Sunday, April 21, 2019

Europe recap day 2: Paris day 1

eiffel tower view from airbnb 48 avenue de new york paris
View from our Paris AirBNB

Alright! I got the first post out of the way and that seemed to be the hardest part - just getting started! I decided to document Europe one day at a time. You can get yourself caught up on any previous Europe related posts (including packing) here. The first full day was dedicated to just getting ourselves across the pond, so it's really day 2 that starts all of the action! Let's get to it!

Our AirBNB:
Our first stop was our AirBNB. It was about 12-1pm Paris time and we were coming direct from the airport since we had all of our stuff to drop off. Not to mention we had about 24 hours of travel on us so we wanted a second to freshen up a bit. First of all, the view of the Eiffel Tower from our AirBNB was AMAZING. Seriously.... amazing, and honestly, of all the places I could see the Eiffel Tower in the city, nothing beat our unobstructed view of this iconic structure. It has been my dream to go to Paris, to see the Eiffel Tower, to simply BE in the city. The Eiffel Tower represents so much to me, that this view in and of itself was so special to me!

view from airbnb 48 avenue de new york paris
Photo credit: from AirBNB | View of dining/living area on main floor

The great thing about traveling with 8 people is that it's pretty economical to book a place like this! We had 8 total in our group - 3 couples and 2 singles. There was one bedroom on the main floor with a queen sized bed, and 2 bedrooms on the lower level - one of those bedrooms had a double sized bed, and the other room had a single bed with a bunk bed. There was a living room on the main floor as well as on the lower level so each of our single travelers ended up sleeping on the couch/pull-out beds in each living room.

There were 2 (ish) full baths. The lower level had a full bath. The main level had a toilet with a sink off the kitchen. The husband and I slept in the room on the main level and there was a tub, standup shower, and two sinks in our room... legit in our room with no dividing walls between the plumbing fixtures and the sleeping area.

airbnb 48 avenue de new york paris
Photo credit: from AirBNB | View of the bath area in the room we slept in

The view, the view, the view, the view. Not to mention the location was within walking distance of so many things - it was very conveniently located. It had plenty of room for the 8 of us. I never felt like we were on top of each other. It was very clean and self-sufficient. We bought small things like sugar and creamer but everything else already pre-existed in the unit. We loved the wide balcony - we would sit outside at night and drink rose admiring our view. Did I mention how great the view was?

The bathroom situation was a bit rough. We had a tub and shower in our bedroom, but we had zero warm water coming to those fixtures. We called the owner to fix it, and they claimed it was fixed, but... it was not. The toilet on the main floor was also a bit tight. Sitting on it was tight for ME much less the husband! Also we were on the 8th floor and the elevator held 3 people at a time, at best, though the sign inside the elevator said up to 5 people could ride it. Luckily, we were able to send our luggage up and down the elevator, but for the most part, we simply took the stairs - they were brutal, but a good workout, so that could be a pro or a con depending on the person!

Would I stay there again?
YES. At the end of the day, it wasn't perfect, but I personally think it was worth it simply for that view. I could overlook its imperfections, and even suffer through a (very fast) cold bath knowing that we had such an amazing view. It was certainly very clean and comfortable regardless. If you want to take a look at the street view, the street address was 48 Avenue de New York, and again, we were on the 8th floor.

apple store champs-elysees

We had no real plans for that first day, simply to explore at our own pace. I won't get into the details again as I don't want to dwell on the negative, but our first stop was the Apple Store. It ended up being pretty convenient since there is a location at Champs-Elysées, so I didn't feel like I was making the group go out of our way, especially since we planned to window shop anyway. We popped into Apple and a couple of the others in our group stopped into a bakery to get a mid-afternoon snack. We then started making our way towards the Arc de Triomphe.

arc de triomphe in the spring

Part of the fun of visiting the Arc de Triomphe is just watching the traffic flow and being amazed there aren't accidents occurring by the second! So many cars and scooters plus so many pedestrians! There is a lot going on. We decided to go to the top! You did have to pay a small fee to venture up there, but the wait wasn't too bad at all - we were there about mid-afternoon. What's funny is we went up three different structures throughout the course of this trip, but the stairs in the Arc de Triomphe hurt me the most even though it wasn't the tallest monument we climbed! I'm thinking it's because there really was no break in the stairs, i.e. no landings to catch your breath and allow your quads to stop burning.

arc de triomphe spiral staircase
Looking up at me climbing the stairs in the Arc de Triomphe

I happened to count the stairs because I was curious as we were on them. This spiral was about 194 steps, but there are also a series of steps before you reach this spiral, and then a couple of other sets of stairs you will hit after you get to the top of this spiral. All in all, I'd guess there were about 300 steps total from start to finish, but this series of 194 steps were the most challenging!

arc de triomphe view from the top
View from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

Our group at the top of the Arc de Triomphe

The view certainly was amazing, especially because it gives you another perspective of the Eiffel Tower in the context of the rest of the skyline. It wasn't too terribly crowded at the top, either, which was nice. For 8 euros, it was definitely worth the trip to the top, in my opinion.

