My absolute favorite book growing up was Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. My parents read it to me so many times that I memorized it. I would then “read” the book and people thought I could read when I couldn’t. I mean, what’s more fun than rhymes about a spunky, fearless girl galavanting through Paris? Obviously, I’m not as brave or cool as Madeline, but Genny and I tried to emulate her anyways on our recent trip to Paris.
We didn’t always leave our hotel at 9:30, but we got out and definitely walked a lot and saw a ton.
On our first full day, we made the trip to Versailles. The details of the decor are amazing and it’s everything you see in history books, but with thousands of other tourists.
On our second day, we went to Louvre, the world’s largest museum. It’s huge. It’s most famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. And yes, we we fought the crowds to take a picture with the Mona Lisa.
Our walks also brought us to the Notre Dame Cathedral (without rain)…
…and Luxembourg Gardens (with no sunshine).
We did walk along the River Seine and across many of the bridges. Thankfully, none of us fell in.
We had our first French fondue and raclette experience at Les Fondus de la Raclette since it was to walking distance to our hotel. Can’t say I was a fan, but I think I’d enjoy this much more at home where I have more control of what I can dip and throw melted cheese on. Andrew is convinced that we’ll be getting a raclette set when we are back in the States.
As recommended by my friend Nicole, we headed to Restaurant Le Basilic in Montmartre district. It was a super cute, cozy restaurant that reminded me of something from Beauty and the Beast with an affordable 3-course menu (okay, it’s €26, but that’s not too bad) . The appetizers were excellent and the cheeses were really good. We weren’t too impressed by their mains, but it was an overall nice dining experience.
Ice cream is a must on vacation. We stopped into Amorino, a gelato chain recommended to me by friends. They make their ice creams look like roses.
For galettes and crepes, we went to this cute little spot called Creperie St Eustache. The old ladies running the little creperie were so sweet and tried to teach us some French. Even though we couldn’t understand each other, I felt as though we were visiting two aunts that we haven’t seen in a while. Pictured below are galettes, savory pancakes made with buckwheat flour.
No trip to Paris would be complete without a stop in Lauduree to buy a box of the most expensive macaroons in the world.
Yelp brought us to Le Petit Prince de Paris, a hidden restaurant in the Latin Quarter. The restaurant is located in an ancient building that has been a tavern and a restaurant since 1450 (with different names and owners). The restaurant’s super romantic with antique furnishings, exposed stone walls, and lots and lots of candles.
We also had to try Vietnamese food in Paris. We went to Song Huong in the city’s Chinatown, also known as Quartier Chinois. There was a line out the door so we knew it had to be good. I ordered bun bo hue and Andrew got pork vermicelli. It was the perfect meal to satisfy my Asian food cravings since we don’t really have Vietnamese food in Edinburgh.
For takeaway (a.k.a. Bring back to Edinburgh), we stumbled upon Hoa Nam. I saw some women walking around eating a bao so I also had to order their chicken bao. It was complete with lap cheung and a hard boiled egg. Their banh mi was excellent and the cha siu was great. I highly recommend.
No trip to Paris is complete without a dedicated time for shopping.
We went to Galeries Lafayette, a famous French department store in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. It’s a beautiful mall with all of of the major luxury brands in one place. While I did go to Longchamp for a specific purchase, I was so intrigued by the number of Chinese tourists in the mall. For many of the expensive brands, there were queues (also known as lines for you Americans) to just walk into the shop. Then, you could watch all of them text their friends to make sure they are buying the right color while calculating the cost in RMB. I honestly felt that I was in a mall in Asia, rather in the fashion capital of Europe. The staff in these shops also spoke perfect Mandarin. It was crazy. Oh, and this mall also has their own “Asian Department” to help them with their purchases and tax refunds.
We also enjoyed walking into all the expensive stores along Avenue des Champs-Elysees. Again, I was so intrigued by all the Chinese tourists. I could just watch them for hours.
“And she turned out the light — and closed the door — and that’s all there is — there isn’t any more.”