Paris Diaries…part one!

Picture taken by me on my film camera.

Bonjour mes amis!!

It is crazy to think that exactly one year ago today, on Valentine’s Day, my best friend Soph and I were boarding a plane to go visit our other best friend, Jess, in Paris!! We spent our Galentine’s Day on a plane heading towards one of the most beautiful places in Europe. With everything going on in the world now, it feels like such a lifetime ago since we’ve been to Paris and everyday, at least once a day, we talk about how much we miss it. France is such a beautiful place I would go back in a heartbeat! From the architecture, to the scenery and the life in the streets…it is amazing! When travelling is safe to do so and becomes normal once again, my goal is to go back to France and visit Marseille, Nice and Bordeaux!!! I have learned a lot about those places in high school taking French immersion, and they have always been on my never ending bucket list.

In this blog post specifically, I will be talking about the first few days in Paris, with my best friends. There is so much to say about that week-long trip I decided to write two different parts!! Continue reading and travel back to Paris, the “city of love” with my friends and I.

One of the best parts about planning this trip wasn’t only what we were going to do everyday but planning the outfits we would wear going to different places. A couple weeks before we left, Soph and I spent one whole day putting outfits together along with what shoes we would bring, accessories, jackets…we were too prepared for this. We might have brought a lot (in the words of the airport that weighs your luggage) but hey…you never know what you are going to need being in a different country. Let’s face it we love fashion and we are girls we pack…A LOT.

The flight to Paris was around 6-7 hours if I remember correctly. The last time I had been on a flight that long was on my way to Greece with my family, three years ago. I was excited but dreading the long flight because on one hand I got to watch 6 hours of different movies and was in great company of course and on the other…I just wanted to land in Paris already!! Of course sleeping was not something my brain wanted to do. I remember I fell asleep for maybe 30-40 minutes but then woke up with a jump and might have scared Soph a little bit. I even scared myself, it was like I had forgotten I was on a plane. I don’t know what I was dreaming but waking up startled on a plane…not fun but also super funny in the moment.

Around 3 movies and 2 meals of disgusting airplane food later, we FINALLY landed in Paris. We had landed in the morning. I probably looked too much like a tourist with my “À Paris” crewneck on…but hey its not everyday you get to go to the prettiest city in France. The only thing we had to get used to was the 7 hour time difference between Paris and Canada. It was crazy because whenever we talked to family and friends back home, as we were starting our day, they were just winding down. We arrived in Paris hours before our check-in at the hotel. After we dropped off our luggage, we decided to roam the streets and meet up with our friend Jess!!

Walking the streets of Paris was an amazing way to start the trip. We passed by some of the prettiest scenery and huge elegant luxury stores. Honestly in that moment if someone had asked me to move there, I would say yes in a heartbeat.

Here are some of the pictures I took walking to go meet Jess!! We were so excited to see her since it had been one month since she left for the exchange program! After some exciting hellos and catching up, it was time to check in to the hotel. We stayed at Hotel Duquesne and it was beautiful. Our balcony view was all you could ask for, when you’re visiting Paris for the first time.

After we got settled in our hotel room and relaxed a bit, we started getting ready for Jess’ birthday dinner!! We were going to eat at an Italian restaurant called Libertino. It was amazing. In Paris most dining restaurants close mid-day and don’t open till 7:00-7:30 and you usually have to line up at least one hour before and wait for the restaurant to open. This restaurant was really cool and the food was delicious. As you can tell in the picture below we were truffle obsessed. We ordered a truffle pizza and truffle pasta along with some pretty Parisienne drinks.

I would definitely recommend going here if you are ever in Paris! In a separate article I will create a Paris day-to-day travel guide with all the restaurants we visited, attractions you need to visit and scenic places that are definitely a must-go!!

Day 2

Before the most crazy and magical day commenced, we took the metro to a cute and elegant breakfast, tea room called Angelina. It is one of the most talked about places in Paris and it is a restaurant MUST when visiting Paris for the first time!! There is a location in New York City as well. In 1903, confectioner Anton Rumpelmayer founded Angelina with his son René, a beautiful and exquisite tea room, in Paris. The interior of this restaurant is considered “Art Nouveau” with the paintings and details of the structure, which was extremely popular in the 1900s. The interior, designed by the famous Belle Epoque architect Edouard-Jean Niermans, combines elegance and charm. This was where writers, painters and politicians would congregate in the old days. One of the most talked about hot beverages on their savoury menu is their famous hot chocolate! It is so rich, creamy and definitely a must have to split amongst three people.

