add three letters to Paris, and you have Paradise
Youpi ! The only thing worth waking up for at 5 am for is a weekend trip to Paris – and what better way to commencer our February break? Les filles de Chateauneuf headed out of the apartment before the sun was up and only stopped once to pee on the walk to the train station (not naming names .. *cough cough* Hallie). We managed to get into our little trio of seats and tried to sleep for a little bit …
UNTIL we were rudely awoken by a lady asking if Melissa’s suitcase belonged to anyone and then tossing it from the luggage rack onto the aisle. Apparently during our nap, this woman decided Katie and Melissa’s bags were too small to be on the rack. We tried (unsuccessfully at first) to argue because we had paid for luggage space and there was no way Katie’s backpack was fitting under the seat with us. Luckily, a mom with her kids stood up for us and told the woman the same things we were saying. Things escalated even further when Katie turned around after hearing a loud thud, and thinking it was her bag, just to have the woman scream at her to mind her own business.
After all this drama, there was no way we were sleeping, so we decided to indulge in our petit déj (breakfast) of sweet and savory pastries and watched the French countryside whiz by on the high-speed train.
Gotta love travel
After a bit of delay, we made it to Gare de Lyon in Paris and bought our metro tickets to get to the hotel. We were about to get on ligne 1 when disaster struck again, this time in the form of RATP (Paris transportation) agents asking if we had a ticket for Hallie. Long story short, we were confused, there were 6 agents talking very loudly at us all at the same time and Mel had to pay a fine. We did discover for every bad thing that happened, there was always a kind bystander willing to stand up for us.
We made it to the hotel and freshened up, all while swearing we were just getting all the bad things out of the way first. Our first stop was to République. We all felt we deserved a drink (even though it was barely 2 in the afternoon) since it was already such a long day. Then we darted through the rain over to my favorite bakery Du Pain et des Idées! The pistache escargot pastries were warm in our cold hands, and we tried some savory pastries as well.
the best kind of snail
From there, we metro-ed over to Montmartre to see the famous Maison Rose and Sacre Cœur. We snapped some pics and then wandered our way back down the hill to the 2nd arrondisement to Frog and the Underground. Katie had been talking about wings for weeks, and I knew the perfect spot for dinner for my housemates. I grabbed a drink and then with a quick à toute à l’heure I hopped back on the metro to my old host-family’s apartment for dinner!
As luck would have it, there was a problem with ligne 13 and I had to let 2 metros go by before there was enough space to squeeze into one. It was a classic moment and I felt like I was back to my junior-year self stressing about getting back to my homestay dinner on time. I followed my instincts to my host fam's building and hopped up on the new ascenseur (elevator), which would have been helpful to have 2 years ago, and made my way up to the 4th floor.
Dinner with my host fam was great. We caught up, and I ended up staying for 3 hours talking and explaining what I had been up to since I left them in April 2017. And I didn’t even need metro directions even after 2 years!
Saturday morning, we woke up and got ready after grabbing breakfast in the hotel. Our first stop was Trocadéro for some Eiffel Tower fun! We were having a blast taking pictures of each other, when this Brazilian photography student came over and showed us a picture he had taken of us (taking pictures of course!). He asked if we wanted a copy, and the three of us being extra as we are, talked him into taking more photos. We basically had a professional photo shoot in front of the Tour!
After about an hour and a half, and over 800 pictures later, we headed over to Palais Royal, giggling all the way about what had just happened. There was a cool, umbrella exhibit that we checked out before we ended up on Rue Crémieux aka the insta-worthy rainbow street near Bastille.
Tired (and feeling snacky), we stopped at Le Bastille for some truffle fries and a beer. I had timed it perfectly, so we were heading over to the Oberkampf neighborhood, just in time to wait in a little line for dinner at the classic Obermama! Dinner was a heavenly combination of beef carpaccio with a killer balsamic reduction, burrata pizza, and (of course) truffle pasta! We enjoyed some cocktails and wine and santé-ed to a great first full day in Paris.
Les filles caught a second wind after all that food and grabbed a bottle of wine to take with us to watch the Eiffel Tower at might from Pont d’Alma. It’s the small moments like these – taking a million silly Boomerangs, dancing and singing as the Tower sparkles behind us and the rain begins to fall. Paris, t’as toujours mon cœur.
The next morning, I caught a glimpse of blue in the sky! We left with the intention of grabbing pastries from a patisserie recommended to me by one of my foodie-friends, but got way distracted by the sun peeking out as we walked by Notre Dame! After more pictures, we found a créperie close by in Saint Michel to fuel up for lunch.
Melissa had to go take her online class, so Katie and I walked by the pyramides de Louvre and Pont Alexandre III for some windy photos. We tried to go to Musée d’Orsay but the line was crazy. An excursion for next time!
We ducked back into the café where Melissa had just finished up, just as the rain began. We took shelter inside for a bit. It was another unexpected, happy Paris moment – sitting in the little café, eavesdropping on the waiters and locals. The Paris price shock kicked in when we had to pay though ….
Katie and I headed towards the Arc de Triomphe and Mel took the pup back to the hotel for the night. We planned to wait in the line to get tickets to walk up the stairs to the top of the Arc, but to our surprise, there was no line! I guess the rain comes in handy. (Pro tip: it’s free to climb since it’s a national monument if you are an EU citizen … aka anyone with a student/long-stay visa!)
We climbed up the steps to a killer view of Place d’étoile and the 12 streets that fork away from the monument. From the top, you can see all the way to Montmarte and La Défense as well as the Eiffel Tower, so close it towers over you. We snapped a bunch of pictures and then decided to head back down to the little waiting area before the last flight of stairs to warm up, and wait a bit longer for sunset.
Katie spotted some pink in the sky and we headed back up. Luckily for us, the clouds let in a little sunset and we stayed rain-free! We hung out on top, looking at the beautiful city turn her lights on and the Tower light up for the evening.
Freezing cold, we practically ran down all 284 steps and grabbed the metro to Le Marais or the Jewish Quarter. I knew the perfect dinner to warm us up and we waited in a short line (and for Melissa!) before going into L’as du Fallafel. Lenny Kravitz’s favorite restaurant in Paris is also in my top 3 and we enjoyed our falafel and schwarma after a long day.
Holy crêpe we love Paris
I took les filles to one of my favorite bars for some cheap drinks and to meet a friend who was studying abroad who went to my university. Sadly, the bar closed at 9:30 pm on Sunday nights (I guess some people have work on Monday mornings …) but we grabbed a crêpe for dessert next door to keep our night going.
We ended up going to one more bar down the street to end our night and as we were walking back to the metro to head home one last time, Katie spotted a rat along the side of the street we were on. Bucket list in Paris achieved.
The next morning, I woke up très tôt and snuck off to grab the tram to take the OrlyBus to the airport. The flight back to Nice was uneventful, although the final descent along the coast always makes me smile.
We’ll always have Paris,