Paris Diaries 3: La Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame Cathedral

The Eiffel Tower is definitely a must see when you go to Paris. Constructed in 1887 to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution, this iron lattice tower is the city's centerpiece and one of the tallest buildings in the world.

We were so in awe of the Eiffel Tower that we visited it not only once, but twice! We walked all the way from Trocadéro to Champ de Mars and to École Militaire just to get the best views of the Eiffel Tower from all its glorious angles. Such a sight to behold.

she said: You have to try the delicious Nutella crepes at the Creperie by the foot of the Eiffel Tower!

Another must visit is the Notre Dame de Paris, a Catholic cathedral considered as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Located in Ile de la Cité, an island in the middle of the River Seine, this historical monument is decorated by beautiful stained glass windows, many of which date back to the 13th century when the cathedral was built.

The Seine River

Notre Dame Cathedral

The South Rose Window is dedicated to the New Testament. It has eighty four panes, divided into four circles.

Appearances of the Risen Christ.

She Said: There are several weekday masses and Sunday services. You may check the website for the schedule. All services are in French except for the 11:30am mass on Sundays where part of the readings and prayers are in English.

Don't miss the souvenir shops along side the Seine River. Lots of interesting finds - vintage books, magazines, & postcards.

Then cap off your visit with some delicious choux à la crème (cream puffs) at Odette on Rue Galande, just a short walk from the cathedral.

Rue Galande is a charming little street lined with cafes and restaurants.

Odette Paris
77 Rue Galande
75005 Paris, France

You can have these bite-sized gems either to go or sit at a table upstairs where you'll have a view of Notre Dame. You must try the mixed berries and salted caramel flavors!

Our time in Paris was short but sweet and we’re happy we got to visit most of the major attractions as well as explore the city’s backstreets. We’d love to get the chance to visit again soon!We fell in love with French pastries, and we can’t wait to have more. 

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Paris Diaries 2: The Mona Lisa Up Close and Hanging Out with the Locals at Jardin des Tuileries

With millions of visitors every year, Musée du Louvre is easily the world's most visited museum. Tons of people flock to see the Mona Lisa in person, and appreciate thousands of other sculptures and paintings. It's always advisable to purchase tickets in advance so you can avoid the long lines, or even opt to have a guided tour. But since we didn't have enough time to plan out our itinerary for every single day of our trip, we decided to go at our own pace instead, based on a shortlist of places we wanted to visit.

The Louvre Pyramid

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Once we got off the bus, we were in awe of the beautiful architecture and headed straight toward the Louvre Pyramid for our photo ops. It was a pretty sunny day, and there were lots of people lined up waiting to enter the famous tourist destination. Luckily, we found a way to avoid the crowds.

She Said: The best way to enter the museum is through Carrousel du Louvre- the underground shopping mall. Across the street from the Pyramid, look for the La France Victorieuse statue. Right behind this statue is a stairwell that will lead you down to the mall and towards the alternate line to enter the museum.

she said: It's a must to carry a mobile device when you're traveling so you can stay connected in case of an emergency. We purchased local prepaid SIM cards for our mobile phones which are available at the Relay Boutique at Charles de Gaulle airport (arrival area) and at most convenience stores around the city.

 La France Victorieuse statue and the entrance to Carrousel du Louvre

Carrousel du Louvre

Musée du Louvre Main Reception & Information Area - audio guides are available in 12 languages, as well as maps to help you navigate your way around the museum.

 The Louvre is a historic monument and one of the largest museums in the world. It was impossible for us to see everything in a day, because the place is just so massive and overwhelming.
 The most famous painting in the museum is the Mona Lisa. It is so popular that there is always a crowd around it, and you'll have to inch your way to the front so you can get a closer look and a good photo.

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

A view of the courtyard - there are hundreds of windows that provide unique views of the areas surrounding the museum.

After a couple of hours, we decided to end our museum tour and took the exit leading to Rue de Rivoli on a quest to find Angelina Tearoom & Patisserie. The street is lined with lots of souvenir shops. After asking around a bit, we finally found the place. We didn't have to wait long to be seated, and soon, we were ushered to a little table in the main room. 

