Hello from Abroad

by Sarah on April 23, 2014 · 14 comments

I’m here for a quick Euro-trip update! I did not like Paris… 
I LOVED Paris. It is now one of my favorite cities. After a direct red eye flight, we made our way to our hotel, Jacques de Molay in le Marais via the train to shower and get going right away. I cat napped for about 3 hours on the flight but was energized to see the city. Our first stop was the church of Notre Dame. 

The weather was a perfect 68 and sunny. The line to get inside was not as great. We opted to just view it from the outside and continue with our walking tour and lunch. We stopped at one of the oldest cafes in le Marais recommended to us by a friend and Rick Steves who might as well be my friend at this point. I now know to listen to every word he says.
Accordingto my Jawbone UP, we walked 38,000 steps our first day, all the way from the Bastille to the Eiffel Tower. My feet were tired after we got there so we took a nap underneath the tower after a glass of wine. The line was ridiculously long to go up so again, we opted to view it from below. Reservations can be made n advance but even two months out, they were sold out! The following day we spent going to the Louvre and exploring some of the less touristy neighborhoods. 

We did not buy the museum pass like Rick Steves suggested and had to wait in a small line at the Louvre that took about 20 minutes. Once inside, I was blown away by the size of the museum and all the incredible works of art. I overheard a “tour guide” tell a group this woman was a “pirate” who flashed her boobs to be like, “Yeah, you just got conquered by a woman!”… I quickly opened up my Rick Steve 2014 Paris guide to find this to be an obvious complete lie but got a chuckle at the potential of teenage girls thinking this story to be true. 

We met up with two of our friends who were in Paris as well to go out to a nice dinner at a place I saw on an episode of No Reservations called Le Compoir du Relais in the 6th Arrondissment. We had to wait in a line again for about 20 minutes and finally sat around 10:20pm which felt like 6pm. I ordered the scallops and was in heaven. We stopped by a cocktail club after dinner in St Germain for a fruity treat but headed home around midnight. We woke up around 9am the next day, damn jet lag, to head out to Versaille. Rick Steves told us to go early but we didn’t listen… he also said to buy the damn museum pass which we did not do. By the time we figured out how to get there, it was 12:30 and the line to get inside the palace was 2 hours long!  

We waited it out, which ended up being 90 minutes, and was glad we did despite it being the longest line I’ve ever waited in. To see the last home of Marie Antoinette was magical, kind of sad, beautiful and overwhelming. The extravagant display of wealth was crazy to witness first hand. These people knew how to spend money and it’s not suprising that their people at the time were not happy. To build, the palace cost half of France’s entire GNP for one year. Could you imagine Obama building a vacation home that cost that much?!The gardens were equally as impressive and beautiful. Both are worth the day trip. We did not do any tours, and were out of Versaille by 4:30, getting back to Paris by 5 to see a few last sights like the Arc de Triumph which was my last opportunity to climb something, but I declined after seeing the line. I know I’ll be back when I have kids and can climb it then when I buy the damn museum pass. 
So what have or haven’t I been eating? We went to the Brittany Cafe in le Marais knowin for having the best crepes in Paris. I ordered a savory crepe with blue cheese, pine nuts, grapes and salad on top with a little honey. It was a buckwheat crepe and fantastic. We ordered a sweet crepe as well for dessert with grilled bananas, caramel and vanilla ice cream. They are known for using organic ingredients, raw cheese and having gluten free options. 

We went to Bistro Paul Bert after seeing it on an episode of the Layover with Anthony Bourdain. This place was AMAZING. The white asparagus with pecorina romano to start was my favorite veggie side in all of Paris. I got a white fish dish and roomie got a heart attack special, steak with a peppercorn cream sauce he can’t stop raving about, but mine came with dessert that was 9 euros… I couldn’t imagine a macaron costing 9 Euro until I saw the monster. It was my favorite dessert of the visit. It was as big as my palm. 

Being a seafood lover, we also tried oysters at a cute seafood place in the 11th arrondisment. They were really good and priced depending on the size. For 6 oysters, it was between 6 and 9 Euros for 3 which is expensive compared to home when you factor in the exchange rate. We also tried escargot, which I’m glad I did for the experience but I’m not running home to try it again.

