Paris & London

In my head, Paris and London go together as a pair. For one reason, I’ve been to both in high school during my first Eurotrip. Another reason is that these are the first two cities that pop into my head when I think of Europe – the romantic city of “”Pair-ee” and the royal family in London. During my first trip, I adored Paris but didn’t enjoy London. Wow the tables have turned…

Don’t get me wrong. I loved Paris, but I love London more now. Speak French and I promise your experience would be twenty times better than mine. This was definitely the hardest language during this trip. Italian is similar to Spanish, and Katie knows Spanish. French is a whole different thing with tongue twists and throat gurggles. Haha!

When we arrived at our apartment, we were shocked at how small these units are. Katie and Baldwin slept in a loft room above the kitchen. MG and I shared the small bedroom with one bathroom. By this point, we’re into our third week of vacation, and we were pooped. We took a long nap before going out to dinner. We found a local hotspot called La Tour de Montlhéry ou chez Denise (an Anthony Bourdain recommendation). The food was amazing and a heaping amount! We family-styled the escargots, fois gras, cote de boeuf, and cote d’agneau (snails, duck liver pate, grilled beef, and grilled lamb). We were too chicken to order the lamb brains… When you order house wine, they bring a bottle and only charge you for what you drink. Awesome concept that the States are missing out on! The French know how to eat! After dinner we walked to the Louvre for some night shots. 

La Tour de Montlhéry ou chez Denise

Louvre at night

Louvre at night

The next day was a rainy one. To get out of the storm, we decided to go to the Musée du Louvre, one of the world’s largest museums. Remember when I said we were not museum people? I wasn’t joking… This day consisted of posing like statues and being silly. The museum is so big that we basically just hit up the most famous artwork. In the middle of walking around, we had to take a break so we ended up at McDonald’s for a meal. Then we got back into the museum and finally got to see the Mona Lisa. Don’t even get me started on the Mona Lisa… Baldwin and Kay almost got into an argument with someone standing behind us making rude comments at us to get out of the way! The crowds, the protective glass… can you even see the details on her? Ugh… We were at the Louvre for 5 hours (including the 45 mins at McDonald’s), and we saw like 10 famous pieces of work. Re-enforcing, we are not museum people. Haha!

Louvre

Napoleon's Dining
Napoleon’s quarters – fancy huh?

Louvre

McDonald'sMcDonald’s macrons, not too shabby!

FYI, your museum ticket serves as a day pass so you can re-enter all day. Also remember that there are multiple entrances. You don’t have to wait in the loooong line at the main entrance.

Funny story, we finally decided to purchase an umbrella because we were getting soaked. It’s rained in every city that we visited, and we were able to hold out. But now on the last leg, we couldn’t do it anymore. We purchased 2 umbrellas for 7 euros from a street vendor. Mistake… MG crossed the street, opened his umbrella, and it broke apart. We were still able to make it last through the day and once more in London! Pretty good for 7 euros!

We then went to Notre Dame, the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, and Pont de l’Archevêché, where the infamous love lock bridge is located. The tradition is to hook a lock onto the bridge with your loved one and throw the keys in the river so they are never found. A week after we got home, we found out a portion of the bridge broke because of the weight of the locks. Hopefully that wasn’t where we put it! We spent a lot of time looking for a place that was memorable in case we ever went back to look for our lock (which I think will never happen… muahah).

Notre Dame

Pont de l'Archevêché

Lock Bridge

The rain finally stopped so we made our way over to the Arc de Triomphe, only to find the all the subway exits were closed off. What the damn hell? When we finally found a way out, there was a commemoration for the 70th anniversary of D-day, celebrating the liberation of Europe in WWII. It was really cool to stumble upon something like this so we stayed a while.. and unbeknownst to us, the Queen of England showed up! So we’ve seen the Pope on this trip and now we bumped into the Queen. Can’t ask for much more than that, amirite?

Queen
Look how cute she is in pink!

We walked around Champs-Élysées for a while and got macrons, from the best macron place in the world, Laduree. I kid you not. Amazing! Afterwards, MG had to pee and restrooms are hard to come by. We found a large shopping center so that he could whiz. At this time, I found out that Longchamp purses are about $60 cheaper in Paris than in the States. Baldwin’s cousins wanted a few and me too! I ended up charging my card for 5 Longchamps. When MG went to find us, I had spent over $500. Surprise!!! Only one for me anyway, giggles.

Lauduree

Shopping

The next day was the biggie that never gets old, the Eiffel Tower. We took it to the top, and for lunch we found a nearby Korean restaurant. I figured it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle since we know how to order our favorite Korean dishes. I couldn’t be more wrong! The Korean is translated in French, duh… I used the little Korean I had to translate certain dishes and the waitress would nod. That’s how we ordered! Gyozas are called raviolis and tempura is a beignet. What?!? We bought some desserts at a bakery then laid out on the lawn to eat. We spent about 4 hours in the presence of the Eiffel Tower. After a long day of walking the city, we went to a grocery store and cooked a nice meal consisting of a cucumber/tomato salad, duck pate (you can buy this at the grocery store!!!) and bread, lamb chops, and final course, cheese burgers. Don’t you want to travel with me?

