PARIS!

Bonjour!

This may be a bit of a lengthy post, but rightfully so. Paris is an incredible city that deserves lots of love, so here goes:

(1) Luxembourg Garden:

This is a gorgeous park you MUST take a stroll in. There’s a pond where kids have sailboat competitions, families play bocce ball, the list goes on. It’s a large park, so you can spend quite a bit of time there.

(2) Crepes at Au P’tit Grec:

This is a street stand where you grab a crepe and go. Both times I went, there was quite a long line, but well worth the wait.

My first one was a “Savoyarde,” which had potatoes, Raclette (Savoy cheese), country ham, lettuce, tomatoes and onion.

Savoyarde Crepe

My second one was the “Crepe du Chef,” which had coppa (Italian ham) mozzarella, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, and I requested to add potatoes (great idea).

Crepe du Chef (with added potatoes)

(3) The Pantheon:

All along I thought the rave about the Pantheon was about the one in Rome, but turns out there’s a Pantheon in Paris, too.

Pantheon in Paris

(4) Notre Dame

It was quite popular on a Saturday night, but still had to get a picture in front!

Notre Dame + Me

(5) Starbucks:

I know what you’re thinking- “Why Starbucks in Paris?”

Honestly, I have been missing my go-to order back home: a blueberry scone and a flat white. Except this time, it was just a coffee with milk and nutmeg, and a blueberry muffin. Still a VERY happy me!

A blueberry muffin and a coffee with milk and nutmeg.

(6) Tuileries Garden:

Paris knows how to do parks. Tuileries Garden is another stunning place for a stroll and time with family and friends!

Ferris wheel at the Tuileries Garden

(7) Eiffel Tower:

The Tuileries Garden is very close to the Eiffel Tower, so if you visit one or the other, be sure to go ahead and visit both!

Eiffel Tower + Me

The night before my friends and I left, we went to the Eiffel Tower to watch it twinkle for a proper goodbye to Paris. The tower begins sparkling at 10 p.m. and sparkles on the hour for 5 minutes!

I suggest stopping for a savory crepe somewhere around the Eiffel Tower- I got a nutella and banana crepe!

Nutella & Banana Crepe at the Eiffel Tower

(8) Avenue of Champs Elysees:

This is a mile long strip of all of the most incredible things you can think of- Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Perfumeries and Macaroons, you name it!

I had Pierre Herme macaroons and they were so good because you had the option to have two flavors instead of one! I had raspberry with pistachio (“Montebello”), then Madagascar chocolate with dark chocolate (“Ultime”).

They also came in the cutest little origami boxes!

Pierre Herme origami boxes

The “Montebello” flavor was my favorite!

“Montebello”- Raspberry & Pistachio

(9) Arc de Triomphe:

Once you finish walking the strip of Champs Elysees, be sure to check out this monument!

(10) Le “Relais de l’Entrecote”:

Bottomless steak and fries, anyone?

This restaurant is a total tourist spot, but so SO worth it!

Bottomless steak + fries!!

(11) Midore:

If you have the chance, you must go to this bakery! While I was there, I got a baguette and the most incredible slice of chocolate chip flan. Wish I had some right now!

Midore Chocolate Chip Flan

(12) Fromagerie Cheese Shop:

This is a small cheese shop that was located right next to our airbnb, and it had the prettiest selection of cheeses! I got goat and gouda cheese, peach and blackberry yogurt, and rice pudding. Isn’t it the cutest?

Fromagerie Cheese Shop

(13) Louvre Museum:

I had no idea how massive this museum is! This is my favorite thing I have EVER DONE!

I love the organization of the museum. I saw the sections of Islamic art, Spanish, Italian, Grecian, Egyptian and Mediterranean. And yes, I did see the Mona Lisa. And yes, it is way smaller than I had hoped for!

(14) Shakespeare & Company Bookstore:

This is a beautiful, two-story bookstore with all English books.

(15) Museum d’Orsay:

Head here to see Picasso’s art, Degas’, Monet’s and Van Gogh’s.

(16) Centre Pompidou:

This is such a fun, modern museum. You can’t miss it by its looks on the outside- a bunch of HUGE tubes!

(17) Rodin House:

Besides the Louvre, the Rodin House was my second favorite thing to visit in Paris. Rodin completed lots of sculptures during his time and this museum houses all of them. While you’re there, be sure to take a walk around the garden, too, and enjoy a cappuccino!

(18) The Palace of Versailles:

You can take a train from Paris to Versailles and back for under $10! The Palace is absolutely stunning, as is the courtyard. Be sure to check out Marie Antoinette’s estate as well!

Don’t forget to treat yourself to Laduree Macaroons!

Raspberry, Pistachio, Vanilla, Caramel, Rose, Dark Chocolate and Lavender Laduree Macaroons

Thanks for following along,

-Rach

 

 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

A medieval town with the addition of a new town, Edinburgh is the perfect city to visit for a weekend.

If you decide to go during springtime, be sure to bundle up. I spent the first weekend of March here, and I arrived to a thick layer of snow and saw more snow fall during my three days there.

Photo Credit: Katherine Penney

Patagonia Parka: If there’s anything I’ve learned about being cold, I feel best when my backside and bottom has some extra length to it! This parka is from last season, but I linked a similar one. The one linked has a hood with it, which I wish mine had!

J. Crew Jeans: I love these jeans because they’re thicker than your usual denim and keep you warm. They stay right in place, too! I’m 5’4″ and they hit at the perfect place on my ankles.

