I’ve always been so keen with French culture and history. I mean, it takes a certain level of commitment to try to study the language for two (or was it three?) summers with my sister and enroll for French as one of my electives during my senior year in high school. I only stopped trying to speak French because my sister left for the U.S. and I found it difficult to have nobody to converse with. Like most girls, I dreamed of Paris and I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to visit the city during my summer in Europe. My itinerary for the trip was Barcelona-Madrid-Paris-Barcelona-Rome-Barcelona (I kept coming back to Barcelona for a good reason but more on that later!) Naturally, I had really high expectations of Paris especially since the city is a favorite of travelers and because the trip to the city meant reuniting with my dear sister and her husband who are based in Washington D.C.
The thing with Paris is that no matter how much time you spend in the city, it always feels like you’ve only scratched the surface and it probably takes a few lifetimes to be able to see and experience it fully. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you find new attractions, new cafés, or new markets to explore. It is often dubbed as the city of love and while it took me some time to fall in love with the city, looking back, I definitely want to go back and re-experience Paris again. Coming from an early morning flight from Madrid, I was definitely exhausted but at the same time, unwilling to let a full day in Paris pass me by as it is such a wonderful place. If you don’t believe me, I think these photos are more than enough to prove that. You see, these were taken from the terrace of our apartment in Paris located at Rue d’Amboise at the 2nd arrondisement. YES! I woke up to this view for 5 mornings during my stay and this terrace had a direct access from the bedroom and living room from out flat. Can you imagine how enchanting that was?
The thing with Paris is that it is much easier and more convenient for a traveler to book a flat versus a hotel as Parisian hotels are very tiny and can provide only the basic amenities. Of course, you’ll be sightseeing the whole day but when I’m traveling, I always think it’s a good thing to call it a day and come home to a beautiful space. More so, as we were a group of seven, it was definitely more efficient to get a big space versus three separate closet-sized hotel rooms and not get to spend time with each other during the down time of our trip. Luckily, Dominique and I were able to find this luxury apartment from Habitat Parisien (think of a high end Air Bnb) which boasted of a great location, a huge space and practically all the amenities and comforts of home. Appartement Amboise is the most upscale space rental of the luxury apartment service of the group. It is a 3-bedroom flat with an open-space concept, living room, dining room and fully equipped kitchen. (I know, I sound like a real estate agent but a year of HGTV marathons can do that to you apparently.) The apartment was designed with a modern contemporary feel with accents that made the entire space very Instagram-worthy. The downside to renting a flat was that check-in time was set (no early check-ins, a chore if you come from a 7 am flight from Spain and want to clean up and settle in), no bell service (that meant carrying ten days worth of luggage for seven people up four flights of stairs or taking five trips up and down a two-person elevator) and no housekeeping… (yes, I’m pretty anal about cleanliness and having things in pristine condition). Of course, given how beautiful, luxurious and divine this flat was, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs in this case and I was more than willing to let go of such comforts because the residence was so worth it.
After landing in Paris and before checking in the flat, we decided to grab an early lunch at Chez Robert et Louise at rue Vieille du Temple for authentic French cuisine. The food was amazing and since it was cooked in an open hearth, comforting, delicious and absolutely divine. Luckily, they observe regular lunch hours in France because in Spain, lunch service was usually at 2 pm and we would’ve bee starving by then. A tip for travelers is to rely on word of mouth recommendations of locals over recommendations from online searches. We made it a point to always inquire about the best restaurants from people who actually live and eat in the city on a permanent basis which is why we landed the best spots for eating and drinking out. Upon researching further, Yelp advised us that Anthony Bourdain (THE culinary genius that he is) reviewed and featured the restaurant in his show which is a testament to the rule: always trust helpful locals for advice.
After checking in, struggling with luggage, unpacking (always an arduous task!) and enjoying our flat, we set around the city for a quick tour from the car courtesy of our animated and pleasant driver slash tour guide slash five day entertainment Amar who was French-Lebanese, hospitable and absolutely hilarious! (He was actually a highlight of the trip.) He drove us around the sights of Paris as a teaser for the days to come and I was beyond excited and ready to explore already…
But I had to save my energy for the days to come and so should you as I shall reveal those in upcoming posts so until then! x