Planning our honeymoon was no easy task. There are so many amazing places you can go to, and each is unique in its own way. We started by deciding what sort of holiday we wanted and what part of the world to visit. Europe ticked most boxes for us, so from there we just needed to figure out the exact itinerary. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best plan and the best tools to use. I'll probably write another blog with my findings, perhaps they'll be useful for your travels.
Finally, once the whole trip was planned, we began our journey. After a short stop over in Melbourne (you can see it in my previous blog), we were heading to Paris.
On the way we had a short stop-over in Abu Dhabi. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm sure if you get to know it better and spend some time exploring the city there are plenty of things to like, but in my case i can only judge 'the book by its cover', aka looking from the plane window and the airport.
It was the first time we stayed in an AirBNB apartment, and our place was right in the heart of the city, on Rue De Rivolli.
In order to explore the city, we chose the most reliable mode of transportation - our feet. Just out of curiosity before we began the trip I installedMoves to keep track of our movements, count steps and distance, as well as keep track of places we visited.
In total, in four and a bit days we've covered 52.4 kms in Paris.
While there are so many famous museums, churches and various other places, for me the beauty of Paris is that anywhere you look - you can see something incredible.
Galeries Lafayette is a good example. It truly is stunning. Whether you are into shopping or not, it's a must visit place in my opinion.
While we stayed in the heart of Paris, I would recommend to stay somewhere in Invalides / 7th Arrondissement - it's a beautiful historical neighbourhood. For me personally Rue De Rivolli was a bit too busy and crowded. We've accidently come across the area on our way to Auguste - a Michelin-starred restaurant, where we had an amazing lunch (highly recommend opting in for their lunch tasting menu).
Overall I found the southern bank of Seine to be more 'parisian' in a sense of what I expected Paris to look and feel like.
We were very fortunate to meet a lovely Russian tour guide at Lafayette who suggested to visit Louvre on a Wednesday night, as they close late, to avoid any queues. As a result we didn't spend a single minute waiting to get it, and had no troubles viewing the tiny (yet impressive) Mona Lisa. I hear normally it takes ages to get close to it.
The Louvre... Well I'm just going to leave this here. There is nothing I can add to what was previously written about this magical place. As cliche as it sounds, but you really have to visit it when you go to Paris.
Sometimes I have terrible habit of waking up too early, but while in Paris it was one of the best things to happen to me. I went for a walk around 6am to meet sunrise and saw Paris in a different light - very quiet. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great, but nevertheless listening to friends music in my headphones while walking around empty streets was very memorable.
Marty McFly may be disappointed that we don't have hoverboards in 2015, but these things with a single wheel seem to be quite popular in Paris.
Despite the obvious attractions, I found Seine to be ridiculously good-looking and photogenic. I probably have at least a hundred photos of the river in various angles, and it absolutely shines in the evening.
I mentioned above that shops are an eye candy, look how awesome Le Bon Marche is!
Prior to coming to Paris, I've heard a lot of about taxi-strikes against Uber, and for some reason I expected the service not to be available in France. To my great surprise on a third day I accidently opened the app and saw heaps of cars around. If you are in Paris and don't really want to use metro, I'd highly recommend getting around in an Uber (when the distance is too big to walk). Surprisingly they all have latest cars and generally I found Uber to be much better than in New Zealand.
It's hard to believe, but we saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time on a third day in Paris. Very non-touristy of us. One of the best views of the tower comes from the very end of Rue de l'Université (street), we didn't plan to go there, just accidentally stumbled across it. That's when someone approached us on the street and asked to take a photo of us. Turned out it was a famous instagrammer and photographer qorz who took this photo of us:
<blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="6" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"></div></div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/7cRFLoL3ev/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Morning from Paris !! 😊👋</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by @qorz on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2015-09-10T07:27:16+00:00">Sep 10, 2015 at 12:27am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote>
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The Eiffel Tower strikes by its beauty and size. Paris was very lucky to receive such gift, even though originally it was accepted with lots of scepticism and criticism from the people. The only downside from visiting the tower was the amount of people trying to sell you something, from selfie sticks, to flowers and alcohol. This was a common trend in all cities we visited in Europe, and unfortunately it slightly spoils the special moment, when you try to enjoy the sights.
Surprisingly we struggled to find decent breakfast spots in Paris. I had a list of places we wanted to visit, but since this was the very end of August, most good cafes were closed for a holiday, re-openning on 1st September. If food is important to you - don't go in August. Being a city that attracts millions of tourists every year, there are also lots of places that don't really care about the quality of food or service that they provide. Of course Parisians know how to avoid such places, but when it's your first time there and time is limited, sometimes you may not have another choice. Make sure you do your research, and try to rely on travel/food blogs rather than just Yelp reviews.
The best breakfast we had was definitely at Frenchie to Go. As non-french as it sounds, it's founded by a French guy who spent a bit of time in NY and I guess decided to bring his experience back to France.
Now I know that we are quite spoiled in New Zealand with great cafes and coffee places.
I don't know how to describe Paris. It's like a diamond perhaps with lots of different facets. It wasn't love from first sight as some might say. It is magical and we loved every moment of it, and it's without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
If you have a sweet tooth - then Paris is your heaven. From small bakeries on almost every corner to fancy dessert restaurants, there is something to suit everyone. The Pouchkine aka Пушкин patisserie at Printemps department store is an eye candy. Try one of their pastries or macarons with a glass of champagne!