Not really, but REALLY! Grab your coffee or wine if you really want to know everything we did, saw + ate. I’m not even exactly sure where to start or how to end or what the plot of this post should be. Paris. I’m speechless. If you haven’t gone, you must go. If you’ve gone, you have to go back.
This was my first time ever going anywhere in Europe and now I already have the bug to travel to more places and I haven’t even been home for 24 hours. I ventured with two photographer friends Amanda and Quyen. This was Amanda’s third time in Paris, Quyen and I’s first. Amanda knew of some great spots to visit and my friend Quyen is great at finding the latest “trendy” and of course adorable places to photograph. Honestly, no matter where you go in Paris or what cafe or patisserie you pop in to, they are all adorable. I had all intentions of writing about each day, but when you get up around 7:30 a.m. and walk around all day and don’t go to bed until around 12:30 a.m., finding time to write about “all the things” gets a little complicated. One day alone, we walked almost 18 miles we averaged about 12 a day, which is a good thing because we had to walk off all the pastries we ate from Strohrer. Thank you Brendan for telling us about that place, we went every day, but one. It was seriously the best pastries in all of Paris and trust me, we tried a LOT!
I know you’re like, come on Tiffany, enough with the jibber jabber! I want to see the pictures! Ok, ready? Let’s go to Paris!
Day 1: We’ve arrived! Jet lagged & caffeine deprived, we dropped off our luggage at our airbnb, which I would stay at again in a heart beat, went to the nearest cafe named Angelina’s (Not to be confused with Angelina Jolie or my middle name. Fun fact for the day!) just around the corner. There I had a Cafe au Lait, Double Espresso, & my first of MANY pain au chocolat! (chocolate croissant) We then walked to the Eiffel Tower, because it’s the first thing you have to do when you visit Paris and it did not disappoint. Then meandered the streets and stumbled upon La Malabar, where the nicest waiter with an adorable man bun served us. He spoke English and asked us questions about where we were from and why we were visiting, it was the perfect way to be introduced to Paris. (I did not take out my camera until day 2 so the following are solely iPhone photos).
Day 2: It was cloudy and chilly. We slept in after tossing and turning from jet lag that night. We started the day with Espresso’s, cappuccino’s, + breakfast at Paper Boy, where we had probably the only healthy meal of the entire trip which did not contain a pastry before, during or after our meal. Then we went shopping at Merci, which you can, in fact, find a gift for everyone in your life! You have no idea how hard it was to not buy everything in that store + the flowers, OH MY GOODNESS the flowers (you’ll see), it was pure heaven! After Merci, we walked around a bit more, I stopped and got a street crepe, because PARIS! It was ok, I don’t think I’m much of a crepe fan, but it was still fun to watch it being made. Amanda had some sights she wanted to see so Quyen + I kept shopping + went to a great mens clothing store, La Garçonnière, where Quyen bought some amazing Cognac for her husband that we got to sample. We then walked around the city falling in love with the mystery of the people and stumbled upon Les Deux Plateaux. A place that a lot of people photograph. Quyen and I got a photo of ourselves jumping on the black and white stumps then sat next to a fountain where the sun decided to make and appearance. We sat and just imagined what our lives would be like if we had grown up Parisians. We would definitely be thinner and have the best wardrobe. The amount of thigh gaps in Paris is ridiculous and not just with woman! They definitely do not eat pastries everyday like we did. That evening, Amanda went out to dinner with another photographer friend who lives in Paris while Quyen + I went to another favorite restaurant of my brother-in-laws (he used to live in Paris), La Fontaine de Mars. It was our one “fancy” dinners + it did not disappoint! We got there right as dinner was starting, in Paris dinner starts a lot later, we lucked out and got the last open table. If you go, definitely make a reservation, but GO! Order anything, it’s all amazing, but be sure to order gratin dauphinois, the cheesiest, most buttery, melt in your mouth potatoes you lips will have ever tasted! It is located just blocks away from the Eiffel Tower so when you are done with dinner you can walk off some of those cheesy potatoes and watch the Eiffel Tower light up (It twinkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour from 7 pm to 11 pm, I believe.)
