Paris….oooo la la…Paris! Last week I jetted off to Paris for a couple reasons. 1. Why not? 2. I decided on a whim two years ago I would move to Paris and learn french for a year. I realized I should probably go visit before moving just to make sure I like it. I was slightly nervous on the plane— would I like it? Love it? Hate it? It is safe to say that I LOVE IT. I felt the exact same way I did when I visited NYC for the first time when I was 14, an instant recognizing that I needed to live ASAP. Whew!
I had only four days in Paris so I wanted to see as much as I could, but also just enjoy it. I did some sight seeing, but I let myself do my favorite thing which is to just wander. For example, I only went to two museums, but Paris itself is a museum. The architecture is out of the world! You’re walking around a corner and BAM! another insanely beautiful building with a ton of history. My mind was blown the entire four days. Also, I know it’s cheesy, but seeing the Eiffel tower was such a dream come true. One of my favorite moments was laying in the Champs de mars on the grass, eating the most insane vegan/gf pastry and staring at the Eiffel tower. I could totally get used to doing that all the time.
I wanted to share my highlights of what I saw/did and ate, if you would like to hear!
I only went to two, but I am really happy with the ones I chose. My first stop was at the Picasso museum. I was completely blown away with Picasso’s talent. I had seen his well known cubism paintings, but had no idea he was prolific in other mediums as well. By far my favorite medium of his were all his sculptures. In some of them he used found objects and created them into curious creatures— like using an old toy car as the head of a monkey. When I was there I also loved seeing 4-5 year olds on a school trip. One teacher had three kids each and they would sit in front of paintings and the teacher would ask them what they saw, how they felt, etc. What a wonderful way to bring culture to a young child’s life!
On my last day, I wanted to go to one last museum and got a recommendation for one off the beaten path so I went. It was actually the very last thing I did in Paris! Musee Rodin is a museum set in an old home of sculptor Auguste Rodin and showcases his various sculptures on the grounds and throughout the gorgeous house. It’s a truly exquisite place to visit when the weather is nice (which it was for me) and I loved being able to enjoy the outdoors while also getting to enjoy art.
I was told to not miss Sacre-Couer Basilica and I am so glad I did not. It sits high on a hill and you can see it from any vantage point in the city. It is by far the most impressive and beautiful church I have ever seen— full of incredible stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings and insane detailing inside and out.
I already mentioned the Eiffle tower, but I decided not to go to the top of Eiffle and instead went to the Arc de Triumph and went to it’s look out instead. I think it’s an extraordinary view, less crowded and just as cool as the look out in the Eiffle. For me, it feels like going to the top of the rock, superior in my opinion than the top of the Empire state building.
I also loved walking along the Seine and catching any sights I could from it’s banks. On my second night, I was headed to the Seine for a stroll before heading home for the night when two men shouted at me in French. I turned and said, “English s’il vous plait" and they immediately responded, “look up at the moon!”. I turned my head and saw the huge golden moon rising into the night sky. I mean, does a city get more romantic? No. It does not.
Le Marais was by far my favorite neighborhood in Paris. It’s super chic, with a lot of amazing shops and they have all the hip vegan cafes. My favorite was Wild and the Moon— a one stop shop for smoothies, juices and ready made healthy vegan meals. It’s so chic and the food is delish, as are their super food lattes. I went every day!
Nanashi— great spot for bento lunches to-go! They aren’t vegan, but had an incredible veggie option and it was full of locals.
Cafe Pinson— the cutest veggie cafe with a ton of vegan and GF options.
Bob’s Juice- This is a tiny shop, but packs a punch. It’s simple and quaint and the food is insane. I loved sitting at the window, eating my acai cup and reading.
Health Inside- a cute and bright eatery to grab healthy vegan bites.
Umami Matcha Cafe— I didn’t actually get any matcha here because caffeine still makes me crazy, but it’s great spot for Japanese wares!
Restaurant Goa— not in le Marais, near the Eiffle tower and very good Indian food. I went on the coldest night during my trip and the warming curry was just what the doctor ordered. It was quiet, great service and the curry was heaven.
Soya— in the 11’s as the locals call it, a fantastic fancy veggie restaurant. The atmosphere was warm, elevated and welcoming. Even though I was alone I felt very romanced by the whole place. The food was phenomenal too— pricey, but worth it.
Le Soleil D’or— this brasserie was my absolute favorite. I always stopped at one in the afternoon to recharge myself and my phone (all the google mapping and photo taking really took it out of the battery). At other brasseries I went to, I would just get tea, but here they have this simple green salad that is to die for. It’s right across the way from the Sainte Chapelle. The salad is butter lettuce, tomatoes and vinaigrette. Simple, but literally the best salad I have ever had in my life. The produce in Paris is unreal! I also had a moment at this cafe, eating the perfect salad (with a side of baguette obvi), hearing all the french being spoken around me, watching people carry on about their day and felt so deeply grateful for the moment I was in and my life. I felt so grateful to have manifested this trip, one I had been wanting for a long, long time.
I had heard that people with gluten allergies can eat gluten in Europe because they actually allow the wheat to ferment and thus it’s easier for our bodies to process. I am here to tell you that it’s true! The first croissant I had was actually a transcendent experience! I loved exploring different sections of Paris, popping into a bakery and enjoying a croissant or baguette. It was true heaven for someone who hasn’t had gluten in MANY years. Also, I left Paris with NO bloat. Even if I didn’t want to move to learn French, I would move solely for the reason I can eat BREAD!
Le Marais also had the most incredible vintage shops! I scored on some incredible finds that feel like the most special pieces in my wardrobe. I went to three vintage spots, but one was my absolute fave and was absolute treasure trove!
Tilt Vintage— very curated, but pricey. I did find a couple of great things though.
Free’P’Star— The treasure trove!! This is one where you have to dig to find the goods, but the hunt is so worth it. I found two pairs of perfectly fit, vintage 501’s, high waisted linen trousers (for 1 euro!), the most incredible a-line black leather skirt (i’m so ln love), a cute vest and a vintage smock jacket. I could have bought so much more, but I had to refrain myself.
Hippie chic— highly curated and really great finds, but pricey. I found some incredible blouses, but didn’t pull the trigger because I didn’t want to spend 50 euro.
Jox & An— not vintage, but espadrilles! These are the original espadrilles, hand made in France. I picked up a pair in bright blue and they are so comfy!
Pharmacy shopping- There are literally HUNDREDS of pharmacies all over Paris and each holds French beauty treasures. I am normally not a big beauty product junkie, but it felt incredibly indulgent to buy myself really beautiful items for my skin. I followed this list to know what to get and am LOVING my new beauty routine!
Obviously all of the above, but the two frenchmen who pointed out the moon rise to me invited me to a concert the next day and it was a great venue!
L’international— a great mix of ages in the crowd. The bands varied from french hard core rock to a Seattle band heavily influenced by Bowie. It’s definitely a place I’ll check out when I go back. They also have monitors upstairs in the bar section if you don’t want to be downstairs in the crowd, but I do recommend the crowd experience!
I stayed at an incredible AirBNB in Ivry-sur-Seine. It was incredible because it was by a metro so it was easy to get in and out and was very affordable. It was not fancy or beautiful. It was functional— which felt good to me seeing that I was only there to sleep. It also allowed me to save on my lodging and instead spend my money where it mattered more to me. If you want to do the same, I highly recommend going the AirBNB route.
All in all Paris was an absolute DREAM. It’s beautiful, clean, safe and bursting with rich culture. I felt alive and inspired and I am ready to manifest a move there for next year.