We also went to a restaurant called Chez Janou. We did not have a reservation and when we showed up at 8:30 they acted like we would not be sat for hours… 5 minutes later we were seated outdoors by friendly sisters from the US. I liked what I saw on the table next to me so I ordered the sea bass with vegetables. The mussel appetizer was our favorite part of the meal as my seabass was barely cooked. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be raw but afraid of offending them, I ate it and lived to blog about it. For dessert we tried their famous chocolate mousse which did not dissapoint.  We left Paris on Sunday morning for two night in Lake Como. Sadly, I left my backpack on the train that had my nice camera, make up bag, toilettries, black rain jacket, glasses, snacks, mini videocamera, jewelry, clutch and a camera charger to use for one that I had in my bag. I had a freak out attack. I’m OK now that I have contact solution and a little bit of makeup. If you live in Zurich, maybe you can go to the lost and found and get yourself some new swag. It seems like a lost cause to try and track it down according the the train station in Milan. Lesson learned the hard way.

I hear horror stories are part of travelling and now I can be a part of the club. Have you lost a bag in Europe and gotten it back? 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork April 23, 2014 at 6:55 am

So much fun! We were there last summer and it’s so nice to see some of the sights! We also did SOOO much walking. In fact, we both ended up losing about five pounds (unintentionally) during our two week Europe trip.
I’m so sorry about your bag. :-( I would have totally freaked out as well. We didn’t lose anything, but we had a couple of run-ins with some aggressive gypsies that tried to get us to give them money. Two of them surrounded my husband and wouldn’t leave us alone for a little bit and it was scary. We only encountered this in Paris.


2 teilzeitDAU April 23, 2014 at 6:59 am

oh no, so sorry about your bag! you could report it to the lost&found office in Zurich, cf. http://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/lost-property-service.html
i think you’ll just need to enter your train number, date, etc. plus a description of your things, obviously.

might get kinda pricey though to reclaim the items (if they even find em) :(


3 Kristi April 23, 2014 at 11:33 am

What shoes have you been wearing? I leave for Europe in 10 days and I’m kind of freaking out about the shoe situation.


4 Ashley @ A Lady Goes West April 23, 2014 at 11:43 am

Napping under the Eiffel Tower sounds like a pretty nice little afternoon.


5 Emily April 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

We went to Chez Janou and they laughed at my husband for how much mousse he took, they tried to take the bowl away too fast. It was delicious! I love Italy even more than Paris, enjoy!


6 Marielle April 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Ahh Paris is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go! Those pictures look amazing, sounds like a great trip- besides the backpack thing, sorry! :(


7 Elise April 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm

So sorry about your bag! If you lost it in Zurich, I don’t think it’s a lost cause. Swiss people are very honest and will report a lost bag. It’d be different in other European countries, but usually Swiss people don’t steal anything and always play by the rules.


8 Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment April 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

So sorry about your bag! I have nightmares about that too. Paris pics are awesome! Glad you are having a good trip.


9 Livi April 23, 2014 at 9:05 pm

So sorry you lost your bag! Paris is so amazing, and I can’t wait to go back!! I can’t wait to hear about Lake Como!!


10 Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition April 24, 2014 at 1:10 am

That stinks about your bag! I’m a New Yorker living in Paris — let me know if you want to connect :)

Paris is a magical city. Have you tried Velib yet?? My favorite part!



11 Polly @ Tasty Food Project April 24, 2014 at 3:42 am

Sorry to hear about your bag! I’ve never been to Paris before but it’s definitely on my bucket list! It looks so beautiful!


12 Caroline April 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I loved Paris and your photos make me want to go back!


13 Katie Morse - The Project Neon May 2, 2014 at 12:57 am

Wow Sarah!!! It looks like you had an amazing time!!! All that wonderful food and the beautiful architecture and museums. What a treat! I have only ever been to Spain, and I’ve been there a handful of times. I would LOVE to visit other parts of Europe. I just love how much culture there is everywhere. Beautiful.


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