- Take in the Eiffel Tower at night on a Seine River cruise! We did this paired with a bike ride. This was the best view of the Eiffel tower and it was lit up at night. There were also some amazing views of Notre Dame at night from the river.
- The bell towers at Notre Dame. I enjoyed Notre Dame on the inside and outside though! I did not think the 60 Euros (total for both of us) was worth it to walk all the way up to the top. The best views of Paris are on top of the Eiffel tower and Sacre de Heart Church.
3. Champs De Elyse. It is a large and historical shopping district. We did find some delicious macaroons over there at a little stand, but it was crazy on a Saturday and a waste of time in my opinion. I much more prefer the cute little boutique shops we found.
- Restaurants and grocery stores close early. I had read ahead of time that the French eat late dinners (between 9-10pm), however, we found that we really had to plan ahead when eating after 9pm which happened often because of the activities we planned. Also, if we were looking for a snack, we had to buy it before 9 or 10pm unless we found a food stand in the Latin Quarter to hit up.
- Paris was a safe and friendly place. Everyone we encountered spoke English and were friendly, despite the rumors that the French are rude and/or annoyed by Americans. The only place I did not feel safe was outside of the Eiffel Tower. There are larger crowds and lots of vendors selling cheap Eiffel Tower statues. Anytime I wanted to stop and take a picture, Kacey would often tell me to keep moving and not get distracted until we found a safer spot. Kacey is 6’2” and he joked that it is impossible to get pick pocketed when you are tall and you keep your backpack zippers up. Oh, Kacey😊
3. There seems to be a lack of pizza cutters and shower curtains in France. It appears that the French often don’t put shower curtains in their hotels or homes. In doing some research, there are a few reasons for this. 1. Shower curtains are hard to keep clean. 2. The French like to take baths and/or are not sloppy while they shower. 3. French are conservative about their water usage due to the history of water being scarce during the war. 4. There are drains in the middle of the bathroom floors and toilet paper guards to keep the toilet paper dry, so if water sprays, it drains.
4. We were told many places are closed on Sundays; like retail stores. We actually did some pretty good shopping at some cool boutiques on a Sunday. Also, all museums are free the first Sunday of each month. Be ready for crowds if you plan this way.
5. I knew ahead of time that Europeans like to drink tiny espressos many times throughout the day. Kacey and I enjoy a nice big mug of coffee (most of the time two cups) each morning. I learned to order Café American when ordering coffee if I wasn’t in the mood for an espresso. The espressos were delicious and fulfilling most days, but I found that I liked to spend more time drinking my coffee as I sat in the cafes.
6. There are so many cafes! All of them seem to have cute little bistro tables too. Every corner you turn, there is somewhere to get a drink and a snack.
8. One of the most popular meals in Paris was this inside out type of ham and cheese sandwich called the “croque monsieur” which means Mr. Crunch. It had ham and sometimes cheese toasted in the middle with melted cheese toasted on the top. Kacey and I really liked these sandwiches and even made them when we came home. But I can now say I am sick of them.
10. I had a love/hate relationship with the shoes people wore there. They seemed to have thick soles and look sort of sporty and out of place with nicer outfits. It didn’t seem to match the more dark and plain attire I saw native Parisians wearing. I would see women in cute outfits and these gaudy shoes. I then became intrigued and bought a pair that were toned down and different than anything I could buy here. After coming home with them, I realized that they will not go with much; see what I mean? Love/hate. Kacey found some really cool shoes there too.
All in all, Paris was amazing! It was so fun to visit this amazing city with Kacey minus the kids. We thought that it would be a little sad visiting Disneyland without kids (see separate Disneyland post after this one); but we had a blast. We got to ride the more scarier rides, wait in line without hearing anyone complain, we could actually talk to each other without interruptions, and we could eat without wiping someone’s butt, breaking up a fight, or listening to complaints about the food. We paid extra for skip the line entry for most of our activities in Paris. It was so worth it. The Robbie Williams concert that we saw while over there was an experience we will never forget since it’s been Kacey’s favorite band since 2003. It was surreal and he puts on a great show. Just walking around, taking in the sites, and experiencing something new together is the reason this trip will go down as one of my favorite trips together. We’ve been to Rome, England, and Scotland together in College and for our Honeymoon, and one of the things we joked about was how did we ever get anywhere without Google Maps and Uber! I went on a girls trip to Amsterdam and Venice once too, and I am surprised we made it out alive without this! I remember our Honeymoon in Rome, we would wander around the city until we found a cool bar to hang out at and we hopped rides with new friends, and somehow made it home each night in one piece without really knowing the way. In England, while studying abroad, we had no cell phones with, and film cameras that we would drop off at the corner store and wait to get the pictures developed. I can say we had one old school night this go around after the Robbie Williams concert where we wandered around the Latin Quarter and took everything in without technology and that is my most vivid memory of the whole trip; hanging with my best friend with nowhere to be and all of the time in the world. The other fun night that goes down in the books is after the bike tour. It was midnight and we found an old pub by the train station that was sort of a dive (if you know me, I love dive bars) but offered 1664 and croque monsieurs. We stayed there late and listened to some cool music.
When we got home, we had a Paris themed night with the kids which included watching Ratatouille, eating croque monsieur sandwiches, drinking sparkling lemonade out of Paris mugs, drinking 1664, and giving the kiddos their gifts. Beckham made sure to throw our nice Disneyland glass ornament off the balcony in our bedroom that we worked so hard at keeping in one piece on the train. We most definitely will go back soon! Next time, I want to hit up Monet's garden and home in Giverny, and the Palace of Versailles. Both are outside of Paris, but not far and for sure would have made it on the top ten list had I visited these locations.