After a delicious breakfast we headed back onto the metro and went to the most magical place ever…Disneyland!!! Fun fact, I actually did not know this until I searched it up myself, but every castle at every Disneyland park belongs to a different princess, hence the different colours of the castle’s. The castle in Paris is Sleeping Beauty’s castle and it was so pretty!! After exploring the park we went on many rides!! From the Peter Pan Flight ride, to Snow White’s ride to my favourite and thrilling, Pirates of The Caribbean ride…it was definitely a memorable experience. I may have screamed too much with all the jump scares and fast tracks on that ride…but all our reactions is what made it super fun and hilarious. Another memorable part of that day was standing in line, waiting to meet the one and only Mickey Mouse!!! I felt like I was 11 again meeting Mickey for the third time! Honestly being at Disney no matter what age you are is such a fun and special experience, its a rush of nostalgia that floods back the minute you step into the gates.

At the end of the day at Disney they usually have a show with their live cast-mates but depending on weather they sometimes have to switch it up. The weather was really windy that day and there ended up being a crazy rainstorm…which I will get to later. This specific night they decided to do an amazing light show displayed on the castle and let me tell you…it was so heartwarming and amazing, I am pretty sure all three of us had shed a tear at least once during the presentation. They had pulled scenes from almost every Disney movie and played the most popular songs in the background to create one big and memorable masterpiece. It was a perfect way to end off the night.

NOW onto the crazy part of the night. As we were watching the night show it slowly started raining. It started off with a light rain shower and then all the sudden out of nowhere buckets on buckets of rain started pouring down from the sky. We started running to the metro station and by the time we reached the bathroom (that you had to pay 10 cents to get into) we were soaked from head to toe. It looked like we had taken a shower with our clothes on. It was a crazy and funny memorable night and always a good story to tell…minus the cold we felt after being wet for so long on the ride home. Not only were we soaking wet…we were also starving. We picked up some burgers on our walk home from the metro and then went back to the hotel. I remember the vibes in that restaurant/take-out place being so fun and the guys working there being so funny. Everywhere we went in Paris, everyone gave off such a fun vibe and everyone was so nice!

Going back to the first day we arrived in Paris, on our way to the hotel, our Uber driver told us that there was a surprise that happens in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower around 11pm, every night. He would not tell us what it was, since it was our first time in Paris. Soon we came to found out this was one of the most special parts of the trip!! Starting at 11pm on the hour the Eiffel Tower would sparkle for five minutes straight! We had the best view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling from our hotel balcony and that was always an amazing way to end a fun day.

Day 3

Day 3 was tourist day!! We walked all over Paris (yes this time I wore comfortable shoes…learned from my New York City trip) and let me just say AGAIN…there is no place like this one. We started our morning off stopping by a cute little cafe for a croissant and coffee and then headed off to go see the Eiffel Tower!! Seeing the Eiffel Tower up close did not even feel real. It felt like a dream…I’ve only ever seen it in movies and TV shows, that actually physically being there felt breathtaking!! The views from the Eiffel Tower were also stunning. I can’t imagine how pretty it would like if we were able to see the sunset with that view. After spending some time at the Eiffel Tower, we walked some more, hopped on the metro to go see some other historical landmarks. We passed by the Cathedral Notre-Dame which was beautiful yet so sad. They were in the middle of reconstruction due to the fire that broke out one year before on April 19th 2019. I had learned a lot about this Cathedral in school and it was super interesting for me to see it in person, no matter what the circumstance.

A really fun part of the trip for me was being able to practice my French and communicate with some waiters and people in stores. Call me cheesy, but knowing the French language made me feel at home, when in Paris. After exploring the city, we made our way to one of the most popular museums, The Louvre which not only had the prettiest exterior but was also the home to the famous painting the Mona Lisa. Now, you would think that the Mona Lisa is a huge painting but in real life it’s incredibly small! Getting to see The Mona Lisa was a scratch of my travel bucket list. The Louvre is the worlds largest art museum and historic monument in France. Fun fact: there are many hypotheses and a lot of history behind the origin of the museum’s name. One hypothesis originates from the French, and dates from the origins of the current Louvre, when Philippe-Auguste decided to build a fortress around the capital in 1190. The dungeon located along the Seine, later transformed into a royal residence, is a gigantic work, from the verb ouvrer. The work, or the work as they say today, would have given its name to the castle. Another hypothesis comes from Latin, that before the museum was named The Louvre it was named, Lupara which means wolf. Before the museum there was a forest and it used to be named “land of the wolves”. After The Louvre we stopped at a cute restaurant near out hotel for dinner, grabbed some snacks from the grocery store and headed back for a chill night in our room. Ending the night of course with the beautiful sparkling Eiffel Tower.

I have to say, I am glad we had gone to Paris when we did because one week later the museums and many other places were starting to close due to COVID-19. Before all the chaos erupted I like to say that we at least got to have one last memorable vacation before not travelling anywhere for a while again.

Here we come to the end of part 1 of my Paris Diaries! Stay tuned for a part 2 talking about the rest of the trip!!! Also, stay tuned for a Paris Travel Guide that you can use, in the future!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Xoxo

Brooklyn…I love you

Sad to say, during rough times like this, travelling has been scratched from many people’s to-do list. The pandemic has put a pause on vacations and has changed the way several countries operate…for now at least.

