Thank you so much to Kelly from Spindle Photography for sharing about her recent trip to Paris!
In January and February of this year my husband and I had the incredible opportunity to take an extended trip to Fontainebleau, France (about 45 minutes south of Paris by train). My husband rock climbs and Fontainebleau is renowned for its bouldering, so it was a perfect place to spend the winter months (also good for bouldering). While there was more rain than any rock climber can bear, the rainy days were often spent on day trips to Paris.
We visited for about five days back in 2011 so we already had some familiar haunts, but it was really fun to find new places, and as all of my instagram followers know, we practically made a game out of trying as many macarons as we could get our hands on.
I’m excited that The Birmingham Bride asked me to do a little write up about my trip for their Spring Paris week, and I wanted to give any Paris honeymooners some tips on some fun places to check out and things to do. If you are like me you could never get enough of Paris though, so this is by no means an exhaustive list.
>>>Download a metro app for your smart phone! The apps don’t require the internet and will make it far easier to figure out how to get from one station to the next. I also downloaded the GuidePal guide for Paris on my phone and it has an offline option that sometimes still showed where we were on the map and has some sight-seeing, shopping, and food options for most of the quarters. I also downloaded the Yelp and Trip Advisor apps and used those while we were in Paris a few days at the end of our trip so we could find places in walking distance of the apartment we found on Airbnb.
>>>For immediate Honeymooners I recommend not trying to load too much into your itinerary, after planning and celebrating a wedding you will be exhausted! Our 2011 trip was actually a two year delayed honeymoon (we opted for a mini-moon right after the wedding), and I was so glad that the stress of planning a European vacation wasn’t added to all that wedding stress. Plan a few must see or must eat things and then let the rest of your time be pretty leisurely, a lot of the pleasure of being in Paris is just being in Paris, sitting at cafes or buying baguettes and people watching in a park.
>>>Pack light! There are some really great guides to packing light in Europe and you’ll be glad you did even if you aren’t moving from place to place a lot. You may want room to bring back gifts or trinkets so it’s always nice to save a little space. Since we were going to be in France for a while I bought a hairdryer there rather than trying to find one that would travel, and it’s not a space saver but I’m glad I have it for future trips. Along those lines you should also bring plenty of converters for all of the electronics you bring, although many hotels will have convertors they may not have enough for your phone, camera charger, laptop, and your husband’s as well.
>>>Bring a little French conversation guide book with you! My sister bought one from the UK many moons ago and it was perfect for our trip since they include cultural tips along with phrases and most helpful: a dictionary of just food related words. I’ve heard it from everyone that has been to France, a little bit of trying goes a long way, so learn some phrases and just try to speak a little french (even if it’s just a greeting or s’il vous plait), and people will be much more accommodating!
>>>Take heed to the day of the week! Things notoriously all close on a different day so be sure not to plan to visit a museum or shop on a day that it’s closed or opens at a different time. Sundays most of the smaller boutiques and department stores are closed, but it is a perfect day for brunching!
WHERE TO EAT
>Pierre Hermé Macarons | For the most unique flavors, and they were my favorite!
>Ladureé Macarons | classic macarons and fun to sit and have tea while sampling flavors
>Cafe de Flore | Lots of history and good breakfast, very classic fFrench cafe.
>Les Cocottes | Reasonably priced dinner spot. We ate here twice! Their desserts were killer and the cocotte of the day is usually reasonably priced.
>Crepe stands around the Notre Dame | We had fig, goat cheese, and honey and I wish we’d bought 5 of them)
>Falafel in the Marais | We tried Falafel King but they are all supposed to be good!
>Berthillon Icecream | Lots of locations carry it, on the island next to the Notre Dame.
>Pottoka | For a fancy dinner, very inventive and delicious dishes, we made a reservation online easily.
>Cafe Coutume for Sunday Brunch | Tons of food and really good coffee, which is hard to find in Paris!
>Chez Ami Jean | really eccentric decor but DELICIOUS food. Somewhat pricey but not outrageous, and the rice pudding was divine.
TO DO, SEE AND SHOP…
>Shakespeare & Co. | English speaking bookstore, lots of great books and a lot of great history behind the bookstore itself
>Jardin du Luxembourg
> Tuileries Garden
>Walking down Rue Saint Honoré where many of the couture houses have boutiques, great window shopping
>The Notre Dame
>The Eiffel Tower
>Basilica of the Sacré Coeur at Montmartre, also this is the area where Amelie was filmed and there are some amazing views of the city from just outside of the basilica.
>L’Ecritoire and Melodies Graphiques for calligraphy supplies (I wish I’d bought more inks!)
>Maison Kitsune on Rue de Rivoli | cute women’s fashion
>Le Bon Marche | One of the first department stores in the world, and they have everything. We really enjoyed La Grand Epicerie, which is attached to Le Bon Marche and is a lot like a fancy whole foods, tons of delicious foods and drinks and they have macarons here too.
>Delfonics under the Louvre for fun writing utensils, they carry some of our favorite pens that look like pencils.
>We LOVED the champagne tour we did but I’m not sure that you’d have time! It’s about 10 hours but we love champagne so it was incredible.
>The lock bridge on Pont des Arts
>Repetto sells pretty flats and also ballet shoes, clothes for dancers, and purses.
Other recommendations people gave us that we didn’t have a chance to do:
>The Galerie Véro-Dodat- gorgeous building with a skylight ceiling and checkerboard floors.
>Versailles | I can’t believe I still haven’t gone! Next time for sure!
>Cafe Merci | With a cute red car out front and walls lined in books.
>L’Orangerie has Monet’s most beautiful water lilies.
>Printemps Department Store