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Annie & Paul’s Paris Getaway

How long was your stay?

5 days

How did you travel?

As a couple

Tell us why you traveled to this destination.

My husband and I had never been to Paris. The trip was a birthday gift from him to me :-).

Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.

Sunday night: Took a red-eye direct from Chicago (ORD) to Paris (CDG).

Day 1: We arrived mid-morning in Paris at our beautiful hotel Le Meurice. Although we were tired upon our arrival, we were full of adrenaline and excited to join our “skip the line” tour of the stunning Louvre Museum (home of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and many more treasures). We enjoyed our walk back to our hotel through the Tuileries Garden.

Dinner: Kong. The cocktails, Asian Fusion food & service? Perfection! You will love dining on the rooftop beneath the glass dome.

Couple takes a selfie leaning over the dinner table at Kong restaurant in Paris

Day 2: We took an 8 hour Tuktuk tour of Paris. Our incredibly knowledgeable (and bilingual) Parisian driver and guide Brice knew just where to go, and patiently waited while we took in so many sites. Like the Sacré-Cœur in the beautiful hilltop area of Montmartre, Notre-Dame (still closed for post-fire reno’ but lovely to view from outside) and the Arc de Triomph. and many many more!

Brice knew where to stop for on-the-go coffee, pastries and the most delicious hot sandwich we’ve ever had. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we could never decide–jacket on or off (Parisians leave them on!). A tuk tuk in the rain and cooler temperatures would work as well! They are equipped with a sturdy, clear zip up cover which works as a greenhouse in a way if needed. It was so easy to hop on and off for quick looks and visits—like the heartbreaking shrine to Princess Diana and the tomb of Jim Morrison in the most beautiful cemetery. I don’t think I’d take a long tour any other way! These tuk tuks are super comfy. Oh yeah, tuk tuks are electric—we felt great about that! Getting a lay of the land early on in your trip is so useful. Don’t not do this. Ask for Brice!!

Dinner: Manko. Upscale Peruvian cuisine. We were notified our reservation was canceled via text because we apparently had not called to confirm, although I did but obviously spoke English. Luckily our concierge helped us. We stayed post dinner and enjoyed the lounge and DJ afterward. Great cocktails and service was better in the bar.

Day 3: We made Wednesday a free day and explored the city on foot from our hotel. It was nice to have a lay of the land from our tuk tuk tour. Good thing, due to our late night at Manko :-/. We had a loose plan to head over to Le Marais, an area with cool boutiques and perfumeries. Loved the bohemian jewelry boutique Birdy! Found my new fragrance at Essential Perfumes: Nice Bergamote. Every scent was gorgeous and it looks like they sell a sample pack of their entire line, online!

Stopped at sidewalk cafes for champagne, bread, cheese and coffee throughout the day. We were a little slow, so the light drizzle and relaxed pace made for a perfect day. We arrived at the hotel late afternoon, hoping to grab a famous hot chocolate (a completely different and elevated experience in Paris) from Angelina, the landmark tea & pastry house just next to our hotel. An ever-long line, we asked the wonderful Francois at Le Meurice when is a good time to actually get a cocoa? He told us we could skip the line and just walk in and take one to go. Ha! We were heading up to get ready for dinner, so we said “great, we’d try tomorrow.” Twenty minutes later, two steaming Angelina hot chocolates were delivered to our room, with a sweet note from Francois. Hot chocolate will never taste the same (until we return)!

Dinner: Le Girafe. We were disappointed the terrace with perfect views of the Eiffel Tower was closed due to rain earlier in the day as the weather had improved so much, but the dining room was lovely as was our server! Wish I could remember her cool “N” name. We headed to our skip-the-line tour of the Eiffel Tower only to find no one at the meeting location. So sorry, no link to this tour! We’ve still received no communication as to why no one was there, but they have processed our refund. Possibly it’s because we didn’t confirm? Take home lesson from Paris: confirm!

*We loved the base of the Eiffel, hung out and enjoyed the views from the garden below, took lots of pics, and admired the glittering tower from our walk along the Seine back to Le Meurice.

Day 4: We were planning on visiting Versailles but hadn’t booked any sort of tour, thinking we may take the train and go it alone. Sometimes I get “toured-out” and would rather explore on my own. We were thinking of an “audio tour” on our own. Knowing we have a family plan to travel France from the south to the north, Versailles will have to wait. And the ride up the Eiffel Tower! Oh, well. After the delicious breakfast at our hotel, we skipped around town all day and did more shopping. We hit some of the designer shops versus the boutiques that day, and loved shopping at Isabel Murant at 354 Rue St Honoré, 75001 Paris, FranceRue St Honoré with the help of Justine ;-).

Dinner: Le Meurice hotel, at the Restaurant Le Dalí. We decided to dine here versus the Michelin starred Le Meurice Alain Ducasse restaurant in the adjacent dining room as the jazz duo in the Le Dalí was just too good to bypass. The perfect ending to a trip I’ll never forget!

Day 5: Breakfast at Le Meurice. As usual, delicious pastries, rich coffee. A final walk through the Tuileries Gardens. Au Revoir, Paris ♥️

Would you recommend this trip to a friend?

Yes

What was the highlight of your trip?

Just take a Tuk Tuk tour. Relax and let your trip guide you. Best day of our trip!

Stopping at the corner cafes for champagne! Bring good walking shoes and a nice jacket or two.

The Le Meurice: Just need to give another shout out. This hotel (stomping grounds for Dalí, Beyoncé, and Picasso had his wedding reception here!) has made a mark on my heart, forever. Not only was it a feast for every sense, but the staff here were the best I’ve encountered. I would describe most of the Parisians we met as gentle and kind. This was no different at our hotel.

I had heard we may encounter some “attitude” however we didn’t experience this at all. I feel we left as softer versions of ourselves. I hope we can hold on to some of the wonderful things we gain from experiencing other cultures.

Deciding to spring for a pricier room with a balcony which had panoramic views of the Louvre and Gardens, Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.

Super fun to see someone’s large pet goat grazing in the grass of the Tuileries Gardens, left occasionally (on a very long leash fyi) by a Paris resident for a long lunch!

Special thanks to Michelle Gramza of Houlahan Travel for helping us arrange and plan our trip!! Merci Beaucoup, Michelle!

If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?

We missed the Musée d’Orsay which I do regret. Some love it more than the Louvre. We probably could have shopped in the designer district for less time and enjoyed this incredible museum in the artsy Left Bank of Paris and hit some of the nearby boutiques. But hey, how many times do we get to feel free to blow something off and enjoy the moment?

Confirm all of your dinner reservations, dinner and tours the day of! The concierge at Le Meurice was happy to help us with these details.

Practice your basic greetings before going. It’s nice to try. I should have spent more time on this! I always tried. I used Babbel.


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