What can I say, Paris is perfect.
Walking through Paris, past the sidewalk cafes and pastry shops and fruit markets, I felt like I was walking in a movie, in that perfectly imperfect kind of way (funny, because one shopkeeper we spoke to said he feels the same way about New York).
It’s like the whole city was built as a giant movie set, every building painted the same perfect shade of Paris gray.
We’d heard April in Paris can be cold and rainy, but we couldn’t have asked for better weather. I don’t think we saw a single drop of rain the entire 5 days we were there, which, browsing through the thousands of rainy-Paris pictures from the past few weeks, seems like a miracle.
We spent our 5 days in Paris meandering the streets, chasing sunsets, flitting from one delicious location to the next (indeed, we let our stomachs guide us). We didn’t over-schedule, but rather had a general idea of what neighborhood we’d be exploring on any given day, limiting the ‘big’ attractions to no more than one per day (and buying advance tickets whenever possible to avoid lines). I bookmarked hundreds of bakeries and restaurants, my Paris map full of little gold stars, in hopes that wherever we happened to be when we got hungry, there’d be a worthwhile food spot nearby. While I barely made a dent in my list of places to try (5 months in Paris would hardly have been enough, let alone 5 days) I feel the strategy worked well as we were never hungry and rarely disappointed in our choices.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so in lieu of a hundred thousand words, I’m simply sharing an absurd number of pictures. Considering I took literally thousands of photos, culling them down to this number was no easy task.
I’ve got another Paris post in the works as well. While you could say this one covers the sights, the next will touch on all the delicious food we ate during our trip (and I’ll give you a breakdown with links/maps to the places I loved most). This post is long enough as is, I figured fitting it all into a single post would be utterly ridiculous. Stay tuned!
(Select photos now available as prints in my Society6 shop… and if there’s an image—in this or any post—that you’d like see as a print, please let me know!)
I’m sure this isn’t an oft-seen scene in Paris: the empty queue for the Tour Eiffel summit elevator. If you are planning to visit Paris, I highly recommend staying up late exactly 3 months before your desired visit and catch the advance tickets when they go on sale at 8am Paris time (I’m referring to the official tickets, not 3rd party ‘skip the line’ tours; they should only cost you 15.5€). It’s almost as bad as getting Beiber concert tickets (not that I’d know from personal experience or anything). Taylor just happens to be a ticket ninja, and we snagged two advance tickets for 9:30am right when the tower opens (at which time the regular line for buying tickets was probably a 2 hour wait already – no thank you). We were pretty proud of the fact that we were literally the first two people to the top of the tower that day, able to absorb the peace and perfection of the stunning city views without being crowded by other tourists or pickpockets.
(I’m just getting started… click through to see even more!)
(This is the line for what might be the best falafel I’ve ever had. We don’t wait in line for museums or landmarks, but we WILL wait in line for good falafel. Go figure.)
A sunset climb up the infinite spiral stairs inside the Arc de Triomphe was killer on the calves, but made for some amazing sunset views of the city and our first glimpse of the Eiffel tower’s nightly sparkle.
While we couldn’t not see the iconic glass pyramid (from all angles, mind you) we didn’t actually make it inside the Louvre. I know, there are some who say you can’t possibly visit Paris without seeing Ms. Mona. But after mulling it over and considering just how precious and limited our time there was, we decided that we’d rather spend the better part of a day exploring the side-streets of the Latin quarter than wandering around a gigantic museum filled with art that didn’t really interest us. We did, however, take the time to visit the Musée d’Orsay, the smaller size and impressionist collection being more our style.
Traveling shouldn’t be about expectations, what you’re supposed to see or do when you visit a new place; rather, it should be about what truly brings you joy. And if that includes Greek and medieval art, then by all means, get lost in the hallways of Paris’ most famous museum. But if not, you shouldn’t feel guilty about choosing to spend your time elsewhere.
Part way through our visit I just so happened to stumble upon an Instagram from fellow food blogger Stephanie, who was in Paris for a work conference. We’d only met once, ever so briefly, in Atlanta nearly 5 years ago, but that didn’t stop us from meeting up the following day for lunch and an afternoon of epicurean exploration, chasing the golden light of the evening through the Tuileries gardens and along the river to the Eiffel tower.
Big city, small world.
The unexpected company was a true delight. Exploring a new city with a like-minded individual, someone who can appreciate food and light and miniature tart pans in ways that a non-food blogger/photographer simply can’t grasp, allowed me to see Paris without the veil of self-consciousness I had been carrying. No longer was it about trying to fit in, to look, speak, and act like a Parisian so you don’t stand out as a tourist. I loved wandering the streets with camera in hand, knowing that I wasn’t the only crazy standing on a park bench photographing eclairs, or taking a ridiculous amount of pictures of practically the same thing, simply hoping to catch the perfect Eiffel tower glitter.
We rented an adorable AirBnB in the 2nd arrondisment, just off of Rue Montorgrueil. We didn’t quite realize when we booked it just how perfect the location would be: Rue Montorgrueil is perhaps the ‘foodiest’ street in Paris, with at least three fromageries, boulangeries, and a half a dozen sweets and pastry shops within a five-block stretch, not to mention perfectly French sidewalk cafes on every corner. We could easily assemble an entire meal of bread, cheese, meat, wine, fruit, and sweets, all within a few blocks of our apartment.
