First of all, I’ll preface this with: I can’t wait to go back and visit again. Our weekend in Paris was perfect, but I still have a long list of “must-visits” for when we return. You definitely need more than three days in this amazing city.
We started our Saturday with a stroll along the Seine River toward the Eiffel Tower. We were very fortunate to have nice warm weather and some sunshine over the weekend. We walked along the river and headed toward Trocadero place to get the best view of the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower has three levels. You can choose to take the stairs to the first and second level or buy an elevator or “lift” ticket. The third level is only accessible by elevator. We took the stairs up to the first and second level. Let me tell you, it was a little rough. But, it was definitely worth the time you save waiting in the elevator line! We finally made it to the very top of the Eiffel Tower for incredible panoramic views of the city and a lot of wind.
Where we stayed:
Kyle and I stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. We had two free Hyatt nights. So naturally, we decided to use them at the Park Hyatt in Paris, a luxury five star hotel, one of the most expensive Hyatt’s in the world. (Sidenote: I’m planning on writing a future post on how to earn free hotel nights.) We originally booked a standard Park Queen room, what our free night would allows us. But I e-mailed the hotel before our arrival requesting a room with a balcony and view of Rue de le Paix rather than the standard courtyard view. They granted our request and upgraded us to a deluxe room, the Park King! (Travel tip: ALWAYS make a room request or ask about upgrades. It never hurts to ask, and sometimes you get lucky!)
Where we ate:
We had an amazing, one-of-a-kind dinner at Bistrotters. It is a very small restaurant and reservations are a must. The food was incredible and the entire dining experience was superb. The service was amazing! The owner, who was our waiter, was extremely friendly. He spent a lot of time talking to us at our table and sharing his passion for the restaurant. This was our best dinner in Paris, and possibly, one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had.
Where we visited:
Don’t miss out on the Catacombs of Paris. If you can get over the creepiness of the concept, I highly recommend it. Go early! We didn’t (even though several Trip Advisor reviews warned us). This was the longest line we waited in during our trip, but definitely worth it.
If you’re curious, check out the wikipedia page for the Catacombs of Paris…very interesting! In 1785, one of the largest cemeteries in Paris was shut down due to overcrowding and sanitation issues. In 1786, they began placing the remains in the old quarries of underground Paris. This ossuary (I had to look up the definition of ossuary) holds the skeletal remains of approximately 6 million people.
From the official website, “The transfer of the remains could begin after the blessing and consecration of the place April 7, 1786 and continued until 1788, always dark and in a ceremony consisting of a procession of priests in surplices who sang the Office of the Dead along the route taken by trucks loaded with bones and covered with a black veil.”
Another highlight of our trip included a visit to the La Duree store for their world-famous macarons. There are a handful of La Duree stores in Paris and I just found out there is a store in New York City that I can’t wait to visit. We went to see the Louvre but didn’t have time to actually visit (that’s on our “next time” list). We also stopped by the Maille mustard store (a typical French staple) to try mustard straight out of the tap… definitely has more kick than any mustard typically available in the US.
Finally, no Paris visit is complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower at night. We decided to go up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for a view of the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower at night. The tower is completely lit at night, but every hour there is a light show where the tower will “sparkle” for about 10 minutes. We were lucky enough to make it up the Arc de Triomphe right on the hour when it was sparkling.