Sisters in Paris

Heather and I were lucky enough to get to spend a week together on an epic girls trip to Paris, France this past October. We’ve both been separately, but this was our first time visiting the city together. We stayed in an AirBnb in Montmartre and loved our little neighborhood so much. I’m happy to share the actual AirBnb booking if anyone is interested… we loved the space and the location but the bed was extremely uncomfortable and we had some of the worst nights sleep we’ve ever had. We were consistently up all hours of the night tossing and turning. So maybe you don’t want to stay there, haha 🙂 Bad sleep aside, the location was great and it was easy to take the metro anywhere in the city and even easier to just walk anywhere as well. I listed out everywhere we ate and all things we did over the week. Anything with an asterisk next to it means we LOVED it!

Where we ate:
Pink Mamma * (delicious! we shared a pizza and drank some delicious red wine. make sure that you walk to the top floor and check out this beautiful space)
Odette * (we stopped here for a sweet treat, the location couldn’t be any cuter if it tried)
Laudree (mandatory stop for sweet treats in a collectible box)
Bouillon Chartier (we had a quintessential Parisian meal here one night)
Frenchie Bar a Vins (I’m a HUGE fan of FTG, so I loved visiting their wine bar)
Ob-La-Di * (we had breakfast here one morning and loved every sip and bite)
Kozy (if you’re looking for their brunch it only happens on the weekend, oops!)
Cafe Kitsune (fueled up on a delicious iced chai one afternoon)
La Bossue (we had our final petit déjeuner of the trip here and it was heavenly)
Corto (a small inconspicuous place near our AirBnb that happens to have out-of-this-world-delicious-steak-tartare)
Creperie Framboise (because crepes)
Wine and snacks in the park

What we did:
A LOT of walking!
A LOT of metro riding! (we purchased the Paris Visite 5-day pass and it basically pays for itself in a few days. taking public transportation is my favorite way of getting around a city)
Shopping at Merci * (I fell in looooooove with this concept store)
Galeries Lafayette (go for the high-end shopping but don’t miss the incredible rooftop views)
Stamp Market * (check the hours before you go… I found handfuls of beautiful old stamps here)
Paris Flea Market  (the flea market was not a highlight for us… most stalls were closed so there wasn’t a lot for us to see)
Explored the artists square in Montmartre (we purchased a small watercolor for our mom here)
L’Atelier Des Lumières * (I cannot recommend this place enough, it was the most beautiful artful experience I’ve ever had)

And in no particular order, here are our photo favorites from a week in our favorite city. I hope you enjoy 🙂

Paris Memory

Luke and I stayed in the perfect Parisian apartment. It was located in the 11th arrondissement and your quintessential Parisian living quarters. The main entry to the building was through a large blue door with a doorknob placed in the center (a typical front door in Paris). Once you made your way past the entry the most beautiful old-wood staircase with blue rails was there to greet you. It was the most perfect Parisian blue that just happens to match the large front door.

It was a workout to make your way up the stairs – but also hard to complain, because you’re in Paris and about to walk up to the most perfect apartment. The wood was smooth and antiquated; an indication of years and years of use. It made me wonder, how long have these stairs been here and what kind of activities have these stairs seen to make them this weathered? There are so many questions behind each and every detail. I always find myself wondering the history. A question that you can literally ask yourself anywhere in the world – but find yourself asking even more in Paris.

During our stay we trekked down these very stairs to explore the streets of Paris. We trekked up these stairs when we needed to rest in the apartment after long days of walking the city. We also trekked up groceries from the corner market and boulangerie. These stairs witnessed croissants, macarons and bottles of cheap red wine making its way up to the top.

Lastly, these stairs witnessed two Americans having the absolute time of their lives and not wanting their Paris adventures to end. I didn’t think I would ever miss reaching the top of these stairs, with very few breaths left to take, but I do, very much.

A Travel Guide to Paris, France

Paris was the second stop on our European vacation. We took the train from London to Paris very early in the morning on our 4th day. We ended up spending a week in this magical city (including Christmas day!) and it just wasn’t enough. We simply didn’t want to leave! We fell in love with every part of the city. From walking aimlessly through the streets of Paris to the decadent food. Paris just knows the way to my heart. Every second spent in this city was pure magic.

Where we stayed: This AirBnb in the 11th arrondissement (we highly recommend!). We usually stay in AirBnb’s when we travel and this one was exceptional – we felt like locals for the week

Where we ate: L’As du FallafelGalette Cafe, Au Passage (Au Passage ended up being one of the best meals we’ve ever had. It was an Anthony Bourdain recommendation), L’Avant ComptoirBistrot Richelieu, Le Petit Cler, Frenchie To GoL’îlot, Laduree, street crepes and croissants. 

We absolutely loved everywhere we dined and highly recommend all the restaurants listed above. Here are some places that were on our list that we didn’t have time to get to: Ellsworth, Holybelly, Septime, Pizza Julia, Carette, Cafe Oberkampf, Buvette, Ob-La-Di.

A Few Food Tips: If you’re unsure of where to eat, pull up Yelp on your phone. It will give you options closest to you and you can scroll through reviews and photos to find the best place for you. Follow @topparisresto on Instagram for the most beautiful photos of food around Paris. We were initially intimidated by the Paris food scene, as there are so many amazing places to go – but using Yelp and following @topparisresto really helped us find some great places. 

How to get around: We arrived in Paris from London on the Eurostar, which was a super easy train ride into the city. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance to get the best fares. Once we arrived in Paris, we took the Paris Metro everywhere. There are automated ticket machines in the train stations and they have different language options, so you can purchase your tickets in English, rather than trying to translate from French, if you don’t know the language. We purchased a 5-day metro ticket (the Paris Visit Pass) for €38.35 and used it all day, every day. It’s an unbelievably affordable option to get around the city. It equals out to be €7.67 per day. Imagine what you’d pay if you took an Uber or a taxi. I’ve had friends visit Paris that spent hundreds of Euro’s on transportation. I must add that the metro system is ridiculously easy to navigate as well. Everything is color coded, and simply listed. Both Luke and I agreed that the Paris Metro was one of the easiest transportation systems to navigate.

Another fun option to navigate the city is Vélib’! Vélib’ is the bikeshare program in Paris. Download the app for your phone and you can find bikes located all over the city. You can choose a 1-day pass or a 7-day pass. See this link for pricing, as it seems they’ve adjusted their pricing structure since we last rode the bikes. It’s still a very affordable option and a great way to see the city!  

What we loved: Everything. Dining outside, the food, the vin rouge, Rue Cler, rooftops, riding bikes with no destination in mind, wandering the hallways of the Musee d’Orsay, Christmas Markets, the Eiffel Tower, Parisian life, European life, French accents, our apartment, our neighborhood boulangerie and market, Montmartre, the metro system… We really loved every aspect of this city. 

Recommendations: We found that the negative stereotypes that we grew up hearing about the French to be completely false. We came across some of the most accommodating and hospitable Parisians. We made it a point to learn some basic French before visiting (we practiced with DuoLingo). Being able to greet people and show them that you’re trying really does go a long way. Some basic phrases I would recommend are listed below. For more phrases, just google it! 

Oui = Yes
Non = No
Bonjour = Hello
Bonsoir = Good Evening
Au revoir = Goodbye
Merci = Thank you
Pardon = Excuse me / sorry
S’il vous plaît = Please
Table pour deux s’il vous plaît = Table for two, please 
Je ne parle pas très bien français = I don’t speak French very well 
Parlez-vous anglais? = Do you speak English?
– Photos © Holly Copeland –