I felt like the apartment gave us a much more authentic experience, being able to walk to the market and come back with bread and cheese and wine for dinner, not having to rely solely on restaurants to feed our stomachs and our souls. While we might be just a bit hypocritical (we’re adamantly opposed to AirBnB in our own condo complex in Nashville), we adore it when traveling. Not only is it cheaper than a mediocre hotel, I believe it is the key to authentically experiencing a city.
Paris is a city of light, of sights and sounds and shadows, but most of all, it’s a city of food. Produce and pastry and bread and cheese, restaurants and cafes and hole in the wall spots. To say we indulged ourselves would be an understatement. I couldn’t possibly fit it all in a single post, so stay tuned for our epic Paris eats post coming up soon!
All the images in this post were taken either with the Sony a6000 (which we rented specifically for our trip). It’s a nice compact option and while it can’t compare to my dSLR, it produces very nice images overall, for a compact mirrorless camera we were quite impressed.
Anti-disclaimer: this trip was sponsored by no one but ourselves, by five years of saving our pennies and hoarding credit card miles, of planning and dreaming and finally making it happen. Disclaimers seem to get hidden and glossed over these days and I just feel like it needs to be clearer what’s been paid for and what’s been given to us. This post does contain an affiliate link as well as links to purchase prints of select images, of which I do receive a cut, and I promise to always be up front when that is the case. So there you have it.
Select prints now available in my Society6 shop:
(I am happy to add others at your request!)
Oh my goodness, what beautiful photos! I especially like that soft photo of the lights on the Eiffel Tower – I think you shared it on Instagram maybe? Anyway, I love all of this and I am so mega impressed that you manage to take such lovely photos of your travels.
Also…. Skipping the Lourve was a good idea. To this day, I regret (and this is gonna sound so FWP) letting my friends drag me in there. It was not my thing at all! I appreciate that you made such awesome use of your time – THAT’S the way to travel!
The photos are gorgeous, but so is staying in a cozy apartment with so many culinary treats in walking distance! That, I think, is the real flavor of Paris! I haven’t really looked much into Airbnb, but I’m seeing so many fun things available now – this apartment, tree houses, castles, and more! Time to start treating it as a serious option!
Paris is so beautiful
You beat me to posting! I loooove seeing your view of the City: so much gorgeousness here. It’s wonderful that three people can go see the sights at the same time together but come out with different outcomes based on how our minds process the images and environment around us. :D Can’t wait to see your take on the food!
OH my goodness! ALL of your pictures are STUNNING! I am so excited to have found your blog! Keep up the great work.
I want to go to Europe so badly, but for now your pictures will have to do :) Happy Friday!
Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve been to Paris myself but couldn’t seem to catch those special moments as you did!
Glad you liked your trip- come back soon :)
Can't wait to hear about all of the restaurants and pâtisseries you visited!
I love this post and your lovely pictures! I just returned from Italy and fell in love with the country, the history, the people, the architecture & the amazing food. Seeing your post makes me want to travel to Paris now. Can’t wait to read your Paris eats post!
These photos are spectacular Lindsay! Oh man do I miss Paris, even more so after this post. And I love what that Paris man said about New York, hehehe ;)
Perfect post! Paris and New York are two of the cities that I just feel so comfortable in and think are perfect cities. Seeing these pics makes me want to run back to Paris right now!! Can’t wait for your foodie post!
These photos are amazing! I went to Paris recently and none of my photos look half as good. You’re post makes me really miss Paris and I’m showing this to my friend who keeps saying he doesn’t want to visit Paris because he heard it’s dirty.
Where’s that falafel place? My wife and I are headed to Paris next week and we have to try it!
It’s called L’As Du Fallafel in le Marais. We went on a Sunday afternoon and the line was crazy long, but it moves quickly!
This post just got me so excited for my trip to Europe in a few weeks! We are going to Eastern Europe but are flying back through Paris and are going to spend a few days there! So excited to stuff my face with yummy food!! Your pictures are gorgeous!
Oh my goodness, Lindsay. I love this post so, so much. I usually read the oldest posts in my feed first, but when I saw this new one I immediately skipped straight to it. Your photos are stunning, and now I’m missing Paris more than ever. Two months until my big move… I don’t think I can wait. xx
Say what?! You’re moving to Paris??? How did I miss that? Such an amazing city. Enjoy and good luck with the move!
These pictures are just stunning! I haven’t been to Paris in 15 years (can’t believe it’s been that long!!) and these photos remind me of the wonderful time I spent there and how much I need to go back. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful adventure.
We spent three days in Paris in May and also skipped the Louvre — we stayed on the Rue Cler and absolutely loved every minute — cannot wait to return! Your pictures captured the essence of Paris.
If we had a week or two, that might have been different. But our time was so precious and limited, it only made sense to make the most of it. :)
Your pictures are stunning, got a lot of wanderlust for heading to Paris now!
Haha, no matter what country you’re in, cats love boxes! Love all your gorgeous pictures. Keep them coming :)
Have you seen this?
Box love is universal. :)