La Ville Lumière! We spontaneously hopped on a train to Paris last weekend when we realized the weather forecast was perfect – 75 & sunny (Düsseldorf was rain’t so why not?). We spent 3 days exploring the best parts of the beautiful city during the day and night. Here are some of our favorite memories:
The (Best) Sights – la tour Eiffel & Notre Dame
Easily our two favorite places in the city, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame were both incredible in their own way. They were spectacular during the day as well as magnificently lit up at night. Due to the crowded time of year, we did not ascend either of these, and instead admired them from every exterior angle possible. Even though we knew it was going to be big, the sheer size of the Eiffel Tower is almost impossible to believe. The best view was sitting in the Champs de Mars park while it glittered (only for 5 minutes at the top of the night hours). Notre Dame was amazing in a completely different way, although still big the intricacy of the architecture is what sets this church apart. The huge unique stained glass windows, gargoyles on almost every landing, tall spire rising from behind were all beautiful parts that add wonder to the church. Both by night and by day, these 2 sights were our absolute favorite. Don’t miss any of our slide show pics….
The Gardens – Jardin des Tuileries & Jardin du Luxembourg
One of the best part of Paris was the beautifully maintained public gardens, where tourists and locals alike go to relax, read a book, or watch the children sail a wooden boat on the pond. There were even people doing all sorts of martial arts, both solo or as a class, in the Luxembourg Garden. The gardens are places where everyone can find a quiet spot. From each end of the Jardin des Tuileries, was the Louvre and a great view of the Arc de triomphe.
The Food – Chalet Gregoire, Le Reminet & Picnic with a view!
The famous french food lived up to its acclaim, although we struggled to find restraurants actually open! All of Europe seems to shut down in August. We experienced the food Paris had to offer in three completely different ways. The first was a more casual dinner at a chalet-inspired restaurant, Chalet Gregoire, that served cozy food like onion gratinee soup, beef stew and red wine poached pears. The next was a romantic and elegant French dining experience at Le Reminet with courses like chickpea puree with smoked tuna & ricotta, inkfish crusted monkfish and duckling breast. They also served the most unique and delicious dessert we’ve ever had. The menu description was “Fine sugar biscuit with milk declination and milky ice cream with cardamon, blackberries and strawberries”, but I can’t even explain what it tasted like. The last dining experience was a gourmet picnic delivered to us (Paris Picnic!) that was more like a feast. Wine, 4 different types of charceutrie and cheese, salad, fruit, an eclair and of course, a baguette. On a perfectly sunny day, we were able to spread out the picnic blanket at Jardin Tuileries, and munch on our lunch while gazing at the Eiffel Tower in the distance and hearing the faint yells of people on the Roue de Paris. It was amazing! The food in this city did not disappoint.
Museums – Musée D’Orsay & Musée de l’Orangerie
Although we are not really museum people, we gave these two museums (on a joint ticket!) a try during our visit. D’Orsay was huge and set inside an old train station from the 1900’s. Our favorite style here was the impressionist and post-impressionist landscape paintings, namely from Alfred Sisley, Monet, Van Gogh and others. The massive sculptures, usually depicting some sort of ominous struggle, were also impressive works of scale and detail. l’Orangerie housed Monet’s most stunning work, two full oval rooms of large waterlily paintings. The rest of the museum was a bit of an eclectic mix but Jon was able to find one his favorite painting of the weekend, which included funny outfits and banjos.
We tried to really enjoy Paris, instead of running from monument to monument without truly seeing the beauty of the city. On our very first night there, dodging the rain showers, we took some beautiful photos of the Louvre lit up at night. This was a nice way to see the famous museum without sprinting through it just to clamor around the Mona Lisa with thousands of other tourists. We also spent half a day walking to Montmarte, the hill that towers over the city and proudly displays the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur. The square in Montmarte was filled with all sorts of artists selling their paintings and sketches. The famous Moulin Rouge was on our way to Montemarte and we were able to snap a quick pic of the birthplace of modern cabaret.
We definitely did not see or do all that Paris has to offer. I’m not sure that could be done in a lifetime! But, we made a good start. It’s such a quick train ride away that we could be convinced to go back 🙂