Paris, vol. 2
Editor’s Note: I’m re-sharing this gem from the archives today.
As promised, here’s a glimpse of our anniversary getaway back to Paris. Get ready, it’s a looooong post! And if you’d like, you can see my first travel entry on Paris here.
It was our first time visiting the Sainte Chapelle in the Conciergerie and I’m really glad I went into it blindly … I hadn’t read much about it or seen any images of the interior. We were going based solely on advice from friends that it was not to be missed. Glad we listened. The first sight of the second level took my breath away. The stained glass brilliantly glowed as the sunlight streamed through … it felt like we were standing in a jewel box!
Yum! Poire glace from the original Berthillion on the charming Rue Saint-Louis en L’Ile.
The gargoyles atop Notre Dame were so cool. There was a pelican, an elephant and even a wizard! Who knew?
We made it to the Porte de Vanves flea market. Despite my frostbitten nose and freezing hands, I was in heaven. I came home with some serious treasure – more details in my Top Tips at the bottom of this post.
The picture does these crepes no justice. Best citron crêpe I’ve ever had … and possibly the best mint tea, too. This little crêperie was right around the corner from our hotel and we just couldn’t stay away!
I debated over devoting a full post to Maison Deyrolle. I’ve been wanting to visit this Parisian institution for years and even though I was super excited and had an idea of what to expect, my mind was still utterly blown. Everything I felt about taxidermy was reinforced – It is an art. It is amazingly beautiful. The care that is taken with these elegant animals is almost heartwarming. They all have such animated and truly life-like expressions and my heart jumped a little when I got near the tigers … the panther … the lions … they all looked soooo real. The eyes are exquisite. Taxidermy at its finest. Animals truly honored. While we were there, a little English boy was being treated to a skeleton of a fine crocodile from the Nile. How fun is that? If my husband and I ever end up adding a little love bug to our family, we will have to make another Deyrolle pilgrimage. I can’t imagine how wondrous this shop would be to young eyes.
We made it to Musee d’Orsay. Aside from the magnificent collection of art, I loved that you could see the inside of the famous old train station clock …and the crowd taking photos of Paris, too.
You know I can’t stay away from Ladurée. Tarte Tatin with Marie Antoinette’s tea was divine. Really, you must explore beyond the macaron menu.
Would a trip to Paris really be complete without a few smooches on the steps of Sacre Couer??
Enjoying a Ladurée macaron in the Tuileries. What better way to enjoy a sunset?
Top Tips for Paris:
Note: Please also see my original Top Tips for Paris. The following tips are to be considered in addition to those.
Visit La Maison Deyrolle. 46 rue du Bac. Paris VIIe. As discussed above, it is soooo worth a visit. And perhaps a savored purchase.
If you’re interested in flea markets, Porte de Vanves is a crown jewel. Just take the metro to Porte de Vanves and follow the signs (or the crowds). It goes on every weekend, without exception. While you never know what to expect as vendors and wares are constantly changing, I found the artwork divine. There were artists selling charcoal renditions of nudes as well as scenes of Paris … there were framed oil paintings and watercolors. I picked up six cardboard pieces from a vintage seamstress that have gorgeous and vibrant fabric swatches arranged – I’m planning on framing all six to create a mini wall gallery that is unique, Parisian and colorful. I also picked up a fabulous fur stole, a vintage Christian Dior tie for J and an amazing French milk pitcher.
Climb the towers at Notre Dame. If you’re looking for an alternative view of Paris, this was fantastic. We could easily spot the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur perched on its hill, the Conciergerie, the Arc de Triumph and lots more. Fun to get a good and close-up look at the many gargoyles, too!
Take a stroll along the Rue Saint-Louis and stop at one of the many Berthillions for some extraordinary ice cream. I stopped at the original Berthillion located at 31 Rue Saint Louis and ordered a scoop of Poire (pear). I’ve never had ice cream that tasted so much like the flavor it is intended to taste like. If it had been warmer, we would have revisited for more flavor sampling.
Musee d’Orsay. 62, rue de Lille. If you go, try and purchase tickets ahead of time. J+I probably waited an hour and a half in a snaking line and we were there around 10a. It was worth the wait but would have been sweeter without it.
Ladurée. I just can’t NOT recommend this as many times as I go. We enjoyed tea and pastries at the lovely one located at 21 Rue Bonaparte this time around. It had a fun Asian theme inside and I was convinced that Karl Lagerfeld was seated four tables down from us. J insisted that I was crazy and later I rationalized that he was right … perhaps not KL but this guy had some serious style with amazing rings atop silk gloves, a great ascot and sunglasses inside.
The Conciergerie & Saint Chapelle. I’m growing more and more obsessed with Marie Antoinette so this was one of the top things on my list. The Conciergerie was the first palace in Paris for the Kings of France and later transformed into a prison during the French Revolution. MA stayed here and they have recreated her cell which was very interesting. The Saint Chapelle was a welcome sight amongst the dreariness of the dreadful prison memories – such bright and cheery colors amidst the cold stone grey of the Conciergerie. Later that day, J+I discovered Shakespeare and Co., a little bookshop across from Notre Dame. My husband is rather obsessed with books so it was hard to pull him out of here but I was happy to pick up a biography on Marie Antoinette and a book about living in Provence.
+ the practical info:
I’ve had many inquiries about where I stay when I travel. Here are the two hotels we have stayed at in Paris. Hotel Belfast, which is a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triumph, is centrally located and beautifully decorated with Parisian antiques. Nice breakfast, too. Perfect for a first-time visit to Paris. Hôtel du Collège de France is where we stayed for this trip. It’s located in the Latin Quarter – two blocks from Notre Dame. Very convenient to the metro. It was the perfect location for this trip. Clean and charming with a lovely and helpful staff. Maybe not as luxe as Hotel Belfast but the price was fantastique!
Photography by Sarah Darcy of Classic Bride blog.