Last year we explored Europe once again for the Christmas holidays, and we decided to finish off in Paris! This was our second visit to Paris as a couple, so I was eager to hit up some of the places we missed our first time that I really wanted Wayne to see. This was also my second New Years in the city of lights! It was a wonderful little stay, full of great food, shopping and sight-seeing of course!
Day 1 – New Years Eve
Believe it or not, it was cheaper to fly into Paris on New Years Eve than the next day! So we flew out of Prague and landed in Paris late morning. We checked into the hotel Libertel Gare du Nord, which is incredibly close to the train station Gare du Nord, which made it super convenient from the airport.
We settled into our hotel, bought some food from a local market and bakery a few blocks away, and then got ready for the evening!
I had already done the countdown by the Eiffel tower many years ago, so I knew there wasn’t much to see. I had done some research and found out that l’Arc de Triomf has a light show and fireworks! We definitely wanted to see something a little more special, so we chose l’Arc as our countdown place.
If you have ever been to a huge metropolitan city for a big event like New Years, you know it gets crowded quite quickly. The show was great, we were able to have a decent view, and it was wonderful to kiss my beloved into 2016! The aftermath was chaotic, more so than I remember from many years ago. I believe some construction, and distance to the metro contributed to this. It took quite a lot longer to get back to the hotel, but once we did we wished everyone back home a Happy New Year and went to bed!
Day 2 – Relaxing & Food
It’s New Years day, so not much is open and we slept in a bit. Once we felt recovered, off we went to explore the city and discover new things!
One place we discovered that instantly became a hit was a small bistro called Frenchie To Go. Wayne and I are huge breakfast people! Now, culturally, French people have very simple breakfasts, but we sought out places that served less typical breakfast meals. This place definitely take a concept that is very foreign to the French, which is the “To-Go” menu! But you can sit inside and enjoy your breakfast at leisure, and look quite French while you do it.
This bistro is the kind of place that changes their menu a little as seasons change, so we were very lucky that they were serving their Maple Bacon scones and pastrami eggs benedict! Both absolutely smashing in flavour! They also have great baking in general. Highly recommend you visit them!
We then walked through Ile de la Cité by Notre Dame. At this point the sun had already set (around 5 pm in the winter) and the Christmas tree in the square was lit up. It was quite beautiful. Slowly we made our way over to the St. Michel fountain and found a restaurant that was open, so we got some dessert.
Day 3 – Shopping at Galleries Lafayette
To save some money, we had only booked a hotel for the first two nights then checked out. For the rest of our time there, we would stay in Le Montclair Montmartre hostel. It was actually really nice, because we had a private room and bathroom to ourselves!
While we thought Frenchie was great, we had also heard of another breakfast place called Holy Belly. It is known to get busy lines in the late mornings since it is well known for serving a non typical French meal known as brunch! We seized our chance and got there before the morning rush.
Their food is delicious, no doubt about that. Very hipster place as well, with some rustic and vintage details. I will say, however, for what is a standard American meal, they charged quite a lot! It was probably the most expensive breakfast we have ever had anywhere!
We were in need of some nice shoes and we were in Paris. How could we not do shoe-shopping in Paris?
Right after breakfast, we headed over to Les Galleries Lafayette. In all my visits to Paris, I had yet to shop in this huge and gorgeous mall!
Can you believe that after a few hours of shopping, and looking at dozens of shoes, I had no success at all? Wayne, on the other hand, found two stylish pairs of shoes to call his own. Needless to say, I felt a bit cursed.
To make up for how down I felt, after a rest at the hostel, we decided to hit up Trocadero and walk up to the Eiffel Tower to watch her sparkle! It never ceases to lift my spirits and fill me with a sense of wonder! Afterwards we got lost trying to make our way to a nearby metro stop, but that’s part of travelling and exploring!
Day 4 – Versailles
Taking Wayne to Versailles was high on our to-do list since we didn’t get a chance to visit it during our honeymoon. We chose to do an audio guide tour, which in some ways I prefer for an actual guide. For a busy and popular place like Versailles, you’ll want to go at your own pace and get a chance to see whatever strikes your fancy.
I always, always, always recommend a ticket that allows you to go into the gardens and properties beyond! Don’t be satisfied with only a castle tour. The gardens are lovely, and we went in winter time! In summer it is simply exquisite.
I believe we spent at least 3 hours on the chateau property. With the train ride to and from Paris, we basically had a full day. We stopped by a bakery on our way back to the hostel and bought a Galette de Roi! If you are in France during the holiday season or January, please do yourself a favour and try this great traditional pie!
Day 5 – Shoes & Jardin de Luxembourg
Since it was our last day, we savoured one last delicious breakfast at Frenchie To Go. Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, we were going to try to find me some shoes one more time!
We hit up rue de Rennes, and this time we had success! While I didn’t quite find the kind of boots I had in mind, I bought one pair of black suede shoes and one pair of black suede boots that I thought I looked killer in!
The Jardin de Luxembourg was one other major site Wayne had not yet visited, and it is probably my favourite park in Paris! To celebrate finding beautiful shoes and our last full day in Paris, we did a fun photoshoot in the garden.
Once we had our fun and had gone around through most of the garden, it was time to find a place to eat. We found a restaurant nearby for lunch. Wayne had boeuf bolognaise while I indulged in a foie gras platter. Both delicious, of course.
Besides going back to the hostel to pack for our early morning flight, the last thing we did was to spend the evening in Sacre Coeur and Montmartre area for dinner. This is one of the most beautiful and romantic areas in my opinion! So I was quite pleased to end our Paris holiday this way.
Are you planning to visit Paris for New Years or holidays this year? Have you been before? Let me know in the comments below! And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!