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Tuesday

Paris, Sweet Romantic Paris

I'm so excited to share our photos from the Paris portion of our trip.  Paris (really France in general) has always had a large place in my heart.  It all started with some French lessons in middle school, and then I took both French and Spanish in high school.  Once I got to college, I decided to major in Spanish, but after completing the courses I needed for my degree, I took more French!  I'm certainly not fluent, but I can get around and fake the accent along with the best of them.  It's really the culture and way of life that I just adore the most.


Our trip started Saturday around 5pm and we flew overnight, landing in Paris around 6:30am their time on Sunday.  I had all the necessities for an easy flight -- noise cancelling headphones, an iPad with books and movies, magazines, and gummy bears.  We slept very little on this flight (me more than Ian) and then hit the ground running when we got in to Charles de Gaulle airport.


Check-in at our hotel wasn't until 2pm, so we stored our luggage with the front desk and did the one thing that I'd heard was totally uncool -- we went to Starbucks.  Yes!  In the land of great cafes, we bypassed them all for the telltale green and black sign.  I think we had a pretty good reason -- free wifi.  We sipped coffee and got our bearings and mapped out a plan.

We first checked out the Metro which everyone had assured me was simple to navigate ... they were definitely correct.  Buying tickets was a bit of a learning process, but by the third day we could purchase Metro tickets with our eyes closed.  We headed to the Arc de Triomphe and were so speechless as we popped up from the Metro stop and saw it in all its glory.



We strolled all around the area and went down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, stopping on a side street to share a sandwich and an Orangina (and a pain du chocolat, of course!) at Paul, a cute little boulangerie-patisserie.  These were scattered all around Paris -- sort of like a local Dean and Deluca, we thought.



After walking around all day, we were very excited to check in to the hotel and refresh.  We even napped for a bit with the windows open, hearing the sounds of Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance.  We stayed at Le Chat Noir Design Hotel which is in Montmartre.  I would highly suggest this area -- we fell in love with it.  Quaint, charming, neighborhoody. Fair warning, it's in a bit of a racy district, so it may not be for everyone, but we thought it was a fun area and we loved the surroundings.



There was also a little market a few doors down where we could pick up some snacks or a bottle of wine to enjoy as we got ready for the evening.


Our first night was so special to me because we went to Cafe des 2 Moulins on Rue Lepic -- the cafe made famous in the movie (and my absolute FAVORITE movie of all time) Amélie.  We had a drink there and I was in absolute heaven, looking around in awe at the very cafe that I've seen appear in that movie half a dozen times.




Afterwards, we strolled the streets (this is where Ian bought me the coral-colored capelet that you'll see in my upcoming Switzerland photos).  We ended up at a small restaurant with an awesome prix-fixe dinner ... easily one of my most favorite meals.  The French onion soup was absolutely incredible, as was the beef bourginon.


Day two for us started off again at Starbucks!  I know, bad bad bad Americans!  More wifi planning ensued and we mapped out our Metro lines to make our way to the Louvre.  We got there by strolling through the Jardin des Tuileries which was just a breathtaking way to start the day.


There was a line to enter the Louvre, but nothing bad -- maybe 15-20 minutes total.  The line is really just to get thru security.  Once cleared, there are several areas to purchase tickets.  The automated machines didn't want to read our cards at first but finally cooperated.





You may know that the Mona Lisa is at the Louvre, and to be quite frank, I thought that portion of the museum was a little disheartening.  You know when you're coming up on it because there are signs everywhere and the noise level increases considerably.  Once there, the crowd was just wild.  It was packed and there are signs everywhere to beware of pickpockets.  It sort of ruined it all for me!  We were only as close as the photo you see below, and the threat of pickpockets was not worth pushing our way to the front.  No thanks.  Still amazing to be in the room as such an acclaimed piece, but it was a shame that most of what I could see was covered by iPhones being held up in the air.


After exploring more of the city and hitting the Champs-Élysées once more, we returned to Montmartre and picked a cafe with outdoor seating and a nice-looking bar tap selection for my beer-drinking husband.  It was a great way to wind down together that afternoon after all of the exploring we did.




