Upon the second day of my arrival in Lyon, I departed for Paris by train.
Having only heard of the downsides of Paris, I headed for this city of love with no expectations at all and a head full of worst case scenarios, but boy was I in for a surprise! Paris was a gem. It was nothing like I’d imagined and it was absolutely breathtaking! It was such a beautiful city and I would’ve loved to live there for the rest of my life.
The people there were extremely friendly. The view was, of course, without a doubt, stunning. The food was heavenly and the museums had amazing exhibitions with mesmerizing art so powerful and heart-rendering. The metros and RERs were easy to take and everything was so close together that you might as well walk and enjoy the gorgeous weather. That being said, apart from crowded attraction venues and some rude tourists, I don’t know what there is to hate about Paris.
My friend, Jessica, and I arrived on a Friday morning. We originally wanted to rent an apartment suite, but found no luck hence our stay at Hotel France Albion.
It was a cozy little hotel near the Opéra and Montmartre areas with the metro (M12, stop Notre-Dame-de-Lorette) just steps away. We paid €324 (approximately $473 CAD) for three nights which was decent considering how expensive all the other hotels were in Paris.
We were so tired upon our arrival that instead of following our original schedule, we decided to push everything until tomorrow. We took things easy and window shopped at Galeries Lafayette.
The next morning, we woke up nice and early and prepared ourselves for a long day of adventure.
Arc de Triomphe was our first destination and I was thoroughly disappointed! Of all the times, the building just had to be under construction during our stay here in Paris. Zut!! C’était vraiment dommage.
Anyhow, following that, we paid a visit to both the Grand Palais as well as the Petit Palais and strolled along the area on Pont Alexandre III. I cannot stress the beauty of this city enough; it was just so eyeopening!
We also passed by Hôtel des Invalides and quickly took a glimpse of Musée de l’Armée (we didn’t go in because we booked exhibition tickets for our second visit).
The next stop was Place de la Concorde and Église de la Madeleine.
And of course, Pierre Hermé. Paris and macarons? Yup, pretty sure they go hand in hand.
I went with Infiniment Rose (rose and rose petal) and Montebello (pistachio and raspberry compote). The outside was a tiny bit crispy and as I bit further down, it became chewy and eventually blended into a softer texture along with the ganache in between the two shells. So many different layers and textures! I can’t. I can’t even. I can’t even describe it in words. It was like heaven in my mouth. I especially loved the Montebello. It was sweet with a hint of sourness from the raspberry, mmmmmmm~
For lunch, we decided to dine somewhere nearby and found ourselves at Chez Flottes.
We tried their escargots and mussels. And Oh. My. Gosh. When the bill came, my jaw dropped wide open. We were charged €7 for a glass of water. And because we were so thirsty, we asked for two without knowing! €22 worth of water, can you believe it?!
We headed for Centre Pompidou afterwards and to wrap up the day, we departed for our last destination: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.
We unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit the inside since the line was terribly long, but we were coming back to Paris again in a few weeks so no biggie.
On our third day, we began our journey by first picking up our museum passes at the Tourism Office. We then visited the Louvre and in all honesty, I hated it. I didn’t hate the art, I just hated the people there. No idea how many times I got pushed around and stepped on and hit on the head with cameras. Not to mention someone smacked me because I accidentally walked into her photo with Vénus de Milo. What the heck!
I was seriously in no mood to admire the art at all. Plus, everyone who was there was mostly only there to take photos, not to actually appreciate the art. The atmosphere was just so suffocating. I hated it, period. If you’re still convinced on visiting, however, here is a comprehensive guide on spending one day at The Louvre.
Next stop was Musée d’Orsay and of course we had to pass by Pont des Arts on the way.
They say that “Pont des Arts is for your committed love, while Pont de l’Archevêché is for your lover.” Either way, it was romantic to see couples seal away their love at the turn of a key.
