J and I just returned from a whirlwind Friday afternoon-Monday morning day trip to Paris ON OUR OWN. Yes, you read that right. We celebrated our 11 year anniversary together. In Paris. ON OUR OWN. Yeah. Pretty Amazing.
Also amazing? The amount of activities you can cram into three days sans kids. On Sunday we left the apartment at 9 am and were gone until 2 am. CRAZINESS.
We relied almost 100 percent on the metro, though we did take a cab once. I'm very thankful that Jimmy took French growing up (as my brain is so full of Italian and English I literally had NO room to learn French phrases) and could handle communication beautifully.
No meltdowns (except one minor one by me when I fell off my bike- see below), no naps,no snacks, no "I need to use the pooottyyyyyyyyy". It was so FUN.
I don't really know where to start, so I'll just briefly share photos and thoughts from each place we went.
I do want to say this. I am NOT a Paris expert. :) Just sharing what we did and loved.
Note: We didn't get to see Musée de l'Orangerie, the Rodin Museum, Versailles, the morning markets, or Luxembourg Gardens among other things. We didn't go up the Eiffel Tower. We also didn't have much time for fancy meals or shopping. This trip was about fitting in as much as we could fit in. Next time we will focus on food, shopping, etc.
**all photos taken with iPhone 5
The Eiffel Tower: Funny. I thought I wouldn't be that impressed by the Eiffel Tower. I.Was.WRONG. It took my breath away. On Friday night we did a cruise down the Seine and it came into view just as it lit up. On Sunday night we sat underneath with a bottle of champagne and watched the lights twinkle/go to dark at 1 am. Totally worth it.
Giverny: We took a train (and drank a bottle of champagne). From the train station we rented bikes and rode the 5 km to Giverny. I had not ridden a bike in at least 20 years. I'd like to act like it was beautiful and magical. It wasn't. I couldn't sit down the day after, I swerved and fell off and cried. Here's the good news. I'm already laughing at the memory. And the really good news was that Monet's house and gardens were AMAZING.
Musée d'Orsay: I loved this one. It was easily manageable and I am a bit of a Degas freak. So it was my favorite. We did miss seeing the VanGogh exhibit...by minutes. But I still really loved it.
Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur: This tied with Marais for my favorite neighborhood in Paris. I loved everything about it. The last night we sat outside eating and drinking wine while a man played his guitar and sang and sang. It was authentic Paris (or how I dreamed it might be) and magical. Truly.
We wandered into Sacré-Cœur just as mass started and sat through the entire thing. Talk about once in a lifetime...
Marais: We stayed in this neighborhood. Adorable, funky and laid back. Loved everything about it.
Sainte-Chapelle: Out of everywhere we saw, for some reason this was the one place that brought tears to my eyes. Breathaking, surreal, and awe-inspiring.
The Louvre and Surrounding Area: This was very much Jimmy's part of the trip, he was THRILLED to be experiencing the Louvre. He was a history major in college...so I just let him do his thing. :)
Random story- I HATED macarons before this trip to Paris. I have always thought they were dry and tasteless (or tasted like dust) until I sampled some from Laduree. HEAVEN. Absolute heaven.
Notre Dame: There aren't really any words. Another goosebump experience.
Arc de Triomphe: What a view. And randomly...my favorite gift shop we found.
Cruise on the Seine: Totally worth every dime. And every touristy moment. We bought bread, cheese, pate, strawberries, and champagne beforehand. One of my favorite memories from the trip.