Montmartre just had the sweetest little shops that we saw on our walk back to the hotel to rest up and get ready for the evening!  We ended up stopping in one and buying the most decadent truffle olive oil.



After getting read for the evening, we walked up Rue Lepic (had to snag another photo with my beloved cafe!) and headed up the hill towards Sacré-Cœur.  This basilica was so pretty to me but I heard mixed reviews from the French -- I think some consider it to be a bit too much?  It provides an excellent view of the city and was a fun walk.




On our way back down, there was the most adorable outdoor cafe with live music.  It was definitely worth a stop in -- the location was prime for people-watching and just soaking up the French way of life!


As the evening went on, another trip to Cafe des 2 Moulins was inevitable.  Can you tell I'm obsessed with that place?!

I also met a new French friend.  Hey, when in Paris, do as the Parisians do!


Tuesday was our last full day in Paris, and it was a special one -- our two year wedding anniversary.

Another chilly and dreary day was ahead of us.  You can see from the outfits below that it was not gorgeous, warm weather.  I was having to get really creative with my outfits.  Several of the items I packed were just not going to work in that weather.


We made our way to Notre Dame, grabbing some crêpes en route to serve as our breakfast.  Ian went with ham and cheese -- I chose Nutella and banana.  Still dreaming of that one.






The cathedral was awe-inspiring. Afterwards, we wandered around some neighboring arrondisements and popped in and out of little shops along the way.








At that point, it was time to return to the hotel to get ready for our big anniversary evening.  We had some really fun plans which I will post about tomorrow!  

After that activity, we were given a perfect dinner recommendation for our anniversary.  The restaurant is close to the Eiffel Tower and it's called Au Petit Sud-Ouest.  The only item on the menu is duck!  That's right -- duck in many different versions (and spectacular versions, if I may add).


I went with the cassoulet, which was just darling as it was served in its own pot.  White beans, duck, sausage, oh my word it was perfection.



We caught the Metro back to our hotel, stopping in front of Moulin Rouge on the way as it was just a block away from Le Chat Noir.


I have so, so many wonderful memories of Paris. I truly hope to return one day.  It was everything I expected and more.  And although Ian wasn't gung-ho about the Paris portion of our trip at first, he really enjoyed our time there.  What an awesome surprise that was.  :)

Tomorrow's post is going to be a fun one ... and then on to Switzerland we go!

36 comments:

  1. Gosh your photos and your experience of Paris reminds me of why I want to visit so badly! With an English husband, we really must make the trip across the chunnel one time while we are back visiting his family. Hope you had a great time!

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  2. Wow, what an amazing few days! This helps me get a feeling for what Paris is like. It seems best just to wonder around and see what we come upon. I haven't planned a lick of Paris so do you think this is okay?!

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  3. Loved reading this!!! My dad and I spent 2 weeks traveling around Europe a few years ago. Totally agree with you, wasn't that impressed with the Louvre!

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  4. I've only just discovered your blog, and love it already!
    Your Paris pictures look great, and I admit that I let out a little scream when noticing that you went to Au Petit Sud Ouest! I went there when I went to Paris with my boyfriend and we literally tell EVERYONE about it - one of my favourite meals ever!

    Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

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  5. It looks amazing! How romantic to be in Paris on your anniversary. I've heard about the pick pockets at the Louvre, and it's so disheartening. I love that you went to the cafe in Amelie; that's a great movie and one of my favorites too!

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  6. So awesome and all your outfits look so good in pictures. (yes, i'm a weirdo blogger and think about what to wear for blog pics.. except when camping ;) )
    Our friends here in Charlotte moved to Paris today to live for a year. Yep, they're taking a year sabbatical and living with their 2 kids there for a year! delight!

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  7. Looks like you had an amazing start to your trip! I went to the Lourve about 8 years ago in the summer and the crowds were nothing like that by the Mona Lisa! What a zoo!!

    I cannot wait to read all your reviews...we're still planning our Euro trip for late Sept! I'll have to pick your brain for the best of the best.

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  8. oh I just had a great idea...when you're done posting your whole trip, I'd love to see a Top 2 or 3 of your must dos (besides the typical touristy stuff) for each city!