Musée d’Orsay was my absolute favourite. I adoooorreeeedddd all the pieces, especially Monet’s. The paintings were so rich in texture and the choice of color was pure genius. It was as if the seas were really glistening upon the sunset and I could almost hear the music of Pierre Auguste Renoir’s “Girls at the Piano”.
Château de Versailles was next and don’t even get me started! It was wayyyyy more crowded, wayyyyyyyyyyyy worse than Louvre. Oh mon dieu, there were rude tourists everywhere! I swear by the end of my travels, I’ll probably get so used to all this ridiculousness that I won’t even bat an eyelash.
Jessica made the plan for us to check out Panthéon, but we spent too much time in the museums that when we got there, it was closed. And of course, it was also under construction. What awful luck we had with all these constructions going around.
For dinner, we found a restaurant nearby, which was called Chez Juliette.
I had duck and Jessica had chicken. It was divine. The thing with France is that even if it is just a random restaurant that doesn’t have many customers, you can’t really go wrong because food here is simply amazing no matter where you go.
Funny story: The waiter who served us was a tiny man about past middle age. As soon as he sat us down, he offered to take Jessica’s coat and insisted that a young fine lady like herself shouldn’t hide her beautiful body. After taking our orders, he asked what we were doing in Paris and where we were staying. He bragged about how nice and big his house was and offered us a stay in addition to showing us around town. He even pointed at Jessica’s ring finger and then pointed back at his to hint that he wasn’t wearing a ring and was still single and ready to mingle. The whole time the waiter just flirted with Jessica and was completely oblivious of my presence. It was so hilarious that instead of being a nice friend and rescuing her, I decided to just sit back and enjoy this dinner show.
After dinner, we were supposed to visit Arc de Triomph to catch a night view of the city from atop. Unfortunately, the museum was suddenly closed for the night, hence I suggested checking out Trocadero instead, in hopes that we could catch the last glimpse of sunset upon the Eiffel Tower.
When we arrived, everything felt so unreal. I could not believe that before my eyes, stood the Eiffel Tower that was so well-known and so talked about! It was as if everything went into slow motion. The passersby delayed their steps and gradually faded away into the background, their voices unheard. In this crowded plaza, I could hear nothing but my own breathing and my pounding heart. My gaze was fixed upon the allurement of this tower and I felt as if I was standing in front of a picture perfect movie scene. (This sounds like an eternity, but it only happened for a few seconds more or less. I’ll be honest, I was too busy being a tourist and taking photos and selfies of course.)
Right before we entered the metro to head back to the hotel, we got distracted by the smell of Nutella crêpes from the street vendors so we lined up for one. All of a sudden, people around us started cheering and clapping. The next thing we knew, the tower was sparkling! It was absolutely beautiful! I’m running out of words to describe beauty but it was beautiful!!!!!!
After our fruitful day, we followed up the next with a few last destinations just before we departed for our train back to Lyon.
Musée de l’Orangerie was up first. Just like Musée d’Orsay, photos were not allowed so people were truly there to enjoy art, and not to take photos of art. Naturally, without the annoyance of camera shutters clicking, I was delighted with my experience.
For lunch, we dined at Bistrot Marguerite and we shared, like always.
Up until now from what I have experienced, French food is extremely rich. There always seems to be a lot of butter and cream in every dish. I just hope I won’t gain so much weight here in France that when I head home, my mom can’t recognize me, LOL!
Sainte-Chapelle was next on the list, but we just had no luck this entire trip! There was an official government event that day during the hour that we intended to go, hence it was closed to the public. It was so disheartening! This was definitely on my top things to see list and bof, c’était dommage. Vraiment dommage.
Now looking back, it seems like we didn’t do much in Paris since several places we went to were closed and we spent quite a bit of time in each of the museums. On the bright side, even though we didn’t get to go to all the destinations or museums we had planned, we certainly got the most out of our museum passes! Yay!!
Well, that’s a wrap for now. Until next time Paris, see you in a few days! <3