Europe Trip – Highlights from Paris

View from the Arc de Triomphe | Europe Trip - Highlights from Paris | kaileenelise.com

Paris is always a good idea.
(Audrey Hepburn)

Now that we’ve been home in Austin for two weeks, our visit to Paris feels like forever ago. Even though we are back to our normal day-to-day, I can still feel the city’s energy as I look through these photos. It’s hard to explain why I love Paris so much — there are countless elements of beauty, magic, romance, and sparkle. Too many to describe. This is my happy place.

Here are some highlights from Paris:

After flying in from Vienna, we checked into our hotel and were welcomed with mini macarons. I couldn’t have asked for a more delightful way to get things started!

Once we unpacked, we headed straight to the Arc de Triomphe. We walked to the top and were greeted by the view in the photo above. From every angle, the city is gorgeous! We snapped a bunch of pictures of the skyline, then attempted to take a few of us together. Thankfully, a friendly stranger offered to take our picture when he noticed our terrible selfie attempts!

We headed back down as the sun began to set. My Mister captured the picture below as we were crossing the street. It’s the picture I have as my desktop right now — I cannot get over the way the clearing in the sky frames the Arc. Next, we headed to The Peninsula hotel for drinks at their rooftop bar, L’Oiseau Blanc. Our beverages were not cheap, but it was worth it for the view! I took this video of the Eiffel Tower sparkling just before it started rain.

Arc de Triomphe | Europe Trip - Highlights from Paris | kaileenelise.com

Since my Mister had days filled with meetings and work, we did not have time for any other major tourist attractions. Instead, we explored some different neighborhoods and enjoyed a few of the many parks in Paris. The picture below is from Square Louis XIII park in the Marais district. We also went on a morning run through the Jardin du Luxembourg, which was just a few blocks from our hotel.

 | Square Louis XIII Park | Europe Trip - Highlights from Paris | kaileenelise.com

When we visited Paris last summer, my Mister and I added our lock to the Love Lock Bridge (Pont des Amoureux). We jotted down the approximate location in an Evernote and hoped we would travel back to Paris one day. We had no clue that we’d return so soon — and somehow we also managed to lose or delete the note! I was skeptical that we would be able to find our lock without any guidance. Plus, the city of Paris has started to board up the bridge panels to discourage locks altogether.

Love Lock Bridge | Europe Trip - Highlights from Paris | kaileenelise.com

Somehow my Mister (who’s usually the “realist” in our relationship) was surprisingly confident! I was so doubtful and after a few minutes of looking, I gave up. He kept at it, certain that our lock had to be around here somewhere. I mean, look at all those locks!

I don’t know how I ended up with such a patient and persistent fiancé, but I am so very grateful for him. After what felt like an hour (which was probably more like 10 minutes), he found our lock… ta da!

Love Lock Bridge | Europe Trip - Highlights from Paris | kaileenelise.com

I was so surprised and excited! We took a bunch of pictures of our lock, then headed back to our hotel so we could change before dinner. The whole time I kept exclaiming, “I can’t believe you found it!” and he seemed pretty pumped about it too. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he had one more romantic surprise up his sleeve. We walked right into Ladurée and stopped in for some macarons. Paris is my happy place.

Ladurée | Europe Trip - Highlights from Paris | kaileenelise.com

We ate well in Paris… here are my restaurant recommendations:

  • Chez Gabrielle – we came here for our first meal in Paris. Many restaurants are closed on Mondays, so we were happy to find a good one that was open for business. The most memorable items from our meal were the desserts! We shared some amazing pain perdu (French toast) and truffles.
  • Le P’tit Bercy – we came here for lunch and it was my first time ordering mussels as my main course. Dessert was the main highlight again, with a unique take on tiramisu + oreos!
  • Oka – this is a relatively new restaurant that has received high praise on TripAdvisor. The premise is interesting, especially if you are an adventurous diner: they serve 7 courses with a surprise menu. It was fun to guess what we were eating next.
  • Firmin Le Barbier – this was our favorite restaurant from our trip to Paris last summer. We came back for another memorable meal, seated in a cozy corner of the restaurant. We savored every bite. Highly recommended!

Just like the last time we were in Paris, the days passed by way too quickly. There’s still a lot on our list for future visits, including: the Louve, Versallies, crepes, and falafel in Marais. Oh, and we would love to see more of France one day!

After Paris we flew to Ediburgh for one last stop. I’ll share my highlights in the last post of this recap series next Tuesday.

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