Ahhh, Paris! When mentioning the ‘City of Light’, people tend to think romance, art, Eiffel Tower, and all the other stereotypes that they associate with this city. This visit was more special than the first time I was there. Hubs had never been to Paris (or France) and I would be experiencing it differently this time around. My first visit was on a mother/daughter trip some years ago, as part of a whirlwind European tour. Fall is my favorite season, because of the crisp weather and beautiful colors of the trees. Add Paris into the mix, and I would say it’s close to an extraordinary combination.
We opted to stay in the 11th arrondissement and had easy access to two metro lines to easily transit to the rest of the city. Hubs is a huge fan of public transit in any city we visit. You should see the glee on his face when we’re able to get from point A to point B without the use of a taxi (he loathes them). The Paris metro and bus options are dense and effective. I prefer it over the London Underground.
During my first visit I did all the touristy things like going to the Louvre, Versailles, etc. So Hubs and I planned this visit a little differently. We explored numerous neighborhoods, ate lots of amazing food, and saw all the typical touristy sights. In my opinion, getting lost in the different neighborhoods in Paris is the best way to see it.
Food and tasting tours have become sort of “our thing” now. We’ve done one on most of our trips. And in Paris, a food or wine tour is an absolute must! We went with a food one. Our guide taught us a lot about how and where Parisians shop. It was cool to learn how to read the label on the products to know what to look for. For example, we learned a thing or two about chickens. Chickens are all labeled with details to inform the consumer with exactly what they’re getting. The labels would indicate where the chicken came from, the farm it was raised on, whether the chicken had been raised on one farm for its whole life, and what it was fed. A whole lot of information, one which Americans might associate with a Portlandia scene about a chicken named ‘Colin’. The chickens, based on their quality, can range in price all the way up to 20€ per kg. Which is about 10$/lb. Supposedly you do get what you pay for, so the top quality chickens do taste the best. Also, it is customary to leave the neck and heads on the chickens when you buy them, so the consumer can know for sure the breed of chicken. After the walking part of the tour, we were whisked away to a secret spot with our small group and tried all the little items our guide had picked up and described along the way. My new favorite cheese: goat cheese with truffles. It was so creamy and had the consistency of American cream cheese. Incredibly delicious. On the flip side, I know I don’t like pâté – of any type (and I’ve tried plenty). It’s an acquired taste from I’ve been told. I choose not to believe it.
I would say that I have quite an obsession with macaroons. I’m not a fan of the brand Ladurée . It’s too commercialized and not handmade anymore. They have locations everywhere including New York and even Taiwan. Pierre Hermé is another huge brand, but his macaroons have different and unique flavor combinations. He went to Japan and some of his flavors are inspired from there. We tried about five different brands and out of all of them my favorites were Pierre Hermé and Un Dimanche à Paris. The latter brand is still a small boutique specializing in chocolate and macaroons; all their items are still handmade.
Our 6th year wedding anniversary was in September, so I decided to secretly arrange for a professional photographer to snap pictures of us during one afternoon in Paris as a gift. I thought it was one of the best things we did in Paris. Hubs loved the idea of having those pictures as souvenirs. It’ll be a few weeks before we see the results, but it’s definitely something we’re looking forward to. Our photographer was an American and her husband is a French national. It’s really neat talking to other expats we come across and hear how they’ve adapted to life in a different world.
While in Paris, you must shop! And that I did. During our travels, I usually bring back a piece of jewelry or art from a local artist. In Paris, I coordinated with a local a few weeks before we arrived to take me to boutiques that specialized in small Parisian designers. I wanted to find a few pieces of jewelry to spice up my existing wardrobe. It was such a unique and successful experience. There were no tourists along our three hour journey in the little boutique shops, so I really felt like a local. Hubs went and did his own thing during this time, hehe.
In the end, I have fallen even more in love with Paris (if that is even possible!). Hubs and I can’t wait to do another long weekend in the City of Light!