Honeymoon Pt. 2 ➮ Parisian Paradise
Bonjour, mes amies! C'est ton petite chou, Jenna!
Did you guys totally love Nick's story about some of our time in London?! He really is the funniest person in the world to me, so hopefully you had a few giggles reading his recap.. I certainly did! If you haven't read it yet, go back and read that first! I'm moving on to tell you about the next stop on our honeymoon adventure - Paris, France!
To get to the City of Light, we first had to hop on the Eurostar in London at St. Pancras Station. From there we sped across gorgeous green countrysides, through a tunnel under the English Channel, then across more rolling landscapes, and directly into the city of Paris! If you plan on traveling between the two cities, we couldn't recommend this mode of transportation any more than we do! It made for an adventure inside of a bigger adventure, for us at least. I can't lie... I felt like we were on our way to Hogwarts or something! (Laugh it up, fuzzballs. I'm Harry Potter obsessed!)
Since our train to Paris was the earliest of the day, we found ourselves there around 10am with the whole day ahead of us. This was all intentional because I knew we had a long list of tourist-ing to do and only about 6 days to jam it all into. Naturally, as a couple of first-timers (actually, Nick HAD been to Paris once before briefly on tour 12 years previous, during which time he saw none of the city!), we opted to head for the Tour d'Eiffel or as you probably know it - The Eiffel Tower. We had booked most of our Paris activities in advance so that we wouldn't have to waste time standing in lines, dealing with attractions being sold out, etc, and our first planned activity was a tour of the Tower that afternoon! So after checking into our hotel - which was totally INSANE & we encourage you to check out HERE - we had a quick nap and then we set off for our Eiffel Tower guided tour in a rush as to not be late!
My sweet husband is so kind and complimentary of my French, you guys. But truthfully, it's not fantastic and I'm very grateful that it got us by throughout our time in France. Thank goodness I spoke enough to give directions en français to our driver because we ALMOST didn't make it to the proper meeting place for Eiffel Tower Tour!!!
Holy heckin' heck, this tour was amazing. The view was breathtaking. And my fear of heights; reawakened. Feel free to laugh, as we both certainly did over the strange things my body wanted me to do once we got all the way up to the top. Apparently, my impulses to "clench" and slightly squat down made my brain see the situation as somehow less terrifying? Did I mention you have to ride up in a glass elevator... the original glass elevator... where you can see everything around you... feel the speed at which you're moving and see the ground drifting farther and farther away below you...
I soothed my anxieties by telling Nick we were in a Wonkavator - to which he responded by acting out the scene, line by line, when Willy Wonka rockets through the ceiling of the Chocolate Factory with Grandpa Joe and Charlie in tow. I love my husband.
Either way, we both found the height of the Tower summit to be phenomenal and incomparable to any other experience we've had in our lives. Our tour guide was absolutely fantastic. There are 3 levels to the Tower; our tour began on the 2nd, then we freely roamed around the summit, after which we returned to the 2nd level and walked down to the 1st, which lead us to taking the stairs all the way to the bottom. Because why not and how many people can say they WALKED down the Eiffel Tower! They say this is a horribly touristy thing to do, but if you love history in general or have any respect for French history YOU MUST DO THIS! I said it repeatedly throughout our trip, but I really mean this you guys, I learned SO much everywhere we went. After our many hours wandering the Tower and its surrounding areas, we found an adorable cafe facing the river and had our first meal in Paris - complete with escargot, 2 glasses of Pinot Noir and a proper cheers to go along with them.
Travel is already such an enriching experience but it can be even more so when you go somewhere with such rich culture and tradition dating back to the beginning of time.
The following day, was our Disneyland Paris adventure! We walked over 11 miles that day, traveled back and forth between the two parks, and spent over 16 hours there so naturally you'll understand when I tell you that our Disneyland Paris day will be getting a full post of it's own! I hate to leave you in a fair amount suspense, but prepare yourselves, because it just may be our favorite Disney park yet...
On our next day in beautiful Paris, we set out on a museum expedition! Visiting the Rodin and Musée d'Orsay in one day was easier than it might sounds, but I'll let you in on our biggest secret weapon of all; the Paris Pass! We purchased our Paris Museum Passes online weeks before our departure date because the majority of what we wanted to do was included in the passes, as they include admission to over 50 museum and monuments! Having the 4-Day passes saved us a ton of money and also countless hours because we never had to wait in line - EVER!
The Rodin was such a beautiful building, filled with sculptures of unimaginable size and beauty. The Rodin gardens couldn't have been more peaceful to roam while, we stopped here and there to admire the various sculptures and views. It wasn't as large as you might imagine so once finishing our walk-around, we decided to wander over to the Musée l'Armee to gaze up at the giant gold dome and imagined Napoleon's body lying directly below it. The building is so extraordinary in size and design. Though we didn't opt to go in on this visit, I'm very sure we will be returning to do so on our next Parisian holiday! After snapping a few photos outside, we walked across town to my personal favorite out of all the museums we visited, the Musée d'Orsay. We could have absolutely spent another 3-4 hours wandering through this gorgeous building, admiring the various art. Having originally been a railway station built just before 1900, the architecture is breathtaking and deserving of admiration before you even venture through the exhibits. Here we saw art by some of my all time favorite artists, which totally counts as a dream come true in my eyes. If you watched our Instagram Stories from this day, then you already know we had "too good" of a time!
