It was incredibly hot when we arrived in Paris from Amsterdam. It didn’t help that we were carrying all of our bags. Upon arrival, we tried to connect to wifi, but that proved incredibly difficult. Eventually, we crossed the street from Gare du Nord and stood outside of a McDonald’s to connect to their free wifi. You can’t say that McDonald’s isn’t reliable. We made contact with our fabulous AirBnB host, Cyrille to let him know that we had arrived and were on our way to the apartment. We stupidly (desperately) paid a fixed rate for a taxi (35 Euros) to the apartment. We both knew better, but it had already been such a stressful day and we had not eaten. Word to the wise, just walk down the street away from the train station and get a taxi there. According to Cyrille, all the taxis that park in front of the station follow a fixed rate structure. We felt like chumps paying that much for a 7 minute drive. Ugh.
We met Cyrille at the apartment and it totally lived up to the AirBnB listing. I felt like we were in a fairytale. The apartment was very small, but Cyrille has done an amazing job making perfect use of the space. He also included anything you could have ever wanted: a washing machine, umbrellas, plug adapters, shopping bags, a selfie stick, multiple guidebooks, a Nespresso, tissues, toiletries, a hair dryer, a curling iron, I could go on and on. Absolutely amazing. The décor was one of the main things that made me want to book this apartment, but the view took the cake. We had the perfect view from our (very narrow) balcony of all of the most iconic Parisian landmarks, including, of course, the Eiffel Tower. I wouldn’t hesitate to book this apartment again and again, although sadly (as of late) he doesn’t seem to have any upcoming dates available for the foreseeable future. For those curious, and wanting to keep an eye on it becoming available again here is the link to the AirBnB Listing.
The neighbourhood was wonderful too. We were in the 9th arrondissement and a stone’s throw away from the Moulin Rouge and Pigalle. Pigalle has a reputation for being a seedy and sketchy area of Paris. While we were only a few streets away from endless sex shops and cabarets, we absolutely loved the area we stayed in. There were several wonderful and delicious restaurants right below our apartment and on our street, and the atmosphere was so lively and social. We never felt unsafe near our apartment and absolutely relished hanging out on the terraces with the locals well into the night. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am obsessed with the Moulin Rouge, and after this trip I’ve now seen it 3 times. It was so fun to be only a two minute walk from one of my favourite places in the world.
We got settled into the apartment, unpacked a bit, changed, and made our way down to one of the awesome restaurants below our apartment. That night it was Le Mansart. We shared the most fantastic charcuterie platter I’ve ever had (so much meat and cheese that we couldn’t finish it) and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that came with fries and salad. After that we headed up the hill to Montmartre. We were only about a 15 minute walk to Sacre Coeur and one of the most breathtaking views of Paris you will see. We enjoyed the scenery and Alex took some pictures. We then wandered around the narrow streets of Montmartre listening to music, looking at art and browsing the souvenir shops. We also enjoyed some fantastic gelato. I’m always keen to try the many unique flavours of gelato in Europe and will not hesitate to have it more than once a day on vacation. We stayed until it got dark and then headed back to our apartment to settle in for the night.
We started our next day a little late and our first meal was lunch at Le Depanneur Pigalle. Cyrille left a guide of his favourite restaurants and said that this place had the best burger. He was totally right! I got a California style burger in Paris and I have no regrets. It was fantastic! Loads of fresh guacamole, bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions—superb! Alex got fish tacos and they were just as good. I totally recommend this place, and it was right outside of our apartment.
We then made our way to Place du Trocadero to get some shots of the Eiffel Tower. This was my third time in Paris, but I’d never seen it from this perspective. Definitely a great place to get some shots of the tower in all her glory—especially in the early morning (more on that later).
After that, we decided to take a cruise on the Seine. I did this with my family the first time I visited Paris and after enjoying our canal cruise so much in Amsterdam, we were keen to do something similar in Paris. We were able to take our own alcohol onboard again like in Amsterdam, SCORE! I love taking cruises because it allows you to see so many sites in a short amount of time, it’s relaxing, if you’re lucky you’re in the sunshine, you can drink, and it allows you to figure out what you want to see more of. I totally recommend doing something like this if you have the time. Plus, it somehow seems less kitschy to me than a double decker bus tour 😉
We spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening just wandering around Paris along the Seine. We were relaxed and it was beautiful.
SO we only realized after police and military became very curious as to what we were doing with this photo that MAYBE it wasn’t the best idea to do in the middle of Paris less than two weeks after the horrific attack in Nice…
For dinner that night we headed back to the Depanneur with plans to order the fish tacos. Alex ordered a pizza, and to start we got chips with salsa and guac. My fish tacos never came because the waiter didn’t hear me… I was actually full anyway, so no big deal, but dinner was an uneventful affair.
Well, I wrote that much on just a day and a half in Paris, so I think I will end there and try to contain the rest of our time in the city of love & lights to a less rambling post… Until next time!