Since travelling won’t be on my list for some time, until things get “back to normal,” I’ve decided to create a section in my blog called “Travel Archives”. Travel Archives will showcase my experiences around the world, highlighting favoured food establishments, scenery, popular attractions and my overall adventures in that place!

I wanted to dedicate my first article to the best New York City trip EVER!! I went this time last year and thought it was appropriate to start the blog with some “Travel Archives”. This was my first trip without my family, and I had gone with one of my best friends, Natalie. I love to call her the tour guide of NYC because she goes quite frequently during the year (JEALOUS!), always hits up the best spots and not to mention, always has the BEST outfits!!! This was exciting for me, as I said I had never been on a trip outside the country without my parents. This was definitely going to be an experience like no other.

We had been wanting to go during our reading week in October and had been searching for hotels for quite some time. Due to last minute bookings, we decided to stayed in Brooklyn! We booked our tickets, booked the hotel and flew to New York.  It was my second time on a plane, and I was super nervous. I remember laughing the whole entire time as we were boarding because for some odd reason, when I get nervous, I laugh (probably not the best for some occasions but this was acceptable). Poor Nat, I am sure she found me very annoying. After what seemed a very quick flight we landed in the Big Apple. We rushed out of the airport hopped into our Uber and headed to our cute little hotel, POD 51. Because this was a quick four day vacation, we had our itinerary planned out and spent our first night exploring the streets of Brooklyn.

When we arrived at our hotel, we were super excited to get to our room, change into one of our planned outfits and head down to eat…we were starving!! Our room was the size of a shoe box, but it worked. We had bunk beds, I felt like I was a little kid (I got to sleep on the top) and had our own little TV’s attached to our bed and thankfully, every girl would be happy to hear this, we had a huge long mirror. After exploring our room for a total of 5 minutes, we got dressed and headed down to eat at Juliana’s Pizza!

Juliana’s is located in Dumbo, Brooklyn on Old Fulton Street, and was the first coal-fired oven commissioned in New York in over 50 years! Juliana’s is owned by Patsy Grimaldi, who previously owned the restaurant Grimaldi’s. I was thrilled to finally visit, as I wasn’t able to the last time I had visited NYC with family. Additionally, being a Gossip Girl fan, I couldn’t wait to visit, knowing the series spoke about Grimaldi’s a couple times. I knew Juliana’s had to be good if it was the same owner.  

We waited about 15-20 minutes in line, but it was completely worth it! As you can tell in the picture on the right, I was pretty happy to start eating. We ordered the Margarita…a classic. The pizza was AMAZING!! I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for some good, authentic pizza. Even if you aren’t staying in Brooklyn, take a cab or walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, then reward yourself with some delicious, thin-crust pizza.

After our delicious meal, we took a stroll down the street to the scenic lookout “The Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1”, that looked over the whole city of New York. Wow a picture could not do justice at how beautiful everything looked. When they say New York is the city that never sleeps, man are they right! The streets of Brooklyn were alive and full of joy, I loved it! On our way back, one block away, was a Milk Bar and we definitely had to stop off there for some dessert. I was full, but hey…there is always room for dessert when you are on vacation!! We picked up our cookies and treats and headed back to our hotel room to rest for the busy day we would have in the next 12 hours.

Here’s a cute picture of Nat holding our cookies…that we’re delicious!!!!

Fast-forward to our last night in New York. On our way back from our eventful day of festivities in Manhattan, we explored the streets of Brooklyn a little more. Our hotel was situated a few blocks away from another incredible lookout with a stunning view of New York. As we were walking to “Greenpoint Waterfront”, I was watching people laughing, singing, dancing and living their best lives. They looked like they hadn’t had one care in the world except for living in the current moment. That is one of my future goals. Living my best life, in New York City, surrounded by my amazing friends.

It was truly an extraordinary way to end our last night in Brooklyn.

The next morning, we wanted to do as much as we could before our evening flight. We packed away our clothes, stored our luggage in the lobby, checked out of the hotel and got our walking shoes on. Stay tuned for another story where I will mention my choice of wearing the most UNCOMFORTABLE shoes exploring the city of Manhattan…beauty is pain. We decided to walk across the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Walking along the busy bridge, my biggest fear was dropping my phone or disposable camera off the side of the bridge…now that would have been a depressing end to a fun trip. I can now scratch “walking across the Brooklyn bridge” off my bucket list.

For anyone looking to go to New York City for their next trip, I would definitely recommend staying in Brooklyn. It may be a bit further from Manhattan and the city although it is a nice change and you get to explore the different culture that resides in Brooklyn.

Stay tuned for more articles about our time in the Upper East Side…xoxo Gossip Girl.

(See what I did there?)

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