10/12/16

Paris And London Holiday!

 
Hey guys!  I just recently got back from a vacation to Paris and London, and I couldn't wait to get home and share some of the things we did with you.  This was actually a girls trip to Europe, my beautiful friend Leslie joined me and we had such a great time!  I love to share things I enjoy on all my adventures in the hopes that it gives some of you ideas on what to do if you should travel to those areas.    There is so much to see and do in both Paris and London, so we filled our schedule about as full as we could get it.




We actually flew all night and arrived in Paris at 8:30am.  Thankfully we were able to rest quite a bit after we were served dinner on the plane.

 

 



My first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower from our shuttle to the hotel.  I was squealing with excitement!



We stayed at the Mercure Paris Centre Eiffel Tower Hotel.  There are several Mercure hotels in Paris, but ours was the one located LITERALLY next door to the Eiffel Tower.  As with most Parisian hotels, the room was on the small side.  But, we did have our own private bathroom and it was so, so pretty!  The hotel is super modern and clean and we absolutely loved our stay there.

 

This was taken in the parking lot of our hotel.  The Eiffel Tower is RIGHT there!



There's a little cafe right up from the Eiffel Tower and our hotel called Cafe Beaujolais, and they have what we both agreed was the BEST French Onion soup that we tried while in Paris.  And, we tried PLENTY.  It was literal perfection!

While we were there we also split a Croque Monsieur which is basically the French version of a grilled cheese (but it also has ham). It was good, but the soup was definitely our favorite thing we got there.



For dessert we also split a Caramel Crepe.  This one was very tasty!  I also really love a Sucre Crepe (sugar).




Our first day in Paris we did a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower.  How gorgeous is this photo?!?!?!?!?!  Hard to believe this was snapped with my iPhone, the view is just stunning!

 



Leslie under the tower <3


We went to the first and second floor observation decks on our guided tour, then we bought the tickets to go all the way up the tower as well.  It's only 6 euros to go up the entire tower, and I highly recommend doing so if you ever go to visit.



Absolutely gorgeous views of Paris from the observation deck!



Seine River

 



I bought me and Leslie these funny little wool berets as souvenirs.
When in Paris, one MUST sport a beret, right??


Dress:  Adrianna Papell
Cardigan:  J Crew
Booties:  Vince Camuto

 

We got all dressed up for dinner to one of my favorite places we visited in Paris, Le Grand Colbert.  You may remember hearing about this restaurant before if you watched Something's Gotta Give staring Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Keanu Reeves.



I am such a big Diane Keaton fan, I knew whenever I made it to Paris I HAD to go to this restaurant. And I have to say, I am SO glad we did!  Everything about our experience there was so lovely!

 

 

 

The atmosphere at the restaurant is just beautiful, the workers are so friendly and eager to help, and the food is just yummy.  You can't ask for a better Parisian dinner experience.

 

We had veal and lamb with rice and mushrooms with cheesy potatoes for our main courses.  So tasty!

 

Let it be said now - guys, our favorite thing that we ate while in Paris  the WHOLE entire vacation was probably the French Toast with ice cream from Le Grand Colbert.  This stuff is HEAVENLY.  Words can't even describe how delicious!!!!  If you go please, please promise me you will try this!!!!



Another activity I highly recommend doing is a river cruise down the Seine.  So many beautiful sites of Paris!



One of my favorite things to see on the cruise was the Pont Alexandre III bridge.  So beautiful!



Cruising under the bridge <3

 

 

 

 


*bisous



No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre.



And while I am not a huge art fan, I do love seeing famous works of art.  I have seen Michelangelo's Pieta as well as his famous sculpture of David, and several other really well known pieces.  I was so excited to see Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
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Another really famous piece of art housed in the Louvre is the Winged Victory of Samothrace.  So beautiful.
 
 
I wore my granny's Mona Lisa pin to visit the Mona Lisa <3
 
Just so you know, the Louvre has some delicious macarons and croissants!  YUM.
 
Another really neat thing to visit in Paris are the Catacombs.  The Catacombs are an underground cemetery that holds the remains of over 6 million people.  Back in the 1700's Paris faced 2 dilemmas - a series of cave-ins and overflowing cemeteries.  So, to remedy both problems they filled the tunnels with the skeletal remains.  It has been called The World's Largest Grave due to the number of so many people being buried there.  Kind of neat.
 
 
My personal favorite thing we did in Paris was visit this TINY restaurant called Le Petite Rose des Sables.  People.....if you ever go to Paris, YOU HAVE TO GO HERE!
 
The restaurant is owned and operated by a husband and wife, Christian and Suzanne.  They are absolutely delightful.  So incredibly warm and welcoming, eating here is like eating dinner with your family at your grandmother's house.  Without a doubt the absolute PERFECT Parisian dining experience.
 
The restaurant itself is super small, they only have about 4 or 5 tables.  But, that's what makes this place so great.  It's incredibly intimate and it feels like FAMILY.
 
To start we were first served pistachios, olives, wine and bread.  I am not a drinker myself, but the wine here was actually really tasty.  For a main course I got the Coq au Vin and Leslie got the Beef Bourguignon.  Both came with salad and potatoes and it was just delicious!
 
