Around two weeks ago, we took a much needed vacation to Paris, France. It was my first trip to Europe (yes, I know!). Last fall, my other half, Jeffry informed me that he was invited by Valrhona chocolate to go to Lyon, France for a chocolate factory tour and attend the SIRHA (Europe’s biggest food expo). It wasn’t his first trip to France so I gave him a hard time about his second trip and I’ve never been. We decided to look up online and surprised to find some great deals for my flight out. Since it’s the off season for Paris, hotels were considerably more affordable as well; so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
The view of Paris from top of the Norte Dame Cathedral’s bell tower with gargoyle.
I flew in and met Jeffry in Paris and it was completely different world for me in a good way. When we checked into our hotel, Residence des Arts, near the Notre Dame Cathedral - I was surprised to discover one of probably world’s smallest elevator which is 1’6” x 5’! It only can fit up to two persons. It was fun experience for us! Our hotel room was really cute and unique! It was located in a really gorgeous part of Paris, on the eastern edge of the 5th Arr. right at the famous Saint-Michel Fountain. A very charming area. You can get an idea of what it look like picture below. We really enjoy walking around this neighborhood and discovered the hidden gems in the alleys and side streets.
This is the neighborhood where we stayed at.
We toured one of Paris’s famous landmarks, Norte Dame Cathedral. I was blew away by how huge this church is but also has so many beautiful details on it. I studied this church when I was in middle school and finally got to see it in person. We also went up all the way to the top of the bell tower! It was little over 400 steps! Great workout for us. It got a killer view of entire city of Paris and you get a very close (close enough to touch) look at the famed gargoyles (technically they are called Chimera, but everyone knows them as the gargoyles). It was an amazing experience for us. I highly recommend you to go check it out!
We went to one of the most famous museums in the world, the Louvre which I have been dying to go there for many years. Crowds were thin so we go up close and personal with some of artworks such as Mona Lisa painting, Winged Victory of Samothrace, the French crown jewels, parts of its Egyptian collection, and recreations of Napoleon III’s apartments. I have never thought that I’d see it in person in my life even I studied them in school! The Louvre Museum is a huge place and we were unable to see everything. We need to come back to see the rest of it.
We went to the Chateau de Versailles which was one of our must go place lists when we are in Paris. We arrived at the wrong time since we didn’t realize that day we arrived was actually free museum day which also includes Versailles. We thought we’d escape the crowds at the regular museums! We were wrong and waiting in a winding line to enter for over 1.5 hours. Once inside though we got to tour many beautiful rooms including one of my favorite rooms, the Hall of Mirrors. I was in awe with their huge gorgeous gardens surrounding the palace. It was a lot of walk around to see the most of it. At the same time, we got to learn more about French’s history with its kings and queens when they ruled France before the French Revolution. I can’t wait to return in the future during the spring or summer when the gardens are green and in full bloom…i’m sure it’s even more spectacular.
We also got to see many different places such as Eiffel Tower, Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, a Seine river boat tour, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in the Montmarte area, Arc de Triumph, Galleries Lafayette stunning dome, and many amazing Paris neighborhoods. We enjoyed a number of small local neighborhood restaurants, and some of Paris’s top pastries and chocolate shops. I love it when some chocolate shops we went to treat their confections like a luxury jewelry shop such as Tiffany’s with doormen to allow customers to enter but not crowd the store.
We stayed in Paris for 8 days which gave us the plenty of time to get to explore Paris and experience a lot of what the city has to offer. We are in love with Paris and want to come back again and see more of it.
Have you been to Paris, France before? If so, what is your favorite place(s) to go to when you are there?