Our final stop on our European excursion was Paris, France!
We had flown in from Rome, flight within Europe are very affordable and the flight was short and sweet. Our trip had been full of adventures and sightseeing thus far and we were definitely feeling the toll of it all. James was very excited to experience France as it has been high on his list of places to visit for quite some time.
Once we arrived in Paris, we made our way to our Airbnb. We stayed in the cutest little apartment with a very sweet woman. We chatted with her for quite a while and she recommended a restaurant down the street for dinner. James and I weren’t quite sure what French cuisine we needed to have so when we arrived at the restaurant we went for a sampler platter and of course a bottle of French wine! We truly didn’t know what we were served and we still stand a little hesitant on all that we tried.
We quickly called it a night and planned our activities for the following day. After a late start and two very tired souls, we headed down the street to a bakery and a market for some breakfast. James chose a bushel of grapes that were so sweet they tasted like champagne!
We finally got our butts moving and headed to the Palace of Versailles or as many call it the Royal City! When we arrived, the line was absolutely crazy long. We ended up buying tickets online for a specific time slot and was able to bypass the line! Immediately when you walk up, you can tell this place is for royalty! This stunning château was royal residence from 1862 to 1789.
This place was insanely huge and the decorations and architecture were so elaborate! We made our way through the palace using the free talking tour headset. I really like when places off this, it’s a great way to learn without having to stand up close and read small signs.
This place was packed and it was quite crammed in every single room of this palace. This didn’t stop us from enjoying the absolute beauty of these rooms!
We made our way through the hall of mirrors, which is one of the most famous rooms here at the Palace of Versailles. The way the windows lined one side of the room and mirrors on the opposite was so stunning! James and I kept saying how cool it would be to see this place completely empty – oh and to do a photo shoot here!
As we made our way through, we were in such awe of the detail and size of each room.
After we finished walking the inside of the palace, it was time to experience the garden of Versailles. These gardens span across 1,976 acres and contain 55 fountains and 253 sculptures. I’m telling you, this place was insane!
After about an hour of exploring the grounds in the sunshine, we were ready for lunch. We noticed a lot of people brought in a picnic and sat in the shade an enjoyed their own food. We, unfortunately, did not plan accordingly but luckily there are places to eat throughout the gardens. We enjoyed a nice lunch and a glass of wine, this was a perfect break from the walking and the heat! Off we went to wander more of these stunning grounds!
We had come on a “Musical Gardens” day, which meant that the fountains played music and had water displays. James and I would walk around some, stumble upon a fountain show and watch for a little and then carry on!
This was a day that I truly regretted not wearing my tennis shoes, it was a lot of walking and much of it outside. You live and you learn, right?!
The gardens were closing and, unfortunately, both of us decided to make our way to Eiffel Tower. We had amazing timing as we caught the views of this global icon during the sunset.
After snapping some pictures before the sun had completely set, we grabbed a bottle of wine and sat on a ledge enjoying these unforgettable memories together. First off, you can bring your own wine which is the way to go. We didn’t know this was popular or we would have brought along a little picnic to have in the park near the Eiffel Tower. We ended up buying a bottle from some guy with a bucket full of them! Now while that sounds weird, it really wasn’t that odd at this time.
Once the sun had set, we had no idea how absolutely stunning the Eiffel Tower would be at night!
We sat for a while with thankful hearts for the ability to travel and share such special moments together. As we chatted and fell a little more in love with each other, the Eiffel Tower started twinkling!
The tower sparkles with lights for 5 minutes every hour until 1 am We had no idea this happened and it was such a pleasant surprise.
We ended up noticing a couple trying to take some pictures of what looked like an engagement ring. James, my little social butterfly, couldn’t help himself and ended up asking the couple if they would like him to take their photo. They agreed and James snapped some photos with our camera and then offered to connect on social media to give them the photos.
Little did we know that this very sweet Norwegian couple would be spending the rest of the night with us! We got to talking and the conversation just never died down. We didn’t even realize how much time had passed until we all agreed that we had seen the hourly twinkle of the Eiffel Tower at least 3 times. We mentioned that we were going to go up the Eiffel Tower and that they were going to be closing soon so we parted ways.
We walked over to the Tower and bought a ticket to go up. There are two options for buying a ticket here, the first being that you pay a smaller fee and go up to the first and second level. The next option is an elevator ride all the way to the top for a more expensive fee. James and I discussed our options and decided to do the cheaper option and see just the first and second levels.
After about an hour in the Eiffel Tower, we decided it was time for bed. Our feet were definitely ready for a rest and so we grabbed an Uber back to our Airbnb.
The following morning was a rainy one and this led to extra sleep and snuggles. Once we finally felt well rested we headed to the train station. We took the train over to the Cité station which is on Île de la Cité or City Island. When we got off the train, we realized that we were starving and stopped in the nearest restaurant, Brasserie Les Deux Palais. The rain had slowed down and it was warm out with a nice breeze so we opted to sit outside.
