Our Honeymoon: One Last Day is Paris

Well, I was joking when I said I’d be recapping our wedding and honeymoon through the rest of the year, but here it is almost halfway through December and I’m still going.  This is it, though!  Our final day in Paris (followed by one delayed flight, one missed flight, four movies, lots of jet lag and my mom holding up a welcome home sign), could not have been more perfect.


We had planned to spend the day at Versailles but upon second thought, I decided I really wanted to see the Père Lachaise Cemetery, where some pretty famous graves are located.  So we made our way there first thing in the morning.  The cemetery itself was really incredible.  It was like a giant version of the cemeteries I’ve been to in New Orleans.  And early in the morning, when it’s still foggy and there’s no one there, it’s extra beautifully chilling.


We strolled about, saw the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Edith Piaf then got on a train to Versaille, which is about a 40-minute ride from Paris.




As soon as we saw the Château we were blown away.  And the closer we got, the more amazing it looked.  All that gold and just how big everything is.  It’s truly stunning!  Our Rick Steves book came in handy as we walked through all the rooms because he provided a good history of Louis XIV’s reign and life at Versailles.


I took a French Revolution class in college so I probably should’ve already known a lot about “The Sun King,” but apparently that class went in one ear and out the other, because everything we read seemed new to me.  And so so interesting!  Guys, he was king for 72 years!!!  I didn’t even know people lived that long back then.  He outlived his eldest son, eldest grandson and eldest great-grandson.  What?!




The grandiosity of Versailles (the room, the grounds, the gardens, oh my!) plus all the interesting facts about Louis XIV made for a pretty mind blowing experience.  It was kind of hard to wrap our heads around the fact that we were inside the actual palace he lived in.  P.S. The Hall of Mirrors was my favorite thing ever.









Oh and before we went inside, I made Joey take a picture of me in my wide-brimmed hat, then I promptly stuffed that thing in the trash.  It was windy, cloudy and it only cost me $7.  Not worth it.  Rest in peace, hat.  I barely knew ye.




After making our way through the main palace, the surrounding gardens, the king’s summer home and Marie Antoinette’s house (so big, so much walking), we caught the train back into Paris.







We realized it was our very last dinner is Paris and we needed to go out with a bang so after some train research (and maybe a short nap…) I found Les Papilles.  The only problem, it was a small place where you had to have a reservation.  Oops!  We decided to show up right when they opened at 7 PM to try and grab a table.  We had to wait 20 minutes to see if there was a no show, but we ended up being one of two lucky couples to grab a table without a reservation.  Thank you Gods of Honeymoon Luck!  And you guys, the dinner we got was amazing!  Definitely the best meal we had in Paris.


It was a pre-determined 4-course meal and I had to hold back the drool as the restaurant owner went through and described all the courses.  First up, a bottle of red wine and some carrot soup.  We were particularly excited that the soup came out in a giant serving bowl that we got to ladle over our individually-garnished bowls.  Bacon, little cubes of bread, shaved carrot, herbs galore and a dollop of sour cream.  Can soup always be served like this, please?



Next up, a copper pot full of crispy chicken, veggies, buttery roasted garlic and penne, all swimming in the prettiest pastel pesto.  Alliteration for the win!  Turns out penne is actually hard to fish out of a pot with a fork, but it was worth the trouble.  Maybe we should’ve just eaten it straight from the pot?



Oh look, a cheese course!  Here’s proof that the French take their cheese seriously.  That’s a chunk of brie, just for me, to eat by itself (and maybe a little bit of balsamic caramelized onions) with a fork.  Can we bring this tradition to America, please?  Those onions were to die for, btw.


And finally, dessert.  Because we hadn’t eaten enough.  Panna Cotta with a caramel foam on top.  I always think desserts with “foam” sound stupid and pretentious but that caramel foam was so dang good that I just can’t knock it.  And Joey’s eyes when he tasted that caramel?  It can only be described as pure joy.


After dinner, we hustled back to our hotel.  *It is not recommended to eat so much food and then walk so fast…*  But we had to make it back in time to steal borrow (with the definite intention of returning!) a blanket from our hotel room and meet our French tour guide!  We took good old Rick Steves’ recommendation and booked a car tour that took us past all the important Parisian sites so we could see them all lit up at night.

Let’s skip over that part where I spent much too long trying to help our tour guide (a charming Frenchman who took us around in his personal car) pronounce my name.  I now go by Doren… or something.  Anyway, though there was a small language barrier, we were able to understand names of places and follow where our guide was pointing.

Though we both agreed that the tour maybe would’ve been more informative towards the beginning of our stay in Paris (by the last night, we had seen most of the big sights), it was still a whole new experience to see everything lit up at night.  Driving in the traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe was simultaneously exciting and terrifying and seeing the opera, Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge were particularly amazing because we hadn’t seen them before.




But the best of all… by far… was the Eiffel Tower.  We parked right in front (or was it behind?) the tower and words cannot describe how beautiful it was.  And then just when I thought I’d seen the most wonderful thing in the world, the clock struck 10 and those lights started to TWINKLE.  This is going to scream Stereotypical Sensitive Female, but I got teary-eyed.  And as much as I wanna blame that show of emotion on the bottle of wine at dinner or the bottle of champagne we opened in front of the tower, it probably had more to do with the fact that I was in Paris, on my honeymoon, with my best friend, staring at the most romantic site I’d ever seen.

P.S. Those lights only twinkle for 10 minutes.  I’m so thankful that our tour guide got us there at the perfect time.




And that was Paris.  In the end, I think a conversation I had with my cousin last month sums it up best.  She took a trip there a few years ago and was explaining that she’s been places that she had built up so much in her mind that she was disappointed when she finally went to them, but Paris was everything she’d imagined.  I couldn’t agree more.  Except I might say Paris was even better than I had imagined.

