Let the fun begin! This post is about day one of my Parisian travels! Paris has a certain tone and feeling to it. Just being in and around the beautiful gardens, museums and shops makes life seem a little bit more precious. I don't think I'll ever forget that feeling, but I might forget all of the little details. I'm hoping that there is less of chance to forget this wonderful week if I share it will all of you.
Let's start at the very beginning. We left Indianapolis for Paris with a layover in Chicago. In total, our flight time was about 9 hours and it was no fun. We were leaving in the afternoon EST but arriving in the Parisian morning. It put a lot of pressure on us all to get some shut eye. My tip for those traveling on long flights is to always always always bring/wear a scarf. It can act as a pillow or blanket in times of serious discomfort and adds a little pizazz to a typically slouchy outfit.
We landed in Paris and discovered that my sister's checked luggage was missing in action. No fun there. Luckily, my sister and I are the same size in practically everything so we made do until the bag arrive two days later. We opted to take a taxi to our apartment to save our discouraged souls. I thought my life was in jeopardy a handful of times. Parisian taxi drivers are no joke!
Our apartment for the week was in the 4th Arrondisement. It is also known at Le Marais and is a traditionally jewish area. More recently, it has become a prime local for adorable shops and artist studios. It was exactly what I had hoped for. We entered our home for the week through a beautiful old courtyard. The place itself was a semi-loft space and very modern. Not my typical style but fun to try out for the week!
By the time we were settled, our stomachs were grumbling. We decided to split our party in two in order to run a few errands and tackle lunch at the same time. My mom and sister hit the nearest monoprix supermarket for some basic staples like milk, OJ and jam. My dad and I went on an adventure to pick up our museum passes (which I would HIGHLY recommend if you will be in Paris for longer than a day).
We took the metro for the first time! The Parisian metro is very efficient and is usually easy to navigate. Just know the end stop in the direction that you want to move in. Also, some of the trains have levers or buttons you need to push in order to open the doors to get on/off.
After picking up maps and the indispensable museum passes at the tourism office, my dad and I set out to find a bite to eat (no shortage of places in Paris). It was sunny, although a bit chilly, so we decided to grab something that we could eat outdoors. We walked towards the Tuilieries Garden, which is essentially the backyard of the Louvre. The Tuilieries is by far my favorite place in all of Paris. We went four times throughout the trip!
As we walked through the white stone and sand paths and around the statues and perfectly manicured trees, my dad told me to look a certain way. At the perfect moment, he told me to turn in the opposite direction. This is the view that I saw...
The Eiffel Tower! We grabbed baguette sandwiches from Paul (one of the oldest chains in the world..and definitely a place that doesn't serve food that is typical of our chain restaurants). There is a Paul cart right in the garden so it was very convenient...and tasty!
From there, we regrouped at the apartment and decided on a game plan. We had a tour of Montmartre (a district closer to the outer edge of Paris) scheduled for 5:30 p.m. so we had a couple of hours to kill. The Centre Pompidou, a modern art museum, was close to our apartment and was a place that we wanted to see but not spend all day in. Admission was included in the museum pass, so it was a no-brainer to spend a few extra moments there.
The art itself was not my favorite (let's be honest there is a lot of competition in Paris). The view from the top floor of Centre Pomp is great though and definitely worth making a stop here. Escalators take you to the sixth floor. The view ranks in my Top 5 Parisian Views for sure.
We took the metro from Les Halles to Montmartre where our tour guide was meeting us. This required some metro line hopping and connections. The metro station Les Halles is a major point of connection for most lines. If possible, I would plan your trips to avoid having to navigate its tunnels. It was a terrifying mess of people running in thousands of directions at varying speeds. It was massive and I think we walked a mile underground just to get to the appropriate line. Nevertheless, we made it to Montmartre.
Montmartre is the highest hill in Paris and is known for Moulin Rouge. It also hosts some cute cobblestone streets and was an area where many artists once lived (we saw a former Van Gogh residence). The Basilica Sacre Coeur sits on top of the hill and is beautiful in and of itself. Although the district has a sketchier area, it is mostly residential once you begin to wander through it. We used the tour company, Oui Paris, and were happy with our guide and his knowledge of the area.
Our tour led us up the back of Sacre Coeur. I think it's honestly a much better view of the place, and was peaceful and quiet.
After our tour, we found a place in Montmartre to eat dinner. I honestly don't know the name of the corner cafe, but we had great entrees, great crepes for dessert and great service. That was definitely a theme anywhere we went! After our tasty meal, we headed back down to Le Marais and called it a night. Paris Day Two was full of amazing experiences, so get ready for that soon!