So even though I didn’t exactly stick to my itinerary (find it here), I had so much fun in Paris!
When we arrived we made our way to our airb&b. We had asked our host if it was okay to come early since our flight arrived before check in, and we didn’t want to carry our luggage around everywhere. When we got to our airbnb though, instead of finding our host, we found a proxy. A proxy that spoke zero english!
Now like I said, I LOVE FRENCH. But, I’m not great at it. Don’t get me wrong, writing and reading, easy peasy! But in conversation it’s so much harder, especially with a fast speaking Parisian. Even so, I did my best (had to impress after Kevin seriously talked up my French). She explained to me how to me how to use the laundry machine, where the extra linen was, how to lock the doors, how to get into the building, where to leave the key, how the portable hot spot worked, how to open the sofa bed, and went on and on and on. For an uncomfortable amount of time and asking me if I had any other questions.
Then she kept repeating, “se prête jusqu’à 12h,” or at least that’s what I could make sense of. And then I took the liberty of assuming that meant the apartment is “rented” (prêter = to loan; loan = rent) until 12h, a.k.a. check out is at 12h. I kept asking about check out and mentioning the date, she kept agreeing and asking me if I had more questions and showing us where to put our bags (in the closet). This went on and on and finally it dawned on me when she said something like, “faire le menage.” SHE WAS STILL CLEANING. She wanted us to leave our stuff and come back at noon. We had just assumed we were good to go since our host said we could come early.
Anyway, once we figured it out, we went to explore our neighborhood in the 10th arrondissement. Of course we were looking for food, and without data or wifi, we were walking around in circles. Little did we know that if we had crossed the street and gone through that arch we would have found a foodie paradise. Or had we walked farther down the road we also would have found a tourist paradise (there is a Hard Rock cafe a few blocks down). But in the meantime, our hungry bellies settled on BURGER and FRIES, An American themed restaurant (with free wifi). The house sauce was actually pretty yummy, but again, not what was planned for our first meal in Paris.
After, we finally got to drop our things off. And because we were still on Spanish time we took a small siesta (OOPS). So already we were off schedule and decided to head straight to the Arc de Triomphe. And before going to see it up close, we stopped for our first (of many) french crêpe. We admired the structure, learned some history and booked it over to Montmartre to see Sacre Coeur before it closed.
Making our way up to the summit where, Sacre Coeur stands, I ran ahead to snap a picture. In a second I was surrounded by 5 guys trying to “make a yarn bracelet” on my wrist. In other words, distracting me and occupying my hands. Of course Kevin came to my side in a millisecond, and when they grabbed his wrist, he was not having it. Some yelling was exchanged, in the end nothing happened, but Kevin’s mood was ruined for the rest of the day. And this was the first time I actually experienced “pickpockets” first hand. I always figured it happened to careless people that were overly gaudy, not to an expert traveler like me! But it was annoying, and you should always be vigilant and not let strangers touch you.
Because of this experience we didn’t get to explore Montmartre as much as I had liked, but we did get delicious food that totally made up for eating fast food as our first meal. I tried escargot! I also had some smoked salmon, and duck confit! Ironically my order was actually onion soup (lol), and salmon with veggies. But I like to steal some of everyone’s food.
The next day we got up super early to catch the train to Versaille. I fell asleep on the way there. We ended up eating in the palace because we were pretty hungry, but if you can make it I’d recommend eating in one of the restaurants in the gardens, most have better options! Once we were in the gardens, our feet were aching more than anything and we seriously debated renting one of the golf carts to explore. For logistical reasons we decided to wait, and when we wanted one we ended up being too far away from the rental place. SO MUCH REGRET. So, we took the little shuttle tram back instead, I fell asleep.
We eventually made it back to our airb&b (after obviously falling asleep on the train back), and I was dooped into taking another siesta! By the time we were ready to head out again, it was actually pretty late! We grabbed a couple of bottles of wine and headed for the Eiffel Tower. We stopped for some Kebab outside of the tower and powered through our wine.
When we finally got all the way up the tower, saw what we had come to see, and were ready to go back down. Andres hopped in an elevator that had room for just one person, as the doors were closing, because why not? The three of us then made our way down the stairs, which is actually the way I’d recommend because you get to see so much that you miss riding the elevator!
We looked for Andres for about 15 minutes (when isn’t he lost, remind you of this story?). We finally saw him standing on a cement block, beers that he had bought from a street vendor in each hand, because why not.
The next day we were supposed to go to Notre Dame bright and early in the morning. But due to getting in a little late, slight hangovers, general exhaustion from so much walking, and Kevin turning off the alarm, we overslept. The line at Notre Dame was eternal (but totally worth the view). However, because it was so late, we didn’t actually go inside. So, now I have been to Paris twice and inside of Notre Dame zero times.
We then had to hustle to the Louvre because we had scheduled our ticket entrance time for 1630. We grabbed a hot dog on the way, covered in a bunch of stuff and actually, pretty delicious. We saw the Mona Lisa, and explored all the
ancient alien Egyptian artifacts. Everyone was way too tired to see Tuileries, even though there was a festival going on, and there were TWO ferris wheels, and it’s beautiful. But whatever, the boys will still swear we ‘saw’ it.
That evening, no siesta, just some wine. And we were off again to explore the neighborhood that I had stayed in when I visited 6 years ago. We ended up eating at a cute restaurant with outside seating overlooking the busy Boulevard Montmartre and I really wish I remembered the name. It had one of the best steak tartares I have ever eaten.
From there we tried to go to Cafe OZ, and Australian pub nearby. I had gone on my last trip, when I was 16. It was a fun place and I wanted to check it out again even if just for nostalgia. When we got there, they asked for ID The boys one by one gave their ID, turns out of course, I had forgotten mine. The “drinking age,” is literally 18. They didn’t let me in. Mind you the boys are all 25+. But apparently I look under 18. Super annoying, but we ended up at another pub nearby (O’Sullivan’s I believe), that had a dance floor and it was pretty fun.
Our last day we were trying to play catch up on some of the things we missed and trying to decide what to prioritize. We decided to get brunch in our neighborhood, and fresh baked baguettes (which we carried around all day). We decided to go to the catacombs first, baguette in purse. Then we went to see Trocadéro, one baguette still in hand. And we skipped out on Musée D’Orsay.
That night we got to eat delicious Korean food right around the corner from our apartment (and ironically next to BURGER and FRIES) and ended up going to a super hipster, super overpriced bar, that was still an interesting experience (egg shooter and all).
Lessons I Learned
- Look up nearby places to eat in advance
- Do not go to Spain first when on a multi destination trip, it will ruin your schedule!!
- “Beware of pickpockets” is actually for real
- Always have your I.D.
- Walking is exhausting.
Find a video version of our trip here.