Now comes the museum you all know best, the Louvre. The next day we spent a full 8 hours wandering the maze they call the Louvre... The museum itself is a massive palace. No joke! It was so amazing to get lost and find ourselves in one overwhelming room after the next. This was Nick's absolutely favorite museum out of all the ones we saw, and we both agreed we could have spent at least 3 more DAYS in it, seeing new things the entire time because it's that big! The Louvre is filled with anything and everything you can think of; it just goes on forever! There were indoor courtyards of beautiful marble and granite sculptures, 30+ ft walls of single canvas paintings, mummies and sarcophagi from 1000+ BC, oh and of course the Mona Lisa!
Guess who has 2 thumbs and came down with a cold on their honeymoon... THIS GAL!
Unfortunately, I got my butt kicked by some gnarly allergies after a few days into the trip which somehow turned into a mild cold. So after we felt that we had walked as much as we could of the Louvre, we took our leave and sought out a nearby corner cafe where we watched the rain come down from the safely of an overhanging awning and enjoyed red wine, homemade French onion soup, fries (duh) and a cheeseburger. Then off to bed to rest our tired little bodies!
Wondering what else we could possibly do that we hadn't already done?! Well the following day, we ventured out to the district known as Montmartre. Bright and early, we started our adventure at one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life, La Basilique du Sacré Cœur (the Sacred Heart Basilica). Nothing has ever visually struck me the way this extraordinary place did. Obviously we had to wander the inside of the basilica but we even decided to climb the few hundred stairs all the way up to the top of the dome, which overlooks the entire city of Paris. Again, my fear of heights had me doing hilarious and nonsensical things like "clenching" and squatting?? Totally didn't stop me for a second, though! :) Nick and I kept our cool on the way down the spiral staircases by making jokes about how we never wanted to climb another set of stairs again, as just when you thought you'd reached the bottom, another staircase would appear! The street vendors and musicians outside the church got Nick all excited so we stopped to admire them on our way down the gorgeous staircases overlooking Montmartre.
If you've seen the French film Amelie, you know the exact spot!
We finished up our day by wandering the neighborhoods, gazing into all the shops and patisseries, as we made our way towards the Notre Dame Cathedral! I'll quickly say that we did walk by the Moulin Rouge just to see it with our own eyes and it was a total bust - highly DO NOT recommend. Also, I want to mention that all of the churches and cathedrals in Paris are still servicing - so when we toured the inside of each, they were filled with both tourists and those worshipping. This cathedral was far less striking than the Sacré Cœur but gorgeous in its own way! We wanted go up into the Bell Towers of the Notre Dame but didn't make it in time for the last walk-thru so we hung out around the courtyard people-watching, bird-watching, and boat-watching. (Oh yeah, and we went to a Star Wars Cafe!!!!)
Sometimes the most special and memorable moments are the ones where you stop for a second and look around to fully breathe-in the present.
If you've made it this far into the post, thank you for sticking with me! It's been so challenging to jam 6/7 days into one story!
On our last full day in Paris, we started bright at early with a guided tour of the Catacombs! This is another activity we did that we HIGHLY recommend to everyone! Although it may seem a bit gross or morbid (no, it didn't stink of corpses down there), it could not have been any less of either - in fact, the whole experience was terribly interesting and rich with French history! I know it sounds crazy, but omg... the organization and planning that went into the construction of the Catacombs not only melted my brain but also inspired the OCD inside of me. Seriously!!! If you don't know much about the Catacombs, absolutely go visit or pick up a book on the history! Afterwards, we found a beautiful little cafe and another awning to protect us from the light showers, where we enjoyed more wine, more onion soup, and delicious freshly baked baguettes. Following that was our return to the Notre Dame to walk the path up to the bell tower, across the roof of the towers and back down again. Once our feet were safely back on the ground, a bird-lady threw seeds on me and I found out just how heavy pigeons are. Arms, hands, head, shoulders - I was covered in French speaking pigeons. Not mad. Nick found this very entertaining and I cannot blame him at all! The bird-lady gave him a few seeds too and he got to hold a fat pigeon himself, which is when he realized I wasn't exaggerating and we started calling them "chunky chickens". Marriage.
Alright, that just about concludes our time in France. The next day we had to hop back on the Eurostar and return to London! But seeing as our train didn't leave until later in the afternoon, we spent our morning in a place I can only describe as "magical"; Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden). It was a short walk from our hotel so we thought we'd go out for some fresh air and no real agenda.I had half of a croissant in my bag which helped me to make a few new bird friends. We sat in a shady spot near the Palace and fountain watching birds and toy boats on the water. It couldn't have been more beautiful and was the perfect end to our time in the City of Light.
Thank you to everyone who's followed along with us on our trips! It's been really amazing getting to share all the fun tidbits with you along the way! If you have more questions or thoughts for us, please comment them below and we'll be happy to respond!
Next up, Disneyland Paris!