We had been living in France for quite a while before we actually made it to Paris. Marc had hockey almost every day, and we really wanted to wait until we could spend more that a day there. So we decided to go for the Christmas break in December. It was the perfect time – in my crazy, cold-loving opinion – because there weren’t as many tourists there, and there was going to be Christmas festivities taking place.
Since it was our first time, we had no idea what to do or where to stay. We decided to stay near the Eiffel Tower at a Best Western. It was a pretty decent hotel, and was within a close distance to a metro stop (even though we didn’t venture below the streets on this trip). It also had parking – because we were naive enough to drive instead of taking the train – but it was several blocks away from the hotel. Not the best decision we’ve made, but also not the worst.
We opted to go the red bus route so we could see more of the city. I think it was perfect because it really gave us a chance to wrap our heads around where everything was located, and just how big the city really is. Since the red buses give you the opportunity to hop on and off whenever you want, it’s pretty easy to explore.
By the time we made it to the Arc, it was already getting dark – the perfect time to see the city from above. Luckily, the line was non-existent this time of year. We climbed all those stairs (348 to be exact), and watched the sun set over the city.
When we came down, we strolled along the Champs-Elysees. There were Christmas lights everywhere and so many people. We just kept walking until we were on our way back to the Eiffel Tower to see more lights.
We popped into a nearby restaurant for dinner, before heading to the top of the tower. When we came down, we waited for the lights to sparkle. Marc was adamant about seeing the lights sparkle one more time. We waited almost an hour before it happened again. Of course, I had no idea that he was planning on proposing so I was getting a little antsy. But it was worth the wait (obviously!).
The rest of the night was a giant blur. I was so excited and happy, and I couldn’t wait to share the news with my family and friends. When we went back to the hotel, Marc had sparkling wine already chilled and waiting for us. (We had just been to a wine tasting at a vineyard the week before and Marc had sneaked the crémant into his bags before we left Angers) It was such a great night.
In the morning, we took the bus to the Île-de-la-Cité, and walked to visit Notre Dame and Fontaine Saint-Michel. We also checked out the famous lock bridge – Pont des Arts – and wandered around but not in the Louvre.
We walked a lot this day. Even though we still took the red bus, the stops ended up being pretty far away from one another so we just decided to walk. We walked see Invalides and past the Eiffel Tower again. We stopped at the hotel and walked back to the bus stop. We stopped at the Opera and walked to Boulevard Haussman to see the department stores decked out in Christmas lights. It was already dark by then, so we walked toward Trocadero until we found a restaurant for dinner.
After dinner we stopped by the Christmas markets and watched the people ice skating. We drank vin chaud (hot mulled wine) and bought our very first Christmas ornament together. We watched the boats drifting down the Seine for a while before heading back to the hotel.
In the morning, we reclaimed our parked car and drove to Versailles.
The weather was pretty icky, so we missed out on all the beautiful gardens, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon, but I wasn’t disappointed. The chateau was insane. It’s so big, and there are so many rooms to explore. It took at least 3 or 4 hours.
Here’s a tip: If you want to do the audio tour, bring your own headphones. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck holding the receiver, like a cell phone, to your ear the entire time.
Last Updated on April 24, 2018 by Melissa Belanger