Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Walkin' in a Paris wonderland

As soon as my mom booked her ticket to come visit me in France, I knew I HAD to go meet her in Paris. One does not simply skip an opportunity to visit Paris. We were only there for about 24 hours, but it was so worth it.

My typical method of choosing a hotel is reading the Tripadvisor reviews and finding the cheapest one that doesn't look like a nightmare. My mom had slightly higher standards, so we got to stay in a pretty nice area. The St. James Albany was right across the street from the Tuileries gardens.

You know I've been away from Paris for too long when I get excited by things like the rooftops from our window.

The Tuileries, besides being the historic location of me and David's first kiss, are ideally located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. We didn't quite have time to explore the Louvre, but we did have time to eat lunch there and take some pictures. Yes, the classy Louvre does have a food court. And that food court, ironically, even has a Mcdonald's. 

It ended up being a longer walk than planned through the Tuileries, but I can't say it wasn't enjoyable.

That's the Arc de Triomphe hiding behind the ferris wheel!

We eventually ended up at the Musée de l'Orangerie, which we visited at my mom's request. There are a LOT of art museums in Paris, and this is one that I'd never visited. On the first floor you can walk through 2 circular rooms filled with Monet paintings. The rest of the museum wasn't my cup of tea, but seeing these in person was worth visiting in our opinion.

By the time we left the museum it was already dark, which was perfect timing to visit the lights and Christmas market along the Champs-Elysées. Nothing I've ever experienced is as magical as European Christmas markets. There's shopping, hot chocolate galore, Christmas music, beautiful decorations... and in this case you could even catch a glimpse of the sparkling Eiffel Tower in the distance.

We walked through Place de la Concorde before making it to the Champs-Elysées.

Our last stop of the day was similarly Christmas-themed. By past experience I knew it would be a shame to miss out on seeing the department store Galeries Lafayette decorated for Christmas.

Besides the beautiful tree inside, Galeries Lafayette is famous for their Christmas window displays. 

After dinner at a French café that was pretty populated with Americans since we ate at 6 instead of 8 like the French tend to do, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the continuation of the sightseeing marathon.

Even metro signs make me miss Paris!! #thefirststepisadmittingyouhaveaproblem
Thanks to Paris-themed blogs and Instagram accounts that I follow, I'd seen pictures of a unique street, Rue Crémieux, that I wanted to check out. Even when I've been to a place a million times before, I try to see something new!

Rue Crémieux is a very short walk from the Gare de Lyon. Even I could find it, and maps are not my friend. Its 'claim to fame' is being one of the only colorful streets in Haussmanian Paris.

They look like little dollhouses! It was all so cute we had to take a selfie. Shoutout to the new bright red lipstick my mom brought me.

Since it was on the way, we also made a stop at Notre Dame before catching our train out of Paris. Don't you just have to stop at Notre Dame? It might be cliché but I don't care. When you only have 1 day in Paris, I feel like you have to stop at some of the classics.

We got off the metro at the Hotel de Ville, which I love for nostalgia reasons. During my study abroad in 2010, I got off at this stop every day to go to class. 

Notre Dame is just across the Seine.

By lunch time, we had to say au revoir to Paris and head east to Strasbourg. Thankfully, our French mother-daughter adventures were just beginning.

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