Over Christmas my girlfriend Christine and I spend 3 very magical days in Paris. What a vibrant and amazing city. It was a great experience and a Christmas to remember! We decided not to plan too much of our trip to Paris ahead of time, until the night before. We googled things to do, outside of the obvious, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, etc. We also are traveling on a budget, so we try to find things we can do for cheap or free. It is also a lot of fun to read blogs, and travel guides to get insider tips etc. For those who are planning a trip, make sure to allow time for things to not go as planned, and take it with a smile and not get upset. My Grandma Griggs once taught me that it is okay to get lost, that is where memories are made! We used to get in the car and drive and take turns telling her what direction to go next and just get lost. This is a great lesson when traveling; Allow yourself to get lost while traveling, you might just find some of the coolest places, and make the best memories by getting lost.
We had a blast taking in the Eiffel Tower, walking the streets of Montmartre, and exploring Christmas Markets. Below is our adventure!
Paris was simply amazing, it was a wonderful, magical, and beautiful city. We absolutely enjoyed our 3 days in Paris and want to go back!
Our journey started on the morning of December 23rd, a date never to forget as it is Christine’s birthday. We got up at 6 am that morning to make our journey from the hotel in Munich, to catch a train to the airport and on our flight shortly after 8 am. We landed in Paris around 11 am and jumped on the AirFrance bus that shuttles you into Paris. That was a long bus ride as we were ready to be there and tired from an early morning of travel, finally around 1:30 pm we arrived to our AirBnB in Paris with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tour out front of the building! We spent our first afternoon in Paris by stopping into a restaurant called Carmine and had a great burger for lunch and shared a bottle of delicious French wine in celebration of Christine’s birthday. We then made our way to the Eiffel Tower and wandered through a Christmas Market. As the sun started to set the Eiffel Tower was lit up and man, it was GORGEOUS! It was a great way to spend the afternoon/evening in such a beautiful city.
The next day we got up and grabbed a delicious Starbuck’s and headed on our journey to Montmartre famous as a “village of sin” from the movie ‘Moulin Rouge’ and is known as the Red Light District and the village of the artists. This is a beautiful part of the city across the river and is set up on hill. We started by wandering up the hill to the Basilique Du Sacre-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). Cool story about this Church that we learned from my sister-in-law Kelly is that there are bullet holes in the side of the church. During one of the wars, this part of France was heavily bombed and much of the area was destroyed, except this church, which is why it is known as the Sacred Heart. We climbed up the 300 steps to the top of the dome to see beautiful views of the city as the sun started to come out. It was an awesome church and started our day off right. The night before I read a travel guide of Montmartre because I am a fan of Moulin Rouge and wanted to experience that part of the city, the guide goes on to explain how many tourist take the main road up, walk the stairs, tour the church, get pestered by artist sketching them, and come back down the way they came, “wondering what all the fuss was about”. The guide insisted that we get lost down the side streets and wander around as many famous artist once lived and were inspired in these streets. We started our trip down to find Picasso’s studio, there was only one other tourist that stumbled upon this cool piece of history and we took a picture for her, then Christine rubbed the door knob for some creativity from the great artist! From there, we travelled down Rue Lepic the major street of Montmartre that leads from the top of the hill to the river and stopped by Van Gogh’s apartment where he lived for 2 years. Again we took a few pictures and Christine rubbed the door handle for some inspiration and creativity. This was a very cool part of the trip for both of us as it was such a beautiful village and is not very travelled to by tourist as they all flock to the Louvre, Notre Damn Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower. For her as an artist and a designer this was such an awesome experience and I could tell her creativity and spirit was buzzing from the energy there.
We walked down to the bottom of the hill as it started to rain and we were hungry and craving a beer so we looked around at a couple places and decided to back track to a pub that Christine had pointed out called Pub Montmartre. We were just attracted to it for some reason and as soon as we walked in we knew we made the right decision! When we walked in everyone was standing around drinking wine and everyone was speaking French, which when you are traveling is what we always look for because you know that it is not a tourist trap and bound to be good food! The owner of the bar was working, he spoke very good English and took care of us. Christine had a great bowl of soup while I had the best bacon cheeseburger I have had abroad! As we were about to leave we notice a movie poster on the wall, “The Bridges of Madison County”, everywhere we go somehow we end up with some reference back to Iowa! It is crazy. After that we finally made it to Moulin Rouge! The area there is full of bars, pubs, hotels, sex shops, and other tourist shops and food joints. It was really cool to see this iconic landmark and added to my bucket list; see a show at the Moulin Rouge.
That afternoon did not turn out as planned as were trying to make our way to the Arc of Triumph and ended up across town at the newly built Great Arch. We decided that since we wanted to go to Notre Damn and check out the Church of Saint Chapelle, we went home to change and made our way to the other side of town. Once we got to St. Chapelle we realized that visits were now closed for the 5:30 mass. Christine was really disappointed because this church is one she studied about in school and she has always wanted to see. We headed over to Cathedral De Notre Dame- Paris which was full of armed guards, tourists, and church goers. We got in cue and made our way into the Cathedral to take our places for Christmas Eve Mass. This was such a wonderful experience and was really cool to attend mass in such a beautiful and iconic Cathedral. It was a great way to end the day, on our way home we walked over the Pont de L’Archeveche which is the bridge with all the locks where we saw a couple that had just gotten engaged. We made our way home trying to find a place to eat dinner on Christmas Eve, which is hard to do. We stopped into a restaurant and sat down, we both had a feeling about this place but it was the only lit up shop on the street so we went in anyway. Once we sat down we saw that Christmas dinner was 75 Euro, and most of it was fish (Christine is not a fan) so we embarrassingly got up and left and headed towards McDonald’s as I was getting hangry (hungry angry) at this point and just wanted something easy and cheap. As we got to McDonald’s I saw off to our right a sandwich shop with the cook sitting out front smoking a cigarette, so we changed course and had a very good and cheap meal of a cheeseburger and doner kebab for dinner.
On Christmas day we got up and headed up to the Sommet of the Eiffel Tour. It was beautiful to see the city from the top. It is such a cool experience, minus that there are SO many people that bug you trying to sell you everything from sketches and selfie sticks, to laser pointers and Eiffel Tower replicas. We then walked to check out the pyramid at the Louvre and walked down Avenue Montaigne which was a beautiful street full of 5 star hotels and all the top designer stores, Gucci, Versace, Armani, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and others. It was a really cool street similar to Montenapoleone in Milan. From there we wandered through their HUGH Christmas market on Avenue Des Champs Elysees and enjoyed some street food and finally making it to check out the Louvre which was pretty cool. By this time after 6 days of exploring 2 amazing and beautiful cities we were exhausted, we headed back to pack up, take a small nap, and head to the airport back to Milan.
When we finally got back to Milan we were exhausted and thankful that for the first time in over a week, we did not have to wake up to any plans, or an alarm..!
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, or as the French Joyeux Noel! I hope you have a Wonderful and Happy New Years! May 2016 bring you a year of blessings, joys, accomplishments, and happiness!