We reached Paris late evening and after checking into our hotel ventured out to get some dinner and explore the city. We stayed at the Hotel De Berri, which is centrally located – right off the Champs Elysees. It’s a very chic boutique hotel designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, who’s famous for designing the shoe hat and once was the biggest competitor of Coco Chanel. The rooms, the bar, the lobby and the restaurant in this hotel all reflect elements of her design. We got ourselves a very spacious suite which was beautifully done up. It was a lot of fun sitting in the bar and sipping wine while listening to the pianist in the evenings.
After settling in, we ventured out to get some dinner around Trocadero. We walked along the river and got some dazzling first views of the Eiffel Tower and then ate at a very Parisian style local restaurant. Unfortunately, I did not note down where we ate, but I know the french onion soup was delicious – pretty much at every place we ate at.
1) Luxembourg Gardens
We took the train from George 5 to Luxemborg gardens. The gardens were pretty, but I’m sure they look quite different in the summer with the flowers blooming. Regardless, it was a nice walk on a chilly winter afternoon.
2) St-Sulpice church
We walked from the gardens to St-Suplice church and then waked through St Germain to Sorbonne University and then the Pantheon. For the most part, we took pictures of all of these attractions from outside.
3) Lunch at Benoit
4) Arc De Triomphe
You need to purchase tickets to visit the top. In my mind, you can get the most stunning views of Paris from here – including it’s main highlight: The Eiffel Tower. Since, we went here in the winter, the queues weren’t as long and we dint have to wait too long in line before going up to the top.
5) SEINE River Cruise
Next, we went on a cruise on the Seine river to get different views of the city. The cruise if about an hour and you can purchase tickets directly at the docking station. Since we did this at night, to see the city and the Eiffel Tower lighted up – it was quite chilly. So do dress warm if you end up doing the same. You can also buy a nice bottle of wine and take it with you on this cruise.
6) Walk on the Rue Saint Honore
This is a beautiful street full of designer stores and abundant dessert bars and restaurants. When we went the Christmas decorations were up and the entire street was lighted up making it look magical.
6) Drinks at Mandarin Oriental
We met up with some of our friends to get drinks at the Mandarin Oriental. They have a very cute outdoor patio where you can sit and sip some wine or get a snazzy cocktail.
The most famous attraction of Paris after the Eiffel Tower. They have a beautiful art collection – however, it can be quite overwhelming to see the entire museum. Especially if you’re in a time crunch like I was. I would recommend downloading the Rick Steve’s guide and then following along in order to tour the museum’s most famous exhibits.
2) Lunch at Saturne
This was another Michelin star restaurant that served an awesome three course lunch menu. I specifically remember the Risotto being out of this world. One suggestion would be making all these reservations in advance, so you can make sure you’re able to get in and it also keeps you on schedule.
3) Tulleries Garden
Again, make reservations in advance if you can. Despite that you have to stand in line for a while in order to get to the top. This was a fun experience, but due to heavy fog we couldn’t see a whole lot from the top. Also, views from the Eiffel Tower are nice but it’s missing the most famous landmark of Paris – the tower itself.
5) Hemmingway Bar
So we tried to get here on day 1 without any luck. It’s a very small speakeasy like spot inside the Ritz and they only allow a limited set of people in at a time. We came back on Day 2 and it was totally worth it. The cocktails are delicious and the overall vibe and decor is super cute.
1) Le Marais
2) Notre Dame
The most finest example of French Gothic architecture with a spectacular history. This was a beautiful church and visiting it in person was such a wonderful experience. The glass stained window is one of the highlights.
3) Place De Vosges
Originally named Place Royale, it’s basically a square located in the Marais district. Apparently, this was one of the most fashionable and expensive places to live in during the 17th century for the Parisian nobility. Now it’s surrounded by a nice manicured lawn and lots of shops.
4) Picasso Museum
A very charming part of town with its narrow cobbled streets, art galleries and bistros. Looks like many great artists and writers lived here in the last century. You can take a metro to the “Abbesses” station to be at the heart of Montmarte. The basilica is at the top of the hill. The bottom of the hill is lined with souvenir shops, bars, crepe shops and restaurants. Honestly, one of the best crepes I’ve had in my life was here.
2) Sacre Cour
3) Moulin Rouge
Unfortunately I didn’t get time to see the Palace of Versailles. You need almost half a day for this excursion since it’s outside the city. I guess next time I’d like to go to Paris a little bit longer in the summer and explore the city again at a slower pace. Eat bread, drink wine, go to museums, dress up.
Next time when we can travel again and would appreciate everything way more than we did. For now, Au Revoir Paris !!