Day 3: Shopping day! (Really, every day there was a shopping day, but don’t tell my husband that!) We shopped + shopped + shopped + shopped, not to be confuse with “Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots” the song. First we stopped at an adorable cafe called Frenchie to Go where Queyn slammed a stool under the table into the legs of a Parisian girl who was trying to enjoy her breakfast. I missed the incident as I was already indulging in my Cappuccino. Then we went to Strohrer, because it’s Strohrer! It was already 10:00 in the morning and I had not had my daily fix of pain au chocolate + an eclair! Then we walked all around in 8+9 arr (Montmartre), it’s where all the fantastic shopping is. (Side note: when you go to Paris a lot of boutiques + cafe’s are closed on Sundays, but not Montmartre, that is the only area that everything is open, but it also means that day is the busiest). After spending days shopping in Paris, it makes me never want to buy another generic clothing item from a department store ever again, there are stories behind everything which makes each piece of clothing, linen + decor so much more meaningful and timeless. One of the best memories of our trip happened on day 5, just wait for it, it was amazing…no skipping ahead aloud!
Day 4: We went to our favorite patisserie again, I’ll spare you the name, because by now you should have it memorized, STOHRER, (did I just yell?), walked along the river taking in the chilly morning stopping for as many cappicinos + coffee’s along the way. We walked to Notre Dame + the Lourve + toured Versailles, after Versailles the sun came out and warmed us all up, so went on the Big Eye to get photos of the Eiffel Tower at sunset, ate at Fuxia for dinner and had a quiet night in. It was a perfect day in Paris. I’ll let the photos describe this day.
Day 5: Stay with me on this one, it’s long, but it was the best day of all of Paris! It was 62 and sunny this day, absolutely perfect! We all got up early to get photos of the city while everyone was still waking up. We started at the Lourve, toured Notre Dame, walked to 2nd arr. and went to Stohrer again. (I wasn’t joking…) By this point I had had about 16 glasses of water and 2 espresso’s and had to “utiliser les toilettes” (USE the toilet!) REALLY bad. I was describing it to Quyen and Amanda as if when you use the term “hangry”, you know, hungry and angry, but instead I had to pee and was angry so I was “peeangry” because we couldn’t find a bathroom. I finally made us stop at a corner cafe where I barged in and just said “TOILETT!” The man behind the bar just looked at me like a crazy American and I ran downstairs and well felt like a new person 5 seconds later. It was there I got my favorite photo from the entire trip. While I was using “un toilette”, Amanda ordered me another Cappuccino, because it’s rude to use a public restroom in Paris without ordering something. So we sat on the corner watching cars go by when a beautiful red headed girl with a red jacket pulled up on a bicycle. I said to Quyen, “grab my camera!” she grabbed it out of my bag and well, you can see for yourself. I took about 10 photos, she was just so beautiful. Now, that I look back, I’m so glad I had to pee!
After that amazing photo capture we continued our walk to the Luxembourg Gardens, where we watched the little kids play with little sailboats (the CUTEST)! I simply can’t not imagine being a little kid in Paris growing up with all these amazing monuments and parks, it’s just unbelievable to me. We then ate a late lunch at Ellsworth, an amazing restaurant where we sat next to a family with a little girl about 12 who ate clams, duck, salad + anything else the waitress brought to her table. I can only hope Ainsleigh will eat like that when she is 12. They ate so slow and had real conversations, then at the end were face timing what it looked to be Grand-père (grandpa). So even the French whip out the iPhone in a restaurant once in a while. Ellsworth was also where Quyen had the best fried chicken of her life.
After Ellsworth we stopped into a store that quickly became our best memory created in Paris, Maison Doris. Doris, the owner of the boutique was just too much + a complete inspiration to all three of us. I may name my second child after her! It was a store kiddy corner to Ellsworth that Quyen wanted to stop in. When we walked in, I thought to myself, “this is not my type of store at all, I’ll watch Quyen.” Then Doris started talking to us, showing us her pieces she made by hand. Quyen fell in love with a blush pink dress which was to expensive, but Doris had another similar one on sale downstairs where she makes her clothing. She invited us downstairs (mind you the staircase was tiny and the space was probably a total between upstairs and downstairs of 500 ft. if that). Doris started pulling items off the wracks from her winter collection and we ventured back up the staircase where Quyen proceeded to fall in love with every item she put on. Doris even started to try her own pieces on, showing us how you could wear each one. It was like she was floating around her store, fabric swinging from her hips as she twirled around, tried on belts, synched the waist, rolled up sleeves, + imagining brooches on her pieces. I was in awe, not one piece of her clothing looked like the other, yet every item you could wear 5 different ways. Her fabric bought from Italy, I immediately wanted everything in the store!
