Will and I took a trip to visit family and friends in the Netherlands with stops in Paris, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Prague, and Germany. Like many people, I’ve wanted to go Paris ever since I was a little girl. I wanted my first trip there to be absolutely perfect.
It took me months to plan out Paris. Once I stepped into that city, I threw most of my meticulously crafted plan out the window. I knew if I were to focus on hitting up all the places on my list, I’d miss out on the things that make Paris so magical.
We stayed at incredibly hip Mama Shelter in the 20th arrondissement. Our room was a standard size, but we got upgraded with a balcony which was so lovely in the early morning light. The restaurant is also delicious and serves more modern fare with fresh hand tossed pizza and Asian infused dishes.
Yes, it is fairly far from the city center, but the bus is right in front of the hotel. It was easy to navigate and also very clean. Same goes for the metro station. Will and I had no problems navigating the train system. We agreed that the majority of our transportation will be walking…and we walked a lot. I think that might be the way to see the city in fact. I learned that it only takes two hours to go from the South end of the city to the North end on foot.
We also agreed that we still wanted to go to a few famous tourist spots like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, The Louvre, etc. with the caveat that we start our days very early when there’s little to no tourists everywhere.
I loved being at the Eiffel Tower when there wasn’t a lot of people around. We just hung out at the park and enjoyed each other’s company as the sun was rising. I think it’s best seen either early in the morning like we did or at night. We also went to the Louvre in the early afternoon. I’ll be honest and tell you that the Napoleon Courtyard where the famous glass pyramid is overwhelmed me.
Luckily, Angelina was close enough and we were able to rest our weary feat for a couple hours while drinking a chocolat chaud along with a Napoleon and their famous Mont Blanc; a simple pastry made of chestnut cream and meringue. It was new to me, but oh so comforting.
The walk to Shakespeare and Co. was perfect in that it was directly across from The Notre Dame. We were lucky to see it before the fire, and we sat in the park at The Notre Dame among the cherry blossom trees and just chatted about…everything (have you started seeing the pattern of us finding a park and hanging out there for awhile yet?)
One of the things that was a must do for me was to find a spot along the Seine River and have a little picnic at sunset. Luckily, the Il de la Cite is a beautiful spot to do just that. Before we walked over to the river from the Notre Dame, we turned a corner into a random street to find baguettes, meats, and cheese. This is where we found Le Louis IX, hot chocolate, and sweet Lulu.
Beyond the main tourist drags, most of our time was spent in Le Marais. I love that area so much. It was fun to wander and get lost in the tiny streets and spot all the nuances of each window, doorway, building, street art, etc.
We started our days with coffee for Will and matcha lattes with oat milk for me at Ob-La-Di Cafe. It’s a tiny but lovely spot with incredibly nice people working behind the counter. I’ve also heard their breakfast offerings are really good especially their yogurt. Pro-tip, Parisians love their yogurt in the morning. I had a fantastic one at The Broken Arm, while Will enjoyed their soft boiled egg, bread, and cheese.
I absolutely loved SLOW Galerie in Le Marais. They mainly focus on illustration and graphic design which all can be purchased. I felt like I was in a Wes Anderson movie, specifically The Royal Tenenbaums. The pieces were whimsical, irreverant, and filled with imagination. I could have spent all day admiring the art. In fact, they encourage you to move around slowly (hence the name).
So if you’ve been following Style Approximately for awhile, you would know that I love to shop. Surprisingly, I didn’t do much shopping for myself. I’d say the thing that I splurged on was a beautiful comb from L’officine Universelle Buly a Paris that I also had my initials engraved on. We also got one for my mother-in-law for her birthday. The shop is very beautiful with an apothecary aesthetic from the early 1900s.
One thing I did have my heart set on was to wander through all various vintage stores. Kiloshop is great for vintage shopping especially since you pay by weight for most items. The concept is really popular in Europe and I went to several across different countries. I also liked Bobby Depot Vente since they carry a lot of French brands like Sandro and Roseanna.
Merci is a must visit and would make for some lovely gifts to bring back home. Le Bon Marche is a very famous department store, and it was like stepping back into time where going to a store like this was an all day excursion browsing through all the beautiful items from food to books to clothing. I, of course, made a trip to the mothership aka Sezane. It’s a beautiful store, but it does get busy very quickly. It almost felt like a frenzy inside and it was hard to comfortably shop since I had items grabbed from my hands even if I made the slightest move in putting it back.
To be quite honest with you, it was genuinely hard for me to write this post as a guide because everyone experiences Paris differently, and I think that’s what makes this city spark. There’s always something different on every street, but the art, buildings, history remains. I really learned to let go and simply take in the city. I hope you can do the same as well.
To see more of our adventures through Paris, go ahead and click on the jump. I’ll be posting up our stay in Austria soon!