We’re officially back from London & Paris, and I wanted to share some of our favorite highlights of the trip, great places to eat and things to do!
First off, I have to thank my husband, Justin, for planning another wonderful trip! Ever since our honeymoon to Tahiti back in 2015, he has officially been in charge of all travel! He loves the research, planning the perfect days, and of course wonderful places to dine. London and Paris were no exception.
We originally started planning this trip on our flight home from Greece this past July. We wanted to go somewhere for just a couple of days, and really just travel to one city. In the past, when we visited Italy or Spain & Greece, we traveled for two weeks and hopped around to lots of cities. Which, don’t get me wrong, is amazing, but it is also exhausting to unpack & pack, along with jumping on a train, airplane or in a car every few days. We knew that we wanted to go somewhere in the winter since we didn’t have any major plans and ultimately decided on Paris. We have flown in and out of the Paris airport before, but have never ventured into the city. Ironically enough, we were on a flight out of Paris when we started planning this trip!
After we returned home, Justin immediately got to planning. We thought we’d go for about 5 days and just stay in Paris the whole time. The more we talked about it, and looked into it, we decided to tack on London since it was so close and another city we had never been to. I am SO glad we did! We booked everything in November, and landed on 3 nights in London & 4 nights in Paris. Gone for 1 week – perfect! I’ll start this off with London, since we visited there first.
One of the things that Justin & I love to do on these trips is combine history & culture. We really like to immerse ourselves in the country and learn about their background, as well as try different foods, etc. (this is really making me think I should do a post on Italy, Spain and Greece!). Our first day was spent with a guide familiarizing ourselves with Mayfair, which is the area we stayed in. Mayfair is situated in the Heart of The Royal Borough of Westminster, and is one of London’s finest and most attractive villages. Named after the fortnight long May Fair held between 1686-1764, the area is synonymous with sophistication and class. We visited Shepherd Market, a charming square and piazza developed between 1735-46 by Edward Shepherd. Walked down Bond Street, known for it’s elegant stores, exclusive brands and designer fashion. It is a much-loved destination for celebrities & socialites across the globe. We ended that day at Fortum and Mason, which is the jewel of London’s Piccadilly, and is the most elegant shopping experience in town. That evening we dined at Harry’s Dolce Vita – such a cute restaurant with amazing Italian food!
Day two was spent visiting the Tower of London. We had a tour inside one of the most famous and well-preserved historic buildings in the world. Since the foundations were laid more than 900 years ago, the castle has been constantly improved and extended and evolved into the Fortress Prison, place of execution, arsenal, Royal Mint and Jewel House. The Tower of London has been the home to the Crown Jewels since the 14th century. It was pretty amazing to see the Queen’s crown, previous crowns and some of the largest and most historic diamonds in the world!
That afternoon we went to The Connaught Hotel for afternoon tea at Jean-Georges. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip! The food was endless and amazing. I loved all the little finger sandwiches and have a new obsession with scones. You can have afternoon tea at lots of wonderful places, but Justin heard great things about this particular spot, and we love Jean George!
Our last day of London was primarily spent at Westminster Abbey, a beautiful gothic monastery church that has been the traditional site for coronations and burials for many of the English monarchs. With the oldest parts dating to the year 960, the Abbey contains some of the most glorious medieval architecture in London. Prince William and Kate Middleton were married there! We then saw Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and walked Westminster Bridge.
After all that walking we decided to head over to Elan Cafe for sweets! I mean this place is what Instagram dreams are made of! Beautiful flower arrangements, cute furniture, amazing dessert displays. It was dreamy!
Our last night we had dinner at Sketch, which was recommended by everyone we know and definitely my favorite! They also have an afternoon tea service. This restaurant was amazing! There are several bars, all with different vibes, including one in the bathroom. The bathroom is a whole other experience with individual pods that play music. It was crazy. I could go on and on, especially when it comes to the pink velvet dinning room. I can’t forget the food either, the food was delicious with so many options! An absolute must dine at restaurant in London!
While in London we stayed at The Beaumont Hotel. I thought the location was perfect to everything we wanted to see & do, and the staff was phenomenal. Highly recommend it!
As a side note, our wonderful tour guide throughout London was Alison Brooke Turner. You can visit her website at www.brooketurnertours.com. She was the sweetest and beyond knowledgeable.
