Our first visit to Paris was in May 2015. We fell in love with the city, its sites, the people and the food. So, after my mom passed away in March 2017, we collectively decided to return to celebrate her (and our) love for Paris.
We landed at Orly Sunday morning at about 8:15, collected our luggage and took an Uber to our two bedroom apartment in Marais. We picked Marais, which is located in the Fourth Arrondissement, because of its central location. Our apartment, which we found on AirBnB, was perfect. Located on the second floor above a restaurant, it was exactly as advertised and we would return in a heartbeat.
After unpacking our bags and freshening up, we headed out. After years of traveling, we’ve come to the conclusion that its best to hit the ground running in order to acclimate to the time change. Our first destination was Les Catacombes, which is located several hundred feet beneath modern Paris. Megan had purchased our tickets online, which turned out to be a very smart decision. Our window of entry was 10:00 a.m. to noon. We hoped on the Metro and after one line change, we arrived with a minute to spare at 11:59 a.m. The line wrapped around the block but, fortunately, with our tickets we entered without a wait.
The Catacombes was initially a mine. Limestone was excavated and used in the construction of buildings in Paris
Later, it became a burial site for Parisians that were killed during war or by the plague. As you meander your way through the Catacombes, you eventually come upon the burial sites.
Each burial site typically includes a memorial that details the date of the site and cause of death. These sites go on and on throughout in maze-like fashion.
One of the best decisions we made on this trip was to use the rental bikes that are located throughout Paris. For a little more than $9.00/person a week, you can rent a bike for 30 minute intervals. As long as you return the bike to a docking station within 30 minutes there is no additional charge.
We used the bikes as our primary mode of transportation every day. Dealing with the busy traffic took some time getting used to but most drivers were very respectful of bicyclists.
Of course, no trip to Paris is complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower. We had purchased our tickets three months in advance. We showed up at our appointed time and made our way to the mid-level. This was our second time to the Eiffel Tower. The view is magnificent!
Prior to our trip, the girls booked a cooking class at a location not too far from our apartment. It was a blast. We made croissants and other breakfast pastries.
The class started at 9:30 a.m. and finished around noon. After learning just how much butter is in each croissant, I will never be able to eat more than one at a time (well, okay, maybe two)!
Speaking of eating, we are the consummate foodies. We love good food and are willing to try everything and anything.
Two doors down from our apartment, was this great restaurant: Le Pain Quotidien
We ate there for breakfast, lunch and dinner during our stay. Every meal was delicious.
We also returned to Chartier, which is said to be the oldest restaurant in Paris. The line to get in can be long but it moves relatively fast. The food is not fancy but its good and very reasonably priced.
I know it sounds like all we did was eat but we did manage to see quite a bit of Paris.
On one of our last nights, we booked a dinner cruise on the Seine River. We booked with Bateaux Parisiens. They did a wonderful job! For roughly $85 per person, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and an open bar all while taking in the sites along Seine. We all had a fabulous time!
With Kristin headed to graduate school and Megan headed into the last two years of college, it may be a while before we can manage to find time on the calendar for another trip. The girls are such good travelers. In addition to planning most of this trip, they navigated our way through Paris on foot, bike and by subway. It will be a joy to see when they return with their own families. It’s no wonder that my mom loved Paris. It truly is the city of love!