I try not to act like a pretentious traveler who name drops international destinations right and left. Maybe it’s ironic to say that as I’m writing this entry about to share travel notes from my second trip to Paris in less than three months, but let me explain. My primary goal with this online space is to share experiences with loved ones back home and create an archive of memories for myself to reflect back on when I’m faced with crying kids and no travel plans beyond Disneyland. Although I do love a good round of spinning teacups and Splash Mountain so maybe when that time comes I won’t even need to glance at this site to maintain my sanity. TBD.
The other perks of blogging are discovering an entire community of expats and fellow travel addicts around the world. I strive to travel half as much as those folks. But enough rambling, let’s get back to namedropping European cities and discussing one of the highlights of living abroad – having visitors.
I’ve already shared a few notes from Zahra’s visit including our day trips to Bath and Versailles. I think I speak for both of us when I say the highlight of our trip was our getaway to Paris via Eurostar train. Although it was my second time in Paris there were still plenty of treasures to discover. I could visit Paris dozens of times and never experience it all.
We stayed in Bastille near Le Marais (4th arrondissement) which I preferred compared to my last stay in the 11th arrondissement. Here’s how we kept busy with our 4 days in the City of Lights:
Night walk along the Seine River
We enjoyed a glorious and free evening stroll along the Seine from the Lourve to the Eiffel Tower. The only thing missing was a bottle of champagne – better planning next time!
The Bastille Market is said by Lonely Planet to be the best open air market in Paris. It’s open Thursdays and Sunday’s until mid-afternoon. Go for the fruit or the people-watching, you’ll be satisfied with both.
The Catacombs were opened in the late 18th century and hold the remains of 6 million people. They’ve been a tourist attraction since the early 19th century. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the dead but it was creepy. Once you’re underground you’re walking through dimly-lit tunnels lined with skeletons and the only way out is to keep walking. I was more than ready to see sunlight as we emerged into the street after having our bags checked for bones by a security guard. Let me put this bluntly: anyone who steals bones should seek counseling.
Sealing our friendship with a love lock!
Don’t worry Tim, Zahra and I put our lock on a different bridge than ours. Yes it’s cliché, but sometimes you just have to tourist it up.
Stuffing our faces with steak frites
One of my French coworkers recommended we visit Le Relais de Venise if we liked steak frites. Yes, yes, yes. Go here! One of the locations is near the Arc de triomphe so you can climb the stairs of the Arc and then treat yourself to a naughty meal of seemingly endless steak and fries. We had to roll ourselves home afterwards but it was so worth it.
Things worth repeating from Paris trip #1
- Food: Candelaria (amazing Mexican food and margaritas!), Restaurant Astier, and lots of macarons. (details here)
- The Usual Suspects: The Louvre, Champs-Élysées, Trocadéro Plaza views of the Eiffel Tower, wandering Le Marais, Arc de triomphe, Notre Dame. (details here)
And just like that, Zahra’s visit recaps are complete. Thank you for visiting me Z and sharing so many memories!