Paris: Our 3-Day Layover
*We visited Paris at the end of April, 2017 as a stop over after our trip to Iceland.
After 9 days spent in Iceland, sleeping in a campervan in the middle of no where, eating canned food, alternating between the same 3 sweatsuits, not looking in a mirror or properly washing my face, Paris was a culture shock.
We arrived to our cute little Airbnb just 2 blocks off of Champs Elysees and a 5 minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe at around 9pm. We forgot all about having to actually message our host upon arrival but lucked out with 1 of 109238 wifi networks in the area (you definitely don’t need a data plan in this city, there’s wifi everywhere). Here’s the view from our Airbnb!
Though Champs Elysees was touristy (literally thousands of people walking the streets in this neighbourhood at a time), the block we stayed on was quiet, hip, and had a fancy Chinese restaurant just down the street (yes, we ate there, and at a Korean and a Japanese restaurant too). There was also a McDonalds down the street from where we stayed (we love McDonalds so naturally, bought 2 meals and were disappointed, tastes much better in the Americas).
We walked about 15km for each of the 3 days we spent in Paris, exploring almost every neighbourhood the city had to offer!
We love the Bourne series and found way too much joy in yelling ‘JASON BOURNE’ at each other every time we heard the police sirens – isn’t it a little weird that they sound so different in Europe than North America? No? Alright. Moving on.
Our first brunch stop was at Fragments. I read a lot of raving reviews about it, and was told that I HAD to get the avocado toast from a few friends. To be frank, it was just an average avocado toast. The shop was cute, pastries were delicious, and the line up out the door was evidence of great coffee being brewed. I’d come back for an espresso and another photo.
More than the coffee, food, or ridiculous shopping, our favourite part about the city was the way it looked – the architecture, all the patios and patio furniture, the narrow streets, and the deathly roundabouts, we loved all of it.
I love art. I’ve loved museums and galleries all my life – my year long membership to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) when I was in my first year of undergrad was one of the best investments I’d ever made. So naturally, we had to check out the Louvre. We purchased tickets ahead of time, which ended up being a great idea – the line up to just GET IN was a few hundred people. Likely due to the jet-lag and all the pushing and shoving, the Louvre was the single biggest disappointment of our trip. We don’t regret going, but we won’t be going back.
The stubborn part of me came out to play – I fought through that crowd (I swear mans were throwing elbows), just to see the Mona Lisa, behind a glass case.
I quickly got over the above disappointment of the Louvre. The walk home every evening consisted of the below scenes, and I was thrilled.
On our second morning, we spent a good amount of time in our favourite cafe, Telescope. The baristas were so friendly, their logo looks like OVOs (Johnny would pick Drake over me for pretty much everything), their coffee was delicious, and they had the cleanest teeniest washroom. They also didn’t have wifi here, which was nice, cause Johnny REALLY had to listen to me talk for hours.
Our favourite meal was at Holy Belly. Run by expats, this restaurant was a 10 in every category from service to taste. There was a huge line out the door (we got lucky and arrived right as a table opened up) filled with mostly locals. It was also our first taste of bacon in two weeks.
The Picasso exhibit at the AGO a few years ago was one of the best shows I had been to, so when we found extra time in our schedule, I bought 2 tickets to Musee Picasso and dragged Johnny with me. The exhibit featured Picasso’s first wife and his mistress – it got a little dark and sad, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Last on our coffee tour was Cafe Kitsune. I had to really reign it in and practice the art of self control – they sold the cutest merchandise, cups, and icecream (i was regrettably way too full). It’s right in the Palais du Royale, we enjoyed our cups of coffee in the park, soaking in the sunshine (we only had a few hours each day), and people watching. This shop comes at a close second to favourite stops.
Paris was never on my list of ‘must-go-to’ places (and there are A LOT of places on the list). It’s one of the reasons we actually chose to stop over in Paris – we thought 3 days anywhere else would just be a tease! But after 5 croissants crushed per day, the aimless walking in the most beautiful neighbourhoods, a pair of Chicago 1’s acquired, and listening to Johnny wreak havoc on the French language, we concluded that Paris was worth every penny.