If I were to write a full recap of my trip, it would definitely be a long blog post, so I’ll just provide a snapshot of this amazing experience – complete with a sneak peek collage of photos which I also shared on Twitter while I was there (#JaLLinParis) and a couple of videos I took!
There are definitely aspects of the trip that I will get into more in future posts… certain moments where it inspired more to say on the topic, but for this purpose, it’ll just be a “schedule” of events – and boy did we ever do a lot on this trip!
Tuesday, April 3rd
- Flew out from Toronto on the overnight (with a stopover in Quebec City) – felt like SUCH a long flight…
Wednesday, April 4th
- Landed in Paris at noon local time. Spent quite a while at the airport orienting ourselves to find our way out to Montparnasse, the area where our hotel was.
- Checked into hotel and walked a TON on the first day.
- Saw Le Bon Marché (big department store/grocery store), Ladurée (famously delicious macarons) and bought some macarons to go while we sat along the Seine enjoying them and watching the people and boats go by.
Thursday, April 5th
- Headed out to Montmartre for our macaron-making cooking class with Cook’n With Class and to see Sacré Cœur Basilica and the Moulin Rouge
- While my friend attended mass at Sacré Cœur, I hung out on the patio at one of the cafés in the artist alley area behind the grand basilica and captured this moment on video, where the bells were tolling close to 7pm.
Friday, April 6th
- Participated in a 3.5 hr bike tour with Bike About Tours (FANTASTIC tour!) – saw a lot of places like Victor Hugo’s home in Places des Vosges, Jim Morrison’s home for the last few months of his life, Marais neighbourhood and the Latin Quarter.
- With the recommendation by Amy Plum as well as my friend’s friend, we enjoyed some decadent hot chocolate at Angelina’s across from the Louvre
- Popped into the Arts Decoratif museum and saw the limited time exhibition of Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs
- And wandered a bit before finding the famous bookstore Shakespeare & Company
Saturday, April 7th
- (Crazily) tackled Galeries Lafayette on a Saturday of the long weekend. Huge department store filled with shoppers and tourists but with a gorgeous domed ceiling over the beauty department
- Dropped of shopping at hotel and went back out to the Champs Élysées where we walked through the throngs or people to get over to the Arc de Triomphe. We didn’t go up, but we did take the tunnel that goes under the road to get right up to the Arc.
- Recommended by a colleague, we went to Le Relais de L’Entrecôte (a steak & frites place) and friend’s friend had warned us to go early since there’s quite a line-up and crowd. The restaurant opens for dinner at 7pm, and when we headed back to the area around 6:30, there was already a couple people there. When we were finally let in, there was a line-up down the street for this place!
- After dinner, walked over to the Seine and saw the Eiffel Tower. Took the metro to see it closer up and had my first overwhelming moment seeing it all lit up at night (and twinkling! See video below) Took the metro back to the Arc to see that lit up at night as well. (After 4 days of almost-straight walking, we bought the 3-day Metro pass and it was the best money spent! – More on that another day)
Sunday, April 8th
- Was warned that not much is open on Sundays, and we attempted to go to the Catacombs, but sure enough it was closed – and on Monday as well because of Easter weekend.
- Went up the Montparnasse Tower for a beautiful 360° panoramic view of the city. This tower’s the only skyscraper within the Paris area (before they stopped allowing tall skyscrapers to be built so it wouldn’t block the views)
- Wandered Jardin du Luxeumbourg – gorgeous garden…
- Stumbled upon Saint Sulpice (made famous by Da Vinci Code)
- Headed over to the Marais neighbourhood, had some tea at a café and came across some really cute shops
Monday, April 9th
- Louvre day! Thank goodness for the tip that our bike tour guide told us about a little-known entrance… everyone wants to the pyramid entrance, and that line-up was ridiculous. We walked into a side entrance with literally 2 people in front of us. Amazing.
- The Louvre is probably the 2nd time that I was overwhelmed in Paris. What a beautifully gorgeous building with so many works of art. Fantastic information lady at the front marked out for us the route we should take to see the key pieces – which saved us a ton of time and lost wandering.
- Of course, what’s a trip without me encountering a crazy… Story of my crazy Louvre incident over on my other blog Catnip for Crazies.
- Had expensive, but delicious, lunch at one of the cafés on the side of the Louvre and headed out to Père Lachaise cemetary and found the resting places of Jim Morrison and Frederic Chopin.
Tuesday, April 10th
- Went out to the Catacombs again and was faced with an enormous line that snaked all around the grounds. 3 hr wait at that point since they only let 200 people in at a time… So disappointed.
- Went to check out Musée d’Orsay instead – even with the pouring rain. Waited for about 1-1.5 hrs in line and met some lovely people that helped to pass the time. Beautiful former train station-turned-museum and we got to see exhibits of art by Degas, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin.
Wednesday, April 11th
- Headed home.. 🙁 It was a longer flight but strangely enough didn’t feel as bad as when we were going. Perhaps the midday flight makes the long 8+ hrs more bearable!
- Strangely enough, I didn’t think I’d be “ready” to go home, but after such a packed week of sightseeing and experiencing Parisian life, I felt satisfied.
- P.S. also picked up a couple souvenirs to be used in a giveaway at the end of Paris month! 😉 So stay tuned!