Our final three days in Paris just might be my favorites! If you’re just now tuning in, get caught up on Part 1 and Part 2 first. This recap is pretty long, but I just couldn’t decide which pictures to cut out. It’s worth it, I promise, so buckle up!
We woke up Monday morning to a chilly day, but at least it wasn’t raining! We wanted to venture out of the main areas of the city for a bit and see something different, so we took the metro to the Vincennes area of town.
It was so cute! We left the metro and ended up in the middle of a little street market and there were really no tourists around, which was refreshing. After a short walk we ended up at the Château de Vincennes, which used to be the heart of the French monarchy until the 1680s.
It was pretty cool to see a real castle with a moat and everything! Our walk took us through a huge and gorgeous park nearby, where we walked over a mile to the Zoo.
I was pretty impressed with their huge collection of animals! I also finally saw a manatee, which I failed to see last year when we were in the Florida Keys. Go figure that I’d have to fly all the way to Europe to see a manatee!
Our journey took us back into the heart of Paris, where we grabbed lunch at a cafe before heading off to our next adventure. One thing I really wanted to do was take a boat down the Seine and take in the sights. We did this by buying tickets to the hop-on-hop-off Batobus, which gave you all day access to their boat and 9 different stops for just 17 euros. It was amazing to see the sights of Paris from the water and give our feet a rest!
We got off the boat when we made it to Notre Dame and toured the cathedral. It was, in a word, stunning.
Riley and I are not religious people, but walking into that building just about took our breath away. You can literally feel the weight and history of the place and it’s so unbelievably moving. We read about the building’s 800+ year history, wandered the halls, and enjoyed the gardens out back as well.
I highly recommend a visit to Notre Dame if you’re in Paris! It’s free to go inside and the lines move really quickly.
Tuesday was the absolute best day. The sun came out and things warmed up considerably. We started out super early for the day and went to the train station to buy our tickets to Epernay, which is about an hour outside the city in Champagne country.
It was so great to get out to the country and we’d been looking forward to this day all week. We thought about taking an official tour, but we prefer to do things at our own pace. I’m glad we did! When we got off the train, our first stop was to the famous Moët & Chandon house.
The tour took us down into the cellars, where we learned all about the champagne-making process. We also learned about the town and its history, which is super fascinating! I’d watched the documentary A Year In Champagne before we left home, so I felt like I already knew a good amount about champagne and the area, but it was even cooler to see it in person.
The cellars go on for miles! After our tour, our group finished up with a tasting.
We decided we hadn’t spent enough money yet (ha!) and wanted to be fancy, so we sprang for the vintage tasting, their most expensive one. It was so worth it.
Best champagne ever. It was the perfect way to kick off our day in town!
Our next stop was to Georges Cartier, a much smaller champagne house nearby.
Although our tour here was shorter, there was more emphasis on history and how the cellars were used during the World Wars. We were able to see the carvings that people made underground during those years.
It was lunch time when we finished, so we found a cafe in the center of town and took a long lunch. I don’t remember what I had to eat, but the dessert was awesome.
Then it was back to L’Avenue de Champagne for some sightseeing!
There were mountain views everywhere and the sunshine was such a welcome change! We decided to do one more tour at the house of Mercier.
I loved this one! Their cellar tours took place on a little train, which was so fun and different. They have a super quirky vibe too, which made it unique. I’m really mad at myself for not buying a bottle to bring back because I haven’t been able to find their champagne anywhere near me and it was really good.
After our last tour, we made our way back to the center of town and realized we had time to kill before our train left. We parked it outside Jannison-Baradon, a small house where the owner greeted us and served us champagne out on the sidewalk. We relaxed, soaking in the sun, and reading until it was time to catch our train.
I loved their champagne! I bought a bottle to bring back with us, which we are saving for a special occasion (hint hint- we close on a house tomorrow!). It was the perfect way to end our day!
Our last day in Paris was the warmest and sunniest we had all week. Rather than running around doing touristy things again, we just wanted to relax and put our feet up. After a late breakfast, we grabbed our books and headed to the Tuileries Garden, a public garden by the Louvre.
We read by the pond with views of the Eiffel Tower in the background. We watched the locals have picnics on their lunch breaks, got in a lot of sun (I have a reeeally bad ankle tan that I’m still trying to get rid of….), and took a break for lunch at a cafe. We felt like Parisians for the day and it was glorious!
Our last night in Paris, I wanted a meal with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I was also a little sick of French food at this point, so we had Italian food at Villa Verdi, where we enjoyed an amazing dinner.
By the time dinner was over, it was just in time to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Every night, for 5 minutes at the top of the hour, the tower literally sparkles. It’s pure magic. We found a small street with a perfect view of the tower and just watched the lights, relishing in the fact that were practically the only ones on that street and wondering how we got so lucky.
Right before we left, all these runners came through and we realized we were in the middle of a race path! We did our best to high-five the runners and cheer them on, but I think they thought we were crazy. A few were appreciative, anyway.
It was the best way to end our trip and I am so thankful we were able to enjoy such an amazing city and part of the world. Until next time, Paris!