Paris is always a good idea. Especially in the springtime and when you can share the magic of the city with someone who hasn’t been before! We took a little break from sightseeing in London with my brother Michael, and hopped a Eurostar to Paris. (To prevent confusion, I call my brother Michael, and my husband Mike.) With the trip around 2 hours and £70 return if booked at the right time, I’d go to Paris every month if I could justify it!
We lucked out with another gem through Air BnB. We got an extremely spacious apartment in the Marais equipped with travel crib, maclaren stroller and a highchair. If you have never checked out the website before, I highly recommend it. We prefer apartment rental when we travel, especially now with a child. You have more space, can prepare breakfast and some simple meals at home and feel you are more immersed in the culture of the city.
The day we got in, we unpacked and relaxed a bit and then went for a wander through the Marais. We wanted something simple for dinner, so went to the famous L’as du Fallafel on Rue des Rosiers in the Jewish Quarter of the Marais.
It is supposedly Paris’s best falafel joint. Luckily that day there wasn’t much of a line and we got to see what all the fuss was about. We walked a few blocks over to Place des Vosges, which is one of the oldest squares in Paris.
There were many people sitting on the grass enjoying a picnic or bottle of wine and we noticed more than a few people with the unmistakable yellow wrapping of our falafels who had the same idea as us.
The next morning we woke bright and early to go to Du Pain et Des Idées, which is a boulangerie in the 10th arrondissement that has been getting rave reviews for a while now.
It makes all the classic types of bread and pastries and delicious “escargot” or pinwheels, but specializes in innovative treats like matcha green tea croissants. My mouth waters just thinking of my pistachio and dark chocolate escargot!
Michael took a quick detour to the nearby Musée des Moulages Dermatologiques in the St. Louis Hospital, which is a private museum of Dermatological casts.
We don’t have the same passion for plaster moulds of syphilis and tuberculosis, so we stayed by the Canal St. Martin and enjoyed our pastries.
We met up again and began the assent to Montmartre and the beautiful Sacré Couer Basilica. The church is stunning and there is an amazing view of Paris from the hill.
We then wandered down through the tiny streets of Montmartre.
Next time I would like to explore further up behind Sacré Coeur and really get off the beaten path because the whole area has become quite touristy.
At this point, Michael went off to track down tickets to Marina and the Diamonds who were playing at Le Trianon de Paris and we set off to shop at the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. We met up for dinner at Café Breizh, which serves Breton style buckwheat crepes and ciders. The classic ham, cheese and sunny side up egg crepe was delicious and you can never go wrong with a salted caramel crepe to finish! Michael set out to see Marina, and Mike and I relaxed at home with a good bottle of wine.
The next morning we stopped by the adorable Merci shop on Boulevard Beaumarchais in the 3rd arrondissement.
This unique concept shop has multiple floors with everything from furniture, jewelry and household items to children’s wear. And in case you needed any more incentive to shop there, they give all their profits to charity! They also have a canteen and coffee shop in a cozy little reading room.
I could have spent all morning there! But we forged on to the Marché Bastille on Boulevard Richard Lenoir to pick up some wares for a picnic. I was determined to have all the things I had to avoid during pregnancy like gooey cheese and wine, so we stocked up!
We picked up a baguette, tomatoes, cheese, strawberries as well as a delicious poulet rôti and potatoes. The chickens are on the rotisserie over a bed of potatoes and both get roasted to perfection. I brought a knife with me, but wasn’t really thinking about how we would cut and serve the chicken, so we picked up some plates and forks along the way. We made our way down through the Bastille towards the Seine.
We walked through the tiny streets of Ile St. Louis and made our way onto île de la Cité.
We stopped briefly to admire The Notre Dame Cathedral.
We were tempted by La Fête du Pain, which is a festival held throughout France to celebrate the art of making traditional French bread. While I would normally take any chance to celebrate and try delicious breads and pastries, some clouds were rolling in and we had a picnic to enjoy. We walked to the very tip of the île de la Cité and laid out our picnic spread in a park surrounded on both sides by the Seine.
Just as we finished, some rain drops started to fall. Michael went off to explore the Louvre and Mike, William and I kept cozy indoors with some coffee and macarons.
That night we went for a late dinner at the well known Chez Omar on Rue Bretagne, which is a Moroccan restaurant serving traditional couscous. It was delicious, but the waiters did not speak very much English. I think we could have made some better food choices and sampled a wider variety of food if we had a more thorough explanation of the menu.
We by far made up for this meal with a wonderful lunch in Saint Germain! Stay tuned to hear all about it!