When you think of being on tour, you probably think of spending days in beautiful cities around the world. This can be true, but generally, you're lucky if you get a very quick few hours en route to another place. Don't get me wrong, it's still more than most people get in their lifetime, but it makes it tough to really see places. You either have to plan your day down to the minute, or just wander aimlessly and enjoy your environment. I'm normally a trip planner, but we decided to do the latter this time.
Paris is one of our absolute favorite places in the world. It's where we honeymooned; it's where I first traveled internationally as a 13-year-old girl that sparked my wanderlust; it's where we are always hoping to stop through when we are touring in Europe. Fortunately, on our way between festival shows in Dinkelsbuhl, Germany and St. Nolff (in the Bretagne region on the Western coast of France), Paris was a logical place to take a quick rest and have a bite to eat.
We love to hit museums and cultural spots, but when you have less than half a day to enjoy a city, museums and busy tourist spots can be impossible, especially on a weekend. As you will see on every trip site for Paris, it would take you 100 days to see everything in the Louvre if you looked at every piece for only 30 seconds for 8-hours-a-day! And who wants to be rushed.
So we arrived in Paris around noon, hopped off the tour bus at a centrally located hotel, freshened up, and put on our walking shoes.
If you have less than a day, I recommend focusing on a few neighborhoods you know you want to wander in. Paris is incredibly spread out into "arrondissements", each with their own character. Our favorite area to wander is Le Marais.
Galettes were first on our priority list, so we hit the charming, quaint, and perfectly Parisian Chez Imogene for both savory and sweet crepes, some midday wine, and espresso.
All filled up, we then proceeded to walk 9 miles, yes, NINE, around the 10th, 3rd, 11th, and 5th arrondissements. We didn't have many stops in mind, just the joy of a Parisian stroll.
Paris is covered in graffiti and street art. It's pretty much forbidden in our hometown of Orlando, Florida, so when we see expressively covered walls, we love to take a moment to take it in. It isn't the Louvre, but it has its place just as the Mona Lisa does.
Paolo, Matthew, and I are coffee junkies, so off to Ten Belles we went for another round of caffeine to fuel our walk. Ten Belles is tiny and charming with a beautifully appointed interior. As a designer and a dabbler in the lettering arts, a solid chalkboard menu just gets my heart going.
It was packed to the brim, so we didn't stay, but we got our iced coffee to go (iced coffee seems difficult to find in Europe!) We then spent some time browsing in the Artazart Bookstore, an incredible spot filled with every kind of creative book and knick knack imaginable. I was definitely in my happy place.
My next stop had to be Mariage Freres. I'm a tea junkie and I love the beautiful packaging and the historical legacy of the 150+ year old tea shop. I bought a few teas for home and for my mother-in-law. While passing through the MF, I spotted my dream bathtub! If anyone sees one of these lying around for less than $4k, give me a holler.
We also strolled past this guy. I don't know his story, but he seemed extraordinarily happy, and I loved his wacky steampunk bike.
Something I have to note about Paris is the beautiful attention to typography. I took a few snaps of lettering to use as inspiration for some of my lettering practice. The lettering on "la compagnie des perles" is one of my favorite styles.
While walking, we passed the Centre Pompidou, one of my top contemporary art museums in the world. We thought about breaking our stroll to hit the museum, but again, the line was about an hour to get inside, and with such a short trip, it wasn't in the cards this time. We then strolled to what turned out to be an incorrect address for a Laduree location. But it wasn't meant to be as it was time to cab back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of our group to grab dinner all together. "Family Dinner" is a tradition we try to keep alive on tour, a moment to get everyone together to eat, relax, and take a tour breather together.
We passed the Notre Dame Cathedral on our dinner walk, but the line was much too long to stand in, and many of us had already been inside on other trips. Time is the theme here! When you have very few hours to spend, waiting in a line isn't the way to go. But nevertheless, it's always a beautiful piece of architecture to admire.
It was incredibly challenging to find a French restaurant large enough to hold our group of 12, that would have food to please the whole group, and all of this on a Saturday night. Thankfully, we had Parisian friends help us find just the spot and make the reservation for us. The charming Le Petit Chatelet on the left bank. Dinner was incredible. A bottle (or two) of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, escargot, and Steak au Poivre. Classically French, and always perfect if you had to choose just one dinner in Paris.
Sadly, the night was coming to an end. But on our walk back to the hotel, we ran into two Trivium fans (on different streets!) who managed to spot the guys which is always humbling and a great reminder of why we are on these fantastic trips to begin with.
A rare night on tour where we actually sleep in a hotel and not on a tour bus, we headed back to our rooms for a good night of sleep before waking up early to hit the final festival show before heading home.
25 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
75011 Paris, France
10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles
75010 Paris, France
83 Quai de Valmy
75010 Paris, France
Le Petit Chatelet
39 Rue de la Bûcherie
75005 Paris, France