For our silver anniversary (September 2012), my husband and I spent one tiny little week in Paris, France. We had such a wonderful time that we wanted to share our experiences with you, just in case you want to go, too. :)
If you're planning your own special trip to Paris--and what trip to Paris isn't special??--these posts should serve you well. They are a casual travel guide to the City of Lights, based on our own personal experiences. I've tried to describe the things we did, and the things we encountered, in as detailed a way as possible, in the hopes that others will find our experience useful as they plan their own travels.
Click any link that interests you, and have fun!
L'Arc de Triomphe -- The amazing arch at the end of avenue des Champs-Élysées. It honors those who fought and died for France in past wars, and beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. You need to climb up its 282 spiral steps, because the view from the top is just as amazing as from the Eiffel Tower--even better in one respect: the Eiffel Tower is part of the scenery!
Avenue des Champs-Élysées -- The main boulevard running from le Louvre to l'Arc de Triomphe. Walk this and you've experienced an amazing part of Paris!
Avenue des Champs-Élysées -- Yep, this street is worth two posts! This stroll was made in the evening--extra special.
Berthillon -- Never heard of this place? Well, if you visit Ile St. Louis, one of the two main islands in the Seine River in Paris, and if you like out-of-this-world ice cream, you'll want to read this post. :)
Boulangerie, Boucherie, Shop by Shop -- A little guide to the various types of food stores you will find in Paris.
Bridges of the Seine River -- Come take a little tour along the Seine with me! (Okay, maybe not so little...)
Canal St. Martin -- A lovely area, not just the canal with all its interesting boats, but the accompanying jardin with its native plants and beautiful walkway. There are also cruises along the canal which are on our return trip bucket list.
Cars -- Yep. You'd think the cars we saw in Paris would be about the same as we see here in the U.S. And you'd think right. But after the first time I deliberately took a picture of a car in Paris, I just kept finding more cars to take pictures of. From cute to cool to classy, here they all are in one post, if cars are your thing. :)
Champ de Mars -- Its full name is le parc du Champ de Mars. It's the rectangular park at the base of the Eiffel Tower, to the east. Beautiful place for a walk, or relaxing on a blanket in the grass, with the Eiffel Tower as background scenery. Oh, yeah. :)
Coulée Verte -- See the description for promenade Plantée below.
Eiffel Tower -- In French, it's la tour Eiffel. Either way you say it, it is an amazing structure, and the views from the top are worth any price. :)
French Language -- This is a fun post about signs in French, signs in English, and speaking French in Paris.
Le Grand (et le Petit) Palais -- These two palaces face each other on avenue Winston Churchill, and were built solely for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Le Grand Palais is massive; le Petit Palais is not small, but it is smaller! The architecture is amazing! They are part historic site, exhibition hall, and museum, and are worth a look, or at least a stop.
Ile St. Louis in the Evening -- We so enjoyed visiting this beautiful island--smaller than Ile de la Cité but prettier, in my opinion--that we somehow ended up back here almost every evening of our week. It was so worth it. Positively romantic, even with some rain!
Jardin de la Vallée Suisse -- Tucked behind le Grand Palais, this little garden is a delightful, peaceful oasis of stone path, stone arches, brooks, and little waterfalls. Away from the hustle and bustle of avenue Champs-Élysées a mere block away, this is a great little place to wander through.
Jardin des Tuileries -- The Tuileries Garden is located just west of the Louvre, and is a beautiful place to visit, with the Louvre buildings in the background, and the flowers, greenery, paths, fountains, and ponds on the grounds.
Jardin du Luxembourg -- A beautiful garden at le palais du Luxembourg, this 60-acre oasis in the 6th Arrondissement has a café under the trees, walking paths, and lots of things for children to do. There was even a concert going on the afternoon we visited!
Jardins des Champs-Élysées -- A pretty path winds west along the north side of avenue Champs-Élysées, through grassy, treed areas filled with flowers and vegetation, with benches for sitting along the way. A beautiful, peaceful spot for a picnic lunch while out exploring the avenue and its surrounding attractions.
