I was so proud of Nick for passing his recent promotion board so I planned a kidless night in Paris for us! Thank you so much to our friends for watching our sweet boys.
On this trip, we decided to navigate the Paris metro. Ok, I’ve heard it’s a large metro system, and that is absolutely correct. If you’ve never managed a metro before or are a first timer in Paris, just take a bus! We had several stopped, broken, or missing trains, sweaty people crammed in like sardines until the car was TOO FULL TO CLOSE, and one potentially dangerous, mentally unstable man who inclined us to get off at the next stop… Wow, Paris Metro… wow. One time, we boarded the metro car, waited a few minutes (which was odd), the train shut the power off (announcement in French), and eventually we just got off, left the metro, and walked to our next destination. Here is a map showing all the metro options in Paris, it is a HUGE system!
We also decided to travel as light as possible. In true minimalist fashion, we just carried a small bicycling backpack. It was fun to travel so light and great to not haul around a suitcase! Toothbrushes, deodorant, a wallet, and not much else are really all you need with no kiddos! We’d do it again this way.
Since it was just the two of us, we decided to do some parts of Paris that were difficult with the kids along. First stop… The Chateau Versailles.
Chateau de Versailles
The Chateau de Versailles is not your regular chateau. I’ve always thought it was called the Palace of Versailles and that seems to be a more accurate name. This place is huge! Check out this short (3 minute) video to learn a little more about this place. They showed this same one in a room of the chateau and it was really interesting!
There was no organized tour, we just wandered around the chateau and grounds for a few hours. The outside was quite extravagant and most of it was covered in gold. It was impressive to see!
Inside was magnificant. All the rooms and hallways were extravagantly decorated and the details on every inch of this entire chateau were incredible. Paintings, statues, carved moldings, expensive furniture, chandeliers, you name it! They spared no expense here. We didn’t linger long in each room since there was so much to see, but I did snap a few pictures of some of my favorite. It was much more impressive in real life, but you get the idea.
This would be my room if I lived here I think…
The hall of mirrors was quite impressive! Every part of this chateau was ornate and decorated in gold or fine, detailed craftsmanship. It was amazing.
The outside grounds were incredible. We only walked to the top for the view, I wish our feet would have let us wander around a bit! The grounds go for MILES and are immaculately kept. Fountains, trees, bushes, flowers, statues, stairs, I can only image what parties must have been like here! Truly a site to see.
Dinner at Chez la Vieille
Probably the most expensive dinner I’ve ever had, but it was delicious! French cuisine is wonderful, delicate, and flavorful.
Nick is braver than I am and tried the Rabbit Kidney Toast aperitif… while I played it safe with a cucumber dish.
Dinner was also excellent. Fish of the day for Nick and beef, carrots, and horseradish for me. The best I’ve ever had!
No picture of Nicks Rhubarb Crumble or my Caramel Cremè dessert, they were eaten and enjoyed too quickly! Wow!!
Cathedral of Notre Dame
I’ve been curious as to the condition of the Cathedral of Notre Dame since it’s recent fire. The entire church and grounds are blocked off and closed of course, but the damage was pretty apparent even from the outside. All the windows were black with soot and there was a lot of construction in progress. The Notre Dame fire back in April 2019 was so heartbreaking.
We walked along the Seine River near the cathedral and down Champs-Elysees for a while until darkness approached and we could head to the Effiel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower.. at NIGHT!
This has been a HUGE bucket list item for me since living in Europe. It did not disappoint. I’m sure it helped that we weren’t dragging around tired, hungry kids, but the evening was absolutely wonderful. Relaxing, romantic, and beautiful. (Aside from using the Paris porta-potty, and I’m sure you can imagine the state of that bathroom 🙂 )
We wandered down to the grass fields on the other side while we waited for the sun to go down and the light show to start! I snagged a few pictures while the sun was going down.
We waited until 11:00 pm for the lights! It was well worth it and the weather was perfect. The video hardly does it justice, the light show was fantastic. Definitely a must-see for anyone visiting Paris!
I had booked the perfect little AirBNB with a view of the Eiffel Tower for us! I got a great deal by using a referral code (which you can do the same by clicking here to make your account) and it was going to be in a super convenient location for our plans as well as romantic.
But… right when we arrived in Paris I got a message from the owner saying the power had been off in the building since yesterday. No hot water, vacuum to clean, etc and we would have to find a new place to stay. Not his fault and he gave a quick refund, but we were ALREADY THERE and now homeless.
