Around the World: France & Portugal!
Paris. It IS always a good idea!
We stayed in an area a couple train stops past city center. It was really quaint and a beautiful area. When we were trying to order our baguette sandwiches (which are now my favorite) with the only French we knew (bonjour) we struggled. Haha! A nice man helped us out and then he told us that they rarely get tourists out in that area, so not many of the restaurants and people in the area spoke English. Haha! SO, who knows where we went, but it was a fun area with lots of little bakeries and cafes.
Our first day we bought the hop on/hop off boat pass. It stops at a bunch of the sights in Paris. I guess this is where our dive into tourist mode happened. We went to the Louvre first. We didn’t actually go inside the Louvre for the sake of time, but we loved walking around it and checking it out.
I was dying to get to the Eiffel Tower, so we went there next. It was everything I ever dreamed of! We had such a blast! We were cracking up because we would see so many cute couples and they were all sweet and romantic and then there’s us with a baby on our back. Haha BUT I think Addison felt the romantic vibes and decided to peace out, because she fell into a deep sleep right when we got there. We were joking that we were on a date at the Eiffel Tower.
We went up to the top and loved the view of the city. Paris is so beautiful.
Then we hung out on the lawn for a couple hours. We weren’t planning on staying that long, but it was just so fun to chill and soak in the vibes of the Eiffel Tower. Those hours sitting and playing with Addison across the lawn are some of my favorite memories of this trip. It makes me smile to think about. There are crepe stands all over, and we took advantage of that too. It just makes sense that you have to eat crepes at the Eiffel Tower, am I right??
Once we were content with our time at the Eiffel Tower, we hopped back on the boat and went up to Notre Dame. It was beautiful and a fun stop.
We were starving, so we scouted out a place to eat. WE FOUND THE COOLEST STREET. It was just two blocks away from Notre Dame. It is called Rue de la Huchette. There were tons of different kinds of amazing food vendors and the street was just lit up with awesome lights and live music. We are all about the kebabs, so we went with those. It was just fun walking around, people watching and eating our kebabs.
The next day we met up with Austin’s mom, Jacie. It was such a treat for us to get to tour around Paris and Portugal with her! She leads study abroad programs every year, so she is a pro at Europe. It worked out that as her study abroad ended in Spain, we would just be getting to Paris. So she was able to meet up with us in Paris and play with us for a couple days there.
We got a rental car and drove straight to Versailles. We toured Versailles and were in constant awe! It was BEAUTIFUL. There was so much to see, but we loved seeing the crazy huge fancy rooms. Addison especially loved the big chandeliers and mirrors. She would do this really excited high-pitched gasp and point. Haha! Guess we know she wants a chandelier in her room! We were big fans of the gardens too - we spent hours walking through them. It goes on forever and we got so lost we were considering calling search and rescue. Haha!
We drove to Chenonceaux that night - a little village out in the Loire Valley. The drive itself was so beautiful out in the country of France. We stayed in THE cutest bed and breakfast called Le Maison de Famille. It felt so surreal to wake up to the smell of homemade bread in this little cottage in France. It was such a fun experience for us and we loved every minute!
We visited Chateau de Chenonceaux, which is absolutely stunning. I loved touring through it and Austin and I agree that we want to style our kitchen like the one in this chateau. I guess we have the same taste as people in the 1600s!
Between Chenonceaux and Paris, there are chateaus upon chateaus to visit. We made a couple stops, but we didn’t have the time we wanted to stop at ALL of them! We had to get to the airport to catch our flight to Lisbon, where we had a 24 hour layover.
Portugal was FAST, but a total bonus that we even got to visit at all. There is one main street through Lisbon that has a really great feel and vibe to it - its called R. Augusta. Austin makes fun of me all the time because I care about the ambiance too much. Haha But this street had it all - live music, chairs set out on the tiled streets, people laughing and having a great time, trolleys driving by and delicious food. We aren’t experts on Lisbon, but it doesn’t take an expert to know it would be a shame to miss this street. It also leads through Rua Augusta Arch and to the ocean. We ate dinner on this street and enjoyed sitting and talking and taking it all in. It was awesome to witness and participate in the culture of deliberate social dining. When you go to a restaurant, they plan on your table being yours for the night. There is no pressure to get out fast. I loved that and think we need more of this mindset in America sometimes!
After we ate dinner, we wandered through several of the nearby streets that all had really fun night vibes. Addison was long asleep in her backpack by the time we headed back to our hotel around 11:30 that night. People were still sitting out and laughing at their tables in the restaurants. I loved it!
We bought an all day train and trolley pass so that we could just zip around anywhere we wanted to go in Lisbon. We went to a few of the sights like Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Belem Tower. We took the trolley to the area of these sights, which was one of our Lisbon bucket list items anyways! Addison loved the trolley rides too. They provided for a great break for her to get out of the backpack and to play with us. We’ve found that those breaks for her (and us) are so important!
The walk from the trolley to these sites gave us a perfect mini tour of each area. We loved the walk along the river and all the cute shops. And apparently gelato is a big deal in Lisbon, so we were okay with that too!
And just like that, our 24 hours in Lisbon were up and it was time to head to Ghana.
Our time in Paris and Lisbon was short, but it was an awesome portion of our Around the World adventures! We are happy we could squeeze them in!