I think I can safely speak for Jen when I say we're both appalled and deeply saddened by the fucking repulsive acts of terrorism that took place in Paris last week. And as J girls, of course, we stand with the Jewish community of Paris and are sending our good vibes that way.
Jen and I were both super stoked to go to Paris, but I don't think either one of us realized how deeply we would fall in love with that city. And don't believe what they (my dad) tell you about the French -- they were nothing but warm and accommodating, even when we butchered the hell out of their beautiful language. It was truly a life-changing trip, so I thought now more than ever, it would be a good time to honor the City of Light with a little virtual sightseeing tour. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)
CANAL ST. MARTIN & THE SEINE
I kind of love how so many cities in Europe are built around a central river. London has the Thames, Florence has the Arno, and Paris, of course, has the Seine. And I, the geographically challenged tourist that I am, have a point of reference. The smaller Canal St. Martin was close to our hotel, so I think of it fondly as a bit of a home base. And what could be more romantic than watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle from a bridge on the Seine at night? Oh right, the Pont des Arts or the "Love Lock Bridge." But I have to tell you, I was more than a little disillusioned when our bike tour guide told us that the city regularly cuts down the padlocks that lovers put onto the panels so that the weight doesn't eff with the brdige. So um, sorry saps, guess your love isn't eternal.
I'm sure I've said it before -- I don't know what the fuck Parisians put in their baked goods, but it's better than crack. I don't understand why we can't replicate anything close to a simple Parisian corner bakery baguette, but they've got that shit figured out. When Jen and I arrived on our first day, we grabbed a meal at a nearby brasserie, then immediately headed for a bakery and bought chocolate croissants. Then we plopped our jetlagged asses down in a nearby park, ravaged the croissants, and giggled deliriously.
Leading up to our trip, I had been drooling over Instagrammed pictures of macarons. They're so IN. And I didn't totally get that, since I grew up eating macaroons on Passover, and they looked nothing like these pastel mini sandwiches of goodness. What were these strange, tiny, beautiful pastries? I'll tell you what they were -- FUCKING DELICIOUS. We got ours with afternoon tea at the famed Laduree, but you can find them anywhere in Paris. Pro tip: We also visited the Du Pain et Des Idees bakery for breakfast pastries (twice), and highly recommend it.
THE EIFFEL TOWER, CHAMPS ELYSEES, & ARC DE TRIOMPHE
There really isn't much out there that is more iconic than the Eiffel Tower, and it was just as impressive and beautiful in person as I thought it would be. It twinkles hourly in the evening, and it's basically just perfect. Jen and I opted not to go up in it (because I figure what's a view of Paris without the tower in it?), but we did see it from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which leads to the Champs Elysees, Paris's high-end shopping take on SoHo.
PARKS AND GARDENS
I am not one for nature (shocker), but the gardens and parks in Paris are unrivaled. Jen and I ate our first croissant at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and we wandered, sleep-deprived and mapless through the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg at sunset. And then of course, there's the beautiful and seemingly endless Jardin de Tuileries outside of the Louvre. Perfect for a walk with an ice cream cone.
How many times can I use the word "iconic" in one post before it gets old? But that's kind of just how Paris is, including when it comes to churches, and hey, no one loves a creepy bleeding Jesus statue more than this guy. JK. Kind of. Located in the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame is massive and breathtaking. Nearby is Saint Chappelle, which has stunning stained glass, and down the road by the Sorbonne is the Pantheon. And when you feel like you've eaten your weight in pastries and need to burn some calories, you can climb the massive hill to Sacre Couer, the Byzantine basilica in Montmartre, for another great view of the city.
Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Rodin's Thinker, I.M. Pei's pyramid at the Louvre -- Paris has the world's finest art. Jen and I visited the Louvre, Rodin Museum, d'Orsay, and Pompidou, and since I've written about these in detail before, I will just redirect you here.
MONTMARTE & MOULIN ROUGE
Home of Sacre Couer, the quaint hilltop area of Montmartre houses the magical-feeling scenes people have when they think of cliches of Paris with sidewalk artists and corner cafes. It was beautiful, perfect for just wandering around, and a quick trip away from Moulin Rouge.
Versailles is not technically in Paris; it's a short train ride away, and well worth making a day trip if you can swing it. Again, I won't bore you with the details since we've written about it before, here, here, and here, and I do (begrudgingly) recommend you see it by bike.
So you see why we feel the way we do about Paris? Paris, je t'aime.