Friday, July 29, 2011

McGuffey Guide to Paris - Part I

I dreamed of going to the City of Love for as long as I can remember.  I wanted to walk the narrow streets past all of the window boxes filled with beautiful flowers.  I wanted to drink wine and have a picnic on the Seine.  I wanted to sit outside of a cafe and watch Parisian life pass me by.  I wanted to eat the fabulous food and refine my palette.  I wanted to see all of the sites and spend hours taking in the abundance of impressionist art that I love so much.  And last but certainly not least, I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower with the love of my life.  Last September, I got the chance to make my dream come true.  Mitch and I took a three week European tour in celebration of his completion of law school and the bar.  It was amazing and more than I could have ever dreamed of.  Our first five days were spent in Paris, and it was the perfect beginning to the trip and my favorite city we visited.

This trip was very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, and while it worked out great for us, I thought I would share some of our tips and favorite places for those who enjoy a more planned vacation.  I've split the post in two so that it isn't the blog equivalent of Les Miserables.  Hope you enjoy our favorite places and the pictures from our visit.

We think hands down, you should stay in the Latin Quarter when on your visit to Paris.  It has the beautiful narrow streets and window boxes, it is close to most of the attractions you want to see (Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, Musee d'Orsay), and it has the outdoor markets and quaint cafes that you will want to frequent.  We spent half of our stay at a lovely, budget friendly place in the Latin Quarter named Hotel des 3 Colleges.  We got an end room, so one of our windows opened up on the corner, and we enjoyed the sounds of the streets and felt very Parisian while in our room.  I will put the disclaimer that it is not a five star hotel by any means, but it is clean, has all of the necessities, great location and the price is right. 

We spent the second half of our stay in a hotel near the Eiffel Tower and would not recommend it; we felt very out of the loop.  It just seemed like less was going on in that area and we had to walk a good distance to get anywhere we wanted to go.

We looked into several other hotels that were recommended by Steph Modo here, but they were all booked up. They all look delightful and when we go back, they will be on the short list of places we check.

It is worth it to do your homework on places to eat dinner in Paris.  There are a lot of touristy places that are not very good, and you do not want to get stuck eating at them like we did one night.  Our favorite dinner during our time there was at a place called Cafe Constant.  It was recommended by a friend, and it was absolutely fabulous!  My fish was delicious, but Mitch's quail was out of the this world.  Seriously, do yourself a favor and go!

Our flight arrived at 8:00 am, so we were quite hungry by the time we dropped our stuff at the hotel.  We wandered around the corner and found
Soufflot Cafe.  It was exactly what we needed to initiate us into our time in Paris.  A lot of the locals stop in at a cafe in the morning for a quick coffee and baguette with butter and jam, so in an effort to blend in (or maybe just because we were hungry), we went back several times for our morning fix. :)  It has a very English friendly menu and a delicious onion soup if you choose to go for lunch.

There is ice cream and there is ICE CREAM!  Berthillon ice cream falls in the later category.  I'm not sure I've had anything better.  It is absolutely divine and a place that you will want to frequent throughout your stay.  My favorite flavor was peach; it tasted like I was biting into a fresh, frozen peach.  Berthillon is located on Isle St. Louis, which is right beside the Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter.  Everywhere on the island sells this ice cream, but you should definitely go to the real location.  They are closed on Monday and Tuesdays, so be sure to plan accordingly.

One of the best things about Paris is the abundance of fresh markets and shops.  So pick up your favorite cured meat, cheese, baguette and bottle of wine and head down to any of the benches along the Seine for one of the loveliest lunches you could ever ask for.

And last, but certainly not least.....crepes!  You can get them anywhere and everywhere, and they are amazing!  They make for a quick lunch on the go or the perfect evening cap.  My personal favorites were ham and cheese and butter, sugar and cinnamon.  And I am pretty sure we had at least one every day we were there.

Come back next week for Part II of the McGuffey Guide to Paris.  I will share our favorite museums, things we loved doing while there, random tips and lots of pictures.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby Fun

Some sweet friends gave us the ERGObaby Carrier, so 
Friday night we decided to give it a try with books in place of a baby.  It was quite entertaining, and Bo is lucky that I talked Mitch out of using him instead of the books; however, he wasn't quite as lucky when Mitch was learning how to swaddle......

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and 27 Weeks

We went to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter 7 in 3D last night, and it was AMAZING!  They even made the glasses to look like Harry's.  We got in some great people watching in the two hours that we waited in the cinema before it started.  The two best costumes I saw were for Bellatrix and The Grey Lady.  And of course about half of the theater had lightening bolts drawn on their foreheads.  We had such a fun time with our friends Ryan and Catalina, and I think we are all a little bit sad that it is over.  Maybe I will go back and reread all of the books soon.....

And I have had lots of requests for a recent pregnant picture, so I made Mitch take one before we left for the movie last night.  I had to sit down after seeing the pictures; my belly looks so much bigger from the side than it does from my vantage point!  Maybelle is doing great and moving around like crazy!  It is pretty insane to look down and see your stomach moving!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Doughnut Heaven

I went this morning for my glucose challenge test.  I made my appointment in our next door neighborhood of Greenpoint.  Since I couldn't eat anything from about 9:00 last night, I was famished this morning!  So after I had my blood drawn, drank a sugary orange drink, waited an hour and had my blood drawn again, it was time to reward myself.  I had been wanting to try Peter Pan Donuts in Greenpoint for a while, so this was the day.  Man oh man, it was amazing!  For $2.00 I got an old fashioned glazed doughnut and a cup of coffee.  The doughnut was the perfect cake consistency with the perfect dip of glaze!  And the coffee was perfectly creamed and sugared.  I cannot wait to take Mitch there this weekend!

picture from

Friday, July 8, 2011

Southern Excursion

I went back South for a week and a half in June and it was fabulous!  Oh how I needed a respite from city life and to get back to the familiarity of family, neighborhoods, driving and Walmart. :)  I started my excursion in Nashville with college friends, but spent the bulk of my time back home in Dothan.  Mitch and his parents came down the last weekend, and we had a blast!  (I am so thankful that our families get along so well!)  I spent most of my week hanging out with my family, eating, playing with my niece and sister-in-law, and making a crib bumper with my mom.  It was a glorious, relaxing week!  I was blessed to have two different baby showers in my time back home, the first in Nashville and the second in Dothan.  Maybelle got some really wonderful things, and people were so generous that we weren't able to get everything back in the extra suitcase we packed!  Enjoy the pictures of our time back home!