This summer I was on my to Venice with my Mom, little sister, and two of my mom’s girlfriends and disaster struck the morning of our adventure. We received texts from AirFrance that our flight from Paris to Venice was canceled due to an air traffic control strike at the airport in Italy and the next flight wouldn’t leave until the next day. -Damn you AirFrance! -To think a whole day gone on the little island of Venice and we already paid for our hotel and tours, it was a messy situation. But, the girls and I landed safely in Paris and were able to get rooms for free, compliments of AirFrance.
After all that was settled it was like, whoa, we have the day to spend in Paris now! My mom and I had been to Paris two years ago and we always reminisced on if we had more time in Paris… Everything happens for a reason! We all knew where our first stop in Paris had to be because it was my favorite memory of Paris when I visited previously, Mariage Freres. Afternoon tea at Mariage Freres is an absolute must when in Paris. We always went to the tea house located at 260 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. You can’t take a taxi directly there because the streets become very narrow but you can easily be dropped off a block or two away. Just make sure you plug in the address into Google Maps before hand because those little streets are winding and confusing to get around in. Just make sure to look up from your phone to find a sign on the corner of a street that is round and golden yellow with the Mariage logo in it.
When you first walk into the shop you will take in the wonderful tea aroma from all the herbs they use. There are thousands of jars that fill the room and if you are overwhelmed what flavor you want, go to the bar with the huge tubes displayed behind it and the workers will help you find your perfect fit. My personal recommendation would be to pick out your tea to take home last. Go up the stairs on the right to the tea room for a beautiful and tasty lunch first. To get the full experience I would ask to be seated by the windows looking out into the streets because you will be in awe of the beauty while you enjoy your tea and fancies. Most importantly, save room for dessert! They have the most beautifully decadent desserts and they taste just as good as they look.
Next for your day adventure I would recommend making your way to the legendary Eiffel Tower. We didn’t have time for this stop because it was raining but I made sure to see it last time I was in Paris, and it’s an absolute must. If it is a cloudy/overcasty day, you might consider coming back another time, because you won’t be able to see a thing once on top. If it is a nice day go for it, but be smart about it. My tip is to skip the line for the elevator ride and work those calves as you take the 1,700 steps up the stairway to heaven. I know it sounds like a lot, but you save money, waiting in line, and you get to stop anytime you need to take pictures of the breathtaking view.
Although we didn’t make it to the Tower that day, we did go to beautiful Notre Dame. On your way you will pass by the bridges that have all the locks on them. I wouldn’t recommend putting a lock on there with your significant other if you want it to stay there forever because they have to cut the locks off frequently to keep the sides of the bridges from falling in the river. Once you make it to the cathedral I would make sure to look around on the ground in front of the beautiful structure until you see a little copper in the stone. That signifies a small geographic marker from which the distance from Paris all other places are judged, but rather than some dry symbol of measurement the spot known as Paris Point Zero has attracted a surprising number of local rituals to bring you good luck. Although you will see the front of Notre Dame, don’t stop there. Make your way by the gardens on the right side because you haven’t seen Notre Dame until you have seen the back of it. Most people find the back more beautiful than the front, I know I do.
Next on this event-packed day was the Louvre. We looked at all the beautiful architecture and because we were running low on time we didn’t make it inside. But I will give you another insider tip on how to avoid that long line. The day before I went in my mom and I were underground and bought tickets from a tobacco shop and the next day was an easy 1 minute wait to get in.
Keep walking past the crystal pyramid of the Louvre and walk towards the Arc De Triomphe and soon you will find yourself walking on the Champs Elysees. We made a pit stop at the colorful Laudre store for tasty macrons, because how could you not when in Pari?! While eating your macrons you will see all the beautiful luxury brand shops, but keep going to the end until you reach the Arc. After your picture pit stop, find yourself a drink! That was quite the day of walking and you deserve it. It is usually cheaper if you go a little of the beaten path of all the tourist attractions, but this way you will be able to interact with local Parisians. Just steer clear of those French men and I guarantee it will be a lovely evening of wine with cheese and bread.
Although we didn’t make it to Venice, Paris was a good unexpected stop along the way. As Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea” and I would have to say that Paris is an even better idea with the girls.