I’m back from Paris and I just have to say, I had the most wonderful trip. I tend to more or less LOVE everywhere that we go, but I will say that I was expecting to not like France as much as I did.
While I’m not about to pack my bags to move there any time soon, it was definitely just as romantic as they say to travel there with my husband and soak in the city with building after building and street after street of draw-dropping architecture and beauty.
We originally were planning on leaving Thursday evening (and arriving 8 am Friday), but after rumors of a strike among the French air traffic controllers, Delta allowed us to bump up our flight for free. An extra day of vacation? Yes, please!
We ended up leaving at 6:30 pm on Wednesday and after dodging some serious storms in the midwest, our flight left Atlanta around midnight on Thursday morning.
We lucked out and had some global upgrades through Delta that we were able to use, so we flew in First Class to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport. On the way over, we had some really incredible potage de crevettes (shrimp and grits) with lots and lots of champagne.
I slept as much as I could on the plane during the 7ish hour flight and felt pretty good when we touched down in France around 3pm local time.
CDG is pretty far from the city, so taking a taxi was out of the question (we actually managed to avoid taxis the entire trip, which is a win because they are notorious for being slow and gouging tourists). We used Les Cas Air France which is a shuttle direct from the airport to 2 stops downtown. This was the perfect solution for us because the first stop (Etoile) was directly outside of our hotel. For 17 euro (so about $18 USD each way), it was basically a direct ride.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile and it was the PERFECT location for the marathon. It was less than 1.5k to the Arc de Triomphe. The marathon starting line was at the Arc, so less than a 15 minute walk and NO public transportation needed. Win.
This was the view from our room and it was hands-down my favorite part of the entire trip. We didn’t spend much time at the hotel, but my nose was basically glued to the glass while we were there. Stunning!
The hotel is in need of some renovations because the style is very dated, but we still really enjoyed the stay.
Our room actually had 2 separate bathrooms (which is officially my absolutely favorite feature of a hotel room ever!)…
and while the bed was SO hard, I could see the Eiffel Tower while laying down, so…. I’ll take it.
The hotel was also walking distance to a small convenience store/market, had an ATM in it, and had a metro subway station. Super convenient in every way.
I also ate the BEST macaron of my life in their lounge. There is nothing like your first French macaron….
After we checked in, we headed right out to the Salon de Running, Paris Marathon expo. The metro took some finagling to figure out since we wanted to buy a multi-day pass, but it wasn’t allowing us to pay for zones 1- 3 for 5 days… We ended up just skipping the multi-day pass and I think it ended up being a better deal for us to just pay each time we wanted to ride. Plus we were then more inclined to walk and that helped us see a lot more of the city!
The expo was enormous! Being Thursday afternoon, we were able to breeze through the place, but there were tons and tons of vendors to look at and explore. I’ll admit that I used to love expos, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve already seen it all. Plus I follow so many running blogs and instagram accounts that I see a lot of new products through those means.
We needed a medical certificate completed by a doctor in order to run, and while they made a big fuss about it online, my volunteer barely glanced at it before stamping it.
We got our bibs and drawstring backpacks, but it did take a while to find where to pick up our pre-ordered poster. Thankfully they had plenty of English speaking volunteers!
We headed back to the hotel (since we were loaded down with backpacks, posters, etc), dropped off our things and then headed out to dinner at pretty much the only restaurant that we decided ahead of time that we needed to eat at: Le Relais de l’Entrecôte.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte is a restaurant that specializes in only 1 dish: steak and frites. The line wasn’t too long and we got a table within about 30 minutes.
Once we were seated, we ordered a bottle of wine and for dinner our server only had one question: how do you like your meat?
The first course was bread and salad, which had an interesting dressing that was light, but mustard-y.. but the main event was definitely the steak.
The steak was covered in a green gravy, which was EXCELLENT. It seemed like a curry-herb sauce, but it paired well especially with the FRIES. So good. Paul thought they might have been cooked in duck fat, which I would believe because these may have been the best fries of my life. Very crispy!
Once we were done eating, we ordered another half bottle of wine, which was automatically served with more steak and more fries.. Well.. if they insist!!
We were stuffed when we left, but my first meal at an adorable, tightly-packed French restaurant was a great experience! I was SO ready for what the rest of Paris had in store for me!
We spent the rest of the night with a bottle of wine at the hotel watching the Eiffel Tower
Do you like going to race expos? I looked at the race merchandise, but the Asics apparel with the marathon logo was all around 60 – 80 euros! Way too pricey!
Where are the best fries you have ever had in your life?
Click here to read Part 2 of my Paris Recap!