The sound of small bells fills the room. On the side of the bed the phone starts vibrating. It's 5 am, on our vacation. In any other condition waking up at this hour would be a pain (more for me than for George:)). But during vacation, 5 am can only mean one thing: sunrise photos. Full of energy and nicely dressed, we take one of the first metros of the way to Trocadero. The stairs of Palais de Chaillot are our favourite place to catch the first glimpse of the sun in Paris. We are not alone - plenty of workshops and wedding photoshootings around us - but we find a place for our tripod. And our usual "camera selfie" session starts - yey. Not for long though, because we had two photographers offering to take photos of us! Amazing, so thankful!
Our tip: Always dress nicely when you visit touristic places, especially around sunrise or sunset. You never know when you will get your next photoshooting :).
Visiting Paris for the first time can be overwhelming. Long queues await for you on all the touristic spots, being that Louvre or Tour Eiffel. And to be honest Paris was not the love on the first sight for me... But from the second visit, I started enjoying the Parisian life. Since we've already checked all the places on the list of "must see" in Paris, we have decided to have a more relaxed vacation this time. To get lost on the small streets of Montmartre, stop for a croissant and coffee whenever we feel like, visit some small museums and just enjoy being in Paris.
The home for our small trip was Grands Hotel Boulevard, a cozy and cute place, with its own restaurant and bar (perfect for a drink before the sleep). It was the ideal location to reach all the places we have planned to visit. That included Galerie Lafayette, with its beautiful Art Nouveau interior and the big selection of shops. Or Musée de l'Orangerie, with Monet's "Water Lilies" painting collection and Musée d'Orsay, a beautiful art museum built inside an old train station. A walk on the Montmartre streets is a must for the romantics. And while there, stop at Moulin Rouge, for a dinner and a cabaret show - the place where we celebrated my birthday.
Our tip: Sit down for a coffee and some macaroons inside Galerie Lafayette and watch the shopping frenzy happening around you.
The perfect day ends for us with a nice sunset (photographers, right?). While there are so many great locations to watch the sunset in Paris, we chose the top terrace of Arc de Triomphe. Not very crowded and the 360° view is amazing. On one side we had the sun setting down behind the La Défense district. On the other side, we had the Tour Eiffel, Champs-Élysées and the Montmartre lightened in the beautiful golden hour colours. You cannot miss this spot.
Our tip: Wait a few minutes after the sunset is over. You will be rewarded with the perfect view of the Tour Eiffel light show.
We are in no way affiliated to any of the places we have mentioned in this post. We just want to share our experiences and help other people enjoy their time in the capital of France. Having said that, here is a short list of our favourite locations in Paris:
- Café Marlette (Faubourg-Poissonnière) - many breakfast options and good coffee
- Odette - the best cream puffs in Paris
- Shakespeare & Company - one of the best bookstores in Paris, literally spent there 2h checking all the books
- Printemps Haussmann - department store with a great view from the top terrace
- Pink Mamma - we loved this place. Beautiful designed restaurant, excellent food and drinks. Highly recommend making reservation in advance.
- Pierre Hermé - some of the best macaroons in Paris
- Ladurée - our favorite macaroons in the world (yes, we are macaroons-addicts) and the best french toast we've ever tried (best french toast ever, seriously!)
- Breizh Café - excellent crepes, especially salted ones. They also have great cider from Normandy.
- Pizzeria Popolare - excellent pizza (part of the same restaurant chain as Pink Mamma)
- Palais Garnier (Parisian Opera) - we were really impressed by the interior architecture of this building; definitely worth a visit.