Boungiorno! (Or should I say “Bonjour”!)
After many weeks of procrastinating, (because I knew how long it would take me to organize these photos), I finally have a post from my recent trip to Paris for you! The first time I went to Paris was with my sister in 2012 (long before I had my Bellezza Corner) and I spent three days there. We spent most of our time at the Louvre and admiring the Eiffel Tower, but not diving deep into the city since there just wasn’t time.
This time, I had four full days and I wanted to see more of everything! It’s really nice going back to a place you’ve been before, to dig a little deeper and discover some beauty that you may not have found before. That’s exactly what I did with my friend so here are the sites we took in and all the fun moments we had in our four days in Paris. Many photos are ahead!
Arc de Triomphe
The first time I went to Paris, I only saw the Arc de Triomphe from the street and was just blown away by its size and incredible detail. One of my favorite parts about seeing Paris again, this time with a few more days, was taking my time in admiring the monument during the day and night and even climbing to the top. Its sheer size surprised me all over again and I spent several minutes just staring at it from across the street.
The arc is in the center of a very busy and wide roundabout called “Étoile” (“star”), so there is an underpass from a nearby street that takes you through a tunnel underground and out right beneath the structure. I hadn’t even realized this was possible in my last trip to Paris, and was stunned by the beauty of it up close. We walked around all four “legs” of the arc, admiring the sculptures and text written inside. We did this at night which ended up being very cool. The way the arc is lit at night really highlights its beauty, and the view of the traffic going into and out of the Champs-Élysées was mesmerizing.
The following day, we made time to wait in line and climb to the top of the arc. It really didn’t seem like so many steps in the end, which surprised me. For a huge structure, there were only 284 steps and 50 meters to the top to view the streets that converge to make the Étoile. Walking the perimeter of the top of the arc, the view of each perfect, tree lined street was just as beautiful as the last. As you can see, there is a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower down one street, and another of my favorite place in Paris, Montmartre.
^^ All of that beautiful little white area and the huge basilica there is Montmartre! This was so far from the arc on foot that I didn’t expect to be able to see it from the top!
Have I mentioned how beautiful Montmartre is?! It’s my favorite place in Paris and where we decided to spend a lot of time during these days. Montmartre is in the northern part of the city, and is a large hill 130m high. This area had a whole different personality and feel to it and I loved every minute of walking through the streets and climbing the hill aimlessly, stopping a thousand times for every picture perfect street and scene. Everything was drenched in white and it almost felt that we weren’t in the huge, bustling city that is Paris. The most beautiful part was the stunning white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur at the top of the hill.
While walking, we saw an adorable, all white parked little train called “Les Petits Trains de Montmartre” and decided we had to hop on. For about seven euros each, we took the cutest little ride up and and down the hill and through all the streets. (Unfortunately, I was too busy on the train to take a photo!) The Moulin Rouge is in this neighborhood too, on the outskirts of the historic, all white area, and the train passed by there as well. We couldn’t stop laughing riding this old fashioned little train around and it gave our feat a little break too! Win win.
^^ So many little streets gave a peek of the basilica on the way up the hill.
^^ Can you imagine this being the door to your home?! I couldn’t stand the cuteness!
I spotted this adorable corner cafe and we ended up eating there on our last night in Paris for dinner. The dinner consisted exclusively of cheese, bread, and wine. #allyouneedinlife
^^ “Love runs through the streets.”
^^We had to catch the basilica at night too!
Forewarning about my Paris eats: the majority of food consumed consisted of wine, sweets, and Italian food (of course—see the first photo of the post for proof of my carbonara dinner, ha!). Little nutrition was found in my Paris meals, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
^^My friend, Agathe, whom I was traveling with is a pastry aficionado and knows everything about the best pastry chefs and places to get amazing sweets in Paris. (Lucky me that I got an insider tour of the best sweets in the city! 😍) She guided us to the best macarons in Paris which were at Pierre Herme.
^^This was breakfast everyday. Coffee, bread, jam, croissants. 🙌
^^Everyone told me I had to experience Angelina and how cute it was. It looks like a cute, old fashioned home and had a menu full of sweets, lunch and dinner food. We stopped there for tea and planned our route for the rest of the day!
^^ Constant wine stops were a part of everyday—both because we wanted wine and to give our feet periodic breaks during our 40,000 step days!
Jardin du Luxembourg
Another beautiful spot to see is this beautiful garden. Today, the incredible Luxembourg Palace in the garden is owned by the French Senate, but it was originally built by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France in 1612. The palace is surrounded by the most amazing garden full of flowers, fountains and trees. I had only really walked by the Jardin du Luxembourg on my first trip to Paris, and this time got to see everything up close in a long stroll. It’s a beautiful place to spend the afternoon or sit at a table and read or rest.
^^ Perfectly groomed trees and flowers surround the whole garden.
^^ This incredible fountain is The Medici Fountain and was built in 1630 by Marie de’ Medici. It was brought from Florence where it was made.
The Eiffel Tower
Of course, the Eiffel Tower never disappoints. Without even trying to find it, you will most likely stumble across it a number of times during a stay in Paris, and every time it pops up, it’s a beautiful surprise. I particularly think it takes on a whole different magic at night.
^^ For those that don’t know, every hour at night, the Eiffel Tower lights up with twinkling lights for a few minutes. It’s completely mesmerizing and I took this photo with the lights out of focus that I think captures how dreamy it can be.
Other beautiful sites and moments!
Here is the Pont Alexandre III, which is a stunning bridge with tons of gold detail. Beautiful to see and cross!
Below is the Place des Vosges, a perfectly pruned garden with four identical corners that look just like this one with fountains and trees all around. On the right is where Victor Hugo lived!
On our second day in Paris, while mapping out our route in the morning on Google Maps, I saw all these streets with detour signs and closings and clicked on them to discover that the Tour de France was passing through the city that day! Talk about a once in a lifetime experience! We couldn’t believe it! It made walking around the city very complicated with so many blockages and security, but we eventually secured a spot on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to watch the bikes race by. I honestly could not believe how fast they were going. I hadn’t realized from watching on TV how fast these riders actually race. It was incredible and watching them ride around the Étoile perfectly in sync!
Agathe knew of this super cool shop, Merci, that’s set back from the street and has its own courtyard with an adorable old car out front. We got some fun gifts there.
Below is a shot from the Pont des Arts, the bridge that once had every inch covered in love locks. The locks had become too heavy and were forcing the railings into the river, so they were replaced by plastic railings where locks cannot be hooked. There were big clumps of locks around the lamp posts along the bridge (the only place you could attach them), which I captured here in this photo.
^^Another thing I didn’t have in 2012 when I was here last was my FitBit, which showed me that during these days I was averaging 40,000 steps per day or 15 miles. Since I’ve had my FitBit for about a year, I’ve never seen those kinds of numbers!
Have any of you been to Paris? If so, what was your favorite place or experience there?!