I’m so excited to share with y’all my first part of my Euro Trip to Paris! This was my first time to visit “The City of Love” and it definitely did not disappoint!
I don’t even know where to begin! Everything to me was new and exciting and feel like 4 1/2 days wasn’t enough! Now that the jet lag has finally worn off, I can dive into the big details. Just like my trip to Nantucket, Where I made more of a list of spots to stay, dine, and explore, I’m setting this post up in a similar way so you can skim right through! Lucky for me, I was traveling with family friends that have been to Paris many times, and we were able to travel our short time there the “smart” way.
I would like to first start off by saying you have to go to Paris at least ONCE during Christmas time in your life. Of course, that is so much easier said than done. However, if you have the chance, I can guarantee you will have the time of your life! I have listed places that I would like to recommend to you, and also mention places that I plan on going back to on my next visit (hopefully sooner than later)!
PARIS: MUSEUMS / MAJOR ATTRACTIONS
There are so many museums throughout Paris and hundreds around Europe. We toured many between France and Belgium and there are a tons of historical sites we weren’t able to uncover. If you are going to Paris, I would highly suggest getting a Museum Pass. Not only is it worth the money if you know you will visit two or more museums, you will bypass the ticket lines and don’t have to stop and get a ticket in every museum.
The first museum we went to was Musee de Cluny in the Gallo-Roman Baths. This museum holds the famous “The Lady and The Unicorn Tapestries” that are used to tell a story. The museum itself was just incredible to tour as well as the artwork and tapestries inside! The second day of our trip, we went to Musee du Louvre. Not only was I so excited to take pictures by the entrance, I was so excited to finally see The Mona Lisa and The Winged Victory of Samothrace. If you go to The Louvre I would try to go as soon as it opens in the morning. Our Museum Pass was the way to go for this one! I also highly suggest researching The Louvre before you go. The museum is HUGE and hard to complete in just one visit. I’m looking forward to our next trip to go back to parts we weren’t able to explore!
Musee d’ Orsay was a little bit easier to navigate than The Louvre, and is one I also highly recommend – especially your first time to Paris! If you studied Art History in college like me, or just love paintings/ art in general, this one holds beautiful collections of Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, and so many other famous artists!
We also loved Sainte-Chapelle! It is a gorgeous gothic chapel that is within Palais de la Cite. The church dates back to the 1200’s and has one of the most historic collections of stain glass in the world! This was a pretty quick museum visit and close to Musee d’ Orsay. We went to Musee d’ Orsay first and walked about 20 minutes to Sainte-Chapelle. There is also a creperie right down the street which was PERFECT for us to grab a quick lunch and check out Sainte-Chapelle before getting some shopping in!
Another one of my favorite things we did was go to Notre-Dame on Christmas Day. Again, if you ever go to Paris during Christmas time, then this is a MUST! The service was spoken in French, but was so beautiful and was such a special experience. Definitely something I recommend and so nice to stay after the service and explore.
The Eiffel Tower is, of course, a Paris MUST. We went multiple times – we were staying with friend’s very close by so it made the treck out there very easy! It is so gorgeous at all times of the day. It’s so awesome because it lights up for about 5 minutes each hour and is especially gorgeous at night! This was one of my favorite things to do/ see on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There was the most adorable Christmas market near the Eiffel Tower and it was so much fun to go to on Christmas! There was so much food, that we ended up having dinner there. Christmas doesn’t seem to stop at any time there so you could definitely go a couple of days after your trip well into the new year!
This one is a little tricky to cover as I feel like there is shopping EVERYWHERE. However, I first want to tell you about my favorite places. Of course, my favorite was none other than Galeries Lafayette. This is where I found my adorable mink headband! I didn’t find too much else because I honestly was so overwhelmed and was just having so much fun walking around and enjoying the displays! The Christmas Tree, (shown below), was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Every hour music would start and the Christmas tree would spin around and have ornaments coming down from the ceiling. It might sound cheesy, but it was SO incredible. I never wanted to leave until Chris and our friends made me, haha. The window displays were also very similar and had the most elaborate designs and Christmas decor I had ever seen!
