Okay, we both love you, but that doesn’t sound as sexy in French!
12 lovely days in one of our all time favorite cities, Paris! We’re posting this in 2 parts – This one is a super long post (we had 12 days there after all!) and we just love Paris so much, we don’t want to leave anything out! So get a cup of tea/cafe au lait/chocolate chaud and get comfortable!
We’d planned this stint from the very beginning. The plan before there even was a plan of world travels was to make it to Paris for our 1 year wedding anniversary, which also is the same day as our dating anniversary! Since July 16th is so close to France’s Bastille Day on July 14th, we figured we’d incorporate that into our trip as well. We signed into Ebates and hopped on Hotels.com (don’t forget to click our links to sign up and make a purchase so we get credit!) and found Hotel Eiffel Petite Louvre in the 15th arrondissement, our favorite neighborhood to stay in. Our hotel was a dream as it was newly renovated with comfortable beds, working a/c and modern rooms. We even had a view of the Eiffel Tower! The neighborhood couldn’t be more perfect. It was surrounded by A bistro next door, a fruit shop, liquor store, cheese shop (best part!), rotisserie and multiple patisseries with a bigger grocery store just a few blocks down.
After making our plans, my grandmom (Bubby) decided to come visit us as well! Our time here was filled with celebrations and family, what more could you ask for?
Getting around: I know we’ve already talked about this a little as we popped into Paris for one day back in May before heading to the south of France, but we can’t stress enough how easy Paris is to get into and around. If you fly into Charles de Gaulle (CDG) you can easily take the RER train into the city for €10. This time we flew into Orly (ORY) with Easyjet and it seemed much easier than the multiple times we’ve done CDG. You can take the Orlybus for €8/person, but we found an Uberpool for €24 and got dropped off right at our hotel. Score!
Before Bubby arrived, we got ourselves the Paris Visite pass which we make sure to get every time we’re there. You can buy a 1, 2, 3 or 5 day pass and it gets cheaper as the number of days go up. The pass provides unlimited rides on the metro, buses and RER to reach any area of the city. You may see a lot of online retailers that make you believe you need fo buy it before getting there, but don’t believe them! Buy your tickets at any of the metro stops! The machines are in English and they take credit cards, it couldn’t be easier. Plus, if you’re there for a while, the 5 day pass is only €39.
We also rented a car since it would be easier for day tripping and door to door access for Bubby. If taking the metro and buses isn’t your thing and driving fits your needs more, it actually made a lot more sense financially versus taking Ubers or taxis everywhere. Just beware of parking in Paris, it can be VERY expensive. Like, €1.15 every 15 minutes! It was nice to be able to compare the two though. Running around from metro to metro versus driving around the city.
Our first time in Paris (4 years ago) we arrived on the 14th, but missed the great military parade so this time we made sure not to miss it. Bastille Day (apparently they don’t actually say “Bastille Day” in France, just July 14th or National Day) was everything you’d imagine, think July 4th in the states celebration style. Loads and loads of people everywhere! We started the day with attending the parade down the Champs Elysèes. We got there about an hour before the parade started but it was already packed in with people. Given that, we couldn’t really see too much, but we were able to see the fun flyovers by planes and helicopters. The first set of planes even dropped Blue, White and Red smoke in the style of the French flag! By far the best part. It was energizing to feel the spirit and energy from the crowd. The day was also the 100th anniversary of the USA’s involvement into World War I, so it was marked with a visit by our President, and some F-22 Raptor fighter jets joining in on the flyovers.
In the evening we took the short stroll from the hotel to the Eiffel Tower for the famous firework display. There must have been hundreds of thousands of people there! We’d attended the Bastille Day fireworks on our 1 year dating anniversary, 4 years earlier and remembered it as the best fireworks we’d ever seen. While these ones didn’t quite live up to the hype, it was fun to see them shoot out of the sides of the Eiffel Tower to fun music and a great light show! It also brings a sense of pride of the French people and it was great to be part of that.
Our entire stay here consisted of seeing everything we could. From things we’d seen before to new adventures.
Before Bubby arrived, along with all the July 14th festivities, we enjoyed seeing all our favorite sights and doing our favorite things. We enjoyed croissants and kebabs from our favorite places, roamed the beautiful streets and neighborhoods, and reveled in the fact that our time in Paris was finally here! We also checked out the new Louis Vuitton foundation. No, not the store! A huge, unique building that is quite a sight! building Dean is a big fan of Frank Gehry (Dancing House in Prague, Marques de Riscal in Rioja and the Guggenheim in Bilbao are other famous works to name a few), and I’m a fan of Louis Vuitton so we thought a building with the flair and style of both would be amazing! A short train ride and a walk in the sweltering Paris heat and we arrived, since Dean loved the outside and we knew we’d be filling up on art when Bubby arrived we decided to just check out the outside. A beautiful new building that catches the light was a beautiful site! We also HAD to see our lovely Eiffel Tower at night, and get there on the hour when it sparkles. That itself is probably our most favorite thing to see in Paris and NEVER gets old!
We visited the famous Notre Dame and saw Luxembourg gardens which is a huge park in which you can leisurely walk around. There was a huge pond in the middle with tons of little toy boats floating around. We also celebrated our one year wedding anniversary! We had a delicious meal and took the same picture on the Bir Hikim bridge in front of the Eiffel Tower that we took 4 years go, along with more selfies of course!
We also visited Montmartre very early in the morning one day! We’ve visited Sacre Ceour many times before, but seeing it early in the morning before all the tourists got there was truly a unique experience. So serene and peaceful. We definitely recommend making your way up there before everyone else.
That’s it for part 1 – head to the second part to see all our fabulous day trips and time with Bubby!