Oh Paris. Our time in la Ville Lumière was far too brief (approximately 40 hours) but nonetheless enchanting. To be honest, I never pictured my first time experiencing Paris to be with children in tow. It may not have been the most romantic of circumstances but I was happy to finally have the opportunity to visit. I admit – it was slightly overwhelming to set foot in a place that I’ve dreamed about since adolescence. I studied French throughout school and admired the city with cartoonish heart-eyes while imagining myself wandering the streets of Paris, fluent, and impeccably dressed. I’ve wanted to visit for so long that I couldn’t remember ever not wanting to go. But for whatever reason, I always allowed myself to be talked out of traveling to France.
But not this time. I can now say that I have been to Paris. And it lived up to the hype. We barely scratched the surface and we left wanting to see so much more – Montmartre, the Sacré Coeur, the Sorbonne, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Georges Pompidou, Moulin Rouge, Les Invalides, actually walk around the Louvre, and the list goes on.
We stayed near Trocadéro Square at the Hôtel Longchamp Elysées, which is a short walk from the Eiffel Tower and centrally located to most of Paris’ infamous sights. After arriving at our hotel via taxi from Gare du Nord, we checked in and then promptly made our way toward the iconic metal structure.
Despite my many years of study, I never dreamed in French nor fully understood the essence of the conjugation of verbs. But not being fluent didn’t prevent us from learning that the Mission: Impossible – Fallout movie premiere was taking place across our hotel. According to bystanders, we missed seeing Tom Cruise by about 15 minutes. Say what you want about Scientology (it’s totally a cult), but the man makes great movies.
The kids were wanting to run around after being on the train so when we came across a playground near the Musée de l’Homme, we stopped at let the kids play for awhile. Clay and I sat on a bench and marveled at the fact that we were actually in Paris. Eeek.
After walking around Trocadéro Gardens and up Avenue du Président Wilson, we decided to eat dinner at a restaurant near our hotel.
Our first meal in Paris absolutely lived up the hype and it won’t be something we ever forget. The kids ordered kid-friendly meals while Clay and I ordered off the prix fixe menu. We had Bordeaux (of course), soupe à l’oignon gratinée, bavette de flanchet aux échalotes, and creme brûlée.By the time we finished around 10:30pm, we decided to call it a night because we knew we only had the following day to squeeze in as much of Paris as we could before heading back to the states.
The following morning, we did what any self-respecting family does when traveling to Paris and had a fellow tourist take our picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower.
We had purchased tickets to the top months prior so we walked around Gros-Caillou and had a late breakfast at a cafe as we waited for our late-morning time-slot.
Despite our Eiffel Tower excursion eating up a large chunk of the day, we’re glad that we did it. Being able to see Paris from 1,063 feet was quite the sight and the birds-eye view really highlighted the beauty of the city.
We spent our afternoon walking the streets and bridges of Paris.
We walked down the Champs-Élysées and took the underground tunnel to the Arc De Triumphe. And then we hopped on the Metro toward Île de la Cité.
We were able to see the beauty of Notre-Dame de Paris. We spent about 30 minutes inside but I could have spent hours.
We took the Metro to the Louvre and walked around but time didn’t allow for us to see any of the infamous exhibits. Next time!
We ate ice cream and crepes.
We spent time 4th arrondissement, which has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. The Hôtel de Ville was rebuilt within the stone shell that had survived the fire during the French Revolution.
We walked along the Seine and eventually made our way back to Place du Trocadéro and our hotel.
We ate a late dinner at another restaurant near our hotel, drink wine (cokes for the kids!), and enjoyed good food while just appreciating the atmosphere.
After dinner, we walked to Paris des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme and watched the infamous Eiffel Tower light show. It was the perfect end to (incredibly short) our stay in one of the most gorgeous cities in the world.