My 23rd was one heck of a birthday.
Thus begins the saga of how Ben and I ate our way through Paris and I squealed every time I caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. I am completely smitten by Paris. Utterly and completely smitten. But let me not get ahead of myself.
Let’s begin at breakfast on Friday. I woke up to the sweet surprise from Ben and Hannah of London map print that I have been wanting for ages and the loveliest Paris mug from Anthropologie. But the main event was the peanut butter banana french toast they whipped up. Oh my. Job well done you two!
After the day at work I finally headed to the train station to meet Ben and hop on the train to Paris! Such a bizarre concept to leave my flat in London and two hours later hop off the train in the middle of Paris. We arrived pretty late and wandered through the streets to find the Airbnb we stayed at for the weekend. The next morning we woke up early to find a nearby cafe, Matamata, for a true Parisian breakfast: coffee and croissants.
Then it was off for our day of walking the entire city. We started down the Seine River towards Notre Dame. We made it just in time for the church bells to ring and it was a lovely sight. So large and so intricate.
After walking around the church a bit, we headed back towards the Seine to walk towards the Latin Quarter and stumbled upon Shakespeare & Co Bookshop.
After passing through the bookshelves we headed through the Latin Quarter, which I found to be one of my favorite areas of the city. Incredibly lively with music, cafes, markets, and beautiful winding streets. Not to mention flower shops on every corner. I do love a good flower shop indeed.
We made it to the triangle structure and decided it was only fair to take a picture in front of it like every other soul there. Hard to believe just how massive the Louvre is. I can completely understand how people can spend an entire day in there alone. (But maybe not myself, museums make me wildly sleepy, but I can appreciate a little art here and there!)
Then it was off towards the Tuileries Gardens, which I simply can’t even imagine their beauty in the spring and summer. I was telling Ben that February takes the cake for most unattractive month in most places and somehow the gardens managed to still be beyond beautiful. So much so apparently I didn’t take a single picture of them. Oops. We did wander through them past the ferris wheel to the Place de la Concorde.
It amazes me how beautiful a dessert can be. I mean these things were works of art I tell you! After looking through all the choices we finally decided on a salted caramel, chocolate banana, raspberry, and gingerbread macaroons.
To walk off the said macaroons we pushed on towards the Arc de Triomphe! I just kept tearing up or freaking out all day about seeing all the sights I have always dreamed of seeing. (Also reminiscing about Passport to Paris with my dear friends Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.)
AND THEN WE MADE IT TO THE EIFFEL TOWER. There were real tears and a lot of “Oh my goshes” and even more, “but it’s just so beautiful” with a few, “Ben look at it!”s. It’s ever bit, if not more, as lovely as they say it is. That tower knows how to make a girl’s heart pitter patter.
Several pictures and an hour of swooning we made it to dinner at a lovely little place, Bistrot Victoires. I can appreciate their house wine, as well as the bread.
The next obvious choice was crème brûlée! I can say I was a bit bummed Ben and I did the whole 50/50 situation on this one. I should have negotiated for a 60/40. After our long dinner and a bit more wandering we made it back to our place for the night.
Another morning, another rendition of coffee and croissants. These were exceptionally good (as evidenced by the price… oops).
Then it was back to the Louvre to attempt to get in, but Ben and I are entirely too impatient to wait in lines. Therefore we gazed from afar again. Still just as nice.
Fun fact: apparently all the locks are actually making the bridge so heavy it may collapse! Im glad ours wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back ;)
After seeing the works of Monet and good ol Pablo Picasso in the Musée d’Orsay as well as the massive clocks we realized that bikes are the best way to get around a city. (Hooray for being able to ride on the right side of the street again!)
And off we were! We read that there was a Sunday morning market not too far away and pedaled onward! Biking through the city ended up being one of our best options. For starters, it gave our feet a rest, but we were able to cover so much more ground and find the little gems of side streets. Once we got to the market our noses and stomachs could not pass up the crepe shops. These were no ordinary crepes. Naturally Ben ordered the one with all the meat and I went for the vegetable one. Hands down the best crepe I have ever had.
We had decided the night before that we would end our trip back at the Eiffel Tower with a picnic for two and a sword fight. I have been
joking with Ben telling Ben that all I want for my birthday was a baguette fight in front of the Eiffel Tower. He kept saying he would but I didn’t know how serious to take him, and I am not sure if he understood how serious I was. In order to have said picnic (baguette fight) we were on the search for the perfect baguettes and found a bread shop that a sweet French man said had the best, so I absolutely took his word for it.
After biking for a bit not searching for the Canal Saint-Martin, we found the Canal Saint-Martin. Not too shabby of a find! There was a park near by, loads of kids on scooters, and equal amount of very Parisian dogs.
After a quick snack (when traveling, and in life in general, if I don’t have an apple a day I start to panic), we hopped back on our bikes and found ourselves in Republique Plaza where several of the Je suis Charlie rallies took place. Crazy to think of all that happened just over a month ago and seeing the pedestal around the statue of Marianne covered in letters, cartoons, and candles was a remarkable sight.
Dinner is served! This was one of my most brilliant ideas. Also, we did indeed eat the entire two baguettes. Grapes, cheese and baguette for appetizer. Cheese, pancetta, and baguette for the main. Dark chocolate and baguette for dessert. Clearly hitting all the main food groups.
Then the time came for me to wave “au revoir” to that lovely tower. I’m pretty certain it won’t be our last time though. Goodness, I don’t think I could have had a better birthday weekend. Getting a weekend away with Ben was such a treat and the fact that we just so happen to be in Paris was above and beyond what I could have dreamed of.