Chris and I were fortunate enough to be able to spend one month in Europe for our honeymoon back in September-October of 2017. We both work corporate 9-5 jobs, so it took a bit of strategizing to be able to get away with it, which I will cover in a separate post.
Instead of a relaxing beach vacation, we were more interested in exploring as much of Europe as possible without making it seem like too much work. Our itinerary went like this: Paris, Beaune, French Riviera (Nice, Eze, Monaco), Florence, Rome, Amalfi Coast, Athens, Santorini. Did we map out our entire itinerary? We did not. The trip was planned in the beginning and the end - leaving the middle with a little improv work to do (which, in hindsight, I would not do again). We flew Icelandair and due to some intel and smart seat selecting through seatguru, we sat first class but only paid for business class. More on that trick later.
Our first stop was Paris on September 26, which ended up lasting a bit longer than we had planned because we were enjoying it so much. I'd been to Paris in the past, but it was a vague memory and I was so young that the things I enjoyed then are much different than the things I like to do now. We stayed in a few different places while we were there, the first being Hotel Providence located in the Marais district and later on an Airbnb close by. It was a great central location and aside from the room being itty bitty, the hotel was beautifully designed and we had a blast with the bartender, who we lovingly called George Pooney. Well, we told him he looked like George Clooney, he called himself George Pooney (the George Clooney of Paris? It's blurry), and we all laughed. Cocktails are fun.
During our time in Paris we did a quick trip to the Louvre because Chris had never been. This photo of Mona Lisa is one of my most interesting captures from Paris. The reflection of everyone holding up their iPhones in the painting is such an oxymoron it's almost painful to look at. My experiences in Europe in 2006 vs. 2017 were so vastly different due to social media and technology in general. It's painstaking in a lot of ways because the sacredness that I held so dear felt a bit lost on me in 2017.
We also strolled through Luxembourg gardens on a beautiful afternoon and took the time to relax from traveling. We quickly grabbed a ham and cheese baguette from a street vendor and sat in the park. Truth be told I've always wanted to eat a ham and cheese sandwich in Luxembourg gardens and live the afternoon Parisian life. I have a vivid memory of this day, sitting in the park behind an older lady and her friend. The way the light hit her and the way they were talking was one of the most peaceful things I've ever witnessed. It was simple and beautiful and made me fall in love with Paris.
Chris had never seen the Eiffel Tower, so we put our tourist pants on and made our way over. While I wasn't that into climbing to the top, Chris being the explorer that he is had a different idea in mind. So we got to it. Me, a little apprehensive. Chris, very eager.
One of our favorite places for dinner was L'Avant Comptoir, which is a tiny tapas place with recipe cards hanging from the ceiling. We bellied up to the bar and ordered as much as possible (we couldn't help it, everything was SO good). All you have to do is point to a card hanging from the ceiling and voila! It appears before you. Chris particularly loved the foie gras burger. In fact, we came back a second time to eat it again. That's 4 foie gras burgers in 24 hours, nbd. The environment was fun, easy and casual - highly recommend when in Paris.
We also traveled to see Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre, which is North of central Paris. Every single thing about this area is charming. Everywhere I looked someone was playing an accordian, people were falling in love, birds were chirping. The area of Montmartre is filled with little shops and cobblestone streets that feels like a nice escape from central Paris. in fact, I purchased one of my favorite souvenirs from a boutique store - an enormous, gorgeous scarf that was difficult to fit in my suitcase but well worth the hassle. Another store I really loved in that area was Lekker, another concept store with some pretty unique items.
Just north of Montmartre, we decided to visit Marché Aux Puces - a flea market to die for. This market stands out in my memory of one of my favorite things in all our travels and also one of my biggest regrets. Chris and I found a blanket there that we adored, but knew it would be impossible to travel around with (especially since it was white). In hindsight I wish I would have purchased it and shipped it back to the US! Ah well, can't have everything.
Another spot we really loved was Merci, a concept store connected to a coffee shop close to our Airbnb. People watching was exceptionally interesting because we happened to be in Paris during fashion week and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the coffee shop guests were famous fashion week artists, models, or designers judging by their style. The store itself has some very cool apparel that we had fun looking at and not buying.
A few other interesting tid bits about our travels to Paris: really loved Berthillon ice cream, Pierre Hermé Macarons (seriously, wow) and we experienced real-deal hookers very close to our Airbnb - they were out of the movies hookers, guys. It was actually jaw dropping to see, I didn't know they made them like that in real life. We spied them on our way to get pizza close by our airbnb, at a place called Rossi's pizza. They were on that street, whatever street that is, workin' in. And I'll leave you with that.
That's Paris! We absolutely loved it and definitely extended our time there by 2 days (that's the beauty of having an open schedule). Our next destination was Beaune, wine country in France.
Have you been to Paris? Tell me me about your experience in the comments below!