day 77 // thur march 29
Oh my, what a day! Wade and I booked a train out of Köln for Paris leaving at 12:42PM. We knew we wanted to get on the 11:53AM train from Bonn to Köln. That gave us 25 minutes to switch trains—totally doable. We were running a bit behind that morning and walked/jogged very fast to be sure we didn't miss the first train to Köln. We made it and quote Wade, "the hardest part of the journey is over." Well, he was wrong. Our train stopped... just stopped. When we heard the long German announcement come over the loudspeaker we got very nervous, but we happened to sitting by a nice lady that translated the message. Turns out she was also trying to catch the 12:42PM train to Paris. Apparently there were some issues with something or someone on the tracks near the main station which meant we weren't moving in the foreseeable future. To keep this brief, after about 20 minutes of waiting, running around (literally), and stress we decided we had to take a cab in order to MAYBE catch our train. We split the fare with 3 other people also trying to get to the main station. We got to Köln HBF and had sadly had missed our train. We went to the service desk and asked for advice on what to do. We had pre-bought tickets (that weren't cheap) for that specific train to Paris. The German train line said we had to talk to the French train line, and vice versa. Very coooool. Essentially no one could help us and the verdict was that they recommended buying all new (very expensive) train tickets. Luckily the nice French lady we met on the first train, Marie, encouraged us to take a risk and get on the later train to Paris at 4:20PM with her. She said we could most likely, fingers crossed, convince the train conductor that we DID have tickets but missed our train do to a problem on the German train line. We took the risk and it paid off! Marie stayed with us the entire journey to Paris and talked to the train conductors explaining why we had a different ticket. She was a total God send or I probably would've given up. While waiting on our new train in Köln we had coffee and pie with our friend Marie. We also walked down the river and chatted. She was very kind!
After all of that, we finally made to Paris!! Ris and Jarrod were waiting for us at the platform. I almost cried, no lie. It was so good to see friends, especially a friend that I shared this journey with before. We made so many memories, now we were getting to share those memories with our spouses. So surreal.
We left the train station and took the metro back to our Airbnb. We caught up for a little bit, but by this point we had all had a very long day of travel (even more so for them, talk about jet lag). We found a cafe near our apartment and had a nice meal. We called it a night because we knew the next day would be packed to the brim.
day 78 // fri march 30
We decided to divide and conquer this morning. Jarrod and Wade really wanted to go to the Louvre while Ris and I had already been and decided we would rather explore a different area of Paris. Ris had done a ton of research and planning so I let her take the lead. The boys headed out to see some art and us girls for some shopping. First Ris and I want to the Tuileries Garden. It wasn’t quite in bloom yet, nonetheless still pretty! We then wandered through a few bookstores and ended up at a macaron shop. We had two on our list for the day—I’ll compare them later, don’t worry.
You guys, I had chips and salsa! I die. Marissa found this found taco joint on a blog and knew we had to try it out. It didn't disappoint. Maybe that was because I have haven't had any semblance of Mexican food in several months, or maybe it was just that yummy. One may never know. Then we wandered through this cute neighborhood called Haut Marais. I highly recommend it, if even only to window shop. It's supposedly very up-and-coming. We found such great storefronts and tiny little shops. One of my favorites was a gallery called Slow Galerie, go figure. It was filled to the brim with artists' prints. Even after our tacos we passed a bakery that we just couldn't say no to. We were both itching for a real croissant. I had the best pastry with crispy almonds on top. Makes my mouth water thinking about it. After our lives had been forever changed, we checked out this cool department store called Mercí that was like a mix of World Market, Urban Outfitters and Pottery Barn.
We eventually met back up with the boys. From here we headed toward the Notre Dame. We weren't even really thinking about it being Good Friday. We got in line to go inside and it turned out they were actually having a service start soon. We decided to stay for about 15-20 minutes to hear the choir sing and see the start of the service. What a cool experience, definitely the right time at the right place.
We eventually strolled our way to our dinner spot. It was also in a very cute area of town. The restaurant was called Season. Cool vibes with decent food.
Some of my favorite stops in Paris:
- Tuileries Garden - garden, duh - 113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
- Ladurée - my fav macarons - 14 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris, France
- Pierre Hermé - second fave macarons - 4 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris, France
- Candelaria - cool taco joint - 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris, France
- Mercí - really rad department store - 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France
- Kilo Shop - pay by the kilo thrift store - 69-71 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris, France
- Slow Galerie - artist shop - 5 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, France
- Season - cool dinner spot - 1 Rue Charles-François Dupuis, 75003 Paris, France
- Boulangerie 59 RdS - amazing bakery - 59 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris, France
Now for the burning question: Ladurée vs. Pierre Hermé
I loved Ladurée! The macarons were SO soft and airy. The Pierre Hermé macarons were good, don't get me wrong, but the Ladurée ones won hands down. The flavor choices could also play a roll in my decision, but I am still sticking with Ladurée. I got 3 different ones at Ladurée—a strawberry poppy, gingerbread, and lemon. At Pierre Hermé I got Ispahan (rose, litchi, and raspberry) and a classic chocolate. Jarrod said the pecan one from PH was to die for. He said it was like the filling of a Texas pecan pie, yes please. That will have to be for next time! So if you only had time (or money because they add up quick) for one macron shop, I vote Ladurée. Not to mention the store is so cute and their neon sign was pretty great.
day 79 // sat march 31
Saturday we had about half a day in Paris before our train left for Strasbourg. We knew we wanted to go have a photoshoot at the eiffel tower. But first we needed to drop off our bags near the train station. We took the metro what seemed like forever to Paris Est and dropped our bags at a hotel. We used a service called Nanny Bag. You pay per bag to store your luggage until your train or plane leaves. I think it was 30euro for all of us. We then headed to the tower. I will say I was kind of bummed because there was so much construction around it. When Ris and I were there last you could walk underneath the tower, but this time they had everything blocked off. Wade said it was smaller than he had imagined it. I think it's hard to see or feel the scale without being super close to it. Oh well. Any way, we hung out at the field and took tons of photos. As were about to leave I asked a nice older gentleman to take a group photo of us on my phone. He killed it honestly. I love when you find that tourist that takes the best photo. He even did the photography stance, you know the one I'm talking about! Proof is in the pudding above.
After our photoshoot we were on a mission to find this store Marissa and I had gone to the day before. I found this black jumpsuit I really wanted. (I don't know why I just didn't get it the previous day. whatever, maybe I'm indecisive). We walked up and down the street until finally we spotted the store. I tried on a few things and decided it was a go! After our little shopping excursion we found a cool burger place on one of the back streets.
*side note: burger joints are SO popular in Europe right now. After talking with a few German friends it seems they are popping up like wildfire. I feel like this trend hit a few years back in the states. It's funny to see how food trends migrate.
It was probably one of the best burgers I've had while in Europe. You got handed a menu and you got to build your own burger. There were options for avocado, caramelized onion, 4 different cheese, etc. I had to double check to be sure that all of this wasn't additional. I feel like at most places in America avocado and grilled onions are like $4 extra. Not here. Needless to say it was really yummy—served with fries and aioli (my fav). We eventually wondered to the train station and loaded up. It was just a short ride to Strasbourg.
Paris, you were fun. I loved exploring the cool little neighborhoods and shops. I felt inspired and oh so full of amazing sweets. This go-round in Paris felt different in a good way. We experience things differently the older we get. We also appreciate things more, or at least I do.