Highlights Of Paris
Rise and shine globetrotters because today is my birthday! How old am I? Well, a lady never tells. But as quoted by the lady of all ladies, “Paris is always a good idea” - Audrey Hepburn. That’s right! I’m celebrating this year in The City Of Lights. Bon Voyage!
This hotel is a gem! The first hotel we stayed at was the Hôtel San Régis. It’s a quaint, boutique hotel located just off The Avenue des Champs-Élysées and within walking distance to many of the high-end, designer stores. My only requirement was a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower and this hotel nailed it. The terrace was very private and surrounded by beautiful plants. The building is actually so old that the elevator only fits 2-3 people and doesn’t go up to the top floor, so we had to walk up the last flight. I felt bad for the poor employee who got stuck carrying my oversized suitcase. Despite being a historic building, the room was equipped with a beautiful marble bathroom, a walk-in closet, and the most gorgeous view of Paris that you could imagine. The hotel staff was very friendly and treated you like complete VIP. Way better than any overpriced chain hotel. My boyfriend must have secretly told them that it was my birthday because I was surprised upon arrival with champagne, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and a delicious birthday cake. Really the most wonderful welcome we could have imagined!
Comment your Hôtel San Régis experience below!
Half-way through our trip, we migrated to Terrass hotel, located in the Montmartre district. Since we were in Paris for more than a week, a change in scenery was nice and a great way to explore a totally different area. The Montmartre district is known as the arts district in Paris and is a little cheaper in terms of accommodations than where we were previously staying. We stayed in the penthouse suite on the top floor of the hotel. Like our last hotel, the elevator didn’t go up all the way to the top floor, so we walked up the last flight. We certainly got our exercise on this trip! Terrass Hotel had a more modern feel than our previous hotel. I wouldn’t call it Parisian at all. The suite itself is not huge but completely comfortable. It definitely has a “fun” element, as it comes equipped with a sauna, a jacuzzi bath and scented mist that the shower was able to spray. We had our own terrace with a view of the Eiffel Tower however, this proved to be not as enjoyable as our previous terrace. More on this later. The Montmartre district is further away from some of the big, touristy sites so make sure you plan accordingly so that you’re not schlepping back and forth.
This wasn’t really a huge deal, but there was something about it that creeped me out a little bit. There was a graveyard right underneath the terrace. Being that I’m a little superstitious, it made me a little restless. The view from the terrace is fantastic though and we often had breakfast out there. It’s a little awkward because to the left, you can see some of the people dining at the rooftop restaurant, so there’s a slight lack of privacy. I wouldn’t go out there with minimal clothing on if you know what I mean. One more unique attribute of the terrace was that every day around the early evening, a massive crow would come and land on the railing of the terrace. It scared the crap out of us the first time we saw it and remember, I’m superstitious. But once we figured out his usual timing, we just made sure to close the terrace doors so that he didn’t accidentally fly into the room. We even named him Oscar. Notice him perched in the far right-hand corner of the picture below.
Overall, if you can get past the graveyard and aren’t scared of birds (particularly giant crows), it’s actually a really cool hotel. It’s small and boutiquish in nature. If you’re looking for high-end luxury, this isn’t the place for you. But if you’re up for some adventure and something a little out of the box, then give it a try! Plus side! It’s in a great area and very close to the Moulin Rouge.
Alright foodies, hope you’re hungry. It’s Paris, so let’s just state the obvious. Most of the food that you will eat here is pretty incredible. Listing every place we ate would be too much and honestly, probably useless because there are so many amazing places we didn’t get to try. However, we did have a few notable mentions.
Angelina. Everyone seemed to know about this amazing place in advance except for us. We were just lucky enough to stumble across it. It’s a famous tea house located on Rue de Rivoli and serves all kinds of pastries and desserts along with some normal breakfast/lunch foods. Their hot chocolate is to die for! That is an absolute must try. A reservation isn’t necessary unless you’re going at high time on a weekend. Loosen your Marie Antoinette corsets because you’re about to indulge!
This is a great café for lunch after you visit Notre Dame. Yes, it’s probably a little touristy but when you’re hungry, you’re hungry and you probably will be right after you spend two hours visiting the cathedral. Go to the back of Notre Dame and cross Pont Saint-Louis and right across the road you’ll find this cute restaurant named Le Flore en I’île with a fantastic few of the Cathedral. If you’re lucky, they’ll be a musician playing on the bridge to really give you that Parisian vibe. The salad I ordered (in my not so good French) was so flavorful and the perfect energy booster. The waiter was even kind enough to answer me in French, giving me the perfect practice opportunity.
