2 Days in Paris

Welcome to my travel log of 2 days spent in Paris...

Paris

In July, my friend Jenn of Anthology Home noticed that there were a couple openings for French Larkspur tour through Provence in September. These tours book up very quickly for good reason, but with all the craziness with travel during this time there happened to be an opening.  The focus of these tours in addition to seeing the magical hilltop towns is antique shopping.  Naturally Jenn thought I would make a good plus one for this scenario. Also this was totally on my bucket list.  It was crazy how things fell into place in a matter of hours. I still can't believe my good fortune.  

As we were figuring out our flights to Provence it seemed to only make sense to stop in Paris on the way, since we had to fly through there anyway.  We originally booked our stay for just 24 hours in the city,  but luckily on whim we extended it to 48 hours.  I am so thankful we did that, because we saw a lot less than I thought we would during our first day.

I have been very lucky to visit Paris before and I love it so much. Its not really a bucket list location for me, I could never check it off the list and be okay with never going back.   I could visit it over and over again and its magic never gets old.  I was so excited to show it to Jenn who had never been and I was feeling pretty confident that I was going to show her an amazing time.  Well...Paris humbled me with my tour guide skills the first day.  When we arrived it took us several hours to get out the airport between customs, finding the train to take us into the city, then finding out the train was not running that day, and then getting lost in the airport.  But we made it and the airport sells fresh baguettes, so that helped our moods.  We finally found an uber and made our way to our hotel.

First up on our list was figuring out our French health pass, that verifies we have received an approved Covid vaccine.  These are required to get eat restuarants, go to museums, ride the train, and go to tourist attractions.  We had applied several weeks beforehand, but never received a response, I believe they are backlogged.   I found this blog very helpful.  But this is an ever evolving situation.  We had success in getting a permanent pass by going to the recommended pharamacy and showing our CDC card.  But it looks like that is no longer an option.  This blog appears to be diligent in providing updated information, so it is a good place to do a bit of research. One more note on this topic, the people that we traveled with in Provence never got an official health pass and all restuarants just accpeted their CDC cards as verification.  

MARAIS

The pharmacy we went to was located near the Marais.  I had mapped out some creative shops I wanted to visit in that area.  I had lost sleep over how excited I was to see the ribbon shop, the whimsical antique shop, and the wallpaper store.  Well...we got lost. I got us lost. It really isn't the worst thing in the world to get lost in the Marais, I mean look at what we saw along the way.

Marais

 Every turn had something more charming then the next.  But we wanted to make sure that Jenn got to see all the high points, in the end we didn't find any of my mapped out stores except for Merci.  And Merci is surely worth the hype.  I love how beautifully it combines modern and vintage decor.

Merci Paris

Merci Paris

Merci Paris

Merci Paris

SEINE

After we made our way out of the Marais we did a boat tour of the Seine.  Now this was the opposite of my tour through the Marais, where you wander aimlessly, enjoying yourself but never actually see any big landmarks.  The boat tour on the Seine packs nearly every big landmark in the city in 60 minutes.  It is also a very pleasant way to relax and view everything. A perfect activity for day when you are dealing with jet lag.  This is also when my phone died, but thankfully Jenn took some pictures that she shared with me.

Notre DameParis

 

 

Next on the list was the the Luxembourg gardens, getting a tiny bit lost on the way.  It was the theme for the day.  We only ended up with 10 minutes before it closed, but it was magic.  I treasure that taste of it.  It was also fun to walk through the Saint-Germain-des-Pres area, just like all the areas it is unique, you can tell this where most of the university students spend their time. 

LOUVRE

On our way to back to our hotel we did a nighttime wander by the Louvre.  I highly recommend this, it is so enchanting.  It was perfect end to our day.

Louvrephoto by Jenn

PORTE de VANVES FLEA MARKET

The start of day two was the Porte de Vanves flea market.  MY FAVORITE.   The moment I had been waiting for. We enjoyed ourselves so much.  The treasures are so special and the booth owners are wonderful. Porte de Vanves flea market 

Every interaction we had people were so kind.  We always attempted to speak a little French, but often they would speak English to us, and if not we could negotiate transactions by writing numbers on a piece of paper, hand gestures and smiles.Porte de Vanves flea market

I didn't find tons of booths with linen, but enough.  I purchased a pile of heavy French linen vintage nightgowns to use for their fabric. The fabric is remarkable, and I even tried one on hoping it would fit, but no.   That's okay, I still appreciate them so much.  I also bought some vintage cotton red/pink fabric that is perfect for Christmas, I have already started sewing with it, and I am love it so much.

Porte de VanvesMon amie, Jenn, purchasing paintings for her shop.

Porte de Vanves flea market

 My favorite most unique find, were these sketches/watercolors that were done by a French decorator from the 1940s.  The detail with them is mindblowing.  It is just like everything else the France, beauty and detail are the focus.  Its like things would be beautiful even if they stopped 5 steps before, but they just keep adding detail after detail to their buildings, to their pastries, to their gardens, and in this case sketches of furniture.  Tres belle. This is defintiely the find that surprised me.  I never once thought such a thing existed, but now they are my treasure.  I did pick up enough for me and enough for my shop.

