Let’s Talk Europe… PARIS

Strap on in and hold on tight…. this is a long one! 🙂

You want to know more about Paris, right??  Well here is the insight from someone that has been there… twice.  The first trip was a romantic couple trip and the second time was a family trip with my parents.

Since we live in Germany, we took a train from Stuttgart Train station directly to Paris Main Railway station.  It was about a 3.5 hour train ride, very comfortable and very reasonably priced tickets.  The price per ticket, each way, was 50 Euro.

We stayed at the Mercure Hotel which was located super close to the Eiffel tower.  Everyday when we would walk out of our hotel, we would round the corner and there was the beauty of the Eiffel Tower.

While we definitely enjoyed our selves with all the lights of the Eiffel tower and the wonderful food found in the Cafes, and of course all magnificent pastries and treats at the Boulangerie or patisseries here is our list of all the other activities to do while in Paris.

  1. DO try the Escargot… you might like it 😉
    1. On our first night in Paris, we walked around and admired all the sights and sounds of the city and we were looking for a place to have dinner.  We came upon a lovely little cafe that offered escargot as a starter, it was super delicious…although my other half did not think the same.  The Escargot or snails, came out baked with a pesto sauce on the inside, being our first time we asked how we are to eat the snails.  We were told to place it on a piece of bread and enjoy 🙂
  2. The LOUVRE
    1. All we knew we wanted to see was the Mona Lisa, though it was worth it to see the iconic piece of art, we found that it is a packed place just full of people and they are all trying to do the same thing we did.  We got in, took our picture and then we got out!  BUT we took our time and looked around the rest of the Louvre and took in the rest of the beautiful art or artifacts from around the world that are decades and even centuries old.
    2. My tip – PRE PURCHASE your Louvre ticket for a “timed” entry, if you know what day you want to visit.  You can purchase the tickets HERE.  Otherwise you will be standing in the longest line you have ever seen for a really long time.
  3. Eiffel Tower
    1. During winter months you can ice skate on second floor, we didn’t get the chance but we saw all the kids enjoy the ice rink while we were there.
    2. Eat on the Eiffel Tower! There are several different restarts from the first floor all the way to the top floor. They offers an expereince unlike any other but make sure to book your dinner through the website, it can be pricey at the top, but some towards the bottom could fit in your budget.
    3. PRE PURCHASE TICKETS -One of the best places to purchase tickets is the official Eiffel Tower website, during tourist season, which is usually during the summer months, it can be hard to get in to visit the floors of the tower.
    4. **TIPS**
  4. Boat Tour Dinner on Seine River
    1. This was an activity we did on the second trip to Paris, it was one thing saw while I was in Paris the first trip, and decided that it would be a great way to show my parents around the area on the first night.
    2. We spent around $60 per person for a 2 hour boat ride that included a classic French cuisine dinner.  It also included one glass of wine for each person or a choice of drink. Anything else that you wanted to drink or eat would be extra.
    3. The tour started at the dock near the Louvre, and then it headed in the direction of the Eiffel Tower, great pictures from the river.  Then the boat turned around and started in the other direction, where it took us past Notre Dame and several beautiful bridges.  Once the boat had finished going around the river for two hours, we had finished our dinner.  This is a great activity for families with children or even for couples.
  5. Food Tour – St. Germain
    1. THIS was the most AMAZING food tour I have ever taken part in.  It was of course, a sweets tour.  The area of St. Germain is packed full of different bakeries and patisseries just waiting to be explored.  The area also has great history that is shared with you during the tour.  You meet with a local that shares a little slice of heaven with you in an area she knows very well.  I highly recommend trying out this experience!  You won’t walk away hungry 😉
    2. **TIP** Meet the Locals.com is a great website when looking for activities during travel, and are usually in every city you might visit anywhere.
    3. CHECK OUT THE FULL POST ON THE FOOD TOUR HERE!
  6. Moulin Rouge
