Day One of Paris brought me into the airport around noon, where I zipped off to L’Hôtel Fabric before going out to conquer the city of love. This simply elegant space is the perfect place to unwind after a twelve mile walk around Paris (quite literally), with scheduled massages and much needed espresso and french cookies.
My sister and I had the ideal location, being only a right and left turn away from Metro 9, linking us to the sights such as le tour eiffel, Notre Dame, the River Seine, and Galaries LaFayette while also within walking distance of countless boutiques, boulangeries et pattisseries, café’s of both formal and casual, and countless other attractions.
- A note on the Metro: for those of you who haven’t experienced the Paris metro system, it will quickly become your best friend!! First thing you need is a Book of Tickets. This will give you ten, one-way metro trips for about twelve to fourteen euro. This really beats a cab or walking in terms of time and money. Just… Make sure you’re going in the right direction before you get too far… First hand experience talking here.
To start off three packed days of breathtaking views, we strolled along the picturesque cobbled streets to the Notre Dame – make sure you have a map of some sort. I was lucky enough to have purchased an international travel plan so I was able to access Google Maps so I only got turned around once or twice. I walked by Notre Dame in awe, but those who are interested in viewing the interior are recommended to reserve tickets a day or two in advance to secure an expedited line cut (believe me, it is worth the extra effort. The tourist line was multiple blocks long.)
With an omelette across from the cathedral paired with some sparkling water, my french adventure was off to a remarkable start!
Then it was just meandering about Paris, taking far too many pictures of the Eiffel Tower, and then taking a luxury two hour nap back at L’Hôtel Fabric.
I’ll mention more on the cuisine in the food column, but Astier’s Restaurant is perfect for any taste! I went there for dinner, and a note on french café’s is that you are NEVER rushed! Take your time, talk, digest, but always try and clean the plate otherwise the chef may be hurt. That being said… three to five course meals are a typical french meal so I’d suggest going light on the hourly snacking.
The french love their espresso before, during, and after every meal so prepare to be caffeinated! This was my first time having a straight shot of espresso so I tested the waters with decaf eventually earning my stripes the following morning with the real deal. (P.S. sugar and meringue helps with the initial bitter shock of it.)
Day Two happened to be Bastille Day, the French equivalent of the Fourth of July back in the states and these folk know how to party! Most of the “tourist” stops were closed, but that left an entire city to explore! This was our twelve mile walking day…
- Make sure you browse around a city market!! I went to the Place Monge to meet up with a chef for a cooking class who taught us tricks on finding the freshest fish and ordering the best cheese… although in my opinion, all french cheese is superb! Nearly everything is grown and harvested in the region and has incredible selections of mustards, meats, vegetables, and even clothing.
- We walked around the courtyard of the Louvre Museum (our tickets were for the following morning, another easy way to beat the crowds – reserved tickets!)
- Visited the Arc de Triomphe – or more like saw it from a distance as the street was completely swamped with people celebrating Bastille Day.
- Had wine in the Grande Station surrounded by many birds and linen suits…
- And then yet another daily nap before the midnight fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower. Yes, I do enjoy sleep.
Bastille Day was primarily about the cuisine, including the famous five course lunch that my sister and I helped prepare alongside Lise our chef and mentor for the afternoon. (so if you’re interested in seeing all of the tasty morsels, go check that out!)
My final half day in Paris consisted of an emotional sprint through the Louvre, where, as an artist, I stood in the presence of the Greats. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Paolo, and the like. They are beyond comprehension in size and craftsmanship!! Even the museum itself was immaculate!
The Galaries LaFayette topped off the Parisian experience by window shopping in stores such as Chanel, Gucci, and brands that you almost laughed at in Hollywood Movies. They were there. All of the french and international fashion that had a name was in that shopping center!
Then after a gelato and perfectly cheesy pizza (yes, in that order), it was back to the airport and off to my next European adventure!