Kurt and I recently returned from a 10 day trip to Europe. It was my first time in Europe and we had such a great time together exploring new places. We honestly didn’t have a game plan of what we would be doing in each city. We would just set out wandering each day and see where the day took us. This is actually not my style at all but I’m so glad we did it because it was relaxing and we didn’t feel exhausted the entire trip.
Our journey began in Paris, France. We arrived to rainy skies and cooler temps (at least by Texas standards) and conquered the metro to our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Palm Opera and I cannot say enough nice things about the hotel! We loved the location as it was a quick walk to Montmartre (15 min), an even shorter walk (3 minutes) to a metro stop, and only a 15 minute walk to the main train station we arrived from. We had an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower from our room and the daily breakfast they provided was “crucial” as described by Kurt.
After we dropped our luggage off, we made the walk through Montmartre, a straight shot uphill and 995 stairs to Sacre Coeur. The church was beautiful and there was mass in session which was a nice experience. The views were definitely worth the climb to the top! We grabbed a bite to eat and some coffee at a local café. The waitress laughed at our attempts to speak French and taught us a few key phrases for ordering. We had croque-madame which was on my must eat list and it did not disappoint!
After a quick rest at the hotel we headed over to Arc de Triomphe. We didn’t plan it but we saw the ceremony of the nightly lighting of the eternal flame. We grabbed wine and an apple tart at L’Etoile 1903 (because why not have evening wine and dessert when in Paris) and ventured over to the Eiffel Tower. We took a sunset riverboat cruise with Bateaux Parisians which was a great way to see the city! I was so sleepy at this point I could hardly walk but we saw the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle and it was stunning. We grabbed a pizza on the way home and saw the tower sparkle again from our hotel balcony before collapsing into bed.
Day two in Paris started with a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. Neither words nor pictures can really do the grandness of it justice! Kurt has probably visited more cathedrals in Europe than most people on earth so we obviously continued the streak. We explored through the Latin Quarter and stumbled upon both the Pantheon and Luxembourg Gardens. The grounds were beautiful and the sailboats in the fountain were so cute! We came across the cutest café, Bread and Roses, for midday coffee and a raspberry stuffed macaron. It. Was. Amazing! We also picked up some bread, cheese and meat (€7) and took it over to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic. I did purchase skip the line tickets for the Eiffel Tower and that turned out to be an excellent decision! It was packed and we did still have to wait a while for the lift to the very top. The 360° views of the city were incredible but it was so hot and crowded! We rewarded ourselves with Nutella crepes afterward. We rested a bit then had dinner at a café near our hotel. About 2/3 of our neighborhood was shut down for a month of holiday but we were still able to find plenty within walking distance.
Side note: This was also a special day as my best friend welcomed her first child into the world! I mean look at this nugget… He is the cutest!
Day 3 in Paris was our final day and we headed over to Musee d’Orsay and of course there was a line and Kurt wasn’t interested in waiting. We crossed Pont des Arts and walked over to the Louvre just to have a peak. We tried to find a café for coffee but found the area to be crawling with tourist and not very authentic feeling. We hopped on the metro and headed to Montmartre (a much more Parisian feel and probably my favorite neighborhood we visited). We decided it was high time for wine (and beer) and enjoyed a snack followed by gelato across the street. We visited Place du Tertre and picked up some original art.
Overall, we were basic tourist during our time in Paris as it was both of our first time in the city. We hit the tourist high spots but spent plenty of time just wandering the streets and sitting (and eating) in small cafes, which was actually my favorite part about the city. The people were very friendly as we tried to use as much French as possible. Okay fine, I made Kurt do most of the talking because I was scared my native North Carolina accent mixed with French wouldn’t be too pretty! I was surprised to find some areas of town were incredibly dirty. I loved Paris and would definitely love to plan a girl’s trip back to the city some day!