Europe Part 1: Our First Day in Paris
Oh Paris, we fell in love with you. From your inviting cafes and cheap baguettes to delicious wine and quaint, winding streets, we left completely smitten. Our friends who live in Madrid, Sam and Michael, flew in to stay with us and we spent our days wandering along the Seine, through the streets of Monmarte and Tuileries Gardens, eating croissants for breakfast and enjoying café crèmes. Here's a little recap of our days in The City of Light.
We arrived in Paris around 7:00 in the evening, after a long, long day of travel that included a layover in Keflavik, Iceland, landing at Gatwick airport and taking a train into London to St Pancras station, then finally hopping on a train to Paris. We arrived at our Airbnb in the Latin Quarter after being awake for a solid 36 hours, and Sam and Michael arrived shortly after we did. We decided to go find some dinner before heading to bed and ended up at a classic French bistro that served pasta, steak tartare, and some delicious wine. Once our bellies were full, we headed to bed to catch up on sleep.
Our first full day in the city, we woke up a bit late, dressed and headed to find some breakfast. We found a café near our Airbnb that served a baguette, croissant and coffee for 8 Euros. When we had finished, we headed out to wander the city. Our first destination was Notre Dame, but along the way, we stumbled across a WWII memorial dedicated to French people and soldiers that were sent to camps or died during the war. It was a beautifully sobering experience, especially since that weekend was U.S. Veteran's Day, French Armistice Day, and U.K. Remembrance Day.
After walking through the memorial, we got back on track and headed to Notre Dame. She was breathtaking—honestly, everything was breathtaking. Realizing just how old our surroundings were and how much history is wrapped up in our surroundings was humbling. After taking in Notre Dame, we walked along the Seine, with a few stops into galleries, and to admire things that caught our eye, until we ended up at the Louvre. We didn't go in, but instead admired the outside and people watched.
After walking so far, we were absolutely famished. Crêpes sounded like absolute perfection, so we found a little restaurant a few blocks from the Louvre and indulged in some delicious food. After, lunch and resting our feet a bit, we walked through the Tuileries Gardens to the Champs d'Elysee and Arc de Triomphe. Because of Armistice Day, a lot of the area surrounding the Arc was cordoned off. Once we'd taken in the Arc, we decided to head toward the Eiffel Tower.
Along the way, we stopped for a glass of wine. There were so many cute places to stop into and they all seemed so welcoming. I could've spent an entire day hopping from café to café. Once we'd warmed up again, we started walking towards vantage point Sam knew that overlooked the Eiffel Tower. It was perfect—the view was spectacular, there was a vendor where Eric got an ice cream cone, and people walking around selling bottles of wine (we didn't partake because it seemed pretty sketchy, but it was definitely entertaining).
After watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle a couple of times, we caught a cab back to our Airbnb. We picked up a couple bottles of wine, some cheese and snacked for dinner. It was the most perfect first day in Paris.