August 14, 2014

Keep Calm and Go To Paris, Part 1

This all began with a simple phone conversation… "Kid, where is the one place you really want to go this summer?"

The answer? Paris.

Seriously, what 15 year old doesn't want to see Paris? I should have known. Thanks to a great deal through Air BnB, we could stay for 5 whole days. The Kid was thrilled! I gotta admit, I was pretty excited too. There is so much to see and do in Paris, I don't think I'll ever check it all off my list. I already have plans to go back again in December with one of my other siblings.

Eiffel Tower view

This will be a several part series, because we saw too many things to cram into only a single post. I'll include as many links and tips as I can, of course. I scouted for this trip during a quick stop (12 hours only!) a few months ago. I decided then and there to stay in a flat versus a hotel room. I wanted The Kid to have as authentic an experience as possible.

The view from our apartment

Our apartment was a five flight walk up, but totally worth it. I figure the extra exercise made up for the pastries and macaroons we ate all week long! The great thing about an apartment is the kitchen. Eating in Paris is quite pricey, so saving on meals is huge. There was a small grocery just down the road that we stocked up at. Even in a tiny shop like that, the cheese aisle made me swoon!

Cheese aisle at French grocery store

Of course, the price of peanut butter was outrageous! We hadn't planned on buying it anyway (we stuck to local food where we could), but I had to take a picture…

Euro price for travel-sized peanut butter

That jar was tiny too!! Like, travel sized. It's crazy, I tell you, crazy!


We arrived in Paris by train (traveling from Kaiserslautern to Paris for 100 Euro each, round trip) and then took the metro to our apartment. The metro system is wonderful. It's simple to use, inexpensive, and can really save your feet on a trip to this city. Even with the metro, we walked miles everyday. You have a lot of ticket options, from a several day pass to purchasing individual tickets. We chose an option in between these two, and it worked out very well for us. At the ticket counters, you can purchase books of 10 metro tickets (at a discount, of course). This is less expensive than purchasing all your tickets individually. We did consider buying the unlimited pass. However, we only used the metro once or twice a day since the attractions are often close together. So the unlimited pass made no sense for us at all.

After a quick meal of sandwiches (and some people watching from our window!), we left on a great little tour of the Montmartre district. This was absolutely one of our favorite things in Paris! Actually, it's probably one of our favorite tours from the entire summer. And the price seriously can't be beat.

Lunch and people watching
The Montmartre district includes the infamous Moulin Rouge (the red windmill). You can still see shows here, of course, but they are pricey. Our tour included a walk by this site, and some of it's history. Our guide was wonderfully funny, and full of interesting facts and stories. We learned of the artists that once lived here, such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh (a personal favorite), and Amedeo Modigliani. We visited the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, and admired the amazing mosaics inside. The tour included many helpful tips for dining out and exploring. This is a must-do!! The guides change regularly so your experience may be different than ours, but the Montmartre district will always remain one of the best places I've been.

Montmartre tour 
By this time, we were worn out! Being Paris, we enjoyed dinner at a great restaurant close to our apartment. The food here is simply amazing, I highly encourage you to try something new at every meal. We sampled an Avocado Shrimp salad that was divine. I'm still dreaming about it, actually.

Then it was off to bed… we needed rest for the busy day that awaited us the next morning! I'll be back soon with more tales of our adventure. Until next time my friends, happy travels!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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