After a rough experience going through international departures at JFK, we were in the air on our way to Paris! It was a red-eye flight, aka we flew during sleeping hours, so we were pretty surprised to get fed during the flight? We had some food, saved some teeny bottles of wine for the hotel, and fell asleep like kids on Christmas Eve. Quick shout-out to Air France for one of the best airline customer service experiences I’ve ever had, by the way, when I was at JFK and also on the way back. I’m not really sure where the stereotype of the uptight, cold Frenchperson comes from because we really didn’t experience this.
We checked into Les Jardins du Marais (in-depth review), which was a great spot for us that we found at a really awesome deal. (I had been trying to find us a good AirBnB so that I could feel really homey and eat eggs and fruit with the massive amounts of pastry and bread I wanted to indulge in. And do laundry! But the hotel deal was too good to beat.) The quick and dirty of this hotel are:
+ You get a free smartphone in your room that you can take with you out and about, with free data and free calls to the US (and a few other countries). This was a gamechanger.
+ Excellent location in the trendy Le Marais neighborhood and near several metro lines.
– Trendy neighborhood + cool courtyard with a patio bar = lots of noise coming in through the windows, even on a Wednesday night.
– Super paper-thin walls that we could hear everything through – hanky-panky, zippers, toilet seats being lowered, everything…
So take that as you will! I’d definitely recommend it unless you are a light sleeper and/or plan to do anything above a whisper with people next door, because they will hear your loud farts and shower singing and more.
After getting settled into our room, and freaking the freak out over the smartphone situation (check out the company that provides them, handy, for more information about these and to see which hotels are carrying them), we walked down the block to grab lunch at Le Centenaire (review), because the two of us were absolutely famished. I was feeling so excited that I got beef tartare for the second time in my life and Ben got steak frites because it’s hard to say no to it when you’re starving, I was translating the menu for him quite slowly, and he wasn’t even sure what some of the menu items I described to him where let alone whether he wanted to eat them. So beef two ways for us it was! With plenty of French fries and baguette to carb-load us for the rest of the evening.
After lunch, we walked around the neighborhood a bit to get situated. There is a grocery store and a pharmacy, aka drugstore, and tons of little restaurants and cafes and bars. We got ourselves settled, spent some time planning our new few days in the hotel, and called Les Temps de Cerises (review) to save ourselves a table for dinner. The restaurant was crammed full of English-speaking diners and cozy and intimate on that chilly evening.
We walked our way to the Seine and walked along the river bank taking in the night and all the young people sitting and drinking and talking and laughing at like 10-11PM on a Wednesday night. It was so nice and got us so excited to spend a week in the City of Lights.
What are the more “adventurous” French foods that you have eaten? (Or haven’t quite dared to yet?) I tried beef tartare for the first time just a few months ago and surprisingly loved it so I was excited to try it in France. I first tried snails as a Chinese dish and I love them in garlic butter because you basically only taste garlic butter yum.
What are some gamechangers and dealbreakers for your travel accommodations? Ben and I really really loved the in-room smartphones but it was really unsettling how much we could hear the couple next door. Zippers? Toilet flushes? And we slept terribly because of the hub-bub outside. I don’t know…
I am going to work really hard to get the other Paris recaps up in a timely manner! Can you believe we’re halfway through October already?? Are you ready for Halloween?? (I’m not!)