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We started in Paris because it’s one of our favorite cities in the world, it’s a great entry point to Europe, and, well, it’s Paris. After our whirlwind year, it was nice to start somewhere familiar and have it feel truly leisurely. We stayed for two weeks, splitting our time between the neighborhoods of Saint-Germain, the border of Marais and Bastille, and Montmartre. We still wanted to pop by a few tourist attractions, but our main goal was to immerse ourselves in the local culture and neighborhoods, stroll through parks, and locate the absolute perfect croissant. Priorities in check.
No matter how many times I visit Paris, I always, and will always, want to have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. It’s cliché — and I don’t care. It’s a strange, spectacular structure, and being that close to it is surreal. Plus, I get great joy out of drinking champagne in public spaces — I'm such an American! I love this picture because it was our first or second day in the city, and the reality of what we had just pulled off was setting in. We were exhausted, excited, and in a bit of shock and awe about it all.
No Parisian picnic would be complete without a pastry. I live for these raspberry tarts you see on display in pretty much every other window in Paris. There’s a little custard between the buttery crust and this glorious layer of raspberries. I’ve had versions of this dessert that are covered in a sugary glaze. Incorrect. This version is piled high with fresh berries and has the perfect amount of sweetness.
I’ve still never seen another city that has been built with such attention to detail — the doorknobs, the lampposts, the street signs. It a stunning citywide design system. This is a relatively mundane street corner, but I love the architecture, the balconies, the flower boxes, the white-and-green-striped awnings.
A charming little side street in Saint-Germain. Paris has had a great bike-sharing program, Vélib’, for years. After many past failed attempts, because our American credit cards are incompatible with many kiosks in Europe, we almost gave up on renting bikes in Paris. It’s a long story about chip-and-pin technology…. But this trip, we beat the system by purchasing credits on Vélib’s website and using an access code at the kiosk. We zipped across the city from Marais to Canal Saint-Martin.
I was so excited that we came upon the Promenade Plantée on this trip. I didn’t even know it existed! It’s basically the original High Line. Inaugurated in 1993, it was the world’s first elevated park built on top of old railway tracks. The path is covered in gardens with plenty of nooks to lounge in and provides an impressive bird’s eye view of the city streets below. At one point, we even found ourselves weaving through modern apartment buildings and ended up at a lush little park with sunbathers, children playing tag, and couples strolling through rose gardens.