Costes was recommended to us by a local friend we met. He was even kind enough to call and make the reservation for us. According to him, this is where the “cool locals” go. I don’t know how true that is but it was pretty cool. Warning to my non-French speakers! The menu is entirely in French. It was a pretty fun challenge putting my French skills to the test, but my vegetarian boyfriend didn’t trust me enough to take my word. He pulled up a very handy app called Google Translate (you may have heard of it), which let him scan the words on the menu and then translated it to English. The only thing that bothered me a little was that smoking was allowed in the restaurant. It wasn’t too oppressive but as someone with asthma, my tolerance for smoke is very low.
I couldn’t end my food section without at least mentioning this place. It’s located in the 18th district known as Montmartre (the same district as Terrass Hotel) and is called La Maison Rose. The food is very local, authentic French food and the waitresses were so sweet in helping us decide what to order.
Who doesn’t want to take a picture next to a little pink house? Instagram opportunities!
Comment below your favorite (preferably unknown) restaurants in Paris and tell me all the gossip about it.
Tours and Adventures
One of the few touristy things we did was a chocolate and pastry tour. We did it through “Get Your Guide - 3 Hour Chocolate and Pastry Tour”. We had a great time! We got to taste so many different kinds of sweets and on top of it, we learned some really cool historical information. It was very entertaining, and our tour guide was so kind and helpful. She really took into consideration what our preferences were. The tour group was limited to six people (three couples), which was a really nice size for a group. We were by far the youngest couple but it didn’t matter. We made friends and had a great time! Fun Fact: Turns out those yummy almond pastries called financiers used to be used to poison finance men. The poison was indistinguishable from the taste of the almonds. For a long time, people were scared to eat them. But they’re delicious now!
On the chocolate tour, we got to stop by Le Procope café which has a lot of historic significance in regard to the evolution of coffee, political discussion, and the French Revolution. Definitely worth walking the old cobblestone streets to check out! The right-hand picture is our very sweet tour guide.
Speaking of the Moulin Rouge, we did it! I LOVE the Nicole Kidman movie, “Moulin Rouge” so I insisted on it. The show was spectacular! We ended up sitting at a table of six with four other people. A little awkward at first, but they were very kind. As a table, we got two complimentary bottles of champagne. The show is a mix of Cirque Du Soleil, The Rockettes, and a strip club. If you’re offended by nudity (particularly topless), then I would suggest skipping this. I found it to be very tasteful and beautiful, but I come from an artistic family. I would 100% go see it again. It was one of our highlights.
Warning! Watch your stuff and be careful who you hand your camera to. This is a notorious area for pickpockets.
The Palace of Versaille
Alright, my kings and queens. While I don’t necessarily love museums, I do love Palaces and I happen to love the history behind the French Revolution. So visiting the Palace of Versaille was an absolute must for us. It’s an absolute must for everybody. Even if you don’t necessarily appreciate the history behind it (and I suggest you all do a little self-education before you go), the beauty of the estate alone is worth seeing. It’s filled with beautiful gardens, walkways, and secret passages. There’s a big lake in the estate and I highly recommend renting a boat! It’s not very expensive and it’s a ton of fun rowing around the lake and learning to navigate the ores. Keep an eye out for the swans! You’re going to need a whole day to dedicate to this glorious area.
In your opinion, is it worth it to do a tour or at least an audition guide? Comment below.
Apparently, there is also a little cottage that Marie Antoinette used to escape to, which is located on a totally different part of the property. We didn’t get to visit that, but some people really think that’s a must see.
In your opinion, is Marie Antoinette’s little cottage a must see? Comment below!
Has anyone tried renting the golf carts to ride around the estate? Is it worth it? Comment your opinion below!
What To Avoid
I’m never a fan of hating on something, but I’ve got to be honest. While I loved most of my experiences in Paris, there were a handful of things that I’d say are not worth your time and money.
We did a dinner tour at the top of the Eiffel Tower. While we had a good time, I would not do it again or recommend it. The food (for Paris) was below average. We were in a big group tour so we awkwardly ended up sitting with another, much older couple. They were very friendly and we enjoyed getting to know them, but when you’re expecting a dinner with your significant other, it’s a little disappointing. Because we were on a tour, we had to order off of a very minimal menu which was not very accommodating to vegetarians. Maybe the dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower would have been worth it if we didn’t do it in a tour setting?
We also did a Seine River boat tour (ironically right after the Eiffel Tower Dinner). The river is actually a wonderful way to see Paris! I just wish there was a smaller, slightly more intimate boat. The one that we did was very large, and filled with a lot of rowdy, unsupervised kids. (I sound like an old curmudgeon).
And that’s the good, the bad, and the gossip! Let me know if you have any other specific questions. There’s so much to talk about that I’m sure I left something out!
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