On day 4 we took the high speed train from London to Paris. This was definitely one of the nicest trains I’ve ever been on! We arrived in Paris around 2 pm and were picked up by our tour guide for the day. She drove us around and introduced us to the history of Paris, starting from the roman era to the ancient French Kings, through the ages to the occupation of World War II and how Paris evolved up to today.
We had a driving panoramic tour of Paris with a visit to Notre Dame, a truly fascinating gothic Cathedral. We learned about the legends of the carvings in the facade, the flying buttresses, what happened to it during the French Revolution and the famous rose windows. We were also able to light a couple of candles and say a few prayers, which was very special to me.
After visiting Notre Dame we walked across the street to get strawberry & nutella crepes. So delicious and totally worth every calorie!
That night we had dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower. WOW is all I can say! The view was amazing! The restaurant is called Le Jules Verne. It is a Michelin Star restaurant that offers contemporary French cuisine. The service was amazing! You take a private elevator to the restaurant – a great way to go up in the Eiffel Tower and avoid too many tourists, crowds & lines. It actually started snowing while we were up at dinner, which was pretty magical!
Our second day in Paris was Valentine’s Day. The city of love was the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day together. We started the morning off at Cafe de Flore, which is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris. It is celebrated for it’s famous clientele, such as high-profile writers & philosophers. That afternoon Justin surprised me with a photographer to take us around Paris and shoot some pictures of us both in front of the Eiffel Tower, gardens, etc. It was SO cold, but so fun. I’ll cherish these photos forever!
Our Photographers were Nicolas Manach & Tsil Rah. Visit Midnight in Paris on Wheels for more information.
That evening before dinner we ventured to the rooftop of our hotel, The Peninsula, for a glass of champagne and an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower. The hotel is in a great location, and just steps away from the Arc of Triumph. After a V-Day toast we headed to Boutary for dinner. Boutary is known for their caviar, but the whole menu was great!
Day three, off to Champagne! We opted for a scenic two-hour drive to Champagne. However, you can also take a train, which is only about 1 hour. We first stopped in Reims for lunch in the gardens of Les Crayeres at Le Jardin. The food was exceptional and extremely fresh with vegetables from the garden. From lunch we headed to our afternoon visit at Laurent Perrier for a tour and tasting. I have heard of them and tried some of their champagne, but visiting was a whole other story. The quaint winery is still primarily family owned and beautiful. Lined with gardens in the middle of Champagne, I loved that it was a large producer, yet didn’t have the feel of a mass producer. Of course the Champagne was amazing too. They even gave us a bottle take home, and we can’t wait to crack it open!
After a long day of wine tasting and the two hour drive back (well more like 2 1/2 with traffic) we were exhausted! We ended up just grabbing dinner at one of the restaurants in our hotel, which was a Chinese restaurant. They were celebrating the Chinese New Year, so there was a Dragon dance, which was pretty cool to see for the first time.
On our last day in Paris we visited the Louvre. You could spend hours, even days there and still not see it all. We just did a highlights tour with a guide, and spent about 3 hours there. The Louvre was actually the residence to royals, and in 1793 was made into a museum with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Today it is the world’s largest art museum and a central landmark of the city. It houses the Mona Lisa, which was pretty incredible to see in person with all the history behind it. It’s certainly much smaller in person than I realized.
After our tour we finally grabbed the famous Croque Monsieur – basically a French grilled cheese sandwich, but much, much better! There was a place right outside of the Louvre near Les Deux Plateaux, more commonly known as the Colonies de Buren. I wish I could remember the name of this little restaurant. It was packed with lots of locals and had a great outside seating area for people watching. Which, was really nice, since Friday was the warmest day while we were over there.
After lunch we walked miles and miles. We walked down Champs Elysees – one of the best shopping streets in Paris. We walked over Seine River, which was flooding, from all of the rain in the previous weeks, when we were there, so we couldn’t do a river cruise that day like we had originally planned. We ended the day back at our hotel just in time to change for dinner. Getting lost in a new city is one of my favorite things to do, plus we needed all the walking after the wonderful food we had been indulging in!
On our final night we went to Le Cinq, which is located in the Four Seasons Hotel and is a 3 Michelin Star restaurant & definitely amazing. It was the perfect way to end our trip.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or recommendations on either city. We loved them both!
You can shop all outfits details from our trip on my LIKEtoKNOW.it profile page.