Day 1 – Better Late than Tower
After a day working in our Guildford office in southern England, we caught the Eurostar in the later afternoon to make sure we got to Paris on Friday night in time to enjoy a full Saturday and Sunday break. Given the late sunset in Paris and the proximity of our hotel to some great spots, we had quite a lovely Friday as well.
We arrived at Gare du Nord after 8pm, and braved a long taxi line and some Friday traffic on route to our hotel. The Hotel Elysees Regencia didn’t disappoint. We got “upgraded” to a deluxe room that they told us had a little more space and a view of the very, very top of the Eiffel Tower. This sounded good enough for us, but what we actually saw was even more impressive…
It was a clear shot of maybe 30% of the Tower, and our first view of it catching the orange sunset light was a great way to be welcomed to the city. We spent plenty of time over the weekend just laying in the bed looking out the window at this incredible view. Much to John’s frustration throughout the weekend 🙂
Seeing how close it was, we took a stroll down Avenue Marceau to the Trocadero, walking across to the park underneath the Tower taking a few dozen pictures along the way. We found a spot of grass over to the side and took some little naps just gazing up at the perfect night, enjoying the weather in case it took an expected turn for the worse on Sunday. On our way out we got some crepes (Nutella Banana for me, Straberry Nutella Chantilly for Jen), and walked along the Seine home with a mini bottle of champagne. We watched the 1am sparkling display from our window and could have gone onto the next city at that point having felt we got an incredible Paris experience. Luckily we had 2 days left…
Day 2 – Art from Montmartre
The late bedtime on Friday, combined with a draining week of travel and tribulations, meant a very late start for Saturday. We woke up after noon, didn’t even get breakfast until 2pm (pan chocolat from a bakery down the street), and didn’t leave the hotel until 3. Oops. I like sleeping in!
We walked to the Champs Elysees, just a couple minutes up the street, where we hailed a cab and got right up to Sacre Coer at Montmarte. It was a picture perfect day, and you could see for miles from atop the hill. We walked through Sacre Coer and were amazed at the detail inside. We also walked the 300 steps to the top of the dome, where the views were even more incredible. On a hot day, be warned about this walk, it can get tough. From the dizziness of the spiral staircase, the confined spaces and heavy air, it’s always a welcome sight to reach the top.
We took some pictures at the top and headed back down to explore the town below, where we enjoyed some of our favorite finds of the trip.
We walked by a little gallery where an oil painting caught my eye, before Jen told me she had just noticed it minutes earlier. We knew we had to get it, and figure out later how to get it home. The solution presented itself… I carry it everywhere, refusing to ship it for fear it might be lost.
The next find happened by accident as we walked by a market and saw the most perfect red strawberries we had ever seen. They looked like they had been painted a perfect fire engine red, but on top of the perfect color they tasted like candy. Hard to explain but I’ve never had one like it. the cleanest, shiniest, most perfect strawberries EVER! This was consistent all over Paris, at most markets we stopped into.
Next we found a little store called La Tortue Bleue (The Blue Turtle), where we found an amazing picnic blanket made of vintage cotton.
We realized we needed something to eat at this picnic… (since we ate all the strawberries)
We stopped by 2 fromagers to get some epic cheeses – a brie, a hard cheese called a Languilier (or something like that), and a cheddar, along with some butter and baguettes. We also got 2 great bottles of wine to go with the picnic, a Pinot Noir and a Graves from Bordeaux. BUTTER!!!
It was an even better night than Friday, as we set up the picnic as the sun was setting behind the Trocadero. We threw some music on the jambox, opened the wine, and spent the next 3-4 hours just taking it all in. I’m not sure there was a place on the planet we would have rather been that night, it was out of a movie.
We didn’t have room for crepes on the way home, so we skipped them. Ok maybe they were closed.
Day 3 – “Au Revior” Just Means See You Soon
We got an early start for day 3, heading out at 2:30 instead of 3pm. With all that extra time, we walked the Champs Elysees all the way down to the Louvre and gardens along the way. The crowds were crazy, and as we never planned on going into the museum, we kept on going to the beautiful Pont Des Arts.
On this “love lock” bridge, we took a moment to celebrate Roxy Muffin, finding her a perfect pink lock, getting it engraved, and placing her in a lovely shady spot with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It was a beautiful moment, on an already beautiful day ♥
UPDATE: We had humbly asked our closest friends to toast The Muffin with happy thoughts from afar on the day we placed her lock at Pont des Arts. Apparently, enough love was sent to break the bridge… As we would learn a day later, just 2 hours after placing Roxy’s lock, the section immediately to the left actually collapsed, forcing a shutdown of the bridge and a debate over whether any more locks should be allowed. I’m sure Roxy enjoyed all of the people leaving for a moment so she could nap a little 🙂
3 thoughts on “Parks, Picnics, Paris”