I love that Brussels and Paris are so easy for us to get to from London and train travel can be quite romantic, especially through the fields of the French countryside. When we were brainstorming the where for our babymoon, we took into consideration two factors. The first being somewhere we had been many times before and loved, so that if I didn’t have the energy to discover new corners, we wouldn’t feel as if we missed out. And the second being somewhere that, if she came early, it’d be quite all right since we were traveling so late in my pregnancy. Paris checked off both of those boxes. Actually, the latter might have been a little wishful thinking.
We hadn’t been back to Brussels since we moved away three years ago, which felt wonderfully nostalgic to revisit during this next phase. The two cities seemed a perfect getaway for our last trip as just the two of us. We spent all our time catching up and re-discovering our old hoods in Brussels with friends, so I only have Instagrams from my phone to show for it: a..few..right..here. But, Paris. Paris, we wandered slowly and got back into our routine of travel photography. Check it out below along with our favorite spots because we found some gems I want to share!
With baby coming any day now, it’s all we can do to take our minds off the waiting. We’re constantly dreaming of our family trips. It’ll be interesting to see all of this easy European travel through her eyes – the things she’ll take for granted and the ways she’ll teach us to appreciate it in a new light. She’s already been to five countries, just in utero! England, Spain, America, Belgium, and France. Lucky babe.
What to see. This is the easy part for just being in Paris is visual smorgasbord. Of course, if this is one of your first times, you’ll want to see the main tourist sites because they are written in books for a reason. But, if you’re like us, and quiet back streets make you feel more connected to the city, opt for the local’s favorite lists. Take in the city by way of small, temporary exhibitions and ask your hotel or BnB concierge for recommendations in your arrondissement. Grab a seat at just about any café for world class people watching. Observe the culture, learn a couple new words, and order what the locals are ordering. A couple noteworthy cafés in prime corner spots we love are – Le Nemours near the Tuileries and Brasserie de l’Isle Saint Louis.
What to eat. As we were limited on energy and Paris has no shortage of amazing patios, we spent most of our days café hopping. As we quickly learned, lots of chances to rest my feet in between walks was paramount. Just off l’Isle de Saint Louis is a secret little obvious spot called L’Ébouillante. We stopped here for moroccan tea and soaked in the sun. It felt like the perfect patio for a glass of wine with the insiders. Our lunch and dinner list were equally charming..
What to do. Stroll along Jardin des Tuileries – pack a picnic of cheese and bubbles, kick a ball around, sunbathe in the many lounge chairs on offer. The Tuileries Garden is a lovely escape in the center of the city. Or escape the crowds at Sacre Coeur to take photos in front of le mur des je t’aime. It’s cheesy and usually packed, but yet fascinating to see people of all different cultures excitedly pointing out “I love you” in their languages. We actually love the little garden area just past the wall. It’s secluded with benches and a great spot to take in the Parisian architecture around you.
Where to stay. We booked our getaway at Hotel Original. The rooms are uniquely designed by theme, giving an air of Alice in Wonderland whimsy. Ours had an elegant, clawfoot bathtub at the foot of our bed. They reached out beforehand to see if they could help us book dinner reservations and accommodate in any special way. As it was also our five year anniversary trip, Justin had them arrange flowers waiting for me in our room. I still can’t get over red peonies. So pretty. They recommended and booked all of our evening dinners, which was particularly helpful as we were traveling over a holiday one night and France is stellar at closing down on holidays, also in French and a different timezone from London.
What are some of your favorite hidden Parisian gems?