With travel bans and quarantine I have been in major wanderlust mode. It’s like when you tell a kid they can’t have something it just makes them want it more? I’m definitely at that point. I’ve been watching travel food shows like ‘somebody feed phil’ on Netflix or ‘off menu’ on Amazon Prime and reading travel blogs like find us lost and flying the nest. I have a ridiculously long running list written in my notes app of everywhere I want to go down to hotels, restaurants, hidden gems, and hole-in-the-walls. I pray that the travel industry will make a speedy recovery after this, not just for the sake of my own wanderlusting heart, but for Thomas to get up in the air more. With a large portion of airplanes grounded it’s been slow for him but the good news is, whether it’s in 1 month or 1 year people are always going to want and need to travel.
I love planning out a trip and finally arriving at the destination I’ve been anticipating, but what about adding a little pitstop as a bonus?! Long layovers are a great way to pack more into a trip and check off more spots on your bucket list! We did a 20 hour layover in Reykjavik a couple years back and this past March we did the same thing in Paris, one of my favorite cities 💕 Here’s our stop off itinerary and ideas on how to spend a layover in Paris!
If you travel with just carry-ons like we do you’ll have to store your luggage for the day. At Charles de Gaulle they have a luggage facility that’s labeled ″Bagages du Monde″ where you can pay a small amount for them to hold your luggage. To get in into the city, it takes about 50 minutes by train and tickets only cost 10€ one-way.
I can’t think of a more quintessential Paris neighborhood than Montmartre. It’s seriously too charming for its own good. Getting off the train first thing in the morning and walking through the quiet cobbled alleys, seeing the markets and bakeries opening up was the perfect start to our day. Montmartre can get crowded, so I say start there in the morning and enjoy coffee & pastries, a walk around the neighborhood, a quick visit to see Sacré-Cœur and views of the city and and then off to breakfast!
Since we had landed at 6am with little to no sleep the first thing on my agenda was espresso, so our first stop of the day was a little cafe where we split a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant 😋) and two espresso’s. And yes, I did order this cutesy leopard beret on Amazon to make me feel even more Parisian. It’s my favorite accessory to this day so do yourself a favor and buy it – even if we have to pretend to be in Paris while quarantining. WORTHH IT!
Cute Cafe’s in Montmartre worth a visit:
La Maison Rose – the iconic La Maison Rose is a must when visiting this charming area and has the cutest pink façade on the outside! Even the oldest buildings look magical in Paris when they are pink and covered in ivy!
Le Consulat – This historic cafe in Montmartre is known to be visited by many artists and writers that flocked in to Montmartre in the 19th century (Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet… swoon right?!) it’s the perfect quintessential, charming vintage Parisian café.
Let’s eat croissants, baguettes, and all the carbs!
And if you’re looking for something more than just a croissant, even though I could live on croissants in Paris, there are so many cute spots & bistro’s around if you want something more hearty. Like wine and baguette kind of hearty…
Buvette – We headed to breakfast at Buvette around 10, complete with soft scrambled eggs with salmon and crème fraiche, the meltiest buttery croque monsieur, a foie tartine, and bread, a lot of bread. They are open breakfast-dinner and turns into an adorable candlelit wine and cocktail bar at sundown.
Les Arlots – Not too far from Montmartre tucked away at the top of the Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière sits this charming bistro that’s cozy and homey. It opens at 12 so more of a lunch/dinner spot. It’s never too early to dive into their great natural wine selection and they are famous for their sausage and mash, sounds English…but it’s wonderfully French with the creamiest potatoes!
And for the best meal of ALL – head to La Fromagerie on 31 Rue Cler fairly close to the Eiffel tower, pick up lots of cheese and baguette (get Camembert, Brie de Meaux, and Roquefort) grab a bottle of wine or two and head to the Eiffel to picnic!
Next up is the main lady herself – I remember pulling up for the first time to the Eiffel Tower in a tour bus during study abroad and I literally cried I think! No big surprise there since I cry at everything but it’s something so iconic that it’s emotional seeing it for the first time. Fun fact: I hit publish on my first blog post when I was studying abroad in Paris in 2014! Back then it was called good day sunshine (a song by the Beatles lol) You can read my Eiffel post here!
Grab a bottle of wine, cheese and baguette, the whole nine yards and picnic on the lawn! If you want to extend your layover into a stay over, definitely catch the twinkling Eiffel at night – it’s magical.
Ok, so I have to be honest here… After a redeye, no sleep, sightseeing and copious amounts of carbs we needed a nap halfway through our day in Paris! Not joking. No amount of espresso could wake me up and I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open so we bought two movie tickets, walked into a theatre off of Champs-Élysées, put our noise cancelling air pods in and took a nap! It was the best thing ever and such a funny memory that we have now. Of all things we bought tickets to Richard Jewell and slept through the whole thing, bombing and all! Now I know this was a moment of weakness and If it’s your first time in Paris I recommend putting your big girl pants on and making it through the whole day unlike myself. But now you know if you ever need a nap on vacation just head into a movie theatre!
Once we were ahem..rested, we continued our walk down Champs-Élysées stopping in a few shops and admiring the Arc de Triomphe. Our flight wasn’t until 8pm but we wanted to get to the airport a couple hours early so our last stop of the day was of course an early dinner. We stumbled upon Linette, a cozy bistro fairy close to the Eiffel. We split escargot, the best French onion soup, blanquette de porc which a delicious wine-laced stew, and the best French red blend I’ve ever had – I’ve linked it here! It’s a full-bodied red blend that I have already ordered for a special dinner at home coming up soon! Here’s my opinion, if you have multiple days in Paris you can try a multitude of incredible restaurants – like these, but really all you need if you’re there for one day is a cozy bistro, good classic French fare, and a bottle or two of Bordeaux which is like water when you’re in Paris.
It was the most memorable day and it’s truly one of my favorite cities. I can’t wait to go back and spend a weekend, maybe Valentine’s Day someday! If you have the opportunity to do a layover in Paris or lucky enough to spend a few days, I hope you can use some of these tips, or if anything you now have a new nap spot you never thought about 😉 Au revoir for now!