A Quick Guide for First Time Travelers
Mother-Daughter Weekend Getaway!
Gift giving/receiving is my top Love Language. It’s the effort behind the gift that means a lot to me, and I am known to gift experiences, rather than physical objects and things.
My mom hadn’t been to Europe yet, and she’s a fun time, so for Mother’s Day last year I gifted her with a long weekend in Paris!
Paris is so cheap to get to these days, it cost a little over $600 for our flights and hotel each. We stayed at the Mercure Paris Saint-Ouen. I’m usually impressed with Mercure hotels, so this was an easy choice. For those that love taking public transportation when they travel such as myself, this is a great option as it is a five minute walk to the metro. The staff were pleasant and the rooms were clean and of a decent size.
As I discussed in a previous post, with my shorter trips, I have to be strategic. For these reasons, I polled my friends that had been to Paris for their suggestions and created a detailed itinerary.
We arrived in Paris around noon, and you guessed it–I was exhausted. We got to the hotel to freshen up, and grabbed a quick lunch across from the hotel. It wasn’t memorable or worth sharing, but it was edible! After that we took a nap and headed to one of my favorite parts of the trip; a Bistro-Style Seine River Dinner Cruise, that allowed us to see Paris at night!
For 75 minutes we got to see Paris illuminated on the waterfront and rode past the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower while enjoying a 3-course dinner and wine.
You all know I love a photoshoot while on vacation, so of course I had to book one with mom! We trekked all over central Paris for two hours, and got to see it from a local’s perspective. We booked the photoshoot through Viator. Here are some of my favorite flicks!
During the evening, we did a 2 hour champagne tasting. It was a nice pre-dinner aperitif, but I’d recommend getting a recommendation for drinks from a local. This was overpriced and not very interactive.
Day 3 & 4
For the first time, I purchased tickets for a Hop on Hop Off Tour and I’m glad we did. This made sightseeing easy and gave us time to rest our achy feet. We purchased a 2 day pass and were able to see sights like the Moulin Rouge cabaret club, the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower with commentary.
We were lucky enough to be in Paris on a Sunday when Louvre admission was free, so we hopped off the bus at this stop to see what the museum’s hype was about.
Let me begin with this, I am not a museum person. So while it is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, I could’ve done without it.
The Mona Lisa picture was quite chaotic. I couldn’t believe the amount of security and massive crowd surrounded by this 5X7 picture! You can try to get up close and personal if you like, but the staff will block you!
Again, I am not a museum person, but I went to the Louvre because I feel like it’s a Paris “must-do” item, and I suggest you go too!
Other than seeing the sites and enjoying meals, here are my personal suggestions for your time in Paris:
Know Before You Go:
- You must see Paris at night! The landmarks are illuminated and everything looks so different. It’s beautiful!
- See the Eiffel Tower (duh). What’s a trip to Paris without a selfie with the iconic landmark?
- Pastries, pastries, pastries! Iceland is where I fell in love with Europe and their bakery culture, but in Paris I was a eclair, macaron & pastry eating fool!
- Bring comfortable shoes. I can’t say this enough: BRING YOUR BEST SNEAKERS! Again, the metro is the easiest way to travel throughout the city but you will do lots of walking! Be prepared and practical.
Restaurant Recommendations…Bon Appétit!
- Le Compas. I loved this place immediately, beginning with the cool neighborhood it’s located in! It’s perfect for people watching and the food is fantastic! The best thing I had here was the creme Brulee. The desserts were delectable!
P.S. The other young lady in the photo is my lovely nail tech; Lena. Lena has been doing my nails for over six years, I’ve been going to her shop since my last year of high school. She had never been to Europe and asked if she could join my mom and I in Paris and of course I said yes! Yes, I make friends with everyone…#HeyLenaGirl
- Les Routiers. This restaurant was highly recommended by a local. The food is traditional and the service was superb. I had fish and chips and was not disappointed.
- Au Pied de Cochon. Get the French Onion Soup!
Have you been to Paris? What was your favorite part? Let’s chat!