Top of Eiffel

Top

Lounging

Eiffel

Dinner

We visit the Arc de Triomphe one more time for a night view, finally able to stand underneath. It’s glorious. It was around 11:30 when we realized that the Eiffel Tower stops its twinkling light show around midnight, and it only twinkles every hour on the hour. Whoops… We hauled ass over to the Eiffel Tower, ran down the Subway hallways, and only had 2 mins to spare. We caught the beautiful show! It’s always the highlight of Paris!

France

Arc de Triomphe

Eiffel at night

Twinkling

—–

Next and final stop, London!

Really pro tip here so take note. If you’re traveling by train from Paris to London, you will probably have to go through security and customs. We didn’t know until about 40 minutes before our train left. Thankfully they are efficient workers and got us through quickly. Don’t make that mistake! We made it though! Travel with me and you’ll always have an adventure, wink!

We arrived at King’s Cross in London. Anyone? Anyone? This happened:

Platform 9 3/4

Before dinner we walked the London Bridge and then the Tower Bridge. For those that don’t know, Tower bridge is the one that’s in all the postcards! We ate a place called Picture and really enjoyed our dinner. Wow, we really missed ordering dinner in an English speaking restaurant! Whew that was easy.

London Bridge

Tower Bridge

Walking

I have a confession. I’ve lived in San Francisco for 4 years now, and I have never walked the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge. But in London, I walked both London and Tower Bridge in a day!

We only had one full day in London. Today was the day; we woke early and set out to Buckingham Palace in the rain to see the changing of the guards. That didn’t happen though… Instead we were lucky enough to see all the guards out, parading on horses and playing music. They were rehearsing for a special event that happened the week after we were to leave. Pretty neat! How does one wear a uniform, ride a horse, and play music at the same time, all in the rain? Impressive.

Buckingham Palace

Palace

Cute guardKay and I found a cute officer to take pics with! Kay thinks he might bite…

We walked to Big Ben and Trafalgar Square for some pictures. And we ended up in a neighborhood called Covent Gardens (stay here! awesome place! really fun!). We loved it! Lots to eat. Many marketplaces. Lots of shopping. It’s so hoppin’ here (dang, I sound old).

Big Ben

Big Ben with Kay and Balds

Climbing^^^ Getting up on this platform was terrifying! It was slippery, and I couldn’t get a good grip. I saw kids just jumping off like it’s nothing… So brave those little ones. Catching Baldwin making sure MG’s butt was safe was pretty funny. The scary climb was worth the picture!

Trafalgar Square

Covent Gardens
Look at those batches of paella!

Lauduree
Laduree in London because this is Katie’s favorite thing in the world

We knew that Harrod’s closes at 8pm so got there at 6, thinking it was more than enough time. If I was wrong before, this is worse… I lost Baldwin probably on the first floor when we were looking at skincare. Then we went to toy kingdom, and we basically parted ways. I got a glitter tattoo and one nail painted like a strawberry. MG was lost looking at remote-controlled cars that can drive on ceilings. Baldwin and Katie… who knows? We spent a good hour here just looking at toys. At some point, I had to yell “Baldwin, come here! Katie, stay with me! MG, get back here!” We had to leave some time for dinner at Harrod’s. As we were going down the escalators, we came across the spy gear section. The boys were lost again. Please, someone tell me how to contain kids and keep them by your side! Then the food section at Harrod’s… what department store has their own grocery market, sweets market, and snacks?!? We parted ways yet again. The store eventually closed, and we still needed to find dinner. We settled on a random Mediterranean restaurant in a super rich neighborhood (GTRs, Porsche, and other fancy cars parked on the street).

Harrod's

We left the next morning, bright and early, rolling our suitcases to the Tube, only to find out the Tube doesn’t open until late morning on the weekends. Fortunately, we hailed the one and only cabbie driving down the street, and he took us to the airport. Dang that was an expensive ride, 70 euros. Ouch. Transportation in London is expensive! Be prepared if you’re going so you don’t have sticker shock!

Cab

Almost two weeks since I’ve been back. I was homesick towards the end of the trip, especially missing my Chubalee. But now that I’m two weeks home and back at work, I have to get started planning my next vacation. Where next?

Oh, and this guy is in a cone because he’s been chewing his foot. Thought it might make you smile. He’s so sad right now, but he just so cute to me. He somehow found out how to bite his foot even with the cone on. We had to makeshift a taller cone with paper plates… He’s such a goofball now.

Conehead

Are you planning a trip to Europe any time soon? Where are you visiting?

Have a fantastic weekend!
Jay

  

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