Porte de Vanves flea marketI planned out a gallery wall in my hotel.

Porte de Vanves flea marketI happily hung some up in my home.

Porte de Vanves flea marketThe detail is incredible, this is just a 5 by 6 inch sketch add look at the decor that is drawn on the shade.

Porte de Vanves flea marketthese ones will be for sale on my shop site on October 14 at 7pm CST

 The man who sold me the sketches was so kind, and he threw in a couple as "presents."  This was our first time in France that we got freebies, but it turned into a routine.  When I bought linen the shop owner threw in an extra tea towel as "present."  Even at a gift shop where I bought my son a Mbappe PSG jersey (if you don't know what or who that is, its a soccer thing) and the owner gave me a PSG bag to pass on to my soccer fan.  Everyone seemed happy to see visitors from America, I am guessing we were a bit of a sign that things might be getting back to normal.  

What I regret with our flea market trip is not looking into taking an Uber back to the hotel.  Riding the metro with our bags was something and climbing the metro stairs with our haul was an entirely bigger something.  But we made it.  It was a labor of love for my treasures that I did happily, but there might have been an easier solution. 

Parisa quick bit of styling in my hotel room

After our finds were safely back in our hotel rooms we finally made it to the fancy candle store.  We used an Uber to cut down on the chance of getting lost. The Cire Trudon store was Jenn suggestion.  This special candle maker has been in business since the 1600s, and the scents are exceptional. I was totally there for it. It was really fun to look and smell, smell and look.  Now these candles are quite a splurge.  But if you need to treat youreslf to something, this is a good one.   We really enjoyed speaking to the young woman who helped and she loaded us up of freebies.  Those freebies were very welcome to travel home with me. Lucky for me Jenn did gift me a cire trudon candle in my favorite scent.  I had used awards to cover our hotel stay and she wanted to do something special. I mean I told her she didn't need to, but she didn't have to twist my arm too hard.   The candle makes me very happy, I allow myself to burn it for a special two hours a week, it smells so good and even adds a good amount of scent to the room when it isn't burning.  It reminds me of Paris. And sits in my sewing corner.  I will report back on how long I can make it last.

Cire Trudon

Then we walked to the Tuileries soaking in all the sights we passed, the Opera House, and the Place Vendome for a few.Paris opera house

Vendome Paris

ParisTUILERIES

Tuileries Paris

It was perfect weather and I enjoyed one of our favorite meals sitting in the gardens eating a croque monsieur and crepe for lunch.  

Tuileries ParisTuileries Paris

 MONTMARTRE

Our last must see destintion for our time in Paris was Montmartre. My love for this area goes deep. Its beyond charming, all the shops and cafes nestled into the incline of the hill.  Also this is where the artists of Paris have lived since the mid 1800s, so there is a unique artisitic vibe (all of Paris is artistic, but you will feel it being a bit different here). Montmartre Paris 

It is such a treat to wander through Place du Tertre.  In this square there are several cafes and artisits set up booths to sell their work, and often times there are painting while there.  I have purchased a couple of my favorite art pieces here, they are lovely and I love having the reminder of the special place.  

Montmartre Paris

painting from MontmartreDo you spy what I brought home to my dining room?

We took time to walk through the Sacre-Couer.  This is a must do in my opinion, the view of Paris from its steps is breathtaking.  Also I love the feeling of peace and awe that I get inside a catherdral.  I am not of the catholic faith, but there is so much history seeped into those walls its hard not to feel something emotional when there.  

Sacre Cover

Sacre Couer

Our wonderful day in Paris came to end with eating two desserts in two different cafes in Place du Tertre.  I was full and very happy.

Montmatre

 In case you are wondering, we stayed in the Hyatt Etoile.  It is about a 10-15 minute walk from the Arc Du Triomphe and just a block from the main metro line that goes to the center of Paris.  It is very easy to get around from there. I like riding the metro.  I also like the hotel, it is nice and clean with good service and the best part is that it was free for us.  As a family we don't use a lot of credit cards, but we did sign up for a Hyatt credit card years ago when they were offering two free nights at ANY of their hotels worldwide.  My husband and I used those nights to stay in Paris in the Hyatt Vendome, now that experience would be another whole long blog post.  It was very, very fancy and romantic too :).  We have kept the credit cards because we get free award nights every year at their category 4 or less hotels.  We have had some great trips because of them.  Using them for the Hyatt Etoile is a great value, its not a budget hotel. Since we had not been traveling much we had 4 nights to use, so Jenn and I each got our own room.  This was a good decision because the rooms are very small and even with two twin beds I think the beds would have been touching.  I love Jenn, but with jet lag and waking up at weird times I think we were both very grateful for our space.

PARISThe view from my hotel room, notice the Sacre-Couer in the distance.

I am beyond grateful I got to experience this city again and with a friend that had all the same interests as I did.  Next we were headed to Provence...