When we started planning for our year of travel, we knew we wanted to include other people as part of our trips. We talked to my sister, Rachel, about meeting us in France for my birthday and she was excited about it! If you've met Rachel, you're not surprised this picture is how I first saw her.
Rachel flew into Paris and navigated the RER and Metro to meet us at the hotel. She flew overnight, but after dropping off our bags and a quick stop at Starbucks, we headed off to do a walking tour! As we walked across the city, we heard and saw lots of military planes doing flyovers right over the Seine River. We were able to see this because we happened to be in Paris on Bastille Day!
We took a little too long watching the planes, so we had to use Lime scooters to get to the walking tour. We could only find 2, so Brennan and I shared one. Miraculously, we didn't fall or get hurt, because balancing two people on one scooter is tricky!
Our walking tour was with Harry from the UK (we booked through this site). Harry made sure to inform us he was not in the royal family, a pop star, or a wizard. He definitely knew his history, because we learned a lot as we walked through old streets, past Notre Dame, by the Seine, and all the way to the Louvre. One thing I really appreciated about the tour was that Harry gave different perspectives about historical events and explained the connection to words through etymology. One thing he talked about was that Marie Antoinette was treated very differently than her husband (the king), likely because she was an easy scapegoat for a lot of the problems that were going on in France during that time because she wasn't from France. The tour was a great way to start off Rachel's first trip to France and allowed us to see highlights and learn what we were seeing.
After the tour, we were looking for a food hall for lunch. Brennan and I have discovered that we tend to find the best food at the best price in food halls and it's much less formal than a restaurant. We went to Ground Control, a trendy, unique, co-working space and food hall. We all ended up getting Greek food and had the best Greek potatoes I've ever tasted.
After lunch, we all needed a nap. We went back to the hotel to rest. For dinner that night, we went to Chez Pierrick, which we found through an app called "The Fork". This app allows you to book reservations and read reviews (similar to OpenTable), but also gives discounts for different restaurants. We all had crepes for dinner. The cafe was in Montparnasse, which is an area I would still like to explore. It had a lot of energy that night as everyone was out and headed toward the Eiffel Tower for the fireworks and celebrations.
One question we asked while on the tour was where to watch the fireworks. Our new friend Harry recommended Tuilerie Gardens and said we didn't need to worry about getting there before 10 or 10:30 because it wasn't very crowded. Thankfully, he was right. It was not very crowded on the street, but the Garden itself was closed, I assume because it had reached capacity. We had a good view of Eiffel Tower and were able to see all the fireworks easily. If I was doing it again, I would have gotten a little closer, but our spot was great for how long we waited there and the amount of people we were around.
The show itself was great! There were lots of fireworks, including so many that came out of the tower! And the sparkling Eiffel Tower really made the whole show even more beautiful. I'm so glad we were able to see it!
On Friday, July 15, we woke up at the hotel and ate breakfast. Rach wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and we decided to go to the Musee d'Orsay before heading out.
We walked over to the Eiffel Tower, mostly near the River. It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine, so it was a warm walk. We found a street with a clear view of the tower, as well as every other amateur Instagram influencers trying to get their perfect photo. We joined in and had our own photo shoot for a few minutes.
Our tickets to get in the museum were timed and we were cutting it close as we left the Eiffel Tower. We found electric bikes (like Lime or Bird scooters) and used them to ride back to the museum. This was one of my favorite things we did in Paris. It was so calming and relaxing to see everything passing as you're riding the bike, feeling the breeze. There are dedicated bike lanes, so it feels very safe too. If (When) Brennan and I go back to Paris, I would definitely do more of this.
We went into the Musee d'Orsay and found it was very warm and very crowded. The draw here is the Impressionist paintings and statues. Our tour guide from the day before had recommended to start on the top floor where all the paintings are, so we did that. We saw many famous paintings by Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Seurat, and Degas. I barely took any photos of the paintings, but the building itself was amazing and I took several photos. It was a train station that was built for the 1900 World Fair. It was only used for 39 years before closing and was converted to a museum in the late 80s. I could have sat and people watched for a long time, if I had water and a little fan to help cool me down!
We finished up at the museum, made our way back toward the hotel, and grabbed some Croque Monsieur for lunch from a convenience store. It was definitely not my favorite meal we ate, but sometimes convenience beats quality. We ended up sitting at the train station for awhile, because there was not enough time to do something else before grabbing our bags. Again, it was warm, but thankfully, we made it on our train easily and headed to our next location!
We're Brennan & Megan
Since June 2022, we have been traveling to learn more about ourselves and the world around us.