Adventures in Paris

August 4, 2017

Hi guys!  The hubby surprised me with a 5 day trip to Paris for my birthday(I know, right!).  While your mouth is hanging open by how incredibly romantic this gesture is I am going to dive right into our trip and hopefully offer you so lessons learned so you can plan your trip to Paris, so here we go.

1) Flight

We flew AirFrance on a non-stop flight out of JFK.  I highly recommend getting a later flight so you are in the sky at night, land in the a.m. and have the whole day ahead of you for exploring.

2) Lodging

We stayed at the Hotel Eiffel Blomet, located in the 15th district and as the name might suggest, it was a short ten minute walk from Eiffel Tower.  It is centrally located with just a 3 minute walk to the metro and around the corner from a bustling Parisian main street, lots cafes and shops.  We absolutely LOVED this hotel.  The staff was friendly, they had a great spa and our room had the cutest little balcony.  We never did get to enjoy a cup of coffee on said balcony but I digress.  Now, price, I didn't pay for this trip and I believe my husband booked it using trivagio, so it was a flight+accommodations bundle.  A standard room is about $120-$135 a night for a standard room, well worth the cost.

3) The Paris Pass

Ok, the hubby and I didn't plan this trip together and I found out two days before we flew out so there was really no time to plan what we wanted to do and see.  That being said I am going to jump in to what we decided on in Paris.  So there are a lot of different versions of these all-inclusive sightseeing packages and you can get a 1 day pass, 3 day, 5 day etc.  We were in Paris for 5 full days and we decided to purchase the 3-day Paris Pass, what that included was an unlimited metro card good for three days, a 2 day museum pass and a huge selection of attractions all for free with the flash of the card, a day on the hop-on, hop-off bus (you know the kind where you watch people living their everyday lives while you ride around on the top of this huge double decker bus snapping pictures and gawking at them like they were on display at a zoo?? lol). Oh, another plus, you can skip the line with your Paris Pass and that came in handy at places like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

Cost: This was pricey and given the time constraints I can't say for sure that it is a bargain it just depends.  You see if you are married to my husband you are going to conquer the day and see at least five attractions a day, at minimum 😕, this worked out to be a good deal for us. Ok, so now the cost, $382 for the two of us.

4) Tips on Eating

We did not have a bad meal, I repeat not a single bad meal! With that being said hindsight is 20/20 so our loss is your gain.  If you are trying to watch what you spend I would be mindful that the restaurants located closest to popular tourist attractions hike up their prices and that doesn't translate to a better meal just a bigger bill.  There are PLENTY of restaurant choices in Paris, PLENTY, so wander off the beaten path.  Try restaurants that are a little outside the attractions, get a belly full of yummy food and keep some of the euro for a espresso.

So, if we had to do it all over again here is what we would do differently:

Cluster attractions you want to see.  When you have a short amount of time and so much you want to do it is important to manage your time wisely.  Our first two days we were hopping all over Paris and wasting a lot of time on travel, we picked up on the waste on the third day and that helped a lot.  Not only in time but energy!  All of that walking did a number on my body and mood (don't say anything Michael, lol).

Figure out the Euro/ Dollar exchange rates. Now this is tough, I still don't fully grasp the concept but it wasn't uniformed across exchange agencies with varying service charges and fees.  We exchanged the first $200 at the airport (I know, it always costs more there but we had no choice) and got back $158 euro, another $200 at a Western Union by the Arc de Triomphe and got $168 euros, the best rate we received by far.  It pretty much stayed in that ballpark the rest of the trip.  We did, however, run into an exchange kiosk that tried to give us $138 euro for $200 by the National Opera House, we asked for a return of our american dollars and tried another place.  We did think about just using our credit cards instead of carrying cash, but thought that might cost us more and preferred having money in our hands, it helped us keep tabs of how much we were spending.

Paris is a beautiful city, I mean just wandering the streets of Paris can be a real treat, throw in all of the history, beautiful architecture, attractions, museums and culture and it can be a lot. Pace yourself! We were super ambitious the first day we landed, we walked for hours exploring the city and all it had to offer. I paid for that the first night and the second day, I was limping around with knee pain and had blisters, not pretty.  I guess what I would recommend is back to the first point, which is plan what you want to see.  We were overwhelmed with it all.

Traveling with a partner or friend or spouse can be tricky.  We each have our own ideas of what a vacation should be, some prefer a more leisurely approach, with stops at spots off the tourist path.  Others might want to have the real tourist experience and visit as many tourist traps as possible.  There is a middle road people! So my hubby, as I mentioned, is the energizer bunny, with endless amounts of energy and really a thirst and curiosity for life, something I really love about him.  The fun and good times never ends with him.  I mean, hello he threw a surprise birthday party and had me read a card that announced our trip to Paris!!!  Check out the announcment video here.  So here is the middle, I rallied and hopped all over Paris with my husband BUT when he wanted to climb the 400 steps to reach the bell tower of Notre Dame, I bowed out and patiently waited below.  He was able to check it off his bucket list and I was able to power up again with the down time.  My husband also went off our last day there to visit another attraction and allowed me to sleep in.  He was only gone a few hours but it meant the world to me, I was able to rest, write and just soak in the experience.  I needed that alone time and I am so grateful he gave it to me without a complaint.   Its all about compromise people, marriage, vacations..everything.

Here is the list of attractions we managed to sneak in on our 5 day trip:

Eiffel Tower (more than a few times)
Arc de Triomphe - you can climb up and my husband wanted to but we didn't get a chance to do it.
Wine Tour
Picasso Museum - LOVED this place!
Notre Dame
Saint Chapelle
Bascilica Sacre Coeur
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
National Opera House by Charles Garnier- complete with an 1 1/2hr guided tour. It was AWESOME!
The City of Paris - it was a film house that only looped the history of the city.
Boat tour down the Seine River

Thanks for reading!  Want to see more? Check out my very first travel vlog below.

Don't forget to like and share if you want to see more like it.

Until the next post, with love,


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