Monday, April 23, 2012

Our Week in Paris

We are back from Paris! I put this travelogue into a single post for a selfish reason - I want one easy reference spot for the future. It's quite long, but I hope you'll enjoy it! A few more little Paris posts will likely sneak in at some point, too. XO

Sunday: We took the RER B line into Paris from the airport, and went straight to our apartment. Up six flights of stairs (102 steps!), we got to see our place. It was a cute little studio with a queen sized bed, a teeny cafe table with two chairs, a kitchenette and a bathroom.* We unpacked quickly, showered up, and headed out to stave off jet lag as much as possible.

We walked down to the Marais (about 10 minutes from our apartment in Republique). This is one of my favorite neighborhoods, and I was excited for Peter to see it. In search of the famous L'As du Falafal, I accidentally led us to a different falafal place down the street. Still delicious!

The Marais is the perfect place to go on a Sunday. It's hopping! From there, we headed over to Notre Dame to take a peak. I loved seeing Peter see it for the first time. He told me it was being built at the same time as the Mayan temples (one benefit to be married to a history teacher - lots of random facts!). We crossed the Seine and wandered around Shakespeare and Co., walked by the Lourve and into the Tuilerie gardens, and passed the Pompidou on the way home. It was Peter's birthday, and I asked him how it was going so far. "Best one yet!" he said.

For dinner, we had a reservation at Le Trumilou. They accept reservations online, so it's a good one for the first night. Many restaurants require reservations, and we were very shy about using the phone, so it was nice to be able to go into the rest in person throughout the week once we arrived. Highlights of the meal included Peter's charcuterie plate (with head cheese!), my crispy duck confit, and our first Paris cheese plate for dessert.

Monday: Before we left, I reserved a spot on the 11:00 a.m. tour with Fat Tire. I had done this as a college student with a bunch of girlfriends, and a few of you recommended it as well. I'm not much of a biker in my normal life, but Paris is a fantastic city to see from this vantage point. The guides are funny and nerdy, giving you cute little stories about tidbit of history along the way. For lunch, we stopped at a cafe in the Tuilerie gardens (cheese and baguettes!). It was a lovely afternoon, so we went to the Luxembourg Gardens after our tour wrapped up (around 3:15 p.m.). We also made a reservation at Le Timbre for our last night - more on that later.

We went to A la Biche au Bois on David Lebovitz's recommendation. One of our absolute favorites! We didn't have reservations, so we headed in early (for Paris) around 8:00 p.m. Highlights included the salade perigourdine, steak and frites, and a giant cheese tray that you get to pick selections from!

Tuesday: We bought four-day museum passes at the airport when we arrived (you can also get them at many museums) and started using it on Tuesday. If you plan on going to a lot of museums and monuments, this is definitely the way to go! I planned the days out by putting things together that were close in proximity.

We started at the Rodin to see The Thinker and the pretty little house inside. It was pouring rain, so we ducked into Cafe de Musee down the street for a bit of lunch before going to Napoleon's Tomb. The rain let up a bit, and we hustled over the Musee d'Orsay. A lovely left bank day.

We weren't so hungry after our lunch at Cafe de Musee (Peter had a hot dog with cheese in a baguette!), so we headed to Chez Prune, a wine bar a few blocks away from our apartment on the Canal St. Martin. Think inexpensive, delicious glasses of wine, four giant appetizers to chose from for sharing, and lots of darling local Parisians. Can you tell we loved it? Because we loved it. Go here.

Wednesday: We visited the Crypte archeologique - a new-to-me museum that's underneath the square at Notre Dame. It was so neat! Filled with vestiges of old houses and streets that were once there. After, we went into Notre Dame and over to the Conciergerie. We would have done Sainte Chapelle then, but it was closed for a long lunch (ahh, Paris.). We decided to follow their lead and headed over to Angelina for their famous hot chocolate and some macarons. This gave us the strength to tackle the Louvre :)

For dinner, we had a reservation at Robert et Louise, based on Ruth Reichl's Gourmet article. The food was good - very good, even - but as tourists, they relegated us to a basement room that lacked charm. Not exactly a disappointment, but definitely not our favorite. It might have been a better lunch time pick?

