One of my favorite things about living in the Middle East was how centralized it was to a large portion of the world. You could hope on a 4 hour flight and be engulfed in a new country and culture, and unfortunately we don’t always have that luxury in the States. It just so happened that the Paris Airshow was taking place in the Summer of 2015 and one of my best friends and her husband would be attending. So Ryan and I thought besides it being our wedding anniversary and my birthday what better place to spend time with friends.
I have to be honest, I was truly skeptical about visiting Paris. We had heard so many mixed reviews about it. It seems to be one of those places that you either love or hate. Let me just say that that it will forever remain in my LOVE category! I can gladly say that some of my greatest memories were made there. The kind that you find your mind drifting back to and replaying in your head with a giant smile on your face. There is no city like it.
Ryan has a thing for booking swanky hotels. So he booked The Idol Hotel, Paris I have to give it to him. This hotel was perfect. It’s a soul/jazz themed boutique hotel where a happy hour and a live band are held in the courtyard on select nights and the rooms are named after some of the greatest hits like My Cherie Amour and Moon Blue by Stevie Wonder. We stayed in a room called My Cherie Amour which was illuminated by red under lighting, included a built sound system for playing music, and an on suite bathroom with a large white tub off to one side of the room. My favorite part by far is that macaroons were a breakfast option and I took quite a bit of advantage of that. To say that the staff was wonderful would be an understatement. They were welcoming and really informative. I was even able to practice my Portuguese with one of the employees who was from Brazil. I couldn’t speak French and she couldn’t speak English so we met in the middle with Portuguese.
The greatest thing about Paris, however is all of the history and beauty that it holds. The sites are not lacking by any means. I could go on for ages about why Paris is so wonderful, but here are some of our favorite parts.
- The Eiffel Tower: This one is a given. Fun Fact: The Eiffel Tower was not originally built to be a permanent structure. It was actually built for the 1889 Paris Exhibition. The tower is so intricately crafted and beautiful during the day, but if you want to really take in its beauty, try catching it at night when it’s twinkling. Have a seat on the lawn just beside it while enjoying your favorite French bread or dessert and wine. I was fortunate enough to experience this the night leading into my birthday shared with a bottle of wine, my best friend, her husband, and Ryan. The experience hands down goes in the books as one of my most memorable birthdays.
2. The Arc de Triomphe: Located on the famous Champs-Elysees, the architecture and craftsmanship on the Arc de Triomphe is something to be seen and blown away by. It took us a while to figure out where the entrance was for our tour and to climb to the top, but after what I counted as being 280 steps, paying the admission to climb the arc was worth it. You will be able to see a full 360 view of the city unlike any other.
3. Laduree: AKA Macaroon Heaven. Sarah and Brent had been here before and knew the smart way to enjoy dessert. Most people wait in the line, which was spilling out of the door, to go through the macaroon line to order their box(es) of macaroons and go. However, if you ask to go to the bar in the back you will be swept away by a beautiful bar area with an ambiance similar to what I imagine would be underwater mermaid utopia where you can also order a number of deserts. Why not take a seat and fully enjoy one of Paris’ most delicious and dainty desserts right in its world renowned dessert shop?
4.Palace of Versailles: I could not choose just one photo the Palace of Versailles that would depict the full extent of it’s beauty. You’ll have to take a train from Paris out to Versailles to visit the grounds. The best advise that I could offer is to get there early. There is so much to see if you choose to purchase the tickets to visit the entire grounds. Save yourself some time and buy tickets online ahead of time.
There are several chateaus, palaces, apartments, and gardens throughout the property. Versailles is home to the well known Hall of Mirrors as pictured above and home to Kings Louis XIV, King Louis XV, King Louis XVI and their wives including Marie Antoinette. Granted we may have chosen the most beautiful day of the year to visit the palace, but we found ourselves enamored by the ornate details in every inch of the grounds. Everything was perfectly placed and chosen from the furniture, chandeliers, sculptures, tiles on the floors, to the well groomed gardens. Once you’re done mentally redecorating your entire home after soaking it all up, be sure to have a seat on the lawns by the lake and just hang about. There is something about this property that stirs a sense of inner peace.
5. There are so many other places worth mentioning and visiting: Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Montmarte, Lourve, Jardin du Luxembourg, and the list could go on. Don’t limit yourself. I’m sure that are many other places that we missed out on that you might stumble upon.
Paris will always be one of the places that we hold dear to our hearts and would love to revisit. If you have any suggestions of places to visit while in Paris or want to share your favorite places to see, I would love to hear them in the comments below.