Paris, je t’aime!
Paris – August 12 – 17, 2014 Paris was by far the best stop yet, however it had a slight advantage as we spent time with Jess’ Aunt Mary and Cousin Dion for the 5 days we were there.
The grounds surrounding the Eiffel Tower are where we spent the bulk of our time, especially at night. I don’t think the view or the atmosphere could ever get old. Not even the constant pressure to buy replica Eiffel Towers, wine and beer from the hundreds of peddlers would deter us from spending every evening there. There were moments that we definitely will never forget and we made sure of this by taking about a thousand pictures. We’ve included several below because we couldn’t choose!
Musee d’Orsay Similar to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, you are not allowed to take photos inside the Musee d’Orsay, however I did manage to get a couple, but not of the exhibits. Jess got to see work from one of her favourite artists, Degas.
Notre Dame Cathedral On our final day in Paris, we visited the Notre Dame Cathedral on the Île de la Cité, which splits the Seine in Central Paris. We took advantage of the free entry and walked around inside the amazing structure. Construction began on the cathedral in the 1100’s and it has been restored and altered multiple times over the years. Seine Evening Cruise We did an evening cruise with Bateaux Parisiens on our last night is Paris. This particular tour had mixed reviews on Tripadvisor, but it allowed us to finish the tour at the base of the Eiffel Tower which is why we went with them. The cruise lasted an hour and took us east along the Seine, passing the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, and under several of Paris’s beautiful bridges. On this day, our backpack contained the essentials: Camera, Bottle of wine (and corkscrew), and snacks, all of which came in handy sitting under the Eiffel Tower.
The most romantic bridge in Paris For years, tourists from all over the world have been engraving their locks and fastening them to the famous Ponts des Arts bridge. The idea is to place the lock on the bridge and drop the key into the river, sealing your love. In June of this year, the side of the bridge collapsed into the river due to the extra weight from the locks. As a result, several European have been banning this practice and have designated various locations in the city where its appropriate to ‘seal your love’. (Budapest is one of those cities!) Montmartre Our accommodations were in Paris’ Montmartre neighbourhood, which is slightly north of city centre. Montmartre is the quintessential Parisian neighbourhood with its tiny, stair-filled and steep alleys and cobblestone streets and squares. Cafe’s and quirky boutiques are scattered throughout, as are tourists from all over the world. Monet, Picasso and Vincent van Gogh all made Montmartre home at one point, contributing to the fascinating history of the area. For a hand-painted or hand-drawn self-portrait, head to Place du Tertre where the square is filled with artists. The Sacré Cœur, or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is the centrepiece of Montmartre, which sits atop the hill and is Paris’ highest point.
TIP: if you are planning a first time trip to Paris, we would suggest not staying in Montmartre and taking a day trip to explore the area. It is a short ride on the metro from pretty well all of Paris’ attractions, however we found it a little seedy at night walking to our apartment from the train. Having said that, we had another amazing experience with Airbnb, with our Montmartre hosts, Mary and Tom. If you are looking for accommodations in the area, definitely give them a look! We had our own studio apartment, with Mary and Tom a few steps away if we had any questions. Here is the link to their place: Charming little annex at Montmartre in Paris Parisian Food We ate in Paris. Like actual food. Meat, cheese, wine and pastries. One restaurant in particular by famous french chef Christian Constant called Les Cocottes was a treat for us given the constant monitoring of our budget to this point.
Overall, Paris was amazing – and I (Steven) have to admit that I wasn’t originally keen on going to Paris as both Jess and I had been there before. Despite the truck loads of tourists, pick-pocket threats, peddlers and slightly higher prices than the rest of Europe, Paris gets a 10/10 in our books. We loved everything about it. Mary and Dion definitely get a special thanks for making Paris the most memorable stop in our trip to-date.
As we finish this post, we are already in the midst of our first adventure to Eastern Europe… BUDAPEST! We will have a post for Budapest this coming weekend. jess + trickett Some additional pictures from Paris: