As soon as I stepped off the train, I was in love with the famous City of Lights
Paris is a place I have dreamt of since I was a little girl, and I can 1000% say it did not disappoint. From the delicious French cuisine and exquisite fashion, to the iconic culture and rich history, the city elegantly oozes charm. Our first trip to Paris was in May for Mother’s Day. And although I cannot picture the city having a “bad day”, Paris in the springtime was simply marvelous. Here’s a recap of our first, but certainly not last, trip to my favorite city on earth … so far 😉
We took the train to Paris, and if you’ve traveled Europe via train, you know this is the way to go! For starters, there is a large train station very close to our home as opposed to an hour+ drive to the nearest international airport. Bonuses: parking at a train station is cheaper, no long security lines, free pet travel, and less baggage hassle. This right makes traveling MUCH easier & significantly less stressful especiallyyy with a toddler. We each had a carry-on, packed the diaper bag, Kini’s soft travel puppy crate, & our BOB stroller. We waltzed right on to our train car with our baggage, babe & pup–stress free. Can I get an AMEN! After we got settled into our seats and safely stowed our belongings, we headed to the Food & Beverage car, where we enjoyed a lovely breakfast of assorted pastries, butters & jams, and champagne (obviously). An easy enjoyable 2.5 hours later, we arrived in Paris.
Day 1: We walked from the train station, Paris Gare de l’Est, to Notre Dame. I’ve seen some beautiful churches & architecture in my day, but this place literally took my breath away. I know people don’t like doing “the touristy thing”, but listen, these places are renowned for a reason! If there are places or things on your personal list, but it seems uncool to go where everywhere else does, JUST GO. Notre Dame was very busy and very worth it. From there we walked to our hotel which was located in the 7th arrondissement. Of course we stopped for delicacies along the way… you know, parisian style.
We stayed at the Hôtel Thoumieux – 4 étoiles – Luxury Boutique Hôtel. I highly recommend this place. The staff was fantastic (very accomodating to our English & decent French), our room was beautiful (small-as european rooms are expected, but the whole gorgeous package), and the location was perfect (which is key in this city-we walked everywhereee). They even gave Leilah coloring pages & colored pencils upon her welcome. Plus we had a view of the Eiffel Tower from the hotel entrance, perfection.
The day day continued with lunch at the corner cafe, which consisted of a fabulous charcuterie board and again, more champagne. Then night was set with a delicious dinner at Italian restaurant, Il Sorrentino, at the foot of the Eiffel. The evening concluded with a night stroll under the magnificent tower. It was every bit as magical as I imagined. I actually did not know the twinkly-light show happened every hour, on the hour, and I honestly enjoyed every. single. sparkly. time.
Day 2: Across from Hôtel Thoumieux is a wonderful French bakery that I ended up frequenting in our 3 day stay, Le Moulin de la Vierge. I’m talking rich coffee & fresh warm pastries for 5 euro; can you say winning?! Needless to say I started each morning there & often stopped back later for an afternoon espresso & chocolate croissant.
After fueling up at the bakery, we meandered our way to the prominent Arc de Triomphe & Champs-Élysées. We walked around and under the Arc monument, but did not go up. We had our large stroller & pup with us, so we saved that for another time. Still an incredible landmark to checkout, especially if you are looking for something historic and might I add, free.
Afterwards we strolled and window shopped (aka drooled) down Champs-Élysées… store after fabulous store, eatery after inviting eatery. We sat on a sidewalk cafe and indulged in some delicious pizza and wine. Then we went to the well known Ladurée, restaurant, tea room and macaron specialist. I love macarons, period. But this shop is really an experience. First of all, it’s beautiful. A place ornate with colors and sweets of every kind. I just went through the front room pastry shop since we just had eaten lunch, but I will be back to check out their full dine in menu. Once it’s your turn, you get to pick your macaron box-they’ve got alll shapes, sizes, and colors. Then you go down the line and pick each of your sweets varying in every flavor imaginable. If you want to feel like Charlie in a fancy chocolate factory, go here.
After satisfying our palates, we made one more Parisian stop: to perfume shop. It is true, that if you are interested in perfume, Paris is heaven. I happened to find my scent paradise in Dior. Once again, a whole experience with your own professional parfum connoisseur, that leaves you smelling phenomenal and feeling like a star.
That evening my dreams were coming true and we were going up The Eiffel Tower for sunset. My husband had arranged our tickets ahead of time through Viator, a Tripadvisor company. It was great and I highly recommend; the meeting point was easy, the guides were knowledgeable and spoke perfect English, and most importantly we were able to skip the line and go up the tower with no wait time. Also, once you were in the Eiffel, you could choose to stay with the guides or go off on your own. We chose the latter, as we love to explore… and heard there was a champagne bar at the top. So we took our time checking out all vantage points, taking family photos, enjoying the sunset, and eventually made our way to the very top where we toasted bubbly out of light up glasses overlooking marvelous Paris.
It really was magical. We spent hours in the Eiffel, which means we were able to enjoy the light show while we were at the very top as well as wait for it on the lower decks. Again, you may think the Eiffel Tower is a touristy commercial thing, but if it is something you might possibly be interested in, GO. You’ll be glad you did.
Day 3: Wake up -> croissants & coffee. Simply how my mind works in France. So back we go across the street for my daily fix at Le Moulin de la Vierge. What to do on your last day in a city you can’t get enough of? Explore more until the literal last minute (And I mean it, we almost missed our train home). We started off by heading to the Grand Palais where we were greeted by sheer architectural decadence.
It was rainy that day, so we took in the site sitting in the MiniPalais restaurant to enjoy a cocktail and frites (libations for mom & dad, fries for the little one). From there we walked to have lunch at this awesome spot called Flow. It’s a floating barge restaurant on the Seine River, with a great view of the Eiffel. What better way to enjoy a juicy burger and cold drink? After our perfect lunch we decided to squeeze in one last stop, Trocadéro Gardens. Although it pressed us for time, it is a stop worth making. At Trocadéro we had a magnificent view of the Eiffel and were able to take some final family photos of our first trip to Paris. From here you get a whole different view of the tower, plus gardens to walk around and fountains to enjoy. Trocadéro shot to the top of my list of places to come back to next time.
After a final blissful day, we packed into an Uber (yes! They have them in Paris) and raced off to the train station. With an actual minute to spare, we jumped onto our train where I would then daydream for the next 2 hours of what a whimsical 3 day whirlwind Paris was.
Transportation: ICE train, Uber, miles of walking
Accommodations: Hôtel Thoumieux – 4 étoiles – Luxury Boutique Hôtel- child friendly, dog friendly
Food & Drinks: La Duree, Flow, MiniPalais, Le Moulin de la Vierge, Il Sorrentino
Attractions: Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Grand Palais, Trocadéro Gardens
Wardrobe: raincoat-Guess, floral trench-Elle, flats-TOMS, sunglasses- Prada
Momlife: stroller-BOB, diaper bag- Kate Spade