Saturday

We’ll always have Paris!


When Chelsea said she had some time off work, she suggested we go on a girls trip to Paris! “What?!” I said, and without much arm twisting I gave in… and off we went for one fabulous week in the city of lights! With some quick planning we created the perfect experience… Here are a few of our favorite things!

 

OUR BIKE RIDE AND PICNIC IN VERSAILLES

We pre-booked with the company, BlueFox Travel, which was great… very organized and professional. We met our guide and a small group of 10 at the Gare St. Lazare Train Station in Paris. We were given our train tickets to the Versailles station and then walked directly to the Farmer’s Market where we were left on our own for 45 minutes to hunt and gather for our picnic lunch.

We found delicious cheeses, a small moist chicken, new potatoes, sweet strawberries and of course some lovely wine!

 

We were told the best place to get a baguette was Boulangerie Patisserie Chocolaterie. It’s a dark brown building with lime green awnings on the corner of the market area. The gigantic buttery palmier we bought for dessert was just delicious!

Our bikes came with baskets to store all the market goodies for our picnic!

Our group stopped every 15 minutes or so to take photos and learn the history of the palace and gardens.

We rode through the grounds and toured through the Grand and Petite Trianons and Marie Antoinette’s private hamlet. Stopping along the way for our spectacular market picnic lunch!

We returned the bikes and were led to the front of the line of the Palace.. we were then able to tour the Palace and Gardens at our own leisure. The Palace was beautiful of course, but it was very crowded inside, so we just quickly went through… it’s a shame that they allow so many people in at once.

The Hall of Mirrors inside the Palace!

We made our way back to the train station (using our pre-purchased  tickets we were given that morning). It was a wonderful way to see Versailles, definitely a highlight of the whole trip!

 

THE BALLET AT THE OPERA GARNIER

Oh what a beautiful evening, oh what a beautiful ballet!!!  The ballet was more a little modern than expected, but being there surrounded by all that beautiful architecture… sipping pink champagne and sitting in a box was such a fabulous experience!

The first thing you’ll want to do is look at the Opera Garnier’s calendar to see what’s playing while you’re in Paris. View calendar here. We found a two hour ballet that worked in to our schedule (both ballets and operas are performed at this venue). We purchased tickets online about a month in advance and picked them up at the box office that evening…easy!

We chose box seats (try to get the front seats) and were able to see the incredible Marc Chagal dome with a wonderful view of the ballet.

 We ate right across the way at the very Parisian Belle Epoque, Cafe de la Paix!

 

The entire evening was such a wonderful classic french experience!

 

THE FLEA MARKET

Chelsea and I went to the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Flea Market. The two best markets are the Vanves and this Saint-Ouen. The Vanves is what you would typically think of a street market with tables and vendors and the Saint Ouen is more of a permanent set of shops with serious antiques, but also some great vendors that are only there on the weekends! If you go, have your Uber drop you at rue des Rosiers. Now that it is so easy to use Uber, don’t even bother with the Metro.

Here are my notes from my friend, Carla, who lives part time in Paris, her apartment there is decorated from both these markets and it’s one of the chicest spaces I’ve ever seen!

Carla:

My personal favorite markets within the Flea Market (St. Ouen) all run off the main street called rue des Rosiers (ask the driver to drop them off at the entrance of the rue des Rosiers). They are the Marché Vernaison ( a favorite shop within this market is: Au Grenier de Lucie for vintage costume jewelry and handbags –they are from London and so charming!) Marché Serpette and the surrounding alleyways called Paul Bert. There are wonderful jewelry, handbag, fashion, furniture stands in this market… I rarely leave without buying something from the Serpette…..

My two favorite places to eat:
Ma Cocotte — no reservations for lunch on the weekends so I recommend eating early 12:30 or later after 2PM. This is located in front of the Marché Serpette. It is designed by Philippe Starck and is where the chic crowd goes

Le Relais des Broc’s is my other go to place. It is more of an authentic flea market restaurant experience and the food is wonderful. There is nothing chic about this place but it is the “go to” place for people who really know the Flea Market. The staff is super nice and they do speak English. Address: 24 Rue Jules Vallés — behind the Serpette.

Chelsea and I ate at Ma Cocotte! It was wonderful!

We found a vintage Chanel necklace for Chelsea and a painting to bring home to Chris!

Even if you don’t buy anything… it’s so fun to see all there is!

 

OUR MUSEUMS

We went to three museums, The Louvre, The D’Orsay and The YSL. The best time to go to The Louvre is between 7:30 and 9:30 PM on a Wednesday or Friday. All the tour groups are gone and you basically have the museum to yourself.

I contacted the concierge at our hotel ahead and they had our museum passes waiting on our arrival.