    1. A cabaret show in Paris that dates back to 1885 and made the French cancan famous.  We booked our tickets in advance and we went to a late night showing. It was a surprise to me actually, my husband didn’t tell me where we were going until we arrived.  A great surprise it was!  I do not speak french and couldn’t understand what they were singing, but the show was still amazing.  I loved it, it is a must if you have time in Paris!
  7. Chocolate Tour
    1. Great little museum that is all about Chocolate!  The cost was 35 Euro a person and 3 Euro for the hot chocolate. We found out about the museum because we had to make a pit stop at a cafe and found a coupon for Choco Story at a cafe that was down the street, that got us half off. We did not plan the adventure until we got to this cafe and added it as a quick little stop, since we heard it was ALL YOU CAN EAT CHOCOLATE… don’t get too excited they aren’t ginormous bars, you are in Europe 😉  They were tiny little chocolate chips the size of quarters, but were all very delicious and came in flavors from Dark chocolate to white chocolate, and you really could eat as many as you wanted.  At the end of the museum, they had a workshop where you could watch a chocolatier make chocolate and you could also craft your own hot chocolate.
  8. Champs-Élysées
    1. Christmas Market -So… if you haven’t heard it already, i’m telling you now.  Christmas markets are one of the BEST things ever (in my opinion) and are all around Europe. What is not to love though? FOOD AND WINE!?!  Since we visited Paris once during Christmas and once during the summer months, we did actually get to see the Christmas market on/near Champs-Élysée. At the market we got to indulge in a variety of foods from all over the world, we tried frog legs cooked in truffle oil, crocodile bites and fried kangaroo.  We of course had all of the common Christmas market foods which are melted cheese on top of anything with Vin Chaud (hot wine). YUMMM  There are also many crepes (filled with nutella), waffles and other sweets.
    2. Champs-Élysée Shopping
      1. Champs-Élysée is one of the most recognizable avenues in the world, known for its cafes and many luxury shops.   Even though it is one of the most recognizable places, we aren’t shoppers so we really only were there to see the Arc de Triumph, since it is at the end of the avenue.
  9. Arc de Triomphe
    1. The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is yet another of famous monuments which is at the end of Champs-Élysée.  It is in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, which is the junction of 5 large avenues, creating the star around the Arc de Triomphe and let me tell you.. it is CRAZY.  All the cars going around and around, don’t attempt to frogger across!  All you have to do to get to the Arc de Triomphe is find the tunnel that goes underground and you walk right to the monument. It is free to visit, but does cost to go on top, in our opinion it isn’t worth the money because you get a better view on top of the Eiffel Tower!IMG_6227
  10. Walk around a random district
    1. We did!  We walked around and jumped in and out of art stores, cheese shops, gelato stands and even found a shop that is owned by someone originally from Ohio, now living in Paris, who claimed to have some of the best brownies.  It is just always fun to find and talk with someone from the area and learn about their journeys.
  11. Notre-Dame de Paris
    1. Located on its own little separate “island” and also known as “Our Lady of Paris”. Here you will find more than 100 gargoyles, spread all over the Notre Dame Cathedral.
    2. How to get there?  You can either walk over the bridges to get to the Cathedral, or you can take the subway train and get off at St-Michel Notre Dame that will take you directly to the island.  Then you will walk up lots of stairs because the subway is so far down, then you will pop up from below and you will be a two minute walk away from the Cathedral.

Well… that is all I have for right now on one of the most beautiful places in the world that always leaves you wanting more.  It has a little bit of everything in this town, rich history, fashion for days and food that makes your eyes pop!  I hope this can help you get the courage to get out there and visit Paris! 🙂

 

  1. **Travel Tip**
    • Before you head home, grab a few souvenirs that are true to Paris or even France.  A few things to look into grabbing as souvenirs from Paris – cheese, wine, chocolate, art, fashionable clothing, perfume, post cards and of course tons and tons of pictures!

 

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