The Pandas headed to Europe the Tuesday after our wedding for an incredibly long vacation where we hung out in Paris for seven days, Garmisch, Germany a resort town in the Alps for three days, and Prague for another four days. It was a whirlwind of a trip where we were constantly on the go.
We didn’t go immediately because I wanted some time to get things sorted out before we headed out. I was really thankful for a few days of rest after the wedding (but before the trip), which was enough time to get an extra chance to hang out with our dear friends who had come from so far to see us, and get things organized and packed without feeling rushed. (Also, some of our registry gifts still ended up on our door even though they were supposed to be shipped elsewhere #registryfail so I’m glad we were there to pick them up!)
First, we headed to Paris, which is a really amazing city. I absolutely loved our time there. I don’t want to break down what we did day by day since we did a lot and the details aren’t really that interesting to anyone else but us.
But in a nutshell:
We visited most of the big touristy stuff. Each day, we would pick a region in our travel guide and go explore that neighborhood. We absolutely loved the little tips and cute little places our travel guide found and it was definitely a great resource.
Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, Arc de Triomph, Eiffel Tower, Pantheon, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre-Coeur, Panda Lock at the Love Lock Bridge
We would have one or two big tourist attractions on the schedule each day, and then we would spend the rest of the days exploring and getting completely lost and eating our way through the city.
Macarons, crepes, the thickest hot chocolate ever, falafel sandwich, Chocolate dome with chocolate mousse and meringue, cavier pasta, duck confit bean stew
Oh the food options were amazing. I had been dieting fairly intensely before the wedding to fit into my dress, and I was so excited to be able to eat whatever I wanted again, and the food was absolutely delicious! Because it was our honeymoon, we just got whatever sounded good or came recommended. All that hard work before the wedding, gone in an instant! I had been looking forward to the macarons the most and I will say, they do not disappoint. They really are as delicious as they look.
It was awesome.
In the interest of keeping this post from getting too big, I wanted to just talk about my favorite things that we did in Paris. In no particular order, my top five favorite things:
1) Watching the sunset on the Eiffel Tower
One of my friends suggested that we try to make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower around the time the sun is setting. I have to say, it was a spectacular sunset!
They had closed down the top observational deck when we were standing in line to buy tickets due to heavy winds. Undeterred, we were fortunate that they started letting people back up to the top by the time we got to the front of the ticket line. It was an absolutely gorgeous sight, and because we had already explored much of the city by that point, it was fun to look for all the various buildings and monuments we had been to already and get a good sense of where everything was relative to each other.
2) Visiting the Queen’s Hamlet at Versailles
Because of Mrs. Camel’s suggestion, we made the trek out to the Hamlet, and I think it’s an absolutely gorgeous place. I’ll let her explain the significance of the place since I cannot do it enough justice.
The place is absolutely stunning, even in the midst of a summer rainstorm. I absolutely loved exploring the random little trails and corners. It really is this peaceful and relaxing place.
3) Picnicking in random parks and gardens
One of my favorite things about Paris is the sheer number of gorgeous parks and gardens that are everywhere. We would just pick a random park and hang out there for a while, resting our weary legs.
In an attempt to save some money and time, we would sometimes pick up some bread and cheese and have picnics in the parks. (Once we saw this couple bring in a real cutting board and knife and ate this elaborate meal on a bench. Amazing. We were not nearly that prepared.) It was really fun because we never knew where we would end up, and I could munch on delicious bread during our walks.
4) Hanging out in the Louvre
The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums and contains a substantial collection of artwork.
It is incredibly crowded and hard to see everything. I know a lot of people suggest skipping it for some of the smaller museums, but I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I loved the architecture and exhibits. I felt like I could just get lost there for days and days. I love that you’re surrounded by so much history and talent. It was fun seeing some of the famous and not as famous artwork.
5) Eating at a Michelin Star restaurant
PBear and I are foodies, so it should be no surprise that we decided to go out for a really, really, really nice meal when we were in Paris. Paris has one of the most number of Michelin starred restaurants in the world (only topped by Toyko this year…), so at some point in the middle of our trip, we decided to try to go to one. La Truffiere was our pick for this trip and it was an adventure.
La Truffiere gets its name from black truffles, which they shaved on top of each course (including dessert). The truffle flavor is amazing and melds really nicely with apparently everything. I felt incredibly out of place there, since we are not nearly sophisticated enough for this type of meal, but it was a lot of fun, and the food was amazing.
Do you see that book on the bottom left panel? That is the wine list. It comes on its own table. How ridiculous is that?
Next, we head into the Alps of Germany.