Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paris Panic!

Okay guys. I’m totally spazzing out and simultaneously dropping the ball about our upcoming travel plans. Jonathan wanted to take a ‘low-maintenance’ trip to Paris for his birthday next weekend, and I have been completely procrastinating with planning it out. The only thing I had accomplished by yesterday was booking the flights, a hotel, and boarding for the pups.

My friend Nary stayed at the same hotel that I booked during her own Paris trip last weekend and informed me that they didn’t have air conditioning. My heart dropped. No way can a 7 months preggo lady stay in 85 degree Paris without air conditioning. So we decided to eat the cost of our cancellation fee (110 euros…sheesh) and start from square one on the hotel front.

I managed to find a place (with air conditioning!) last minute, but that’s about all I have at this point. No excursions. No reservations. No ideas. Nothing. And it doesn’t help that my husband doesn’t know squat about Paris. When I asked him what he was most interested in doing while there, he said “I want to see the Eiffel Tower and eat pizza”, which then involved a geography lesson about the different regional foods of Europe. He recanted and said, “I want to see the Eiffel Tower and eat beignets”. Well, at least those are pseudo-french, but I’m not sure Paris is known for this Cajun French delicacy.
I spent 5 days in the city of lights with my parents while I was in college, and we checked off most of the primary must-see tourist sites during our stay, so I’m not filled with a burning urge to see the Mona Lisa again. The one thing we didn’t see that’s still on my bucket list is Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, so I plan on booking a group tour for one afternoon while we’re in the area.
Other than Monet’s gardens and the Eiffel Tower, what are your top Paris sites that can’t be missed? Any favorite neighborhoods you love to stroll? Or cafes with the best coffee? Or restaurants that make your mouth water? Or hey, any pizza joints you recommend? I’m in serious need of inspiration!


  1. Surely you can't go to Paris without making a stop at Notre Dame!!!! Even though you have seen the Mona Lisa do you think Johnathan would want to see the Louvre? The Arch de Triomphe would be nice. Also, a nice dinner cruise down the Sienne would be touristy but nice and romantic. So many things to do in Paris. Why not make a walking trip down the Champs Elysee and stop in at the Louis Vitton store and pick up a bag while there. A nice diaper bag would be pretty chic don't you think? Have fun!! Is this your baby moon??

    1. We will definitely be seeing Notre Dame since it's right by our hotel, and we have plans to climb the Arc de Triomphe on day two. I'll definitely run the LV diaper bag idea by Jonathan and see what he thinks.:)

  2. I second the LV diaper bag :) my husband and I went to Paris in 2008. I can't really remember many of the places we ate. We would just walk around until we found something that looked good. But, I do have two recommendations for you. 1) take the walk up to Sacre Coeur (warning lots of steps) to enjoy the view and I remember they had a farmers market right around the corner which was nice o browse. Then from there you can walk through the area known as Montmartre. It was featured in a book we got titled 24 great walks in Paris. Another great one, and I hope this doesn't sound weird, is the Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise. Yes it is a cemetary, and many famous people are buried here. We were there in October, so the middle of summer may be a different story, but to this day I can remember how beautiful and just how peaceful this cemetary was. The best view of the Eiffel Tower is actually across the Seine from the Palais de Chaillot. If you feel like doing some shopping, you can easily get lost in the famous department store Galleries Lafayette. I love a good bakery, so here is one I wish we would have tried, Poliane. Have lots of fun and can't wait to see your recap of your trip!

    1. Thanks for all the suggestions. I've added Sacre Coeur and Montemarte to our itinerary for Friday. I'm a sucker for a good view, so I definitely want to see the view of the Eiffel tower from Palais de Chaillot.

  3. I've never been, but I find the recommendations on this blog absolutely fantastic, and I am in love with just about everything she writes about ;) I've linked to her blogs that are specifically tagged as Paris http://www.aspiringkennedy.com/search/label/Paris

  4. LOVE PARIS! It's where we got engaged and one of our favorite citites.

    This is where I would recommend going – high level, in no particular order:
    Notre Dame
    The Louvre
    Chateau Versailles (outside of the city but you can take the train very easily, RER C line maybe?? It’s on the metro map for sure)
    Sacre Coeur (best view in Paris other than the top of the Eiffel Tower because it’s on top of the Montmartre high/knoll)
    Moulin Rouge (just to wave and say hi and there's a Metro stop very close to it)
    Eiffel Tower
    River cruise on the Siene (super fun to do at night or during the day, depending on how hot it is during the day)
    Musee d’Orsay
    Champ - Elysees / Arc de Triomphe
    Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter in general - favorite, great eats in this area for sure!

    Link to the metro map: http://parisbytrain.com/files/2008/06/metro.pdf

    Oh and ice cream at Berthillon on the Ile St Louis for sure!! amazing ice cream and not too far from Notre Dame.
    Enjoy and don't stress it's Paris!!

  5. I definitely agree with the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre recommendation - it's my favorite area of Paris. My sister and I ate at this AMAZING hole-in-the-wall crepe restaurant around there as well; I wish I could remember the name, but it was one of the highly rated ones in the Lonely Planet book we had. Unfortunately I had borrowed the book from a friend so I can't look it up now, but if you have one you might find it! A bit of a walk but SO worth it.

    I would also recommend a visit to the Sainte-Chapelle, if you haven't seen it before. It's breathtaking.

    I would actually skip the Louvre, if it's not a must-see on your list, and substitute the Musee d'Orsay instead. It's smaller, and filled with impressionist paintings. It's definitely my favorite museum in Paris, I go there every time. If you do go to the Louvre, don't stand in the line for the pyramid entrance. There are a lot of other entrances around the outside with usually no line.

    Bon Voyage!!

  6. Bonjour Laine,
    I am a French reader of your blog. As it is a very short stay in Paris, I think you should not do too many things: I really agree with the previous comments advising you to visit Notre Dame, Ile Saint Louis, tour en bateau sur la Seine, Montmartre and if you want to visit a museum,the idea of Musée d’Orsay is quite right. If I have well understood your post, you will be in Paris next week end: july the 14th is the Fête Nationale in France (like your 4th july)So it’s a very special week end. There is a military parade on the Champs Elysées, from place de la Concorde to Arc de Triomphe on Sunday morning. It means that you should avoid this part of the city this morning. There will be fireworks at the Tour Eiffel starting around 11PM on Sunday evening: this is something to see. You can watch from the Champ de Mars (it is packed with tourists so don’t try to be too close to the Tower side, maybe you will miss some part of the show if you stay at the back of the garden but it will be easier to move in the end). The show with the tower is wonderful and the theme this year is “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”. One last thing: please, forget about the beignet! There are so many better pâtisseries! For instance, “croissant au beurre” with your morning coffee, only in the morning as the croissant must be absolutely “frais”. My favourite place to have a late “petit déjeuner” or a brunch is Le Café du Rendez Vous at Denfert Rochereau, 14ème arrondissement. But I don’t know if your hotel is far from there… There also are a lot of traditional Boulangeries Pâtisseries making “macarons”: this is a delicious French spécialité. Eating in a Crêperie is also a very good idea. Bon séjour à Paris!
    Tifanny DF