Monday, May 13, 2013

All You Need in Life is Nutella Banana Crepes

So, you've seen our 3 quick, cold days in London.  Then we were off on the CHUNNEL to Paris!  I definitely definitely recommend taking the chunnel.  It was the same price as flying, but soooo much less hassle.  The train station is right in the city and easy to get to (unlike the airports), there's little waiting / lines / security, and it's just so freaking easy.  Paris was a bit warmer than London, in the 30's now instead of the 20's, which was a relief despite it still being so cold.

Paris' metro stations are a bit more difficult to navigate than the Tube, partially because they're in French but mostly just because there's SO many different lines and the coverage of the city is so thorough, but we were able to easily navigate ourselves to our new hotel.  We didn't waste any time and were IMMEDIATELY out sight-seeing that night!

So here they are, the top must-see's and do's of Paris. Especially if again, you only have 3 days.  And you may or may not be pregnant. 

1.  The Eiffel Tower.  DUH!  You ARE in Paris after all!  You must go during the Day AND Night.

2.  Arc de Triomphe.  Again, during the day AND at night.  You can climb to the top for a fee, but it was so smoggy and hazy while we were there that this seemed like a waste of money. 

3.  Walk down Champs-Elysses - shop if you like to shop (which I don't) - or just get a feel for the atmosphere and more great Arc de Triomphe pictures!

4.  Notre Dame Cathedral.  Just plain gorgeous and impressive, it's one of the most well-known churches in the WORLD, and construction on it started in 1163.  It's OLD people.  You MUST go inside - it's worth the line (which moves quickly) and is free.  We actually planned on climbing to the top of this (you have to pay a fee to do so) but the line was CRAZY LONG and moving incredibly slowly, so we missed out on seeing the hunchback and the famous gargoyles. 

5.  Climb Something.  You can climb seriously EVERYTHING in Paris.  The Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, etc.  Most everything you have to pay to climb though.  We chose Sacre Coeur Basilica.  An impressive structure already on a hill, it definitely has gorgeous views of the city, and at 6 Euros the cost is small.  It was pretty smoggy / hazy the entire time we were there or else I probably would have made us climb more buildings. 

At 25 weeks pregnant I huffed and puffed up all 340 steps to the top and it was well worth it!  Too bad it was so smoggy / cloudy every day that we were in Paris. 

6.  Eat Pastries.  Don't discriminate - you must try them all!  Croissants, baguettes, nutella banana crepes, oh my!  We had an amazing nutella-filled donut and another awesome donut with strawberry jam inside.  Pretty much just keep your eye out for the "Patisserie". 

7.  The Louvre.  Duh.  Even if you're not into art (which we really aren't) you still MUST go.  It's expensive but worth it.  It's also VERY busy, but worth it, even if just to ogle the crowds and how impressive the inside of the Louvre itself is. 

I'm classy.

The famous Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo

8.  Roland Garros.  But only if you're a tennis fan.  Originally this trip was supposed to coincide with one of the Grand Slams, since both JMan and I are tennis fans (we both played in college), but again, Rudiger made that impossible!  We intended to go to Wimbledon as well but that didn't end up happening in London so we knew we HAD to go see Roland Garros at least!

The interview room

Centre Court!  Did you know they replace the clay every year?

9.  Eat delicious food.  French food, unlike British food (sorry London), is delicious and amazing.  The first night we were there we made a HUGE mistake and walked around without dinner until nearly midnight and had to grab crappy sub-par pizza - wasting one of our few dinner opportunities.  The dinners we had were all STELLAR.  Like regular Joe food there compares to our fancy meals here. 

10.  Do a self-guided walking tour.  Paris is very compact and really easy to walk around and see most everything.  Well, by "easy" you'll need to expect to walk 4-8 miles a day!  There's tons to see but very helpful if you have a map and a plan of what streets to walk on, because it's not that intuitive even though everything is fairly close.

Here are just a few of the things we saw on our walking tour:

Again, I can't say enough how much more fun this trip would have been if a) I wasn't pregnant, and b) it was the summer.  Although I felt like we were able to see the city in 3 days, there was NO downtime and I found myself feeling quite tired by the end of the week after walking probably 5-8 miles every day of the trip, being out in the cold all day every day, etc. 

Further, obviously in France you're supposed to drink wine!  And eat soft cheeses!  And I couldn't do either.  It's also a bit difficult to find quick food in both London and Paris when you're pregnant - as they seem to very much like prepared sandwiches (with deli meat of course) rather than ready-to-order sandwiches (with chicken!) like we have here.  So that made finding food to eat difficult at times.  But really, who needs real food when you can just eat nutella banana crepes all the time anyway?!?!?!

Have you been to Paris?  Have anything to add to this list?