06 May 2013

Travel: Paris 2013

I had the pleasure last month of traveling to Paris for the first time.  It was an unbelievable experience and I found myself overwhelmed at literally every turn.  Beauty is everywhere... the architecture, the people, the food- in everything!  I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from the trip with you all.  If you're in Paris, check these out.  If you've been and you have more to share, let me know!  I definitely plan to return, hopefully sooner than later.  

I traveled with family and we happened to be there over the Easter weekend, so we attended Easter Mass at Notre Dame- stunning.

The Louvre museum was overwhelming both in size and history.  The d'Orsay museum, across the Seine from the Louvre, I enjoyed the most though.  Impressionist artists are my favorite so it was a thrill to stroll through galleries with the works of Monet, Degas, Renoir and many others.  This is a view of the Louvre taken from the top of the d'Orsay. 

At the top of my list was a trip to the flea markets!  We traveled to the Clignancourt area, not the safest part of town but one filled with hidden treasures.  I was surprised by the amount of art deco pieces which were amazing but highly priced.  Along the side streets were many vendors who carried everything from postcards to jewelry to furniture to lace and all kinds of accessories and beautiful French treasures.  I also had some luck at a pop-up flea market under the Pont Alexandre bridge.

Touring Versailles was truly amazing.  The details in every square inch of the massive palace are breathtaking.  While the palace was impressive, my favorite part of the tour was the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's retreat on the property.  The light stone, minty blue doors, carvings and clean details are much more my style than the gilded overly-embellished main palace.  Some of the rooms could be straight out of a Restoration Hardware lookbook which I found very interesting.  Some things never go out of style or they certainly are cyclical. 

Laudree, home of the world's most delicious and beautiful macaroons, was a place we visited multiple times.  The packaging is breathtaking, the treats are so uniquely yummy and having coffee and cakes upstairs for lunch was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.  

The Eiffel Tower of course was on our list of must-dos.  We first visited during the day (walking down the block afterwards to Le Tourville for the most amazing Oreo milkshake) and then we went back several times at night to watch it sparkle from the Trocadero... usually with nutella crepes and cafe au laits in hand! 

Speaking of food, I had my fair share of croque madames and wine.  At 8eu per bottle for great wines, how could I not?  Our apartment was located in the Latin Quarter and the Rue Mouffetard market was literally outside of our doorstep.  We enjoyed picking up chocolate croissants, quiche and other treats for breakfast each day.  We found a great cheese shop and visited the market for dinner several nights as well.  

Hotel Costes on Rue St Honore was a wonderful find, as their bar was quite the place to be.  The drinks were flowing and the atmosphere was infectious.  It's an interesting combination of antique French decor mixed with modern chic music.  The Pimms Cup was my favorite, but bring your wallet if you want one- 30eu each, ouch.  On Rue St Honore was also a really cool store called Colette.  Contrast is the only word that comes to mind for this store.  On the same floor you can find high end couture and plastic drink coasters, iphone covers and one-of-a-kind hand made shoes... a feast for the eyes and a great place for gifts.     

There were too many discoveries to cover in one single post, so if you're interested in more be sure and look up the Paris Opera House, Galleries Lafayette, Shakespeare & Company, Montmarte district, Hotel des Invalides and Champs Elysees. 

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