J’aime Paris

The ringing of the alarm at 6am was not the most pleasant sound to hear. We both slept awful, perhaps in sadness for leaving Rome, or in anticipation of arriving in Paris. Either way, we walked to the tram, took the train to the airport, and arrived in Paris. Last year in April, Paris was where Daniel proposed and I will always have a soft spot for it in my heart. Not to mention, it’s an absolutely stunning city.

We felt at home, as we hopped on the metro and arrived at The Notre Dame station. A quick walk and we checked into our hotel. It is literally the cutest place you could set your eyes on. Plus, they gave us an adorable top floor room!

When we arrived in our room, sitting on the table was a little note and a complimentary bottle of champagne. Just add it to the list of one more reason why I love this city so much!

We popped the bubbly and sat on our balcony, admiring the view and planning our afternoon.

Once the champagne was finished, it was time to start our Paris adventure. What did we do first you ask? I hope everyone can answer this!

The Parisian essentials in my books! We walked down to the river where they had beautiful little picnic/”beach” areas set up to relax along the river. It was the perfect setting for macaron eating!

Continuing our walk, we visited our old stomping grounds, the Latin Quarter. We passed Notre Dame (where it’s accession Wednesday and the Bell Tower was going crazy!), walked through the cobbled streets, and remembered our previous abode.

Being in Paris, we had to relive our previous last day here, so we walked over to Luxembourg Gardens to see it’s glory. The memories, the surprise, the happiness, everything came pouring back. We had an amazing picnic, reminisced, and just enjoyed each other’s company, now as husband and wife.

Stuffed from our picnic and people watching, we slowly made our way back to our hotel, wine in hand to enjoy the sunset.

We wandered the streets, checking out a few places. By the time 11pm came we were quite starved and stopped at a place in the latin quarter. It definitely wasn’t the best meal we had here by it made due when you’re in a crunch. The escargot to start with was pretty fantastic.

Then, we had the duck confit and muscles.

Our way home, we again walked by Notre Dame for a nighttime pic. This place is just something else!

But First, Champagne 

Waking up bright and early this morning, one would expect we would explore the beautiful city of Paris, but we decided that it was essential to visit the Champagne region to experience the world’s finest. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve been turned on to champagne, primarily because of my mom’s obsession with it. But I will say that my love for those little bubbles has blossomed, and being in France, it seemed like we had to take advantage of the situation. 

We hopped on the closest metro and headed to the train station. With over an hour to spare, we had our classic pan de chocolate and espresso, only to realize that we had arrived at the wrong train station! Mad panic, hearts racing, and quick navigational decisions, we reached where we actually should have been, with only minutes to spare. We boarded the train, exhausted already, yet so excited for our day!

Forty minutes later, we arrived in the city of Reims, smiles on our faces and ready to explore. We took the bus into town with our first stop being the Notre Dame Cathedrale. Again, the beauty and architecture continues to amaze me. 

After a bit of walking around town, we headed to our first champagne stop: Taittinger. This winery dates back to 1734 with the relationship between Jacques Fourneaux and the Abbey of Saint-Nicaise. Although this winery has another site where the majority of their champagne is produced and stored, the location we visited still housed a mere three million bottles in the cellar. After a brief historical briefing and tour, we headed into the tasting room to try out their Brut Reserve and the Comtes de Champagne, the second of course being the older and better tasting!

After a quick snack, we headed to our next stop: Veuve Cliquot. This was a dream of mine to visit this winery and was truly spectacular. They offered world class service and provided a true “experience” that made our three hour visit one we’ll never forgot. The history and empowerment that you feel as a woman visiting the estate is inspiring. Madam Cliquot was widowed at 27 and took over the job of running the estate.  She was an unstoppable business woman who developed several techniques in the champagne making industry, consistently being innovative and ahead of her times. 

The tour itself was fantastic, with history of not only Madam Cliquot but also about the use of the cellars during WWI. Afterwards, we were taken into the tasting room where we tried the classic yellow label, as well as the Grand Dame. The difference in a good quality champagne has become so much clearer. We truly loved this experience!

Our final destination took us to a small winery called G.H Martel, where we only did a small tasting of three of their varieties. The final option was their reserve that is aged in oak barrels and had a very unique, but delicious, taste to it. 

We had a little time left before our train ride back to Paris, so we explored a little more of Reims. 

Returning to Paris, we captured some night shots of the beautiful Notre Dame cathedrale and the surrounding square. 

Finally, the moment you’re all waiting for…dinner!! Tonight we dined in style in the Latin Quarter for our traditional €65 dinner. 

Course 1: We both selected the French onion soup, to accompany our wine, and were not disappointed. 

Course 2: I ordered the beef bourguignon, and Daniel ordered the confit duck. 

Course 3: Tonight, I decided that Daniel should try the creme brûlée, so instead, I selected the apple tart. 

Let’s not forget our espressos! The little restaurant had a great atmosphere with a local artist playing a piano and singing some lovely tunes.