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  9. Magnifique! Even having lived for a few weeks on the Cote d'Azur in high school, somehow Paris has never been up there on my list of "MUST SEE" places. JM vehemently disagrees and is trying to get me there sooner than later. I love your style though - try and be as local as possible. That's always my travel philosophy! It's the best way to see the 'real' place you're visiting!

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  10. Magnifique! Even having lived for a few weeks on the Cote d'Azur in high school, somehow Paris has never been up there on my list of "MUST SEE" places. JM vehemently disagrees and is trying to get me there sooner than later. I love your style though - try and be as local as possible. That's always my travel philosophy! It's the best way to see the 'real' place you're visiting!

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  11. Have never been to Paris, which is crazy because I lived in Europe for 8 months! Can't wait to read about the rest of your trip

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  12. Your trip looks so wonderful. And really makes me realize I need to go somewhere in Europe with the husband before we have a baby one day! I've been to Italy, France and Spain. But was not close enough to Paris to visit :(. Plus we stayed in Hostels because I was younger and I certainly did not look photo ready in any of my photos!! Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!

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  13. the trip looks amazing! And it seems like you guys navigated everything like pros! We'll take a couple's trip to Europe one of these days...for sure!

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  14. my dear!! this sounds like a trip of a lifetime and i am bookmarking this post for whenever we are able to make it to paris...everything you mentioned is right up our alley mrs. tour guide ;)

    so happy yall had a wonderful time and LOVE the pics

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  15. What a great way to spend your second anniversary! I love that you were so into that cafe from Amelie! Isn't Paris AMAZING?! Okay, I am off to rent Midnight in Paris for like the 100th time. Can't wait to see more pics!

    P.S. You are radiating Happiness in every picture!

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  16. oh my gosh yall are so freaking cute! I am sort of obsessed about your trip already! CANNOT wait to see these Eiffel Tower pics :)

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  17. Looks like such a wonderful trip and HAPPY 2 years! xx

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  18. Looks like such a wonderful trip and HAPPY 2 years! xx

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  19. You two are so cute!
    Love love love your pics!!
    We went to Paris on our Honeymoon 7 yrs ago and I can not wait to make it back:)

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  20. Your trip looks amazing!

    Makes me miss Paris!

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  21. Looks like a wonderful experience! I would love to visit Paris one day!

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  22. Looks wonderful! I have been following your blog for awhile now and am amazed that my husband and I were in Paris at the same time! You could spend a year in Paris and still not totally cover all the fun things!

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  23. Ah!!! It is so neat to read your recaps because my husband and I were there literally DAYS before y'all!!! Our 1 yr anni was 5/12

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  24. Sounds like you had an amazing trip! I went to Paris when I was much younger (like 13) with my family but I remember visiting a lot of the same places you went to! Brings back lots of memories. Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

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  25. Gorgeous photos. You look so cute in each pic and truly looking like you both are having the time of your life! What an amazing trip. I'm definitely one jealous girl! :)

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  26. Your trip looks absolutely amazing!!! What a blast :) I am dying to go to Paris!

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  27. Crazy! We went to the same duck restaurant while we were in Paris last week. It was delicious! The hubby said his tasted more like steak than duck. I went with a mushroom salad and had many pieces of bread from the toaster :)

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  28. Your trip looked like so much fun! Y'all look like you fit in perfectly! I can't wait to read more about your European adventure!

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  29. While the City of Lights is impressive, I always love post that show how in love you two are! Sweet happy couples just melt my heart:)

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  30. My husband has been to Paris before and we are just dying to go back! These photos definitely don't help, haha. You two are seriously such a gorgeous couple!

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  31. Paris is my favorite city! Your recap brought me back there, which was fabulous for a Wednesday morning. Amelie is also my favorite movie, so it was fun to see the Cafe des 2 Moulins. Can't wait for your next recaps!

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  32. What a great trip! When I went to Paris a few years back, I also stayed in and fell in love with Montmartre. It is a charming place.

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  33. I love this post - reminds me so much of our honeymoon 3 years ago now! You are def making me want to back LIKE NOW! So glad yall had such a wonderful time - such a special place!

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  34. What a great trip. I totally understand the need for wifi.

    Great recap.

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  35. I love all your photos!! What a great time. Reminds me so much of our trip to Paris a few months ago. And how badly I want to go back :)

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