Our 10th anniversary trip to France was so romantic, so dreamy, and so special. I find myself daydreaming often about our time in the Loire Valley (see my Loire Valley travel guide here, and my scenic Loire Valley chateaux driving route here), where we stayed in a chateaux, feeling the Downton Abbey vibes. But as perfect as it was in Val-de-Loire, something was lit in me in la Ville Lumière, Paris. I’ve always known Paris was special, but in this trip, I felt a connection.
Maybe it was the fact that the city is so damn stylish. I was there to attend Paris Fashion Week in addition to celebrating our 10th anniversary. Not only did I love dressing the part (see my post on what to wear, and where to get the best photos, during a vacation in Paris), but the history of fashion is so significant in the city. Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Louboutin… I could go on and on, just naming names, and the point would speak for itself. Plus, the street style is something else. “French girl style” is a real thing, and women of all ages seemed so effortlessly chic. #Goals, ladies.
Or perhaps it was the history. So much art, literature, and history has been documented in or about Paris. Like many old and cosmopolitan cities in Europe, walking the streets of Paris is to feel transported through the ages and into pages of classic novels. But Paris itself seemed to fuel artistic inspiration. To spend even a day (and night) there is to understand why artists from all over the world came to fan their flames. The title of this post was inspired by a Hemingway quote and his perceptions about Paris: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
Maybe it was the beautiful language. I studied French throughout high school and in college, so it felt tres naturel to hear it spoken everywhere.
I’m sure the food had a significant part of it. French cooking is renowned worldwide for a reason. Having enjoyed cuisine from around the world myself, I have firsthand experience in why the food in Paris rises to the top of lists of the best food in the world.
Where to stay in Paris
Hôtel La Comtesse Tour Eiffel. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I wanted a hotel room with a view of the Eiffel Tower, where I could enjoy my morning coffee, in my robe, just taking in the view. Several hotels offer this, but most of the ones that do cost an extraordinary amount per night. Somehow we managed to find one that did not, and it offered so much more than just a view! Hôtel La Comtesse is a really chic property with comfortable and stylishly-appointed rooms, all of them with an Eiffel Tower view (though some rooms offer more of a view with varying sizes of balcony). The service both during the reservation process and during our stay was friendly and accommodating. The location was perfect, being either a walk or quick Uber ride from many main attractions. It was also easy to get to from the train station if you like to use mass-transit.
Transportation in Paris
Where to eat in Paris
Since Naomi and her husband are major foodies and chefs themselves (hence the account name for @thecouplecafe), she was the first person I trusted to ask where to eat. I thank her for inspiring several of the recommendations below.
La Fontaine de Jade (54 Avenue Bosquet, 75007 Paris). If you’re in the mood for something different, this Chinese restaurant near the Eiffel Tower and Hôtel La Comtesse was delicious and had a great selection of fine scotch.
What to do in Paris
Eiffel Tower. Touristy and cliché? Maybe. Iconic? Definitely. We didn’t take the time this trip to take a ride up, but we loved watching it from the nearby parks (such as Champ de Mars or Trocadero), as well as marveling at the light shows that sparkle hourly at the top of each hour after nightfall.
Musée du Louvre. One of the premier museums in the world, the Louvre is a must. I recommend booking tickets in advance, otherwise the line is insane. Also, be ready to spend most of, if not an entire day here. Fortunately there are restaurants (plural) on site, which makes spending a day there a little easier. It was incredible to see so many famous, historical, even ancient pieces all in one day. Be aware that it is a cluster while trying to see The Mona Lisa. My husband and I did a little silly scavenger hunt while there, and tried to find a piece by each of the Ninja Turtles’ namesakes. We did, BTW.
It seems there was a reason this post came last in my coverage of our trip to France. Not only was there so much I had to share, but there was so much for me to process from our experiences there. I can’t wait to explore the City of Lights more during future trips throughout my life now that Paris has lit something in me.
- Visiting Paris with family (tried-and-true Paris with kids itinerary)
- Travel Style: What to Wear for a Vacation in Paris, France
- Fab Everyday’s Loire Valley Travel Guide – Your Resource for a Vacation in France’s Château Country
- Scenic Loire Valley Chateaux Driving Route from Paris to Amboise
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