“Worst snow-storm in decades” is definitely not what you want to hear when you land in Paris. Our journey to get to Paris in February 2018 was not what we expected – a flat-out cancelled flight at 6pm Super Bowl Sunday when we were leaving the next day at 9am, a re-route through Atlanta when we had a return flight to Miami, and of course, the snow. Day 1 was not much better…The entire city was shut down the first day of our three-day trip, so we just walked and enjoyed the glistening blanket of white snow (before it turned to a sludgy mess), that is until my husband slipped on ice and seriously hurt his rear only to be laughed at by passing Parisians.
On Day 2, however our luck turned and we ended up having two fabulous albeit cold days in Paris to mark our 4th Anniversary.
Paris is a very old city with an incredible history but full of modern commerce and residents who epitomize the busy, urban lifestyle. Parisians are unimpressed by the droves of tourists who flood pockets of the city who they try very hard to avoid. So, act like you're a chic Parisian!
The city is divided into 20 arrondissements laid out in a spiral moving clockwise. Of course, each arrondissement (neighborhood) varies in socio-economic status and culture. Much like New Yorkers, Some arrondissements are very tourist-friendly (1st-7th), while others should be avoided (10th, 16th where refugee camps are popping up, for example and other out-lying areas).
The city itself is almost like a timecapsul. The same building that stood to witness NapoleonBonaparte and Hitler take the city are there today. There are so many museums worth visiting that you could spend a month there and probably not see everything.
There are also amazing restraints, hotels, and entertainment. Paris “on a budget” is definitely not going to be as enjoyable because this ultra-glam city is expensive. If you want to enjoy Paris, you'll need to come prepared to spend some money.
Who would enjoy it:
Basic B*****es, any women, fashionistas, and history buffs.
Where we stayed:
We totally hit the hotel jackpot with Hôtel Le Pradey. It was a stone's throw away from the Louvre and the perfect amount of space. The hotel offers unlimited espresso, excellent customer service, and a central location. Highly recommended.
What I ate:
Nespresso, macarons, wine and cheese. And that's it!
Paris is alllll about finding great spots and great food. It's everywhere. If you're going, just explore and I promise you'll find something delicious.
But we did go to some great restaurants…
After my husband busted his butt the night the city was shut down, we happened upon Balagan. I cannot get over Balagan. This cool Mediterranean restaurant was totally empty at 6pm when we arrived. The staff was reluctant to give us the last two open seats…at the end of the bar. They asked if it would be possible for us to be done by 9:30? Then they could seat us. We looked around at the empty restaurant a bit confused and said “no problem!” We waited for our seats in the cool speakeasy in the building.
The kitchen staffs serves at the bar, and they started speaking to us in Russian thinking we were from the Motherland. Once we sorted out the language issue, the sous chef was so nice and gave us lots of attention. He spoke five languages, lived all over and made amazing recommendations. Everything was delicious and I later learned that it is MICHELIN rated. It's a must.
We popped into a few cafés here and there during the day. If you see a bunch of French people enjoying a café, you really cannot go wrong. We ended ip in the Latin Quarter and found a cool alley just south of Île de la Cité full of Greek street food, so naturally, we got some.
The next night we check out the popular ferdi, a Kardashian favorite. It's popular during fashion week, which we missed by a few days. I heard multiple people mention Kim K while we were there. It's comfort food, which was awesome during the frigid cold. Very good, and fun atmosphere.
I also got my fair share of macrons (pronounced “mac-ron,” not “mac-a-roon”) a Paris staple. We went to Ladurée, of course and grabbed a few more sweets from Angelina's. Note: I also got macarons from the McDonald's on the Champs-Élysées (the nicest McDonald's that I have ever been to) and they were also good.
How we got around:
The city itself is easily traveled on Le Metropolitan or “le metro” for short (my favorite subway). Walking too is rather easy if you stay in the central area.
What we did:
Ate (see above), window-shopped at Place Vendôme, and because this was my husband's first time, went to the top attractions…
We did not go into every place, but just took a moment to appreciate the beauty around us. It was a lot, but it was worth it. Each of those locations are so iconic that you really cannot miss them the first time you go. BUt as a fourth-timer, I just wanted to go to museums and patisseries
What I wore:
I spent weeks planning my outfits, and took almost no photos! Since I cannot show you, I'll just tell you.
Black – Long-sleeved shirts with elegant detail like beads and feathers, warm leggings. This was my base.
Baubles – I dressed up and added color to each outfit with fun earrings from Baublebar.
Boots – Weather-proof Hunter boots were key walking around all day. I added the wool inserts to keep my toes warm. I brought leather boots and booties to dress up my day time outfit for dinner.
A big coat – I got the cutest pea coat from J.Crew as well as a fur-lined hooded parka from the North Face. A hat and gloves were also necessary.
One more thing:
You don't have to speak French fluently to get around in Paris. I think everyone speaks English. But – I would highly encourage you to learn a few basic phrases because Parisians are so helpful when you try to speak French. I spent months preparing, and felt so confident. There I was ordering my meal in French, making small talk when one waiter said “let's speak English, your French is terrible.” C'est la vie.