We ordered the special of the day which was delicious pork with ratatouille. The rain started to drizzle down again and we enjoyed our meal, a glass of wine and of course some French bread. The waitress offered to get us a table inside but we opted to stay outside and enjoy all Paris had to offer us.
After lunch, we walked across the street to (what we thought was the entrance to the Sainte-Chapelle but ended up being the Conciergerie). We were so confused and the guy ended up just letting us into the Conciergerie for free, so we got to enjoy this museum free of charge!
The Conciergerie is a 14th-century prison that is most known for housing Marie Antoinette’s former cell. We enjoyed learning and reading about the history here.
After our accidental museum stop, we finally arrived at the Sainte-Chapelle. This chapel might have been my favorite attraction for our whole Paris trip!
I don’t even know how to begin to describe how wonderfully beautiful this 13th-century Gothic chapel is. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life!
We stood in the chapel for a long time, as we couldn’t stop taking pictures and taking in the pure beauty of the detail in the stained glass.
The stained glass panes show scenes from the Old and New Testaments recounting the history of the world until the arrival of the relics in Paris. It was so well done and absolutely worth seeing!
After we picked our jaws up off the floor we headed over to Cathédrale Notre-Dame. We were just a short walk away and so it wasn’t long until we arrived at this huge cathedral.
This was a very popular place and was so excited to see it from the inside! Admission into the cathedral is free, but it does cost money to go up into the towers. We opted to do the free admission into the main level of the cathedral.
It was easy to fall in love with the gothic style of architecture and intricate detail.
We made our way through the inside, enjoying the beauty and discussing how we couldn’t believe this cathedral was so old!
Afterwards, we weren’t done taking in the architecture and walked along the outside of the cathedral grabbing more shots.
We stopped in a small gift shop across the street and ended up with some gifts from family and friends, and of course ourselves! It was beginning to cool down in the day and we were in the mood for a snack. There are cafe’s everywhere so it wasn’t hard to find a place for some tea and treats.
We stopped in Le Saint-Régis and indulged! I ordered the crème brule and James ordered a chocolate éclair.
We had a couple of places left on our list for the day so we headed towards the train station to make our way to the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. Along the way, James was grabbing pictures of all the things, he was in love with Paris!
After a quick train ride, we popped up right next to the Arc de Triomphe!
We grabbed some shots across the street before taking the tunnel under the streets to be able to go up to the observation deck. It was slightly terrifying as many people were trying to cross this busy intersection. It was so smart that they made an underground route for tourists since the monument sits right in the center of almost ten streets!
This arch is very iconic and we were excited to learn more about its history and about Napoleon.
We climbed the spiral staircase to the observation deck on top of the Arc de Triomphe. Not only does the upper part of the structure have an observation deck, but there is also a small area with information and history as well as a gift shop.
It was super cool to see how all the streets end into the Arc de Triomphe and each section of the street looked like a perfect slice of pizza. There was also a great view of the Eiffel Tower from this observation deck.
After we took in the views, we made our way back down to the ground. We walked around the parameter of the Arc and grabbed some pictures of all the detail put into this structure.
The last location on our list of places to see in Paris was the Louvre. James and I boarded the train and it took us right next to the museum. Paris’ public transit was super easy to use and quick, we loved it!
We arrived right at sunset and the lighting was to die for! We grabbed some shots of the Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel which is right across the street from the Louvre. This Arc de Triomphe was built almost 30 years before the larger version (the more well-known version) to celebrate Napoleon’s victories.
We then headed across the street to the beautiful glass architecture known as the Louvre museum. We are lovers of unique and special architecture so even though we didn’t have the time to go into the museum, we wanted to enjoy the outside.
We really enjoyed walking around the Louvre and grabbing shots while the sunset.
After the sun had set, we decided it was time for dinner and to call it a night. We made our way through the streets in search of food. We truly didn’t have anything specific in mind, we just walked. Of course, along our route James found more buildings to take pictures of.
We stumbled upon a restaurant that had seats outside and decided to have dinner here. James and I agreed that cheese and bread sounded so good so we ordered the assorted cheese plate and a bottle of wine. We sat at this restaurant for a good amount of time just enjoying our French cheese, French bread, French wine, and laughter. As our bottle of wine slowly became empty, we talked about the best route to go back to our Airbnb. James then mentioned that he saw a Jazz bar down the street that looked fun. We were feeling pretty exhausted but we are suckers for Jazz and unique experiences so we headed that way. We ordered a glass of wine and sat back and ended our last night in Paris with Jazz music and the best of company.
That’s a wrap Paris!
We went to bed that night and woke up the next morning bright and early to catch our flight back to the states. We left Europe with happy hearts, tired legs and a soul full of wanderlust. We had an amazing European adventure and can’t wait to go back and explore, learn and grow more…together!
à votre santé!