After 27 years, I finally made it to Paris, and it was everything I dreamed it would be. Paris is the most amazing city; it’s eclectic, romantic, mysterious, charming, and just dreamy. Our 5 days there were certainly not enough (although I think I put together a pretty good 5-day Paris itinerary), and we will absolutely be back!
Like many of my other travel posts, I thought I’d outline what we did while we were there. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions!
Saturday – Day 1
Idan and I met at the airport (CDG), and took the RER from there. The RER is just one of the trains that runs throughout the city, and it’s relatively easy to navigate! The train from the airport cost about 10 euros. Right before got on the RER, we picked up our Insidr phone, which was a pre-paid cell phone that we ordered before arriving. The phone had cell and data service, plus a mobile hotspot, and was extremely helpful during our time there.
When we got to our Airbnb in the Marais, we found out at the very last second that it had been cancelled due to some water damage in the apartment. I am normally a huge advocate for Airbnb so I won’t let one bad experience change my thinking, but this was definitely stressful! Luckily, I had Hotel Tonight on my phone and made a quick, last-minute booking using their service. The new hotel was only a 5-minute walk from our original location, and it turned out to be really cute. And, since the hotel was so last minute, it was actually cheaper than the Airbnb would have been.
The view from our room and the hotel lobby at the Hotel Handsome in Paris.
We ended up just walking around and getting Italian food for our first dinner in Paris. We were completely exhausted and it just seemed like a good option, ha!
Sunday – Day 2
Our second day started bright and early with a bike tour with Fat Tire Tours! You guys, I can’t say enough good things about this company. The staff is SO nice and our tour was just awesome.
Throughout the 3-hour tour, we went alllll over Paris, stopping by a ton of good sites to snap photos, and got some exercise in! I love to explore new cities by bike, and Paris was no exception.
Also, thanks to Idan for riding one handed so he could document this. ;)
When the tour was over, we stuck around the area and headed back to the Eiffel Tower to go to the tippy top! The line was a little long but it was worth it–and I’m pretty scared of heights but I was fine. There is also a cafe and gift shop at the top, so you can hang out and enjoy the views!
After all that, we were exhausted again so went back to the hotel for a siesta. We hadn’t made dinner plans for that evening, so we did a quick search on Google Maps and found a little restaurant called L’Auberge Nicolas Flamel. It also happened to have a Michelin star! For those of you who are Harry Potter fans… does that name sound familiar? Turns out he was a real person! Who knew? Anyways, the food was really good–we opted for the tasting menu and a bottle of wine and it was perfect. I was so glad we decided to be adventurous!
Monday – Day 3
On Monday we decided that we really needed to do a load of laundry. Idan had just come from a 2-week trip to Israel, and we were counting on our Airbnb having a laundry machine… so we had to find our way to a French laundromat!
Luckily, our Fat Tire Tour guide had told us how to find a laundromat–they are called laveries. He recommended one in our neighborhood and off we went!
It was a rainy morning so while we were waiting on the laundry, we ducked into a cafe and ate our petite dejuner (breakfast!) on the covered patio. They had the heaters on and it was lovely. In Paris, breakfast consists of a croissant, a baguette, some marmalade, a coffee, and a juice (usually orange). I don’t know how these people are so skinny!
That day we had lunch at this cute spot called Cafe Charlot. It was recommended by a friend and they had yummy burgers!
After that, we headed to the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was absolutely stunning!
We also stopped by Les Invalides–Napoleon’s burial place. Idan was really interested in the history, and they had a war museum inside as well. Napoleon’s actual tomb is GIGANTIC–you have to see for yourself.
That evening we went to Ellsworth for dinner, which was pretty good! We were surprised to hear every single person in the restaurant speaking English–I guess it’s a popular tourist spot!
I should also mention that at this point we had checked into another hotel–the first one could only house us for 2 nights so we switched! The new hotel was also absolutely adorable.
Tuesday – Day Four
Tuesday started bright and early with a day trip to Giverny and Versailles.
Giverny is the home of Claude Monet, my most favorite artist. When I was little, my mom bought me this book about a little girl that goes to visit Monet’s Garden, and it was one of my most beloved stories. I spent my whole life dreaming of visiting Monet’s Garden, and I was on the verge of happy tears the entire visit.
I think I did a pretty good job of hiding it in photos, but the place was definitely packed with tourists. It was pretty hard to move around, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every second. We got to go inside his house and all throughout his gardens–even to the famous lily pond.
