This week, I’ve been sharing some pretty serious stuff (like going against your life grain and being spontaneous, tiny packing and learning how to chill the f out) but now it’s time for the fun stuff! I definitely didn’t do as much stuff as I normally would on a trip because the whole point of it was to be with my man but I still think we got quite a bit accomplished through all of our miles of walking.
Day Trip to Paris
Unfortunately, I was only in this beautiful city for a short period of time so I had to decide what I absolutely had to see and what I could pass on until next time. So upon landing, I immediately got myself some bread, cheese and wine, hopped on a bus and found myself a spot on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. There are quite a few critics out there of this masterpiece but to me, it was absolutely magical. I stayed in that spot on the lawn until about 9:30pm, watching the sun set and the tower light up (I eventually made my way back at 1am once I found myself a hotel post-Airbnb drama to watch the sparkles because yes, that is a sight you must see). This was the perfect way to start my time in the city and something I highly recommend to anyone who will be passing through, especially if you arrive later in the day. There were hundreds of people, dogs, and music on the lawn and it was extremely calming, especially after a long flight there. It helped me to recharge and prepare for the rest of the trip.
The next morning, I was up bright and early to go on my first ever Airbnb Experience! Titled the “Paris bike & breakfast experience,” I cannot say enough great things. First of all, with such a short time in the city, a bike tour is the best way to see all of the attractions in a short time period, leaving the rest of the day to go back to your favorite spots or find new ones. Second of all, Christian and Paul from Le Peloton Cafe were amazing hosts!
Just like the description, I arrived at the cafe, greeted with warm smiles, a drink of choice (flat white was their specialty!) and homemade waffles (I opted for the Nutella because duh). After carbing up for the bike ride, David, our tour guide, gave us a brief tutorial on the bikes and we set off. We hit up all the popular spots, such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Louvre but we also got to see some places I hadn’t heard about and explore new neighborhoods like the Latin Quarter. Not only did David share the history of each stop but he also wove in personal stories, making the tour really come to life. He also was an expert at the photo ops – I mean, c’mon, look at that point!
To finish off the tour, we indulged in a beer donning a bicycle on the label (they picked that one on purpose). We traded traveling stories and shared what else we looked forward to that trip.
Sharing this experience with 3 other travelers made it even more memorable. I made new friends that although I may never see again, it was great to have their company in what otherwise would have been 48 hours alone. So 1. find a tour in that new city you’re visiting and find some new friends to continue your explorations with and 2. do this bike tour if you’re ever in Paris (mainly because their waffles were the bomb.com).
With some time left on my hands, I headed to what is known as the best falafel in all of Paris and let me tell you, it 100% lived up to that. L’as du Fallafel is located on the border of the 1st and 11th arrondissement and although there were quite a few impersonators of this famous restaurant, the line out the door and down the block gave it away. The guys at Le Peloton suggested taking it to go and sitting in a nearby park so I did exactly that. I then wandered to the Seine, sat down on the edge and did some people watching. After letting my food settle, I wandered to the Jardin de Plantes, checking out the beautiful gardens and the zoo. From there, I walked to the Pantheon, stopping at a few bars along the way to cheer France on in the World Cup.
Marseille City Guide
Despite my rough arrival to Marseille, our Airbnb ended up being in the perfect location. Nestled right by the Old Port and steps away from restaurants and bars, that was the first thing we set off to do:
- Croissants: everywhere
- Crepes: Brasserie L’Alcazar
- 2 Place François Mireur, 13001 Marseille, France
- Coffee: My Garden
- 32 Rue Caisserie, 13002 Marseille, France
- Beer: La Canebière or Les Berthom Marseille
- 32 Boulevard Philippon, 13004 Marseille, France
- 31 Cours Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves, 13001 Marseille, France
- Seafood: Restaurant Miramar
- 12 Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille, France
- Pizza: P.P. Maulio or A Casetta
- 24 Rue Sainte, 13001 Marseille, France
- 218/220 Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille, France
- Tapas XXL (when you’re missing American food): The Queen Victoria
- 1 Place aux Huiles, 13001 Marseille, France
Since Marseille is a port city, there were a ton of street markets selling everything from fresh caught fish to homemade soap and tiny France trinkets. We also stumbled upon some kind of art exhibit with people walking around in wooden tables with crazy makeup and posing for pictures. We never did figure out what that was.
Aside from the food, drinks and art all over the city, we ventured to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. This was perched on top of a mountain across the port from our Airbnb and when we arrived, we couldn’t believe how amazing the 360 views of the city were! It ALMOST made me forget how miserable the climb up was, I say almost because I was still dripping sweat the entire time. Super cute, amiright?
Something I really had wanted to do in our time there was go to the Massif des Calanques. Whenever I Googled things to do in Marseille, this was one of the top attractions. Before we left, Michael asked if he should wear his sandals since there was a beach there and I proceeded to tell him no since we’d be walking and put on my own sandals without even thinking about what I was doing. BIG MISTAKE. We ended up hiking at least 5 miles over a mountain and through some pretty rugged terrain. However, the view was completely worth it. The ice cold water was pretty nice too so we could cool off and make sure our feet didn’t swell up too bad. This hike is definitely a MUST see but please make sure you don’t make my mistake and wear your gym shoes.
Other places we visited or walked/drove by:
- Palais Longchamp
- Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations
- Marseille Cathedral
- Orange Vélodrome
- Porte d’Aix