After an amazing couple of days in London, we headed to Paris via EuroStar. After living on the East Coast for several years and riding Amtrak between major cities, I am in awe with the European rail system! The train was comfy, spotless, and incredibly fast! We reached Paris in about 2.5 hours.
We stayed at Hotel de Louvre, a historic five star hotel located right next to the Louvre. (Thank you Hyatt points!) We dropped off our bags and immediately set out to explore this romantic city. We walked through Jardin des Tuileries and Av des Champs-Elysées before exploring Place Vendome, a high-end shopping district in Paris.
Jardin des Tuileries
Beautiful apartment buildings in Place Vendome
After walking several miles, Alex recommended we head to Palais Royal to meet an old college friend for drinks. (This “old college friend was actually a photographer, and Alex was planning to propose!) When we arrived at Palais Royal, the garden was closed for a state event. I was too distracted by the many beautiful sites that I paid no attention to Alex who was frantically calling his “old college friend”. When he told me we would be meeting his “old college friend” at the Louvre, I insisted I was too tired and that it would be better to meet at the hotel bar. Alex, however, was adamant that we go to the Louvre, so I trudged along…very slowly. When we finally made it to the Louvre, and when Alex made eye contact with the photographer, Alex led me to a secret garden and proposed! I was SO surprised and couldn’t believe this was really happening!
Our photographer, Jacques Mateos (absolutely amazing), spent an hour with us after the proposal taking pictures, and we also met him the next morning to take pictures at some of the most iconic spots in Paris.
After an early morning of engagement photos, we set out to explore and visited the Eiffel Tower, Hotel Des Invalides, the Latin Quarter, Jardin des Plantes, and Notre Dame. We also discovered Ile Saint-Louis, an island right next to Notre Dame on the Seine River. Ile Saint-Louis is a very quaint neighborhood, romantically frozen in the 17th century. It has everything you could ever need, from markets to bakeries to fromageries and cafes! There were very few tourists, and it was definitely an area to discover true Parisian life.
Obligatory Eiffel Tower photo
Hotel Des Invalides
Jardin des Plantes
The River Seine
Notre Dame Cathedral
The Holocaust Memorial at Notre Dame Cathedral
In the evening, we walked along the Seine River to the 12th arrondissement. Here, we visited Coulée verte René-Dumont, an elevated park built on top of obsolete railway infrastructure. (This park inspired the Highline Park in New York City.) It was so nice to escape the crowds of downtown Paris.
Coulée verte René-Dumont
Getting lost in Paris
Hotel de Louvre
Our third day in Paris was absolutely beautiful: sunny and 70 degrees! We set out for more adventures — exploring Palais Royal, getting lost in Le Marais, and finding ourselves in Parc des Buttes Chaumont. This was by far my favorite park in all of Paris! The most famous feature of the park is the Temple de la Sibyllle, a miniature version of the famous ancient Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. We found a small cafe bordering the park and enjoyed a bottle of wine and a bread and cheese plate, before heading to Montmartre.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Montmartre is absolutely beautiful but overrun with tourists. We did the touristy things and saw Sacre-Couer and Moulin Rouge, before winding down for dinner with a bottle of wine.
Our last full day in Paris was rainy, but as Seattleites, we didn’t let that ruin our day! We ventured out to Jardin du Luxembourg, a garden owned by the French senate. The gardens are featured in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. We ended the night with a wonderful dinner at L’Orangerie and walked back along the Seine River, taking in many beautiful views of Paris.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg
The Louvre by night
My biggest regret this trip was not getting out and exploring Paris more by night. We exhausted ourselves every single day, waking up early and walking all over the city, that by nightfall, all we wanted was a bottle of wine and our cozy hotel bed. I would definitely recommend devoting at least one night to walking around Jardin des Tuileries and the Seine River!