Some of the best photos are looking out the museum windows!

I always start in Denon Wing to visit this personal favorite of mine by David and then just wonder from there.. you need to be out by 9:30 PM, which is perfect timing to go grab a late dinner at Cafe Marley, in the arcades of the Richelieu wing (stop in and put in your name before you go in the museum), and sit and look at I.M Pei’s pyramids and all the beautiful buildings of The Louvre illuminated at night.

Don’t miss going to Napoleon III Apartments on the 1st floor of the Richelieu wing!

We also went to The Musée d’Orsay… the best time to visit is on Thursday between 6-9 PM… again you will avoid the tour groups!

It’s always fun to get a photo in front of the museum’s clock from the inside, on the fifth floor, with a view of the Sacre Coeur.

A favorite by Caillebotte!

We loved the YSL museum! The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris exhibits the couturier’s body of work on the  premises of his former haute couture house!!!  We pre-booked a private one and a half hour English speaking tour with the company, Cultival, which we just loved! The private tour did not cost much more than the regular ticket price.

You enter the museum from the same door his clients would have entered..

It was a wonderful comprehensive tour showcasing Saint Laurent’s influences, his fashions and..

…the actual atelier where he worked!

 

PRETTY FLOWERS

Some of the prettiest flowers I’ve ever seen are in the lobbies of the elegant hotels in Paris. The Four Seasons, George V is the best! One of their friendly staff saw us looking around and offered  to take us on a tour to show us the flowers in all the public spaces, we even met the famous, Jeff Leatham, the artistic director who installs over 12,000 flowers every three weeks! P.S. make a reservation for high tea at George V, we didn’t have a chance this trip… but it’s a wonderful experience!

And The Ritz!

And you even get giant roses in your drink when you go to the famous Bar Hemingway at The Ritz!

The Crillion has recently been remodeled and it’s just lovely… what used to be the restaurant, Le Ambassadeurs, is now a gorgeous bar where you can pop in and have a glass of wine or a fancy drink. We arrived around 6:00 the night we went to The Louvre to have a snack and a glass of wine.

 

OUR LUNCH AT GUY SAVOY

If you want to have an amazing Michelin three star experience while looking out on picture perfect views of the river Seine… on a budget… kind of… then go online and book here to make a reservation at Guy Savoy… be sure you request the prix fixe lunch.

It’s technically a three course meal, but with all the amuse bouches, it’s more like a ten course…

Chelsea has five desserts in front of her and those were all complimentary, so maybe it’s more…

You absolutely must choose the artichoke soup topped with parmesan and truffles as one of your courses..

It comes with this amazing brioche with truffle butter…

And… at least someone at the table should order the Napoleon..  our waiter said, “you’ve never experienced flaky” and he was right!!!

It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!! They are so happy to take you on a tour of the kitchen, show you all the rooms in the restaurant and introduce you to Guy Savoy himself… just ask!!! We were so impressed at how friendly and fun everyone was! We even had our menu signed for a keepsake!

 

OUR BOAT RIDE ON THE SEINE

Go for an evening river boat ride on The Verdettes Du Pont Neuf! All the river boat companies are about the same, but this one has a great starting point. Grab a bottle of champagne at the ticket area and go to the top deck and enjoy the one hour cruise, it’s such a fun way to see the city of lights!!! The 9:45 boat ride will put you in front of The Eiffel Tower right at 10:00 PM to see it literally sparkle!!!!

 

OUR SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT SWEET

There is a wonderful treat around every corner…

 Pierre Hermé, was our favorite bakery for sweets in Paris! The macarons and chocolate are both just delicious!!! 

We thought their Macarons were better than Laduree…

One morning we went searching for the perfect croissant and found a chocolate pistachio pain au chocolate at Pierre Hermé and it was unworldly!!!

One of the best sweets we had was a delicious little creme puff from, Popelini, that’s all they serve… get the salted caramel!

It’s served so cold it tastes almost like ice cream. We went to the one on 71 Rue de Seine, but there are a few more in Paris. Even if you’re not a big creme puff fan… try this!!!

The chocolates from Pierre Marcolini are divine and there are many of them all over Paris and the world in fact… we tried the shop at 89 Rue de Seine. We just had so much fun trying sweets from everywhere in Paris!!!

 

A FEW MORE FAVORITES

The Sole Marnier with Capers at La Mediterranee at 2 Place Odeon

The burger at Ralph’s in The Ralph Lauren Store on 173 Boulevard Saint-Germain

Strolling thru Luxembourg Gardens

The Christian Dior Store on The Avenue Montaigne

Our sweet little boutique hotel, Hotel Luxembourg Parc!

 And that’s about all…I think I wore her out!!!

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