Our hometown of Russia (Roo-shee) and the neighboring town of Versailles (ver SALES) were settled by the French in Ohio. Therefore, we grew up with a strong connection to our French roots. Exploring the Parisian culture as sisters had always been a dream of ours – and boy, the “city of love” certainly did not disappoint!
Tour de Paris // Our Airbnb was on the north end of the city, between Gare du Nord and Montmartre. We fell in love with exploring this less-touristy area of the city and getting a true feel for how Parisians really do life. Since K had been here before, getting around was MUCH less confusing. We actually got asked for directions a few times by people speaking French, so we fulfilled our goal of not sticking out as tourists!
- Sacré Coeur – A hike up the stairs for a beautiful view of Paris on one side and the basilica on the other. Inside, we said some prayers and lit a candle for our family’s health and safety. Since this was near our Airbnb, we returned here with some wine to watch the sunset from the lawn out front. Lo fell down the hill when we left and gave some onlookers a good laugh!
- Montmartre – Pure charm. We did a free walking tour of this area of the city and loved learning more about its history before wandering through its cobblestone streets on our own. A break from the crowds of tourists, this quaint area has been home to artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh. Those living in Montmartre still get their groceries from the local shops on “the hill” – with stores specific to bread (boulangerie), cheese (fromagerie), meats (charcuterie), etc. Our foodie side geeked out over how fresh and locally sourced everything was.
- Les Mur des Je t’aime – “Wall of Love” in Montmartre; a mural with love written in many languages.
- Eiffel Tower – The best way to enjoy this remarkable tower is to picnic in front of it with a bottle of wine, chevre cheese, baguette, tomatoes, and berries all purchased from shops along a market street a few blocks away. Go see some more sights, then return for a sunset view of the tower with more wine. And a Nutella crepe. Pure joy.
- Champs Elysees & Arc de Triumph – Worth walking down this iconic street to see the Arch, but prepare yourself for loads of people! We don’t recommend eating along here nor buying souvenirs, as prices are heightened for all the tourists that stream to this central spot.
- Notre Dame – We went in the morning, and there was literally no line to enter [free admission]. A priest was hearing confession in an enclosed glass room [he spoke English, Spanish, French & Italian]! It was neat to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation in such a historical cathedral. We also lit a candle here for our family.
- Louvre – Took some necessary glass pyramid pictures. Didn’t have time to go inside since we were only in Paris for 2 days. [Note – K recommends Musée d’Orsay over the Louvre if you want to do an art museum and are pressed for time in Paris!]
- Jardin des Tuileries – Beautiful manicured garden just west of the Louvre. Lo saw it as a perfect place to nap!
- The Seine – Walked along the iconic river as we strolled from one area of the city to another.
- Jardin du Luxembourg – Near the Pantheon, this garden offers another oasis to relax and take a break from walking around the city. We got macaroons aferwards.
Manger à Paris // We are seriously in love with the French food scene. Check out our delectable food & wine recommendations below:
- La Maisson Bleu – Darling spot for some petit dejeuner after our flight in from Barcelona! Fresh OJ, café con lait, yogurt & house-made granola did not disappoint.
- Chez Francis – So we didn’t actually eat here, but we had to swing by for a picture at our family namesake! K stumbled across it the last time she was in Paris and took a picture in the same spot. Came to find out our Aunt and Uncle ate dinner here a few years back!
- Marcelle – Adorable spot for breakfast or lunch. Egg in a hole w/freshly baked bread topped w/ avo & pared carrot for K; granola w/dried coconut & bananas w/housemade almond milk for Lo. Café con lait for each of us, as well as some fresh OJ!
- Berthillon – Near Notre Dame, this ice cream shop offered a cold treat that was a savior on our hot day of adventuring!
- Cellars du Pantheon – Listed by Food&Wine magazine as one of the 10 best wine stores in the world! The rating proved to be correct, as it was a wine lover’s dream. It’s known for its selection of organic wines from smaller French wineries, with surprisingly affordable prices. We bought a bottle to enjoy while watching the sunset from the steps of Sacre Coeur later that evening.
- Chez Marie – We saw this restaurant in a painting while browsing artwork to bring home; it stood out to us because K’s middle name is Marie! While wandering through Montmartre to find a spot to eat dinner that same evening, we came across the exact restaurant we had viewed on canvas earlier in the day! We took this as a sign to eat dinner there, and enjoyed a traditional French dinner with the ‘menu du jour’. Lo tried escargot and cassis for the first time – some must-haves of traditional French cuisine. Locals were playing tunes on the stairwell directly across from the restaurant, which provided a great ambiance for our dinner.
- Nightlife in Montmartre: We loved walking through the streets on Montmartre after dinner. The locals were hanging out on the streets/staircases and drink wine & eat local food. Local musicians were be playing on many of the streets. Pure charm everywhere!
- Le Grenier à Pain – Awarded “Best Baguette in Paris”, this boulangerie had us drooling. We bought a baguette, pain au chocolat, and pain au chèvre et figues. All delish. & don’t forget all that fruit from the markets!
Au bientot, Paris! We adore you and cannot wait to return with our men someday in the future 🙂
until the next adventure.
K & Lo