Paris: 20 Parting Observations from the Most Wonderful of Cities

I’ve been to Paris a bunch of times, so you might think I’m somewhat over it by this point. However, a quick glance at my iPhone’s Camera Roll would suggest otherwise. For example, when I was there for two weeks last April and May, I took over 800 photos. So, clearly, this city holds no more interest for me and please hold my croissant because I’m très bored now.

I kid, I kid. Obviously, Paris holds just as much sway over me as ever. In fact, just pulling together all the photos for this post filled me with an intense sort of longing for a return trip. Nothing is in the cards, just yet, but here are some parting thoughts from my last set of Paris photos…for now.

1 – Carrie Bradshaw Moments are Real:

You know that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie moves to Paris, arrives at her hotel, opens the window, sees the Eiffel Tower, and shrieks? Well, our hotel didn’t have Eiffel Tower views, but I had a similar feeling when I stepped out onto our balcony. Being at eye level with all that classic Parisian architecture? Perfection.

2 – Le Village Saint-Paul Is Adorable:

I still haven’t made it out to Paris’s gigantic flea market, Marché aux Puces (one day!), but I found a smaller one in the heart of the city, Le Village Saint-Paul. Located in the Marais and filled with more locals than tourists (hooray!, said the tourist), this was super interesting to browse. I kind of regret not buying anything…

3 – L’Éclair de Génie Is Still the Best:

I’ve written about it before (twice in fact: here and here), but L’Éclair de Génie remains one of my favorite stops in Paris. The éclairs are picture perfect, and tasty too. Get the salted caramel – you won’t regret it.

4 – The Staircase at Musée Picasso Is as Picture Perfect As Ever:

I love Musée Picasso: all the artwork is great, of course, but what I love even more is the interior. It’s a grand, old building, beautiful restored. The big staircase is particularly impressive and worth the price of admission alone! I’ve visited before and I’m sure I’ll visit again.

5 – The Tuileries Clear Out When the Weather Gets Cold:

Though we got a lot of lovely, sunshine filled spring days in Paris, the weather was not always ideal. In fact, some days it was downright chilly. The upside? Typically packed-with-tourists places – like the Tuileries, above, and the Louvre courtyard, below – are totally cleared out. Wimps!

6 – Goat Cheese Crepes Are the Best – and I Know How to Make Them!:

One thing my mom and I did this trip that I really enjoyed was taking a cooking class at La Cuisine Paris. They offer a ton of courses, but we opted for their crepe class. There, we learned how to make two crepes: a savory one with goat cheese, shallots, and leeks, and a sweet one with salted caramel. Our instructor was friendly and informative, and our crepes were super yummy! The goat cheese one, in particular, was the stuff of cheese-infused French dreams.

7 – It’s a Slog to Get to the Top of the Eiffel Tower:

My mom had never been to Paris before, so of course we had to visit the Eiffel Tower. Getting to the top, however, was a bit of an ordeal. We had pre-booked tickets but, even so, the crowds were crazy. In addition to that, the day we visited was freezing – so the higher we went, the colder we got. Luckily, there are some preeeeetty sweet views up there.

8 – Breakfast at Angelina Is a Must:

Angelina is touristy and overpriced but, you know what? I adore it. Like really, really. There’s something about the elegant atmosphere – and the chocolat chaud, let’s be real – that keeps bringing me back. It’s always a good idea.

9 – Paris’s Window Shopping Cannot Be Beat:

I’ve written about Paris’s Christmas windows, but as it turns out, the high fashion stores churn out fabulous window vignettes all year round. I always love Dior, in particular. So fun, right?!

10 – I Miss Living in Paris:

My mom and I took a walk by my old apartment (the front door is pictured above), and it made me so nostalgic for the months I spent living in Paris for work. I hit up all my old haunts this trip – including Place Vendôme, where my office is – and it made me both so happy and sad. Paris, I’ll always love you.

11 – Paris Is Lovely Rain or Shine:

Not to sound like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris, but there really is something romantic about Paris in the rain. So, even though we got a bit of rain while in town, I didn’t really mind it. Bonus? When the sun comes back out after, Paris looks particularly beautiful.

12 – Saint-Chapelle and Notre-Dame Remain as Awe-Inspiring as Ever:

It had been a while since I visited Île de la Cité’s two gems, Notre-Dame and Sainte-Chapelle, and I had forgotten just how impressive both of them can be. Sainte-Chapelle’s stained glass windows are stunning, particularly when the sunlight shines through and the entire room is covered in a purple glow. And at Notre-Dame, I’m always blown away by the incredibly detailed facade. What treasures!

13 – The Cream Puffs at Odette Are the Cutest Ever:

One place I can never resist popping into if I’m in the area is Odette, home to tiny, tasty choux pastry. I love to grab one (or two, let’s be honest) and sit at a table outside. You can see right down the street to Notre-Dame, making this a pretty special snack!

14 – Don’t Miss the Clock at Musée d’Orsay:

There’s a ton of great art at Musée d’Orsay, of course, but sometimes I love the architecture of the building, a renovated train station, even more. One of my favorite bits is the gigantic clock window: you can even see Sacre-Coeur from it!

15 – Sometimes You’ve Gotta Blitz Through the Louvre:

The Louvre is full of treasures that beg to be savored, but….sometimes you’ve gotta power through it. I’ve spent many long hours in the Louvre, but on this trip, we visited at the end of a jam-packed day and we were exhausted. So, we decided to only visit the best of the best and just admire the highlights. We wound up blazing through in about an hour. No regrets.

16 – Musée Rodin Never Gets Old:

I visited Musée Rodin on my very first trip to Paris (about 10.5 years ago, GOOD LORD), and I’ve been back just about every time since then. I love the mix of museum and garden: you can walk through Rodin’s house, and then head outdoors to check out more sculptures in the gardens. It’s always a lovely, low-key activity.

17 – The Service at Ladurée Is…Non-Existent:

Any trip comes with its fair share of miscues, and visiting Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées was definitely one of my poorer decisions. I envisioned an elegant mid-afternoon snack in their tea room but, instead, we found ourselves languishing forever, unable to get anyone to take or deliver our order. I’m used to the slower pace of service in France, but this was a whole different level. At least the china is pretty??

18 – I’m Still a Big Fan of Sacre-Coeur:

The first time I visited Sacre-Coeur, I immediately declared that it was my favorite church in Paris – Notre-Dame be damned. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate Notre-Dame more, but the church at the top of the hill in Montmartre still holds a special place in my heart. I just love those white domes!

19 – The Fruit Candies at Jacques Genin Make the Best Gifts:

There are so many wonderful sweets and treats in Paris (and I’ve written about them many times), but the truth is that eclairs are not the most transportable of treats. I can never resist Jacques Genin when it comes time to bring goodies to people back home; their pâtes de fruit are second to none.

20 – I Will Never Not Photograph the Merci Bug:

I am a creature of habit, and that applies in Paris too: I have a certain set of restaurants, shops, and cafés that I love, and it’s hard not to return to them often. The Merci store is one of those places, and no matter how many times I visit, I always have to take a picture of the Merci bug in the courtyard. Their restaurant, lined with walls of books, is super cute and cozy too!

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here but, man, I love Paris. Every time I think I might be tiring of it, I find something new to love or I realize that, nope, I could never really get sick of this town. And, as ever, as always, I cannot wait to return.

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