Our Honeymoon: Paris Part II

IF I was the type of person who used the term “a hot minute,” then I would certainly use it to describe how long it’s been since I wrote a honeymoon recap post.  Unfortunately (but probably fortunately), I’m not, so let’s just say it’s been a kind of too long amount of time and I’m ready to get back at it.

By Day 3, we’d definitely gotten a hang of the whole “Wanna-See-Everything-But-Also-Wanna-Relax” thing and found ourselves somewhere in the middle of both of those things.  Which is pretty perfect if you ask me.  And by Day 3, we’d also realized that the whole “Happen-Upon-An-Amazing-Restaurant” thing was not working so we took to doing some research and found ourselves just a few block from our hotel for breakfast at Laduree.  If I’m being honest, a picture of the cutest pastel table setting ever was really all the convincing I needed.


It was just as cute (if not more so!) in person.  Once there, we feasted on… bread!  I bet you didn’t see that coming.  But it was French Toast, wait no, it was Pain Perdu so that counts as changing it up, right?  Also, let me tell you a story about how the menu mentioned Chantilly and my food came out with a cute little foil wrapped log of what I assumed was Chantilly and I was therefore eating chunks of it on top my bread only later to have Joey explain to me that it was just butter.  Part of me was nauseated and the other part of me was wondering when I could eat some more chunks of that amazing butter.


We could’ve spent the rest of the day museum hopping or whatever you’re “supposed” to do in Paris, but no.  We didn’t do that.  We took ourselves on a self-guided Hemingway walking tour.  As in, we walked past the hotel he and Hadley stayed in on their first night in Paris, we strolled by the long line of bouquinistes that he used to dig through for books, we wandered around Shakespeare and Company, saw the market on Rue Mouffetard and had a mid-day drink at La Closerie des Lilas.  After we grabbed a spot at the bar, I realized there was a little Hemingway plaque right where I was sitting!







Our last stop was Luxembourg Gardens.  It was SO BEAUTIFUL.  It was clean, quiet, filled with Parisians relaxing with the news paper and it was in full bloom.  Right out of a picture, I’m telling you.  I took the opportunity to grab a crepe at a stand inside the gardens and after a small mix up, ended up with a chocolate ice cream cone instead of a hot chocolate.  I mean, I’m usually not one to complain about ice cream but it was cold, I was in a dress and I was freezing.  Ice cream didn’t have quite the warming effect I was hoping for but we did get a good laugh out of the mix up 🙂








Around sunset, we took a river cruise.  It was, in a word, perfect.  I mean, it was cold, we could barely understand the tour guide and the couple opposite us was unknowingly photobombing every photo we took, but gosh is Paris pretty at sunset.  We passed under some of the most breathtaking bridges, saw the Eiffel Tower (for the first time!), watched river side dance lessons and loved every single second.






And just when I thought Day 3 couldn’t be beat, Day 4 came along (and Day 5 after that, but that’s a post for another day).  We started with breakfast on the Champs Elysees (Joey was totally awake…) then took a quick walk down a ways and back to see the important sites, like the world’s busiest McDonald’s (or is it the most money-generating McDonald’s?) and a three-story Louis Vuitton.  Or more importantly, Le Grand Palais (and matching Petit Palais) and the Arc de Triomphe.








Everything about the Arc is incredible.  The climb to get to the top, the views once you’re there and all the traffic moving in a circle around it.  I think Joey would’ve been content to just stay up there and watch the cars for hours.  But alas, we had bigger and better things to see… The Eiffel Tower!





Brace yourself, it’s about to get real cliche up in here.

We walked through a nearby neighborhood and put together a little picnic lunch.  Another American couple kept ending up at the same places we were at and I thought we should maybe be friends but then I decided to just let them have their vacation to themselves (though they did end picnic-ing a couple feet from us!).  Then we feasted on hunks of baguette*, sausage, real French cheese, fresh figs and macarons.  Oh and an entire bottle of wine, naturally!

*In France, it’s totally custom to be walking around with one (but usually more!) fresh baguette(s) under your arm so I was pretty excited to “do as the French do,” and after doing so, I can honestly say I have no idea how the French do that without digging into the bread.  It took so much self-control not to eat that baguette while we walked over to the tower.





Post-picnic picture-taking frenzy ensued after all the food (and wine) was gone.  We watched so.many.people. spend so.much.time. trying to get the perfect “jump picture” in front of the Eiffel Tower so I was majorly confused when I just used the burst feature on my iPhone to capture a perfect one of Joey in one try.




I might be obsessed with taking reflection pictures in Joey’s sunglasses…


Sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower was SO surreal.  You don’t expect a giant metal structure to be so beautiful or romantic.  It’s hard to describe, so you should probably just see it for yourself 🙂  After a brief nap in the grass (see above regarding an entire bottle of wine), we ventured up to the tower to brave another set of stairs — 710 stairs to be exact!  We bypassed the elevator line and walked up to the second floor, stopping to stand over the glass floor on the first floor (Joey was NOT a fan!).






At this point, we planned on buying tickets to the very top, but for some reason the ticket window was closed and we could not for the life of us figure out where else to go to buy tickets so we gave up.  I’m usually the one who’s terrified by heights but I was all “had a bottle of wine at lunch and am feeling brave” and Joey ended up being the one who felt kind of freaked out about going any higher.  So we just enjoyed our second floor view then took the elevator back down.


No regrets from me.  That view was BREATHTAKING.

Next up, our very last day in Paris.  Which includes Edith Piaf’s grave, a trip to Versailles, the sad end to my wide brimmed hat, the most amazing dinner ever and that time I cried when I saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night (I’m so not kidding).  Wishing you all a Happy Friday and a Wonderful Weekend!