Dear Paris

You were great.

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I wanted to go on a babymoon. Since Zika is a major concern, we decided to go to Paris because I had never been there and because the tickets were amazing. We went the day after Thanksgiving which was amazing because the airport was not busy and the plan was pretty much empty which means you had whole rows to stretch out.

Anyways, Paris is amazing. There is so much to do and we seriously did not get to do all the things I wanted to do in the 10 days that we were there. Now keep in mind I was about five to six months pregnant at this point so moving around was extremely tiring. Here is my first timers guide to Paris.

  1. Take the Metro. You can buy passes for multiple days at each of the stations. The train system in Paris is insane. You can take the metro to all the main attractions and then some. Grab a metro map and take advantage of it.
  2. Paris is divided into different sections or arrondissement. We stayed in Trocadero at the Metropolitan Hotel. It was literally a five minute walk to the Eiffel Tower and you can see it from the hotel. Now since this was my first time in Paris, we wanted to be close to the Eiffel Tower. I suggest looking at a map before going and planning out what you want to do and where you want to go and find a hotel in that arrondissement.

    View outside the hotel front door.

  3. Eat where the locals eat. I would say I’m an aspiring foodie. The whole time we were in Paris, I was always researching different restaurants and places to eat. Eating where locals eat is such a good way to really try the cuisine and to not spend a ton of money on food. We avoided eating at places near or around tourist attractions with the exception of one or two instances. Also, you absolutely need to go to Angelina for lunch and hot chocolate when you’re in Paris in the Fall. Instead of eating at the hotel restaurant for breakfast, we went to a boulangerie in the neighborhood every morning and got some baguettes and pastries for a couple of Euros. It’s so easy to spend a lot of money on food while traveling so it’s always good to look for places in the neighborhood you’re in.

  4. Buy your tickets to the Louvre ahead of time because you know you’re going to want to go to the Louvre. If not, just go and take your photos outside. Lots of instagrammable (not a word, I know) photo opportunities here. BUT, if you are planning on going to see the Mona Lisa, this is going to save you time and you won’t have to stand in line for tickets. You’re definitely going to be in line to get in. It’s inevitable. We spent over 4 hours in the Louvre and it was not enough. 
  5. Walk. We did a lot of walking around different arrondissements. It really is such a great way to discover places that are off the beaten path. Paris is beautiful. There are so many different places to see and discover. I was pregnant when we went and you would think I would be so tired but the adrenaline and excitement I had was enough to have me walking around for most of the day.
  6. Plan out your day. Having a game plan will maximize your time even if you are there for a few days, a week, or 2 weeks. We always wrote down the places we wanted to go to and mapped them out on the metro. We would plan the day by going to places are close together. Make a list of your Must Visit places and understand that you may not get to all of them. So prioritize. It’s ok if you don’t get do all the things you want to do on your first time there. It’s more of a reason to go back.
  7. Eat crepes in front to the Eiffel Tower. Go early before the crowds show up. This way you can get your photos without the crowds in them.
  8. Check out Monet’s waterlily paints in the Orangerie Museum. If you don’t have a lot of time in Paris to go to Giverny (Monet’s House), definitely check this place out. Some of Monet’s works are there along with other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists. There’s a café in there for some snacks or lunch and it’s pretty reasonable compared to some of the restaurants around there.
  9. Buy French products such as soaps, lotions, chocolates, and snacks from the grocery store. They make great souvenirs. Buying them at the grocery stores will also be cheaper than buying them from those souvenir shops that are around the major attractions. There are also other places to buy macaroons than La Duree. If you want La Duree, buy them before you get to the airport. It is super expensive.
  10. Enjoy and take it easy. You are on vacation after all. We took a day or two to just relax and have a lazy day around the neighborhood. Nothing beats just taking it easy and not running around town. I definitely appreciated the experiences we had of just looking around and visiting the little shops that were in the neighborhood.

Paris was definitely an experience. I cannot wait to go back and drink some wine. In the meantime, I will be planning the next trip.

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