Angelina Salon de Thé~Restaurant~Boutique
226 Rue de Rivoli
75001, Paris

Built in 1903, Angelina on Rue de Rivoli was the first and original tearoom that became a must-not-miss venue for French personalities such as Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust.
Tarte Framboise Pistache

Angelina's famous Chocolat L' Africain is decadent, delicious and super photogenic, you almost forget the price tag - about 8 or Php 480 for one serving.

After finishing up our meal, we crossed the street to explore Jardin des Tuileries, a public park landscaped in French formal garden style. It was actually packed with more locals than tourists - a sea of people, all casually hanging out on the now iconic green metal chairs on a bright, cloudless day and soaking in the sun. Just being there and spending time with the locals gives you this wonderful, exhilarating feeling. It is an experience that is not to be missed!

Please stay tuned for the last part of our Paris Diaries: The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Inspiration Board: Rain Check

I love the rainy weather - I had been wishing for drizzly days the whole summer long. Listening to music with rain in the background makes it sound so much better, and naps seem all the more inviting with the cool breeze that the weather brings. But being caught out in the rain unprepared or inappropriately dressed is just the worst, so here is my idea of a rainy day outfit. (I mean, how cute is that umbrella?!)

A.P.C. Cropped Striped Cotton T-Shirt, Kate Spade Rain Check Umbrella, ASOS Clear Rain Trench, 7 For All Mankind Skinny Jeans, JUJU Wellies, Alexander Wang Rocco Light Blue Satchel 

Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday, and don't forget your umbrella just in case! 


Paris Diaries: Walking through the Montmartre and Le Marais Districts

We are so happy to share with all of you the travel diaries of our amazing trip to Paris just last week. We are both going through some serious vacation withdrawal, since everything about our trip is still so fresh in our minds. 

Both Bianca and I are trying to get back to the regular groove of school and housework and writing for our blog, but on most days we usually just end up daydreaming about the long walks we took around the Eiffel Tower trying to decide which angle had the best view, the charming cafes on every corner, the beautiful ornate buildings, and the way the sun didn't set until almost 10:00pm, rightfully proving that Paris is indeed the City of Light.

We visited some of the most incredible places. Every street in Paris is photogenic and you won't be able to resist taking snapshots every chance you get. It was our first trip to Paris, and to Europe, and we'll be doing a couple of posts about some of our favorite places and things to do.

Where we stayed

We stayed in an apartment in the Montmartre district which we found through AirBNB.

 We wanted to stay in a quiet residential area that had easy access to a bus stop with nearby shops and cafes. We also wanted to stay in a place that had a functioning kitchen that would allow us to prepare simple meals, mostly for breakfast so we could load up before a full day of sightseeing and walking. An important consideration was that the apartment building must have an elevator. Most Paris apartments are accessible by stairs only, so if your apartment is on a higher floor then you might have a hard time lugging up your suitcase.

I was initially scared of renting an apartment, preferring that sense of security you get when staying in a hotel. But everything turned out perfect and afforded us to stay in Paris for a whole week at half the cost.

For our first day in Paris, we decided to explore our area first thing in the morning, to check out all the nearby cafes, markets, boulangeries, and fromageries to stock up our kitchen.

 Wearing outfits by Bayo Clothing

We had so much fun familiarizing ourselves with our neighborhood and we were happy that there was a supermarket, a pharmacy and a newspaper stand just right around the corner. We became regulars at the boulangerie across the street where we would buy hot out of the oven baguettes and my favorite fresh apricot tarts for breakfast every morning, as well as some basic grocery items at the Carrefour supermarket nearby.

 We put together a quick lunch from our happy purchases back at the apartment and after a short rest, we were off to explore Le Marais, a charming neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture.

For this entire trip, we chose to go around the city by bus. We found taking the taxi to be quite expensive so we reserved our cab rides from the airport to the apartment and back. Bus stops can be found all around the city and most are equipped with an electronic information system that tell you what time to expect the next bus. Going around by bus is also more scenic and made it possible for us to see more of Paris as compared to using the Metro. Bus routes and neighborhood maps are displayed at each station and tickets can be purchased in advance at any Tabac- a cigarette/newspaper stand which also sells postage stamps, lottery tickets and sometimes coffee.

Traveler Tip

If you are disabled or an elderly traveler, the bus may be a better option for you. The buses we took were relatively clean, comfortable and accessible if you are using a wheelchair.

Coming up next - Part 2: The Louvre and Tuileries Garden

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