4 days, 50 miles of walking, lots of bread, coffee, Nutella and French food and we are on our way back to America!
I’m sitting on a flight that seems to have taken twice as long as the way over ((this could also be because this flight is absolutely. Positively. Full.)) and I thought I’d utilize my time to recap our trip while its still fresh in memory.
Its funny because I’m yet to post anything other than the “fashion side/what I wore” of our trip to Hawaii with the boys that was almost 6 weeks ago, but hey, nobody is perfect right?! I’ll get to it at some point!!
How we picked Paris
Back to Paris. Originally in our minds we had planned on going somewhere not as far, but still with a European feel to it. A few reasons, 1. Because we hadn’t been away from the boys for an extended period of time before (more than 2 days). I think that’s something that every set of parents have different timelines, especially when you have multiple kids/different ages with different needs. Secondly, The flight prices seemed so crazy to get over to Europe or even anywhere in the US!?? Like $800 or over for Europe. Usually during September/October/November the rates drop and although I was excited about Montreal I was pretty disappointed about not being able to go somewhere in Europe.
After we returned from Hawaii, I randomly looked at some flight prices for the bigger cities across the pond (there’s that never say die attitude…I just coulden’t let go of the idea lol)- London, Munich, Paris, Zurich….and Paris…BINGO. Found a flight for the price of what you would pay for an domestic US flight on cheaptickets.com (I always look on cheaptickets and expedia for good deals on flights).
I acted fast and enlisted the troops (ie. Grandma and a little help from our babysitter) and booked the flights from a Wednesday night to Monday. Part of me also knew that potentially next year would be hard to get away with a baby for any extended period of time (#thatnursinglife) under the age of 1 so it was kind of a Seize the day moment! Lol!
I’m going to share everything about our trip here, must see places, suggestions, and just random info that will be helpful for anyone thinking of hitting up France anytime soon! :)
What we flew/Travel Itinerary: We flew on American (which was totally average IMO) from Buffalo to Philly, Philly to CDG. Flights were great other than being about 45 mins late arrival to Paris. The flight had empty seats and I ended up with a row to myself while Aaran had 2 seats to himself as well. I attribute this to why I felt somewhat decent getting in as it was an overnight flight, and being pregnant I was able to lay down completely and sleep for 5 -6 hours. The return flight we weren’t so lucky with seat availability but we did get upgraded for no fee to the extra leg room seats so that was much appreciated!! We left CDG at 10:30 am and arrived back at home that same night about 8:30 pm connecting through Charlotte (after a few delays…total buzzkill!!)
Where we stayed: We had spent a couple of weeks trying to find the best hotel/location and one that served our needs (gym, A/C, free wi-fi, breakfast included). We ended up selecting the Renaissance in Vendome. Its actually a Mariott owned hotel, but with a boutique feel to it. The rooms were small but nice and we were happy with the service and amenities for the price. I think if I had to do it over again, I would have snagged the Hyatt that we saw for a similar price just knowing the rooms would have been a little bit bigger (more “Americanized”) while getting the same amenities.
Weather: I think this time of year can be hit or miss (just like in the US) but we majorly lucked out. It was pretty much 75-80 F by the time 1 pm hit, and sunshine. The mornings were definitely cool but it was perfect weather to walk, sightsee, and enjoy a new city.
Must- see attractions:
There is so much history in this city-I won’t get into all of that (you can research prior to going) and I’m sure there is so much more to see than this list…. but it was so interesting!!!
Champs de Elysses
Notre Dame Cathedral
Sacre Couer Basilica (views of the city here are amazing!!)
Areas of Interest/Neighborhoods & FOOD:
Latin Quarter: I absolutely adored this little pocket of Paris. So many little shops, cafes, and restaurants and had such a culture and vibe to it. I bought a few really cute things here, and had an awesome Greek gyro here that I swear I’ll remember the rest of my life! I highly recommend getting up here!
Monmarte: This is the neighborhood that the Sacre Couer Basilica is in. It was such a beautiful area with winding, hilly European streets filled with cafes, shops and lots of energy. The views from the Basilica of the city were amaxing and they had a huge food festival going on! The only hard part was all the uphill walking at 25 weeks pregnant haha I needed a wheelchair! It was totally worth it though, my HR was at like 100 lol.
Food: We had two nights of French, 1 night of Italian and one night of Lebanese/Persian. Every night seemed to be better than the last. Out of everything in Paris, I would have to say the food was one of my favorite parts. Our breakfast was included in our rate so we had different breads, muesli, omelettes for breakfast (we also brought our own Nutella lol ) to start us out for the day. All of the restaurants were within our Arr. (1) so very close by. La Corte was the Italian restaurant we went to which was very popular and we needed reservations 2-3 days in advance. Likewise with the French restaurant that a nice lady working at the hotel recommended to us and actually received a Michelin award. The food was off the charts. The last night we actually ate in our own hotel, at their restaurant which was called Balagan. I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant if you are ever in Paris. It was so unique and everything we had tasted amazing.
Random tid bits about Paris:
-A lot of places are closed on Sundays so be sure to do your research ahead of time while making plans. We honestly kind of “winged” the whole trip, mostly because we are so scheduled on a daily basis, but on the Sunday night we got reservations so we woulden’t be caught without a place to eat.
-If you haven’t been to Europe before, be prepared for small everything. Small chairs, hotel rooms (unless you pay an arm and a leg) small elevators, small tables, NO SPACE in between tables at restaurants…lol. It’s all part of the atmosphere and its all good, just be ready for it!
-Tourist friendly: I had read a lot that not many people speak English in Paris, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many people spoke English, and well. They were pretty helpful if you asked.
-Utitlize your hotel concierge: Honestly, our concierge were so helpful. Obviously they can make restaurant recommendations (ones close by are best just due to the fact that you walk around the whole day and are tired!), can point you in the right direction on how to get tickets, book taxis, etc. Utilize them as a resource.
-We found that we got a lot better of a rate using our credit cards vs. changing money into Euros. Obviously we did change some money because you need cash but a lot of our purchases were with our Card. Check your credit card for foreign transaction fees and exchange rate info; ours is a travel rewards card so it has great perks for traveling internationally. Also, be sure to add your travel notice before you head out of town!
-Transportation wise we took cabs to and from the airport, and walked everywhere else. We didn’t use the metro or buses so I can’t comment on the easibility of those. The city is a little confusing the first day or two but once you get your bearings it gets a lot easier! Also useful to us was buying 2 days on the hop-on hop off bus. This way we could get to sites quicker at times when we wanted to and had the freedom of getting on and off when we wanted to. We were only there for 4 days so we wanted to be sure to make the most of our time!
-Note that we aren’t really “art buffs” so we didn’t go inside any of the actual museums, but if thats your “thing” then you will LOVE Paris.
-The traffic was pretty heavy to and from Charles DeGualle airport so keep that in mind when planning.
All in all, Paris was a beautiful place and we were so happy to have had the opportunity to travel to it. I highly recommend throwing this city on your bucket list if you haven’t already done so!