I also loved wandering around and looking at all of the high-end boutiques in Champs-Elysees. There we saw the most incredible Louis Vuitton and Dior displays. I was really bummed the Hermes store was closed – I was on a hunt for a new twilly (see my post on my twilly here) but went into Louis Vuitton. There newest one is several stories high and is incredible. On the top floor, they had all of their beautiful trunks and luggage displayed and even saw someone getting a trunk hand painted! It was so much fun to watch!
A lot of other shopping I did in Paris was just going in and out of Zara, H&M, and Mango. However, one store I did find that I had never been to before was Uniqlo. I fell in love with this store. Not only do they have great prices, they have quality clothing items and GREAT basic pieces. If you follow me on Instagram, then you have seen the adorable puffer jacket I got from them. I feel in love with it and comes in several different colors. They also have a Men’s department which Chris seemed to enjoy as well! There aren’t any in Texas but I am keeping my fingers crossed one opens soon!
PARIS: TO DINE
This is also a little tricky to cover as there are so many incredible restaurants in Paris! Even just going to Paul when you are starving and on the go was better than most of the sandwiches or quiches I have on a regular basis in the United States. A lot of restaurants were closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but eating wasn’t our biggest priority for those days. However, we found some great spots that are definitely worth trying again! We ate at Le Bizetro our first night in Paris. We loved this restaurant because it wasn’t as touristy as some we had seen earlier that day and loved the “neighborhood feel”. They had an excellent traditional French menu and I would definitely recommend the filet, hamburger, and french fries if you ever stop by!
Camille was another favorite of mine and a perfect lunch spot. They had a delicious menu and also the best french onion soup that I have ever had! I also ended up getting steak and frites (again) and saw so many adorable dogs when I was in there! This is a great spot not too far from Notre Dame and by some other shopping where I found the Uniqlo. I wish the US allowed more dogs in restaurants like Paris!
I don’t think I can say enough good things about Ozio. I had the pesto pasta and we all ordered pizzas as appetizers and it was AMAZING! It is about a 5-10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, which is so perfect if you are in that area! On our last night before we went to Reims, we ate at Le Corner. Again, there wasn’t much open due to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but the food here was right by where we were staying and it was amazing. I had a baked chicken and Chris had the seafood stew. This also was really close to the Eiffel Tower. Don’t be fooled by the unoriginality of the name – it’s amazing! And yes, it’s on THE corner, haha.
Finally, we loved grabbing drinks at Hotel Costes. It was so beautiful inside and would be a lovely place to stay another time! They have an incredible restaurant that came highly recommended to us. Although we didn’t get to eat there, we enjoyed their lounge and bar the night before Christmas Eve! The scenery was very chic and definitely felt like you were on vacation. There was great people watching and a variety of cocktails. This was not too far away from Champs-Elysees and would be fun to go to and grab dinner or drinks after spending the day shopping!
Before we headed to Belgium, our final part of our trip to France was going to Reims and visiting Maison Veuve Clicquot. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole trip! Does anyone else love Veuve as much as I do? Right as you drive up to Veuve you are greeted by a massive orange Veuve Clicquot sign! This could be Disney World for adults. I was so giddy the whole time and know that Chris and I were the stragglers of the whole tour as we were always behind and taking way too many photos! I mean, it’s not every day you get to tour the cellars of Veuve, right?
The tour was so much fun and extremely informative. We learned that Madame Clicquot was the one who came up with a way to properly remove sediments from a bottle..aka – more champagne! As if I needed a reason to love it more! The cellars were so unique and unlike any of my other tours. They also host private tours which I definitely want to do next time we visit! This was such a fun way to end our trip in France and then make our journey on to Belgium!