Le Louvre -- Officially, le musée du Louvre. Great for a rainy day, or if you pre-purchase tickets (highly recommended). Although we didn't actually go in, we loved simply being there on a beautifully sunny day, looking at the architecture, and walking the grounds, and le jardin du Carousel, gardens on the grounds of le Louvre.
Marché Biologique -- Our trip to a Sunday morning organic farmers market in the 7th Arrondissement. Bustling crowds--mostly Parisian upper-crust--shop for their weekly produce here.
Marché d'Aligre -- Both a covered food market along the street, and an open brocante (flea market) in the place (plaza) d'Aligre, about halfway down the street. This is an out-of-the-way, non-tourist spot, but noisy and fun, with lots of people and besides--who doesn't like flea markets? :)
Le Métro -- Another little guide about riding the Métro, purchasing tickets, and things you might see and experience.
Notre Dame -- Officially, it is called la cathédrale de Notre Dame. We never did go inside, or up to the top, but I loved being able to photograph this amazing structure from many different angles and at different times of the day. (We're planning on seeing the inside, and the view from the top, when we return to Paris.)
Passage du Chantier -- Another off-the-beaten-track cobblestone street, with merchants selling handmade furniture. I'm so glad we found this little "no-vehicles" street!
Place de la Bastille -- This plaza (place in French--pronounce the "a" as "ah" as in father) is a busy one, where six to eight streets meet around its circle. I say "six to eight" since a few streets come to a point together, then come into the circle. It's crazy. But this bustling place boasts a huge architectural column and lots of activity; the Opéra Bastille is also located here. Its Métro station--an exchange station for three different lines--is just as busy and crazy, with six entrances/exits depending on where you want to get on/off around the place.
Place de la Concorde -- This place is located at the gilded-gate entrance to le jardin des Tuileries, and although it has turned into a traffic nightmare, its fountains and Obelisk are worth a short visit. We're planning on returning to this place to capture a night shot of one of the fountains.
Place des Vosges -- The first planned square in Paris is also the most beautiful (in my opinion). What a pretty place to have a picnic lunch! The shops under the arcades and Victor Hugo's home are also attractions here.
Promenade Plantée -- On our 2012 map, it is called la Coulée Verte. Either way, it is a beautiful walk along old raised rail tracks. Take a long walk to Bois de Vincennes, or a shorter walk combined with window shopping underneath the sidewalk along the viaducts.
Restaurant, Café, Brasserie, Bistro -- Another food guide! This one is about all the different eateries you may encounter.
Rue du Pont Louis Philippe -- Never heard of this street headed north from the (bridge) pont Louis Philippe? It is just another Paris street, but one evening it became a beloved window-shopping venue on our way home from our nightly ice cream walk. We'll have to go back and browse these shops during the day when they're open--although, Fernando may not want to let me go in as I would probably spend more money. :)
Sainte Chappelle --Absolutely stunning, even on a cloudy/rainy day. The stunning part is due to the--well, you'll just have to read the post, or go see for yourself. This was one of my favorite places we saw while in Paris.
Seine River and Paris by Boat -- We loved our boat tour! It's a great way to see the city from a different perspective, and we enjoyed the relaxing ride. Plus, there were oodles of picture-taking opportunities!
Seine River -- An evening walk along the Seine River, featuring lamp-lit bridges and romance!
St. Sulpice -- Honestly, this church was not on our list of Things to Do in Paris. But one of our walking tours led us to this building, and then led us inside. Having visited, I can now tell you that it is definitely a visit you'll want to add to your Must-Do list when you travel to Paris.
Trocadéro -- Site of the palais de Chaillot, and named in honor of the battle of Trocadéro in Spain, this area contains both palace and gardens, complete with pools and fountains. The view is spectacular, of course, with the Eiffel Tower across the street, and the palais contains a few museums to explore.