Earlier this summer we did a huge 6 week Europe trip! Seth and I both had the summer off because we had just graduated from Texas A&M and didn’t have to move to Austin until late July. So we packed our bags and headed to Europe to celebrate our graduations and enjoy a much needed break. There was so much planning that went into this trip and I’ll share more about that in a future blog post. Today, I’m sharing specifically what we did while we were in Paris!
I have to start this Paris blog with a crazy story about our journey there. Unfortunately 3 days before we left, we found out that our flight to Paris had been canceled but Expedia hadn’t updated our booking to reflect this 🙁 We ended up getting a refund but because it was so last minute, they didn’t have any flights to switch us to. So we rebooked our flights with a different airline literally 2 days before we left! It was so nerve-wracking trying to figure everything out but it worked out and we ended up making it to Paris.
On our first day we arrived around 1pm and we were so jet lagged from our flights there and the time difference. We made it to our airbnb in Montmartre which was small but functional. Since we were so exhausted we took a nap and then hung out in Montmartre for the evening. We had some amazing pizza at Babalou Pizza near Sacre Coeur and then called it a day!
Palais Royal, Sainte Chapelle, Conciergerie, and the Louvre
This was our big activity day! We started early at Palais Royale wandering around the gardens and plaza. Then we headed to Sainte Chapelle and took in the beautiful stained glass windows. It was absolutely stunning! There are stained glass windows with depictions of Bible stories and historical events and it’s incredibly detailed. We highly recommend it! Afterwards we went next-door to the Conciergerie which was a super interesting historical building. It had previously been a palace AND a prison and was the place where Marie Antionette was held before she was executed. If you plan to visit both Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie, you can get those tickets together for a reduced rate.
That evening we got to go into the Louvre! There are so many exhibits that it would have been exhausting to walk around and see all of them, so we picked the ones that looked most interesting to us and spent about 4 hours walking around. Some of our favorite exhibits were the Egyptian artifact exhibit and Napoleon’s apartment. I loved how ridiculously lavish the apartment was! If you plan to visit the Louvre, you do have to buy tickets in advance, especially if you are going during the summer. You can buy them online easily and then select a time slot for your visit. The only issue is that the week we were in Paris it was very rainy and the line does stretch outside. So if this is the case for your visit just pick up an umbrella before you get to the line!
This was my favorite day because we got to go to Roland Garros for the French Open and watch the quarterfinal matches! I played tennis growing up and always love watching professional matches on TV, so it was super exciting to watch it in person. We watched Ashley Barty win her quarterfinal match (she went on to win the overall title!) and also watched Thies win his quarterfinal match (he went on to get 2nd overall!). Roland Garros is close to the Eiffel Tower so after the matches finished up we walked that way for dinner!
The restaurants near the Eiffel Tower can be pretty pricey and some of them are also not the best food. We ended up finding an Italian place that was pretty reasonable. I recommend doing your research in advance if you want to find a nice place to eat with a view to make sure you aren’t paying a ton of money for a less than satisfactory meal!
Tuileries + Relaxing
It was cold and rainy on our 4th day so we relaxed and spent some time indoors. We started by visiting Seth’s favorite bookstore in Paris – Galignani – which we stopped by when we were in Paris in January. We found it by chance because we were freezing cold and needed to stop in somewhere warm and we absolutely loved it! So we wanted to make a stop back there on this trip as well. Now that we’ve done it twice I’d say its tradition! Then walked around the Tuileries gardens a bit. In the afternoon the rain picked back up so we just hung out at a pub and watched the French Open.
Market Aligre + Arc de Triumph
We had another relaxed day that we spent doing some very French activities. We started with a trip to Market Aligre where we picked up fruit and bread for a picnic. It was a great experience to wander around the market and people watch! And we also got to eat some amazing food for a great price. After the market, we stopped by Cafe CC which was a super cute coffee shop nearby! We then walked quite a ways to get to the Arc de Triumph and the row of fancy shopping in front of it – the Champs-Elysées. We walked around looking at the shops and had a relaxing day!
We spent this day completely in Montmartre and did somewhat of a food tour. We started with traditional French crepes at Rozell Cafe! It was a small cafe with yummy crepes. Then we went to a nearby coffee shop for lattes – Cuillier cafe. We also took advantage of their wifi to plan out our next few days of the trip. After the cafe we walked around the main town area of Montmartre and stopped into a bar for wine and to watch the finals of the French Open!
Eiffel Tower Portraits + Monet Museum
This was our sunrise portrait day! We woke up super early to avoid the crowds at the Eiffel Tower and were there by 7:15am picture-ready. There were a few other tourists around but mostly it was just other photographers taking portraits of couples on vacation! There are plenty of places for portraits so we just claimed our little spot and took some of my favorite photos from the trip. When we finished up with our photos we headed to a nearby bakery for chocolate croissants. They were so good and we were so hungry that we ended up stopping at a second bakery a few minutes later for round 2! We spent the rest of the day hanging out with one of my good friends Julia. Julia and I met playing tennis (which is why I’m such a big French Open fan!) and she was a bridesmaid at our wedding. She also graduated this year and was celebrating with a Europe trip with some of her college friends. We spent the day eating good food and visiting the Monet museum in the Tullieries. That night Seth and I splurged on a nice meal at a restaurant called Sale y Pepe in Montmartre. We knew it would be good when we arrived because all of the indoor tables had been reserved already! So we had an amazing dinner of burrata and pizza on the patio.
We spent our last day in Paris at Versailles! We had a bit of a mishap maneuvering the trains so we didn’t get there until 10am which meant the line was a few hours long. But we waited in line and finally made it into the Palace! We had a flight to catch that night so we made the most of our limited time and did a tour of the Royal Apartments. They were so extravagant and beautiful! Since we visited on a Tuesday, the fountains in the gardens were on and some of them were doing musical shows! I definitely recommend visiting on a day when this is happening even though it will be a bit more expensive. They have fountain shows on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. We walked all over the gardens and saw all of the fountains and then headed out to catch our flight to Barcelona!
Because it was so rainy during our time in Paris, I didn’t take my camera out a ton, but I did take some good photos during our time there and some of my favorites are below!
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