Idan and I were amazed at how gorgeous the French countryside is, and decided we’d love to go back eventually and spend a few days just relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
Next up was Versailles!
The Palace of Versailles was incredible. Opulent, gorgeous, but absolutely packed to the brim with tourists. At one point in our tour I actually stayed back and let Idan go in to take pictures because I couldn’t handle being herded anymore. But it was still SO cool.
The gardens are a huge point of interest in Versailles, and I wish that we had more time there–but again, Idan and I swore that we’d be back. I think you’d need at least a day to explore the whole town and gardens!
I should mention that we booked our Versailles and Giverny day trip through Viator–a company we have used time and time again (not sponsored).
That night, we had our favorite meal of the entire trip at Frenchie. This was recommended to me by SOO many people and I’m really glad we listened!
We went to their wine bar (not the main restaurant) and seriously, it was one of my top meals EVER. They seated us right up against a window where we could see the whole kitchen–it was really, really cool. Also, we got there right when it opened and were able to beat the crowds. The place filled up FAST.
I promise these will be the only photos you’ll see of our food from the trip (and we took pictures of all of our meals), but it was seriously to die for.
We ordered this zucchini flower for an appetizer, and it was so good that we ended up ordering more. It was stuffed with some kind of curry-coriander sauce, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Idan also convinced me to order the duck. I usually really do not like duck; I find it too rich. This duck, however, was the most delicious thing ever. It was seriously perfect. Again, my mouth is watering.
Wednesday – Day Five
On the itinerary, Wednesday was going to be our “anything we didn’t do” day. This turned out to be a LOT. We spent our time in Paris kind of slowly; just wandering, taking in the sights, and relaxing a bit.
Our last full day in Paris needed to pack in a lot, so we woke up early and grabbed breakfast at The Broken Arm. It was so cute, and we sat outside.
While we were eating, a group of adorable 4-5 year olds passed us in a line with their teachers, and they had vests on that said “No pictures!” I guess American tourists just think they are adorable and take pictures of them? I thought that was kind of funny (and also creepy).
That morning we went to Notre Dame, and stopped by this English book store right down the street after. It was really cute, and I think we would have spent more time there if we didn’t have so much left on our list to do that day!
The Musee D’Orsay was about a 25 minute walk from there, so we walked along the river to get there. It reminded me of the Chicago Riverwalk!
I really liked the Musee D’Orsay; it was stunning in architecture and I loved seeing so much impressionist work.
After that museum, we went to Le Saint Germain for lunch and sat on the patio. The weather had finally really cleared up so it was sunny and 75 and we were loving every minute of it!
I dragged Idan shopping around that area, and we went into this incredible taxidermy shop called Deyrolle. Yes, taxidermy. I know it’s kind of gross but I can’t even explain how cool this store was. The website doesn’t show much, and you’re not allowed to take photos inside, but I highly recommend stopping in!
After that, we stopped by Palais Royal on our way home. To be honest, I just wanted a photo on these columns.
Palais Royal turned out to be even better than the columns, though (which, by the way, were completely overrun with bloggers, ha!). The gardens were beautiful and people were sitting around the fountain and relaxing. It was so nice!
After this, I dragged Idan to do some shopping at Sezanne and Merci. Because who can go to Paris and not stop by those? Merci is incredibly expensive, but the store itself is very well designed and definitely worth popping into.
We went back to the hotel for a much needed siesta, and then grabbed dinner at L’as du Fallafel! This was another recommendation from many people, and we loved it.
We picked this night to go to the Louvre because we knew it was open late. The Louvre is FREAKING HUGE. I had always heard this, but never really understood it until visiting. Our Fat Tire tour guide told us that if you looked at every piece in the Louvre for just 3 seconds, it would take you literally weeks go to through it all.
Idan and I are really not huge museum people, so we googled “top 10 things to see at the Louvre,” and got right to work. A little crazy? Maybe. Practical with our time? Definitely.
(Note: the above pic is from another day that we stopped by the front of the Louvre on bike!)
The last thing on our list was to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night. It sparkles every hour on the hour starting at 10pm (for 5 minutes), and we made the 10pm show. It was spectacular and definitely a moment I won’t ever forget.
On Thursday, we woke up bright and early and took the Eurostar to London to continue our journey. More to come in another blog post!
Paris exceeded my expectations in so many ways, and I just can’t wait to go back. I hope you enjoyed our 5-Day Paris Itinerary! Do you have any suggestions for next time? Leave a comment!
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