Dear Travel Junkies:
Paris is called "the city of love" because each year millions of people come to spend some romantic time in the city then go home to tell their friends and family about the wonderful time they've had. Paris is the "go to" place because it keeps delivering its love promise.
I have to agree with the strong brand the city has created. It is indeed the perfect setting for a romantic getaway with your significant other because its beauty strikes you at every corner with its impressive architecture, iconic monuments, and the subtle combination of art, history and nature.
End your days with a stroll at odd hours of the night and find yourself alone surrounded by magnificent settings and taking in the elegant architecture, cobble stone roads, cafes, small parked vehicles, and the best part is no people or car traffic. Paris has the worst traffic I've ever experienced, which is why taking the Metro would be more efficient and quicker. I loved the Metro system, their trains stops at literally everywhere I wanted to go.
Where I stayed:
My family and I rented at a really cute one bedroom apartment in Pompidou Village close to a fashion district of the Marais. We felt very secured in the very quiet street in the center of the Capital. The apartment was very accessible to the Metro and walking distance to most iconic destinations.
The apartment had everything from a modern kitchen fully equipped with a dishwasher, microwave, fridge, cooktop, coffee maker, teapot, toaster, and everything you need to cook and eat with. As well as a full living room with a leather sofa bed large enough to sleep two persons, one bedroom with a queen size bed and a chest of drawers, and a bathroom with a washing machine, iron and its table. Last but not least, Free Wifi! Who doesn't love free wifi when you are a social butterfly like me - Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Emails, Skype, Twitter, and i-Messaging! (Add or follow me if you haven't, let's be friends ^^)
Staying at a hotel can be very pricey, in my case that is. I have a family of 4 and hotels I've looked up at with inexpensive rooms only accommodates 3 persons or less. Hence, renting an apartment would be the most economical choice for my family and I. If I had to do it again, I'd definitely stay at a apartment again. It's fun and having everything that you can find at home is there for you right when you need it, for instance the washing machine, kitchen and space. If I can remember correctly, we spent a total of 585 € for 5 nights booked with Paris Autrement.
What to do:
Chateau de Versailles, Louis XIV's Palace of Versailles Explore France's royal history at the incomparably grand Versailles palace where you will see the opulent Grand Apartments, stunning chandelier-lit Hall of Mirrors, the Queen's Apartments, and the formal gardens "a la Francaise". If you can get the chance, you must see the magnificent fountain show. (Wear comfortable shoes because the palace is grand and there are lots to see.)
Monet's Garden at Giverny See the gardens that inspired so many of Claude Monet's masterpieces at Giverny. I did not get a chance to see this but this will be on top of my list to do the next time I return to Paris.
Moulin Rouge See the world-renowned showgirls and French Cancan dancers strut their stuff on their historical stage. Also located in the red light district of Paris. Like many tourists, we only took photos with the building but did not watch the show so this will be another thing to do when I return.
Seine River Views of Paris from the water as you cruise along the Seine River. We cruised the famous river with Vedettes Du Pont-Neuf on the top deck allowing the winds to blow through our hair and inhale the scenery.
Eiffel Tower Ride the elevator up to the second floor of the tallest tower in France for spectacular views of Paris laid out before you. Have your camera ready!
Musee du Louvre Don't let the long line intimidate you from stepping foot inside the world's largest museum. You will witness many famous works including the Venus de Milo, the Victory of Samothrace and Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Have your camera ready but don't forget to turn off your flash!
Notre Dame Free entry. Take the time to walk through the well-known churches in the world. The cathedral is a historic Roman Catholic Marian cathedral on the east of the ile de la Cite in the 4th district of Paris. Notre Dame was about 15-20 minutes walking distance from the apartment I stayed in.
Musee d'Orsay See the world's largest collection of Impressionist art from renowned artists like Van Gogh and Monet. Another one to add to my 'to-do' list when I return.
Sacre-Coeur Basilica Free entry. Take the time to walk through the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. You can't miss the majestic building located on top of the Montmartre hill.
Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris standing in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle.
Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Get lost in Paris' prestigious department stores located on Boulevard Haussmann. They have an entire bottom floor dedicated to women's shoe lovers like myself. This is where you will find your haven of shoes.
Saint-Germain-des-Pres Chic classic designs, books and home furnishings. Saint-Germain is synonymous with the Beverly Hills of California.
Avenue des Champs-Elysees and Avenue Montaigne Designer shopping, trendy chain stores. After a day of shopping on the city's hottest fashion junctures. The Champs-Elysees features luxury names like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior and trendy global chains like Zara.
Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli Major chains and trendy boutiques. At metro Les Halles is a monstrous underground mall, "Le Forum des Halles", where you will find global chain stores.
Louvre-Tuileries and Faubourg Saint-Honore Classic designer fashions like Versace, Hermes, and YSL, chic home furnishings, and quality cosmetics.
The Marais Eclectic fashion, unique jewelry, antiques and fine art.
Paris Flea Markets Best for antiques and oddball items, discounted and vintage clothes and shoes at the Saint-Ouen flea market, the city's largest.
If you're there with your significant other, have some fun and grab a padlock with both of your names engraved or written with permanent marker along with a sweet or fun message (optional) and take it to the Lover's Bridge over the Seine River. After locking the love padlock onto the fence, toss the keys into the Seine River - a sign for eternal love. As well as a kiss between the two lovers is a sign of eternal happiness together. If you're wondering if I did this, yes I did. It was fun and something to look forward to when I return Paris to search for the love padlock I left behind. Like many everlasting love hopefuls, I want to believe that as well. ^^
The streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
Downhill from Sacre-Coeur Basilica
Musee du Louvre
Venus de Milo
Acting out their fave works of art
Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa
The Frenchies, many thanks to these two who showed us a good time in Paris ^^
On the second floor of the Eiffel Tower
Waving down to the first floor
On board with Vedettes Du Pont-Neuf cruising down on the Seine River, it was terribly cold and windy (ha-ha!)