April 30, 2017 – May 2, 2017
When I heard that my good friends Hope and Raney were heading on a Euro Trip to Amsterdam -> Paris -> Barcelona -> Ibiza, I knew that I wanted to join them on at least one of those legs. Since Paris just a short 3 hour train ride from Amsterdam, I thought that would be the most convenient leg to join, and as Hope says, everyone should go to Paris before they are 30.
I was excited to see my friends, but I wasn’t so sure about Paris. I had heard that the city was dirty and I’ve seen a lot of news recently that made me a little afraid. In addition, after arriving we learned that we were there on May Day which is a national holiday and pretty much everything is closed (including the Louvre and all clothing stores). We also learned after leaving the next day that there had been violent protests and we had several friends texting to make sure we were okay. Despite all of the things going against us, my expectations were greatly exceeded during our short trip to the magical yet expensive city.
Having never been to Paris before, we were a little overwhelmed with the vast amount of lodging options, but ended up choosing the Hotel Muguet in the 7th Arrondissement not too far from the Eiffel Tower. Upon our arrival on Sunday midday, our first tourist attraction stop was a cafe overlooking the Eiffel Tower called Café de I’Homme. We had grand ideas of sipping Champagne on the terrace with views of the Eiffel Tower in the background. In reality, there was a storm coming in so no one was able to sit outside, and the restaurant was really expensive and too fancy for what we were looking for. We had one glass of EUR 18 Champagne and walked across the street to a row of other bars in the Trocadéro.
Though Café de I’Homme felt stuffy, we felt right at home at the Café Le Malakoff (so much so that we ended up going back the next day). The food, desserts, Champagne and wine here were really good and not too pricey. The staff at the restaurant was very friendly as well. After our early dinner we took a few more photos of the Eiffel Tower and headed back to the area around our hotel to hit up some bars. We gave ourselves an early curfew since we had a full day of sight seeing the next day and our adventures in Amsterdam really took a toll on us.
We opted to do a hop-on-hop-off bus to get around the expansive city. I had never done one of these types of tours before, but I must say it worked really well in Paris. Since the sights are so spread out we would have had to take Uber/subway everywhere, but the bus transported us to all the major sights and also gave background on the places we were going to visit. The weather was a little blustery, but we still sat on the top of the bus to get better views and only decided to get off at the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame, but we also saw Opéra Garnier, Musée de Orsay, Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, and Grand Palais. During the stops we did some souvenir shopping and had some wine/snacks, and headed back to the Malakoff to get round two of french fries and Cafe Gourmand. I really enjoyed the concept and would definitely recommend Big Bus Paris.
The coolest thing that we did though was a night cruise on the Seine to see the Eiffel Tower light show. The three of us were literally in awe of how beautiful it was when the lights were sparkling. Definitely breathtaking and cool to see from the water. The rest of the boat tour was kind of uneventful, but we entertained ourselves with the bottle of Champagne we had brought on board (because when in France, drink Champagne).
My only regrets were that we did not get to go into the Louvre and that we did not see Moulin Rouge – but hey there’s always next time, and I am planning to go back to Paris later this fall.