The louvre tuileries garden spring

Next, we made our way on foot to The Louvre  Amazing. We didn't actually go inside the Louvre this trip - half the group had already been and the other half of us chose to tour Versailles instead. But honestly, there are plenty of beautiful things to see in the gardens and around the outside of the museum. Not to jump ahead, but I preferred this garden more than the gardens at Versailles, but more on that in a future post!

what to wear to the louvre, paris travel outfit
Cap: '47 Brand | Jacket: Express | Top: CS Gems (c/o) | Jeans: American Eagle | Shoes: Ecco

I should make sure I highlight what I wore for the day and whether I felt I made good or bad decisions with my packing choices. I didn't do that with my travel outfit for day 1, so I can do that now since really by the time I changed into this outfit, I hadn't really slept yet! For my airplane outfit, I chose comfy layers that would not wrinkle - you can see that outfit here. I was extremely comfortable and happy with that outfit, but by the time we were set to explore Paris, I was ready to put on a new set of clothes.

CS Gems gifted me this camo babydoll tank (now sold out) and it was an easy piece to throw on with jeans and my moto jacket. Obviously a super casual way to style the tank with the baseball cap and slip on sneakers, but the cap was necessary because my hair was a mess and the shoes... well, all the shoes I brought for this trip were meant for comfort. I was also wearing this sweater which you can't see in this photo under my jacket for extra warmth. The sun felt great, but it was definitely just a touch chilly.

tuileries garden girlfriends photo

So many picturesque views around the gardens, it was hard not to make one of the boys take photos of us, not going to lie. A bit self-indulgent, but it's not often that this group will be in Europe together again any time soon, so you gotta make the most of it! There were many people simply sitting about, reading, visiting with each other, eating lunch - crazy to think that these gardens just exist in some people's regular, every day lives.

The Louvre, France, Pyramid

The closer you got to The Louvre, there were definitely loads more people plus tour busses and taxis all over - it could be challenging to take nice overall photos like this. I always try and take photos without many people in them, but don't let that fool you as there was certainly a lot of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Plus, SOMANYPEOPLE set up to sell you souvenirs - keychains, phone chargers, Eiffel Tower replicas, scarves, blankets. These sellers were lined up everywhere.

The Louvre

We made the boys do their own group pic fake laughing while we snapped pictures of them. They're pretty good sports!

Pilates open leg rocker at The Louvre

You can expect to see plenty of open-leg-rocker photos of me throughout this trip! It was nice traveling with 7 other people because they all got into me taking these photos and helped block people from getting in my pics! Ha! Makes for a good souvenir of each area trying to find the best place to take them so you can still see and understand where I am.

By the time we finished exploring, we were ready for an early dinner. We found Le Bistrot Mazarin and saw plenty of open patio seats, so we stopped there. That is one thing I will say is that we had 8 people in our group, but we never had any trouble getting seated at restaurants. 1) We never had to wait for a table and 2) there were always enough seats/ large enough tables to accommodate all of us sitting together. We expected to have to split into smaller groups, but we never had to ever. But, there was no shortage of restaurants in any of our destinations, so if one place looked crowded, we simply moved on to the next one.

I ordered some onion soup and a mixed cheese plate. One thing that I quickly learned, not just in Paris, but in Europe in general is that cheese is eaten after your meal and not as an appetizer. I ordered the cheese plate thinking I would get it first. It didn't come first, so I figured it would come out the same time as my soup. My soup came, still no cheese, and everyone was almost done eating by the time the server came out and asked if I was ready for my cheese or if I wanted it even later. Cheese is really a dessert plate over there.

Eiffel tower sparkling
View from our Paris AirBNB

After dinner, we stopped into a bakery (Maison Kayser) for some macarons and other pastries, a wine shop for bottles of wine, champagne and rose, and then also a Carrefour Market for miscellaneous groceries. We wanted to make sure we made it back to our AirBNB before dark so we could see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Sunset didn't take place until around 8:30pm so the first time it sparkled for the evening was 9pm! Honestly, I had no idea it sparkled, but it does every hour on the hour for about 5 minutes until 1am. We made sure we had our glasses of rose in hand and we were out on the balcony to watch in awe. It really never gets old!!! And that covers our first full day in Paris! 


  1. I would be all about the rose on the balcony to stare in awe at the view! What a dream. The bathroom situation does sound like a bit of a challenge but I'm glad you were able to make the best of it. Also - aside from the AirBnB pics...did you take all of these pics with your phone?? Your editing skills are so good!!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  2. Great recap! Interesting about the gardens: was planning a stop by Versailles for the gardens but now not sure. Maybe the Louvres ones instead.