This day still feels too good to be true. Spending a day in Paris sounds like a dream already, but a day in Paris with NO KIDS??
Disclaimer: I love my kids with all my heart! And life without them would be terribly boring and lacking so much love and joy. But if you know what traveling with kids is like, you know how big of a treat this was for a day! Logistics = easier. Meals = easier. Bathroom breaks = easier. (repeat pattern until the end of time….)
In early November 2018, a mom friend and I left the kids with their dads, hopped on a train, and went to explore the most iconic city in the world!!
I’m so glad I met Tamara when we first arrived in Belgium. Not only is she a wonderful person, a talented YouTuber, and beautiful young mother, she is so adventurous and loves to travel!
Check out her YouTube video of our day in Paris!!!
My heart wants adventure, but my mind often holds me back. I absolutely loved spending the day with her and it was so nice to have a friend to explore Paris with.
Our only goal for the day: fall in love with Paris.
For me, it was a 100% success ❤️
Here’s my video compliation from the day! Spoiler alert… I LOVE PARIS!! Feel free to read first and come back to the video at the end 🙂
A Day In Paris
We started the day by driving across the border to a little train station in Maubeuge, France. The 30-minute drive into France meant the last minute train tickets were HALF the cost, being only €50 each.
The train was cold but the nerves and excitement kept us warm! The train reminded me of Harry Potter with the isle down one side and small 6 person cabin with a door.
All the announcements were in French but we chose a direct train so we just sat and enjoyed until we hit Paris Nord!
When we arrived, the train station was bustling, busy, and cold. But we didn’t care! We were in PARIS!
A quick random fact, it’s very common in Europe to have to pay to use the bathroom. For this reason, I always carry around some change! So many new and unique things here in Europe.
I also noticed these bathrooms at the train station each had a sharps container in them for needles. I’m not sure if there’s a high population of diabetics or drug addicts here, I was too scared to ask! Haha but an interesting feature for sure!
We decided to go FULL tourist mode and get tickets for the Hop-On Hop-Off double decker bus and just run around Paris all day. It was the BEST way to see everything in one day. They even have an app to see buses in real time and we purchased our tickets right on the spot using our iPhones. Easy!
And the icing on the cake, the English commentary option was a British man with a dreamy accent. Yessssssss!
I had forgotten, traveling without kids is SOOOOOO EASY!
Paris in November was probably too cold for young kids as we discovered because there really wasn’t a comfortable place to warm up, but it was a BEAUTIFUL time to visit! The fall colors were amazing and it wasn’t as busy as I assume it is in nicer weather.
Our first stop,
We didn’t go inside because I think it would take a week and a half to see everything in that museum, but the iconic outside was a beautiful place to take pictures.
I had a hard time leaving each place because I felt like I didn’t take enough time to truly appreciate their details, beauty, and magnitude. BUT, we had to see it all in one day! So onward we went.
A quick photo by the river and on the bus to the next stop!
Many people had said Paris was so dirty, smelled like urine, and full of homeless people. They must have never visited Paris in the fall because we saw very little of that!
There were however, many people who would come up to you and ask if you spoke English, wanting you to sign petitions or give them money. We ignored everyone who talked to us like this and just kept walking. We didn’t really have any problems.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame
This cathedral was the setting for Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame with bell towers in the top! I have no idea how people built such detailed and enormous buildings hundreds of years ago without modern tools. It’s incredible.
The line was SOO long to go inside but it looked to be moving fast so we thought we’d try it.
The inside was breathtaking. I’m so glad we went in!
We arrived shortly before a mass started, we got to hear some inspiring words as we walked through. Pretty cool they still hold service there!
On top of the world! (Aka the bus)
We braved the cold air and ventured on the top of the bus! This was a fun way to see downtown Paris and some less known attractions while making our way to the big stuff. I wish I could tell you what everything is, but there was so much history there it was a little overwhelming for just one day!
I got so excited when I saw the Louie Vuitton store! Haha I’m not sure why since I don’t particularly enjoy shopping and didn’t have enough money to even look at the place. Probably watched too much Project Runway!
Arc de Triomphe
We rode the bus past the Arc de Triomphe, you can actually climb stairs to the top and get a great view of the city! We didn’t have the energy or time for that on this trip, so we enjoyed the view from the top of the bus.
The Eiffel Tower kept peaking into view all day, really just tempting us with its beauty… I couldn’t wait to get there!
The Eiffel Tower
My absolute, without a doubt, FAVORITE part of the day.
When you pull up to the Eiffel Tower, there are 2 buildings on either side of a large square. The buildings are laced with gold along the tall columns.
On the large square, there were sellers selling trinkets and many people taking pictures! It made for a beautiful backdrop.
We took full advantage of the sellers and bought some fantastic French hats which we’d been searching for all day!
There were a beautiful Russian bride and bridal party on the square taking wedding pictures. She was gorgeous, can you imagine coming here for a wedding?!?! Wow.
After a few more pictures from the top, we decided to wander down to the base. I’ve never taken so many selfies in my life! I just couldn’t stop, it was so beautiful and surreal to actually be there.
Little did I know, there were even better views and spots for photos along the path down!
My mom eye never shuts off these days, and I spotted a cute little playground along this path! It would be a fun stop to take a break with the kids another day.
I wish I could capture the ambiance in this part of Paris. It’s times like this I wish my descriptive writing was better! As I walked down the path toward the base of the Eiffel Tower though, it was so peaceful. I could almost hear a soft French song playing while the fall trees shown brightly in the sunshine. It was my favorite spot of the day.
We found an ornate carousel right next to a waffle street vendor. I couldn’t resist a Nutella waffle!!
We stopped to eat our waffles overlooking the river just under the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower is HUGE! And super cool to look at from the bottom. One day I’ll stand in the long line to go up to the top, but not today.
On the other side of the Eiffel Tower is a long grass area. We walked quietly along it and just enjoyed the beautiful, crisp, fall day in Paris.
Can you tell this was my FAVORITE place to be?? Picture overload! Good thing my travel partner was patient with my new found love of the Eiffel Tower.
It had been a busy day and we were tired so we hopped back on the bus to head to the train station.
On the way, we circled the opera house that the phantom of the opera was based on. It was magnificent to look at and I could almost imagine people bustling around 200 years ago waiting for the show to begin. I love all the history and old feel Paris has.
The famous Moulin Rouge! We did not venture off the bus to explore Paris’s famous red light district, but even just driving down the street was a sight to behold! There’s a reason there’s only 1 picture for this section of Paris…
We stopped for lunch/dinner at a small cafe near the Louvre then went back to the train station to travel home.
The day was perfect and we had zero problems or hiccups. Paris is an incredibly beautiful city and the vibe there is one you MUST experience! I can’t wait to go back in the spring and summer, but the fall was a perfect time for a first trip to Paris. I’ll be counting down the minutes until I can go again!
Here’s my video compilation again from the day. In case it wasn’t clear… I LOVE PARIS!!!!
Did you miss…
Stay tuned for The Best of Paria Daiza Zoo 2018! Spoiler alert: It’s amazing!
~~~ Tolman Travels ~~~