Boots: These are a classic pair of light brown, heeled boots that I have on in this photo that did keep me warm, but were NOT hiking-friendly for Arthur’s Seat (I’ll talk about this later).

Boots I DO suggest for snowy Edinburgh: I have these boots in the color “sand,” and they are insulated with sheep’s fur on the inside, keeping your feet SUPER warm without the need for thick socks. MAN, do I wish I would have had these packed with me! These have laces so you can loosen and tighten them as needed, which is nice if you need to tuck your pants into the boots. Also, the tracking on the bottom is excellent to keep you trekking through slick and snowy areas.

Beanie: I just have on the classic CC beanie, with a detachable pom on top. A layer around your ears is necessary to keep you from completely going crazy in the cold!

Friday, March 2:

After settling into our hostel, we set out to explore Arthur’s Seat. This is a beautiful set of hills located in the “Old Town” of Edinburgh.

And this is why I mentioned earlier that I made a mistake with the boots I was wearing- they were NOT hiking material. I tried to hike as far as I could, but let’s just say I didn’t exactly make it to the top.

Partially up the largest hill – Photo Credit: Katherine Penney

If you visit Edinburgh, don’t make the same mistake I did by packing the wrong shoes. Make sure you pack hiking shoes so you can make it to the top and experience the full outlook over the city! Partially up the hill will still give you a beautiful view, anyway.

If you’re able to visit when there’s snow around, I highly suggest gathering your family and friends and taking a few sledding boards. I saw so many families out pushing each other around and it looked like so much fun!

I also suggest taking a snack and possibly a hot drink with you. I stopped at a little cafe, Holyrood Coffee Shop, which was between our hostel and Arthur’s Seat.

Photo Credit: Katherine Penney

I got a hot, fruit tea with a mixed berry scone. I loved this little place so much that I did go twice during my short stay!

Mixed Berry Scone & Hot Fruit Tea

After finishing our hike, my friends and I decided to do a little shopping to warm-up. We found the cutest vintage shop called W. Armstrong & Son. There are three locations in Edinburgh, and we made it to two of the three. I was so impressed with this shop because of the organization. They had a section of sweaters, blue jean jackets, leather jackets, kilts (of course), even wedding dresses and much more!

For dinner, we ate at The Last Drop. At this point, we were all so cold that we wanted to stay right around our hostel. I highly recommend staying at Budget Backpackers in Edinburgh because of the great location and great price (per person per night ranges anywhere from €9-€14).

The Last Drop has such a neat history behind it- it’s all about a young girl named Maggie who was on trial, hung, and then survived for 40 years after the hanging. The waiters here were very friendly and the restaurant provided a great atmosphere.

I had a lentil cottage pie, which was a lentil and vegetable pie topped with sweet potato and carrot mash, served with a side salad.

Side note: I’m not really sure why it was called a “cottage pie” because there definitely wasn’t cottage cheese in it- in case you were worried/grossed out!

Also, The Last Drop has GREAT cappuccinos!

After dinner, we ventured out to find some dessert, and ended up at Vittoria Restaurant.

I had the sticky toffee pudding, which was topped with hot toffee sauce and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was excellent!

Sticky Toffee Pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped with a waffle crisp

Saturday, March 3:

To start the day, we began with breakfast at the Filling Station. I had french toast with fresh berries on top and a berry compote sauce. I also had a hazelnut latte (I’ve been deprived of hazelnut and french vanilla creamer while in Italy)- it was so yummy and a taste of home.

Filling Station French Toast with fresh berries & a berry compote sauce

Next, we took a Sandeman’s Tour of “The Royal Mile.”

If you’re in Europe and are looking for affordable tours, I highly suggest these tours.

The way it works: they are technically “free,” but at the end, you tip your tour guide whatever you found the tour to be worth. These tours are typically anywhere from 2-4 hours, and you can easily spot them at the meeting location with their red umbrellas.

P.S.- I stopped at a Starbucks before the tour to have something hot while I was walking through the cold. I had a matcha tea latte (and added a bit of sugar). I highly recommend trying it! It’s a nice switch up (and healthy too).

While on our tour, we stopped at the Grassmarket Centre. Ironically, this was right across from our hostel.

At the cafe, I had a chai masala tea and a raisin scone.

Grassmarket Centre- Scone with raisins

Lunch: Olly Bongo’s. This was a cute, small restaurant with lots of different options. I had a baked potato with chili, a side salad, and cole slaw.

I also needed an afternoon pick-me-up, so I had a cappuccino there as well.

Cappuccino at Olly Bongo’s

After lunch, we visited the Scottish National Gallery. Bonus: free entrance!

I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I visited a catfe while I was there. I’ve been missing some animal time! We went to Maison de Moggy and it was a nice way to stay warm.

Cost: £8 for one hour. While you’re there, you can order dessert and coffee.

Sunday, March 4:

I went back to Holyrood Cafe for breakfast, and had a cappuccino and a blueberry muffin.

Hollyrood Cappuccino
Hollyrood Blueberry Muffin

After that, I did some souvenir shopping throughout The Royal Mile.

For lunch, we went to The Elephant Room, which is where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration to write the Harry Potter series.

I wrote my post cards here and enjoyed a flat white and a chicken pot pie with brown gravy and mashed potatoes.

Chicken Pot Pie with brown gravy & mashed potatoes
Writing post cards at The Elephant Room

This is a place I HIGHLY suggest eating if you go to Edinburgh!

Thanks for reading along with my travels,

-Rach