Brad and I got to spend the weekend in Paris a few weeks ago while my mom stayed in London with Charlie. She suggested it a long time ago when we were planning her trip - her attempt to get another grandchild! Well we showed her, didn't we? lol
Actually, when I found out I was pregnant, one of the things I was really worried about was that I wasn't going to feel very well when we went to Paris. How can I go to Paris and be too sick to eat all that wonderful food?? I was upset just remembering how awful I felt at 11 weeks with Charlie. But fortunately, I felt ok for the trip and just pushed through when I didn't.
I had never been to Paris and Brad hadn't been in many years, so we were very excited leading up to it! Going to Paris has always been a dream of mine - and it did not disappoint. It is such a beautiful, romantic city filled with amazing food. It was only a 2 hour train ride!
We took the Eurostar down from London on Friday afternoon, which was awesomely convenient, if not cheap. We splurged for the Premium Standard seats on the way there and they brought along a little meal and drinks. It was very nice and felt like we were in Paris in no time!
One thing Paris is not is cheap. Wowzers, I thought London was bad. The hotels there are kind of crazy expensive, but luckily we hadn't yet sucked Brad's Starwood Preferred account dry, so we got a room at the Westin Paris.
He also submitted an upgrade request that got approved the day before we left so we got a sweet suite! It had a little balcony that looked over Les Jardins de Tuileries and off in the distance was the Eiffel Tower. I screamed when I saw it. The photo up top is the view from our room at sunset on Saturday night. I didn't scream, but had a good laugh, when I saw the stationary bike in our bathroom.
Being the rookie Paris visitor that I was, I did not consider the time change between London and Paris when asking the concierge to make our dinner reservation. So we had to kind of hustle to get over there, but it was raining and a taxi was necessary anyways.
We ate at La Petite Cour, which is off Boulevard St. Germain and it was a perfect nice-casual French restaurant to kick off our trip. There did not appear to be many tourists there and our waitress didn't speak much English, but we muddled through.
Obnoxious Americans that we are, we wanted a cheese plate to start, instead of to end. They were kind enough to indulge us. And ohhhh, how indulgent it was. So delicious and fresh. And yes, I ate soft cheese while pregnant. Pretty sure the baby loved every bite! I know I did.
After dinner the rain had stopped so we walked back to the hotel and took in the sights from the bridge over the Seine and the Place de la Concorde. It was a nice, long walk followed by a nice, long sleep!
It rained most of the next morning so we bought and umbrella and walked up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc d'Triumph.
We stopped at the Louis Vuitton store, which was like it's own little department store. Huge and packed full of people! We also enjoyed ads for some local cinema:
After checking out the Arc and taking some pictures, we decided to walk towards the Eiffel Tower. On our way, we passed this open air market where Parisians do their grocery shopping. It was quite big and walked the entire length of it. It was amazing and I think the way shopping is supposed to be.
There were tables for cheese, bread, desserts, produce, meat, fresh fish, flowers, honey, oils and vinegars - anything you could think of. And it was all SO fresh! The produce guys cut off bits of the fruit so you can taste it first and the crabs are all still alive. I know I'm pregnant, but the smells! Oh my gosh, so intense and beautiful. When I walked by the flowers I thought this must be what heaven smells like.
Anyways, I will quit obsessing about food I didn't even eat, but here are some photos of how I wish I could grocery shop:
After we were done drooling, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower and admired its greatness. We also admired the long line to ride up and decided that would just have to be something we do next time.
We started walking back along the river towards the Musee d'Orsay because there were some restaurants we thought might be good for lunch. We walked through some adorable neighborhoods and markets before just picking somewhere because it had Croque Madame and that was what I wanted for lunch! Also because it had outdoor seating and Brad was intent on sitting outside at a cafe. In the rain.
On the way to lunch we passed my dream range in a shop window. A lavender Aga. Can you imagine?
Afterwards we meandered back to our hotel for a nap and then spent the late afternoon checking out all the crazy designer shops near our hotel. Hermes was another mini-department store that was neat to check out. They actually have a guy in there making saddles! I'm surprised Neiman Marcus hasn't thought of this.
For my birthday dinner that night we celebrated at La Closerie des Lilas, which is located near the Jardins de Luxumbourg. It was recommended by my mom who has been to celebrate her cousin's birthday. He loves Paris and this is his favorite restaurant, where he celebrates his major birthdays. My parents will be there in December! It has a very old Paris feel about it.
We sat in the atrium of the restaurant and it was so lovely. I forgot I was pregnant and almost ordered some raw oysters. Brad, who rarely speaks up about anything pregnancy related, gave me the funniest look! So sad, they looked amazing. But we had filet and lobster and all sorts of crazy yummy things. It was a perfect birthday dinner.
The next morning we found a cafe for croissants and coffee and then walked along the river looking for a boat tour to take on the Seine. Some of the bridges have tons of padlocks on them. They have the initials on them of the couples that leave them. You write on the padlock, put it on the bridge and then throw the key into the river. I mean - so romantic!!
Doesn't this look like an ideal place to go cook after shopping in that market?
We learned the hard way on the way back that we should have splurged for the Premium Economy seats again. Our train was packed and loud - lots of screaming kids. I mean, I've been there, believe me. But it was like being soaked in cold water after a relaxing, romantic weekend. I'm allowed to have a screaming child but others are not!