Recently we found ourselves with a 24 hour layover in Paris.
What to do? What to do? Obviously, you can't do it all so I
quickly came to terms with the reality that I wouldn't be able
to see everything. Once that pressure was off, I was able to
relax. This was my third visit, and I decided that simply wandering
the streets of Paris, taking in the culture and sights, was splendor
So that's just what I did! No real agenda except to be a "local" for the day.
We arrived in Paris on a Sunday morning. I don't know about you, but my first thought after a long, overnight international flight is food. After dropping our bags off at the hotel, we grabbed a taxi and went to Angelina's for brunch. I did have the foresight to make reservations and boy, I'm glad I did. The line was out the door! This sophisticated chic tearoom has been serving Parisians since 1903. They are famous for their hot chocolate so that was the first thing I ordered. Amazing! It is a specialty blend made for Angelina's with three kinds of African cocoa.
By this time it was mid-afternoon and I felt the clock ticking. We needed to walk off our meal so we hit the streets. I have always wanted to see the bookstore Shakespeare and Company so we set off in that direction. I snapped a few photos along the way. It was so fun to just take our time and if something sparked our fancy, we stopped. If there was a side street that looked interesting, we wandered down it. It was a delightful afternoon.
The bookstore is right across the street from Notre Dame. I toured the cathedral on my last visit to Paris so this time I was content to admire the outside with the backdrop of an amazing blue sky.
Finally, I had reached my destination. Shakespeare and Company was everything I hoped it would be! It is an amazing bookstore and so full of history. The bookshop is an English language store that opened in 1951. "Tumbleweeds" are those who have had the privilege to sleep amongst the books and call the shop home for a little while. Only three requirements are made: read a book a day, chip in at the shop and write a one page autobiography. Thousands have left their stories behind leaving room for the next tumbleweed to roll in.
By this time we were ready for dinner. After walking by a million crepe shops and smelling the goodness wafting up from street vendors, we were craving Parisian crepes. Add a glass of red and you have perfection!
Evening had set in and the lights of Paris were beckoning. We had been awake for well over twenty-four hours so my husband called it quits and went back to the hotel. My daughter and I felt rejuvenated after eating so we headed off to wander the streets once more.
Galeries Lafayette, a French department store, is spectacular! Simply walk through the doors, head to the center of the store and look up. My pictures don't do it justice. I couldn't capture the grandeur of it all.
Place Vendome lit up in all its glory is beautiful at night.
We walked passed The Big Wheel, the largest ferris wheel in the world, and thought why not? What better way to see the City of Lights than from 70 meters up?
And I'm sure glad we jumped on that giant ferris wheel! We were too far from the Eiffel Tower to walk there, but we were able to get a great view from the top of the wheel. And doesn't the River Seine look fabulous at night?
It's was getting really late and time to call it a day. As we were walking back to our hotel, the entryway below caught my eye. It was the entrance to Le Meurice, a luxury hotel set in a 19th century palace. A glass of champagne in the bar would be the perfect ending to our day in Paris.
After a couple hours of sleep we were up early to eat a quick breakfast so we could catch our train. Our hotel was Millesime Hotel located in Saint Germain, a lovely Parisian neighboorhood that is walking distance to many city sights.
It was time to say au revoir to Paris. We hailed a taxi to take us to Gare du Nord station to catch the Eurostar train to London. Our twenty four hours went by quickly but I'd say it was time well spent. I loved wandering the streets and becoming a Parisian for the day. We left plenty to see for our next visit to Paris, hopefully, some day very soon........