For dessert we both got the Creme Brûlée and oh my Lord.  This was definitely my favorite part of the meal.  SO GOOOOOOOD!!!  And do you see how they decorated the plate?  The little pastries in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and hearts with the flag?  Beyond adorable!  As we were eating Suzanne came around and continued drawing on our plates.  She kissed our faces and drew hearts while telling us Love Paris, Love Paris, Love Paris <3
 
The Zou Zou's (that is their last name) give gifts to every guest they have at their restaurant.  Suzanne literally walks around finding stuff to send home with you.  Handfuls of candy, paper cups with the Eiffel Tower on them, whatever.  She actually gifted me and Leslie each with a scarf, and then Christian came out of the kitchen and gifted us each with a Paris charm bracelet.  And even though neither of them speak English, we were able to communicate perfectly.  She walked us outside and took funny pictures with us, posing with balloons and whatever else she could find, lol.  She kept motioning for us to hold our purses close to our bodies and to be safe, be safe, be safe.  I absolutely adore her.  You know you've met somebody special when you can't even speak the same language, but you connect with them in such a way you know you'll never forget them.  I will never forget <333
 
The Eurostar is a high-powered train that runs to several different countries.  We took a ride to London for a day trip.  The ride from Paris to London is less than 2 hours, and we paid about $49 each way (we booked about 6 weeks in advance).
 
 
 
Once we arrived in London, the first thing we did was hop on a bus for a tour.  The one we chose was the London Duck Tour, which was so neat.  You ride on these vehicles that were used in the second World War, that not only drive on land but also work as a boat on the water as well!  They drove us around and showed us all the major landmarks in Central London, and then we took a spin down the Thames as well!
 
Big Ben and Parliament
 
 
 
Westminster Abbey
 
 
On the River Thames
 
(picture courtesy of Google)

One thing that was SUPER important to me to do while in London was have some fish and chips (chips being fries here in the States).  We found this tiny little hole in the wall place in Trafalgar Square in Westminster.  
This.  Was.  So.  Good.
 
The piece of fish they serve you is GINORMOUS.  And, me and Leslie both agreed that the batter was the best tasting batter we had both ever had.  They fry your fish fresh right when you order.  I swear, absolute perfection.  PERFECTION.  (And I don't really even care for fish).
 
Another big to-do on our list was to go to the infamous Harrod's department store for some afternoon tea in their Tea Room.
 
We ordered the Chelsea which came with tea and warm scones with clotted cream and jam.
They have several teas you can choose from (black tea, english breakfast tea, etc.), but their 1849 tea is only available at Harrod's so that is the one we opted for.  It was SO good!  The scones and clotted cream were beyond divine.  If you are looking for a classy, high-end, classic London tea experience, then you HAVE to go to the Tea Room at Harrod's.
 
And, of course, Buckingham Palace <3
 
 
 
<333
 
Then, it was back to Paree!
 
 
The Paris equivalent of the fancy, upscale Tea Room experience in London has to be Laduree.  Located on the Champs-Elysees, this place is heavenly.
 
 
If you are there at the right time you HAVE to get their Brunch which (I think) is only served Sat/Sun from 11-3?  I am not 100% sure.  But, oh my goodness!  This place is divine!  The food, the ambience, the scenery, everything is so perfect down to the tiniest detail!
  
The brunch is a large meal - scones, bread, butter, jam, macarons, yogurt, granola, eggs, french toast, assorted cheeses, fruit salad, fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, and more.
 
 
 
You get a ton of tasty food so it is definitely worth the 49 euros.  Such a perfect Parisian experience!!!
 
Even their bathrooms are fancy!
 
There are so many shops all along the Champs-Elysées, and I highly recommend giving yourself a couple of hours to browse and shop.  We found some wonderful souvenirs in lots of the stores here!
 
Along your stroll up the Champs-Elysées you will find the Arc de Triomphe.  The monument honors those who fought and died for France in both the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  Beneath it's vault is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
 
 
 
Notre Dame
 
La Basilique du Sacre Couer de Montmartre 
 
I love visiting cathedrals (as if you couldn't tell)!!!
 
The Sacre Couer means The Sacred Heart, as in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.  It sets up on the hill at Montmartre and is absolutely stunning to view.  Definitely a must see in Paris!  There are SO many little souvenir shops on your walk up to the church as well.  We bought a ton of stuff there at Walid Souvenirs. 
 
 
 
This American in Paris was craving her a hamburger by my last night in town, lol.  While not as yummy as American burgers, it definitely hit the spot and calmed my cravings!
 
Thank you so much for stopping by today and sharing along in all the fun we had!  Keep an eye out for a video coming soon all about our trip.  I can't recommend Paris and London to you enough, it was absolutely magical.  Definitely recommend going at least once in your life!
Bisous.

Erica

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this blog. You did a fantastic job of capturing the highlights of your trip. I want to go to Paris and do everything you did. My favorite story was your visit to the small restaurant owned by the old couple who loved you like family. It made me tear up. How wonderful to have a feeling of being at home when you are so far from it. I am one of Leslie's friends and hope to meet you soon!

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