Last April, we spent a week in Paris. Not knowing when we’d come back, there were a lot of things that I tried to cram in while still being able to soak up what makes Paris, well, Paris.
The weather was mostly warm for our stay, so the majority of our lunches were eaten in parks around Paris and Chartres. We ate in the Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, near the Canal St. Martin, and in the shadow of Chartres cathedral. Nothing fancy, we just picked up snacks at little bakeries or in the local grocery stores. Even grocery store baguettes were ridiculously tasty. I’m glad we only ate at a restaurant for lunch once (near the Pompidou because it was raining) because we saved money and we got to people watch while just taking our time.
Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
This museum is hard to find if you’re using Google Maps, but it’s tucked inside the Trocadero across from the Eiffel Tower. We got lost looking for it using the map I made ahead of time, and we almost decided to skip it after a long day of exploring. But we didn’t, and it turned out to be my favorite museum of the trip. Rather than giving in to tired feet or frustration for not being able to find it easily, I stuck with it.
On our last full day, we decided to take it easy and just wander around Le Marais for part of the morning. I had hoped to shop a little, but I couldn’t find anything I liked enough to justify the cost (because of course I liked all the pricey boutiques). Yet it was fun to just spend a Saturday morning window shopping with Parisians. I got a feel for the street style and a neighborhood rather than rushing from place to place. It was a nice way to linger in the neighborhood after checking out the European Center for Photography and to get some sunshine.
Cafes and Bakeries
I wanted to eat ALL THE PASTRIES in Paris. Every single one. Our B&B had delicious cakes each morning, but any time an eclair or opera cake or macaron looked nice, we stopped in (if only to look when the lines were crazy). And while the coffee in St. Germain des Près was meh, it was fabulous to just sit and savor an espresso or un café after checking out museums and churches. We saw the most adorable group of preschoolers crossing the street all holding on to a rope, chic couples, college students, and tourists mingling together.
Yes, we were in a culinary mecca of French perfection. But we grabbed Indian on our first night in Paris. It’s an easy way to ease into a new city because the menu is recognizable. I could slowly get my high school French flowing again ordering a vegetarian thali platter. Plus we were staying just a few blocks from Paris’s Little India. It’s a part of Paris that visitors often skip. Dishny wasn’t spectacular, but it was comforting to have something familiar after flying all night and getting oriented in our neighborhood.