Then came the jacket. Oh! the jacket! See, the one thing I wanted to splurge on after being in Paris for a few days was a nice jacket, because everyone you walked by on the streets had the most simple, but beautiful jacket. I had found it! Doris put it on + I was like, “I have to try that!” I put it on and was in love. I had never loved a piece of clothing more than I did this jacket. “I’LL TAKE IT!”, I said. It was everything. It IS everything! The story behind it, the way it makes me feel, it is Paris. We found out Doris was a ballerina turned designer, I mean COME ON! You can’t make this up. I do believe she is from a fairytale. The 3 of us left her store with goosebumps. It was the best memory we have in Paris. Not the Lourve, not Notre Dame, not the Eiffel Tower, it’s the people. We didn’t want to leave. We could have packed her up in our suitcase and brought her home with us. It was Paris.
We left in a state of awe, walking to the next destinations knowing nothing would ever top it. We continued our shopping at APC where Quyen got a new wallet, Ladurée (hello! Paris!), Fauchon where we picked up some parisian chocolates. That night, we walked to the Eiffel Tower to watch it light up at night on the way home we stopped at the local grocery store for an amazing $6 bottle of Rosé which we brought home, drank + had some really good laughs, which will remain between the 3 of us forever. This was probably the best day in Paris! All the days were great, but this one we walked almost 18 miles and experienced Paris the way I’d always imagined I would. DORIS.
Day 6: I got up (but not early enough for my daily Strohrer) and went to church at Notre Dame, it was beautiful and so incredibly surreal to think I was sitting in a church that was built almost a thousand years ago. I didn’t understand a word that was said, but just being there and to say I went to mass at Notre Dame, is an experience I’ll never forget and hold onto forever. I then met up with Quyen and Amanda at the Lourve. I honestly didn’t feel like walking around a museum, I knew the Mona was in there (we are like BFFs) and that was about all I had a desire to see and even that I had heard was very underwhelming. But when we got there, as soon as we entered the first room of sculptures, I was blown away. If I lived in Paris, I honestly could spend a day per room and it would probably take me months to get through it all. There is so much to see and I would definitely go back and do the headset tour so I knew what artifacts I was looking at since most of the descriptions are in French. It was amazing! GO! But do it on a rainy day and go early, as early as you can. After the Lourve we had lunch at Hand where we sat next to a family with 3 little girls ranging from the age of about 5 to 10, one blonde, one brown, and one red hair. I do believe there is nothing more adorable than the sound of little french children talking. I dosed in and out of conversation with Quyen and Amanda at lunch just listening to them talk and watching the mannerisms of their parents who always had their hands on one another and were so affectionate. It was the sweetest thing.
We then continued walking around Paris, I was practicing my street photography skills, which you will see need some work, but non the less are memories created. We stopped at the Arc de Triomphe + the Eiffel Tower to take one last photo in front it, then ended our trip where it all began, La Malabar. The next day, we got up early, went to buy some fresh Strohrer pastries for the trip home, I ate 3 of my 4 pain au chocolats before we even entered the US + that was Paris.
So if you’ve stuck through this entire post which is very unlikely unless you are my mother then here is my advice if you are traveling to Paris. Go during the off season. Each day pick a theme or a place and walk there. Walk to that place, do the thing and then after that do whatever your heart or head has in mind. Traveling can be so overwhelming which is why I never wanted to do it, but if you go with each day planning one event and then just doing whatever you feel like the rest of the day, it will lead you in so many fun directions. Also, take one day with zero plans, sit and observe the culture you are in and watch the day go by, relax and enjoy! Don’t forget to visit, Doris!