Thursday: It was a bit rainy early in the week, and this day looked sunny and promising, so we headed out to Versailles (with a quick stop at Sainte Chapelle first - it was near the RER C line we had to take out there anyway). The palace is amazing, but I loved the surrounding gardens most. Everything was in bloom, and so green this time of year.

We were exhausted that night (especially me, for some reason), but we rallied and headed over to Frenchie Wine Bar. It's itty-bitty, so get there early for a spot. It was full when we arrived at 7:20 p.m., but two seats at the bar opened quickly. The wine list is amazing, and the food is clean and fresh and creative. The chef previously worked at Gramercy Tavern in NYC, and the style of food is similar.

Friday: We walked to the Marais to go into the Centre Pompidou - one of my all time favorite museums. Afterward, Peter settled in for coffee at a cafe and I shopped around. Some favorite shops included Les Touristes, Reperages Maison and Compagnie de Provence. We had gelato from Amarino for lunch (eating ice cream for a meal thrills me to no end!).

In the afternoon, we went to Musee Carnavalet - a free museum with old signs from all around Paris, a lovely courtyard garden, and beautiful palace rooms upstairs. Down the street is Place des Vosges, a beautiful square park surrounded by pretty pink town houses.

Dinner that night was at Le Timbre. We've been lucky to have some very special meals out, but this was one of our best ever. The space is charming, the service is lovely, and the food is perfection. Every element of the meal was a highlight, but extra special dishes included Peter's foie gras, my duck breast served over asparagus, shallots and mushrooms, a creamy blue cheese, and rich chocolate creme for dessert.

We ended with a nighttime visit to the Eiffel Tour. It was a fantastic visit, from start to finish. I can't wait to return already!

*If anyone has specific questions about the apartment we rented and our experience there, please feel free to email me!


  1. So, so glad you had a lovely time! You hit a lot of my favorite places. :) And all those food descriptions are making me hungry!

  2. oh looks so so lovely! paris is simply the best! so glad you enjoyed your week.

  3. Oh my gosh, my mind is reeling over all of the places you two visited! Sounds like you came back having had fabulous meals and fabulous wines. So glad to hear you had a wonderful trip.

  4. I feel like I just had a prolonged Paris daydream and it was wonderful! Thank you for sharing your fantastic vacation! So glad you guys had a great trip!!

  5. Man, you sure know how to make a girl jealous! Personally, I'm also loving that you funneled a week's worth of great recs into a single post so that I can just bookmark it! What an amazing trip--thanks for sharing, Julie

  6. Love Love Love! Oh, I hope to return to Paris some day.

  7. Looks like a great trip & that you were able to pack a lot in! Hortatory for fabulous vacations!

    1. I almost went to look that one up in the dictionary - I thought it might be a fancy word I didn't know. Too funny!

    2. P.S. It IS a fancy word I didn't know:

      hortatory: urging to some course of conduct or action; exhorting; encouraging: a hortatory speech.


  8. We want to go back soooo badly! I will use this as reference if we go to any restaurants next time. Last time, L'As was closed for us (I think we visited on a Saturday?), but like you we found a great alternative.

    Versailles looks beautiful! Sigh.

  9. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Loved EVERY SECOND of this. SooooOOoo jeal!!! Great pictures and GREAT recap. I had no idea about the museum underground near Notre Dame, so sad I missed it! We ALMOST went to the wrong falafel place (we got in line at the one that said "best falafel in the world" (misleading) and after about five minutes realized that L'as du was actually down the street! I'm willing to bet they're equally as yummy though. Glad you had a great time!!

    1. This is exactly where we ended up - totally misleading!

      And the museum under Notre Dame IS cool. One more reason to plan a return trip!!!


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