Paris: My Favorites
I can't believe I has been over a week since we arrived home from Paris! We had such an incredible trip and I am so grateful we got this time together. I wanted to write a bit about some of my favorite things we saw, ate, and did but it has been hard to narrow it down. Buckle your seatbelt, this is going to be a long one!
We stayed in two different hotels during our week in Paris. The first hotel was Le Dokhans. It is located in the 16th arrondissement, which isn't a bad thing, but it is a bit out of the way. On the flip side, it is really close to the Trocadero Park, which is an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower. It also had an incredible complimentary breakfast every morning. My favorite part was the basket full of delicious pastries, jam, and Nutella.
The hotel itself was gorgeous! It has the coolest, tiniest, most horrifying elevator I've ever seen. Luckily we were on the first floor, so unless I was feel particularly brave (read: drunk) it was easy for me to take the stairs. The hotel also houses Paris's first champagne bar, which was an awesome experience. We did the champagne tasting and they were all incredible.
We loved our first hotel, but decided on our last night we would move to a hotel in our favorite part of Paris. We booked a room in the Le Marais district at Goralska Residences hotel, and it was incredible. Our room was the smallest room in the twelve room hotel and it was like a small studio apartment. It was absolutely gorgeous and I was almost as sad to leave the tile in the bathroom as I was to leave Paris. The room was really high tech with speakers wired to play music throughout the room, controls on the wall, plus an iPad to control everything from bed. Basically, it was the most amazing hotel I could ever hope to stay at. Oh, I also forgot to mention the amazing view of the St. Martin Canal. The sunrise in the morning was out of this world. I didn't take any photos of our room because I felt like I couldn't even do it justice so I borrowed these from the hotel's website.
We actually didn't do a ton of sightseeing. We skipped most of the museums, but there were a few touristy things I had on my list. The first was the Catacombs of Paris, something that has been on my bucket list since I was about 8 years old. We bought skip the line tickets and I highly, highly recommend it. They are worth every penny. The line was about a three hour wait, but we walked up and they took us right in. It also came with an audio guide that was awesome. It told us stories about the people that were buried in the areas of the catacombs we saw. It was really neat to actually learn who these people were.
The second thing that was on my list was Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This bookstore has such an incredible history. It was so cool to be there, but I do wish I would have gone later in the evening to avoid most of the tourists. There were a ton of people ignoring the rules, taking selfies all over the place and its a pretty crowded store with very narrow walkways.
The last two things on my list were seeing the Eiffel Tower light show and seeing the view of the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. We did the Arc de Triomphe on the first day, and oh my god, there were so. many. stairs. So many stairs. But it was worth it. The view was incredible.
We actually got to see the Eiffel Tower light up almost every night, which was amazing. My favorite view was from a boat on the Seine River Cruise we took.
Oh the food. So much food. It has been nearly impossible for me to narrow down my favorites and the worst part is I don't have pictures for most of the food, because I am the worst at remembering to take pictures before I eat, but I am going to tell you about it all anyway.
First, we ate at some incredible bistros. Our favorites were Le Bistro Valentin and Le Petit Pontoise. Le Bistro Valentin was amazing food and the best service we have ever had. Our waiter was so friendly and helpful. I also had the best Creme Brûlée I've ever had. It was one of my favorite things I ate the entire trip. Le Petit Pontoise was, again, amazing food and awesome service. The Ravioli Gratin here was another one of my favorites from the entire trip.
A couple of faster, grab and go type places we loved were L'as Du Fallafel and Banh Mi. L'as Du Fallafel is another one that makes my top five favorites of the whole trip. We tried to go back a couple of times, but the one time we actually made it over there they were closed. There was another Fallafel place across from them that was just not as good. Banh Mi had a delicious carmelized pork Bahn Mi, which is something I have never even heard of before, and of course the baguette was incredible.
One of my favorite experiences of the entire trip was going on a Chocolate and Pastry walking tour through Meeting the French. I ended up being the only one booked for the tour that day and it was awesome to have my own personal guide. She walked me through the Le Marais district, introduced me to tons of amazing treats, and gave me a fascinating history of Paris. It was so much more than just a chocolate tour! My favorite spot we stopped at on the tour was Mazet. They didn't have my favorite chocolate, but they had amazing Pralines and other candies. They have these incredible hazelnuts covered in flavored chocolate. They let me sample the plum flavor and I fell in love. I got a box for myself, my mother in law, and my best friend. I've definitely already finished the entire box I brought home. Oops.
My favorite chocolate and macarons of the entire trip are actually from the same place, Le Maison Du Chocolat. They have a raspberry chocolate macaron that is to die for. I also felt like their chocolate was the richest, most flavorful of all of the places I tried ( I tried a lot, you guys.). I think the coolest chocolate buying experience can be found at Henri Le Roux, unfortunately I didn't have an awesome experience because the woman working there was not very friendly.
Another treat I loved in Paris were cream puffs or eclairs. I tried a couple different places. The first was Le Eclair De Genie, which was amazing, but during my tour I was introduced to Popelini which was even better! I ended up taking Nick back there to get more.
As far as croissants and baguettes go you really can't go wrong. Even the complimentary croissants and mini baguettes we had in our bread basket every morning at Le Dokhans were better than anything I've ever had at home. There wasn't a single croissant or piece of bread we tried that I didn't like!
While I spend most of my time on vacation trying to find the most delicious treats Nick likes to find the best drinks. We went to lots of different bars with great cocktails, but Little Red Door blew them all out of the water. It was one of the coolest bar experiences I've ever had, second only to The Columbia Room in D.C. They choose a concept for a menu and then spend months and months pouring themselves into creating it. The menu when we went was based on Applied Architecture and all of the drinks were absolutely beautiful and delicious. The bartenders were awesome and they even let us take a peek at the menu they had before this one. They had artists try the drinks they created, then draw or paint a picture based on the drink. The menu was a board book with just the pictures visible and all the drink descriptions were hidden behind pull out tabs, so you could order based just on the photo or cheat and look at what was in the drink. How cool is that?! I loved it.
Phew! Did you make it all the way through that? Like I said, it was so hard to narrow down my favorite things, but I hope you enjoyed the Paris recap!