Nick did a foreign exchange program in Europe during high school and remembered the hotel they stayed at was near the train station. We walked down the road and sure enough, we found it! We got a room and I enjoyed hearing the stories and reminiscing from Nick in his high school days. It was an old hotel with lots of fun quirks, and the view from our bedroom balcony gave a realistic view (and sound) of Parisian living.
We had walked ALL DAY on Thursday (and into early Friday morning, thanks to the ridiculous Paris Metro) and our feet, legs, and ankles were really hurting! Not an ideal way to start out the Louvre Museum, which is like 8 miles long!
Regardless of the pain, we had a fantastic day in the Louvre. If you plan on visiting, BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE BEFORE! We didn’t realize this was a thing and arrived at 9 with no tickets available until 12:30. With a 5 pm train to catch that simply wouldn’t work, but we bought the 12:30 tickets online anyway and stood in line to get in. The line took almost 2 hours to get through so by 11 am they didn’t care our tickets were a little later. Next time, we’ll buy early tickets and arrive at opening time!
Here’s a view from inside, underneath the famous glass pyramid!
I just took a few photos there of our favorite things, there were so many things to see and we moved as quickly as our tired feet would let us. Also, it’s much cooler to see them in real life and who wants to see a bunch of amateur photos of old stuff?? Here’s a few though!
The OLDEST thing in the museum! This piece was about 9000 years old. That’s incredible! It’s weird… but incredible nonetheless.
One of my favorites, Venus de Milo.
Ok, we were wandering around some paintings by Italian artists and this little dog caught my eye. It looks exactly like our little Shih Tzu, Adderley!! It was super crazy!
Down the big hall of paintings heading toward the Mona Lisa!
If you’ve dreamed of standing in front of the famous Mona Lisa, gazing at its beauty, noticing each brush stroke and truly appreciating the art piece, you may want to rethink your dream.
This is a much more accurate scenario of what it’s like to see the Mona Lisa!! SO many people!
What I wasn’t expecting when walking in here though, was a little twinge of emotion. I have never had the desire to travel or see things like this, nor did I think I would ever be in Europe. The man I married planned to be a music teacher and I assumed we’d be near family or in the surrounding area forever.
As I entered this room though with the most famous painting in the world, a little glimpse of the reality that is my life right now kinda hit me. I was looking at the Mona Lisa. I am so lucky and blessed to be in Europe. I felt so small, grateful, brave, adventurous, and awed at this moment. It was a feeling I did not expect but an interesting one I’ll ponder a bit more. I love the life we’ve built together and I’m excited to see where it takes us! If I can be standing in front of the Mona Lisa, there is literally no end to our possibilities.
Ok, it should be obvious why I took a photo of this next one. If this isn’t an exact replica of my sweet, crazy little Hyrum boy I don’t know what is!! This curly haired little boy wrestling a goose had me smiling so hard and I missed my little boys. Just for 3 seconds though, then I remembered how grateful I was that they were NOT there with me. Little children would HATE the Louvre, just FYI.
We saw many paintings depicting the life of Christ. It was interesting to see different artists interpretations of aspects of his life. Each artist had a unique view of the events, emotions, and elements that were important to them. We really enjoyed taking the time to talk a little about the life of Christ and his followers.
And last but not least, I couldn’t help but take a few pictures of the breastfeeding artwork I found! I’ll be going back to school in the fall to finish my Bachelors Degree in Human Lactation and I’m really looking forward to it. Here’s for all the mama’s out there! This first one, in particular, I thought many of us could relate too…
Wanderings back to the train station
We could have spent several more hours in the Louvre, but our feet, ankles, and legs just couldn’t take much more walking and stairs. What a cool place though! I’m SO glad we did it WITHOUT kids. They seriously would have hated it.
Saint-Vincent de Paul Cathedral
On our walk back to the train station we found the beautiful cathedral of Saint-Vincent de Paul. We went inside and were the only ones there. All the sides of this cathedral were blocked off with rails but you could see behind them and it looked like a bunch of charity donations. Random assorted junk, craft stations, etc. At first I was a little sad that such a beautiful church had been filled with junk, but actually, it’s nice that it’s being used to serve the needs of the people in that area. I’m glad we stopped in!
Our feet were WAY to sore and tired to walk up to the Sacrè Cœur and we needed to head back to the train station anyway, but what a beautiful place! Next time for sure!
We had an awesome 24 hours in Paris together! These little short overnight trips are fun! If you missed our 24 hours in Rome, you can see that one here.
Where should we go next??