train and take a trip like we did.
We took a red-eye from BWI on WOW Air and had a short layover in Iceland, which is now on my bucket list to visit for its own trip. We arrived in Paris early morning on a Friday and took the train down to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris. Josh had planned out the flight and accommodations and let me dog ear the places I wanted to go from my tour book while I was on the flight. We stayed at the hotel – Le Bellechasse Saint Germain, and it was INCREDIBLE. Josh’s intention was to find a “super french” hotel to really get the Paris vibe. Boy did he do well! Every room was designed differently and beautiful. Floor to ceiling window doors that open to the streets of Paris. We could see the river from our window!
We didn’t have a real itinerary, we just had things we HAD to see. With 48 hours (give or take) we knew we couldn’t see EVERYTHING, but boy did we try!
Eiffel Tour – I have to be honest, I knew Josh was proposing on this trip. I’m not an idiot. We have been dating for 6 years and he was taking me on a spontaneous trip to Paris. I told him on the flight over that I didn’t want to be the cliché that gets engaged by the Eiffel Tower….and then I saw the Eiffel Tower in person and I think I nearly begged him to ignore my previous statement. It is absolutely breathtaking in the day light and even more magical at night.
Arc de Triomphe Paris – This was a must for Josh. It is in the middle of a traffic circle and to be completely honest, we still never figured out how to get up close to go under the arc. But that didn’t matter, it was still amazing to look at from across the street!
Louvre – This was also a must for both of us. I have always wanted to see the Mona Lisa, so it was a dream come true. I recommend going as early as you can in the morning. We were one of the first people in the museum because we were told the line gets insane! We picked a few things we REALLY wanted to see and didn’t spend the hours upon hours you probably could spend there. But I do recommend the Medieval Louvre. It is the original walls that were in place before it became what is it today and I don’t know why, but both of us were absolutely in awe of being to up close to such beautiful history.
Place Vendôme – After a morning of shopping on Rue St Honore where I purchased my favorite new perfume from Fragonard Parfumeur (sense of smell is such a strong trigger for memories. Josh mentioned weeks later that he noticed the perfume I was wearing was the same one I wore when he proposed.) Back to the point, we found our way to the Place Vendome where the Vendôme Column was placed by Napoleon I. It was Christmas time so Christmas trees lined the square it was a great view.
Champs-Élysées – This was by far my favorite part I think. We were lucky enough to have been there during their Christmas market. The avenue was lined with vendors (even a champagne house!). We ate and drank and shopped and just took in all of Paris.
I wish I could give you the “must visit” restaurants and cafe’s, but I can’t. Not only because every single place is absolutely incredible. But also because we went to probably close to a dozen places in 2 days and didn’t take notes of each one. Which made the trip that much more magical. We wandered to the places we wanted to see, with no time line, stopped and had an espresso then stopped when we saw another cafe we wanted to stop at and had a glass of wine and snacks, and did this OVER and OVER again. It was the most fun I have ever had in my life. To not have access to Yelp and judge every place by its reviews and stars and schedule out our meals and visits, but to just wander
This trip itself was pure magic. The spontaneity and adventure were enough to put me on cloud 9…then came the proposal. We had walked around since delivering our bags from the airport from our red-eye flight. We had eaten and drank and toured our way through, what seemed, all of Paris. We had already saw the Eiffel Tour during the day time and were on our walk back to the hotel. We had crossed the cutest little pedestrian bridge right in front of the Eiffel Tower while it was lit up at night and we pulled to the side of the river to take in the day. As we walked away from that spot and back to the hotel he grabbed my hand and got down on one knee. I’ll never forget that moment or this entire trip!