Château de Versailles

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Just when we thought Paris couldn't be more luxUrious, there was the Château of Versailles.

With a quick train ride, just 45 minutes outside of Paris, you could easily spend 2 hours to half a day, at this beautiful tourist attraction. Formerly the kingdom for the king of France, King Louis XIV, today it stands as a museum for French history, taking you back in time to understand the inspiration for French style & the lives of the monarch. 

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Of course when you find yourself in such a space that seems to literally be dripping in gold, you too, might be inspired to dress up for your visit, like I did. 

Of course, with it being a museum, keep in mind to have comfortable shoes. You'll want to be able to make your way through the entire inside of the Château, as well as the famous gardens in the back. Just be aware that the entire walk up to the Château & around the grounds, is riddled with uneven stonework.

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To enter the château

First of all, it's closed on Mondays, so plan your days accordingly, just like how the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. To enter the Château, save yourself some time & first buy your tickets on the left side of the courtyard, before the gates. About 60% of people who try to enter, see the line on the left side of gates, then join the line, only to be directed away to the ticket line. It's not hard to see why, since the doorway to the ticket room is a plain (almost unmarked) door on the left.

Once you do get inside though, and get through security, begin your self-guided walk through. If you're a big history buff, you can rent audio tours to wear. Depending on what kind of history you're into, there are different parts of the Château for you.

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Besides the actual history aspect, the hall of paintings weren't really my thing. My favorite was actually the walk-through of their living quarters, like the king & queens bedchambers, and of course the Hall of Mirrors (above). At some point you turn the corner, and almost everyone in your vicinity is in awe.  

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Do you see what I mean about incentive to dress up?

Anyhow, whoever told us we could do Château Versailles in 2 hours was lying. There's so much of the grounds to see! Due to the weather, we barely explored the Gardens, but we could have easily spent another 30 minutes there. Not to mention, there was also a special exhibit off the walk through course, that we really enjoyed. If you're in a rush, I would say, at least three hours, but half a day to really soak it in. All in all, definitely worth a visit! 

Coat from Express
Top from Zara

Getting around Paris on a budget

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We're off to the museums again today!

This time, we booked ourselves some tickets to the Big Bus Tour.  If you're like us & not a fan of following big groups or time constraints, this hop on, hop off tour bus works great for getting around. For €38, we got a two day pass to unlimited use of their buses. The Big Bus tours in Paris, have two intersecting routes, with double decker buses (some open on top), that take you around to most of the tourist attractions you would want to see.

Buses started at 9am, with one route picking up from each stop every 15 minutes, the other every 30 minutes. This included places like Grand and Petit Palais, the Arc de Triomphe (where our hotel is), the Louvre, Tour Eiffel, Moulin Rouge, Montmartre, and Notre Dame. Not to mention, there are headphones on board the bus for an audio guided tour of wherever you go, in 8 different languages. 

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Not to mention, there are headphones on board the bus for an audio guided tour of wherever you go. We started our day getting picked up at the Arc de Triomphe and heading to a short visit to the Petit Palais.

Then it was off to the Louvre

Despite this being my second visit to Paris, I was excited, since this would my first time inside the Louvre. (Last time to was shut down during Paris fashion week). 

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And of course, whilst I know that most people tell me it's slightly overhyped, we made a bee-line to the Mona Lisa. I can now confirm, that yes, it is smaller than you expect it to be & indeed in a very large room. Although not alone, it is on lone wall, and roped off. After we crossed that off the bucketlist, we wandered to other parts of the Louvre.

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The thing that makes me fall in love with Paris though, isn't their sweet confections, but their beautiful buildings. The Frenchs' attention to detail, from the grandeur of their arches, to their impressive vaulted murals, make their buildings beautiful works of art in their own right, in addition to the beautiful art pieces these buildings house. The French also have an admirable commitment to preserving their architectural history, and way of life. And for that, I will always appreciate Paris. Love, Jen

Coat from Express
Backpack from Michael Kors
Boots from Alexander Wang

Girls in Paris

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Good morning from Paris!

Hello everyone! Guess who's back in Paris! Last time I was here, was in September of 2016. I was two weeks into a solo backpacking trip & post my third ever Disney half marathon. This time though, I'm on a trip with the girls!

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Three girls, one week, and the beautiful city of Paris. I can't even begin to describe how excited I was, to start 2018 off this way. I've packed a little more than usual, I have more time here, and now we have each others company. You best believe that this trip is going to be a whole lot different than my last visit. It might be a little wilder, it might be a little girly (or a lot), but it'll definitely be a lot more stylish! You know, a girls girl kind of trip!

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For our first full day, us three girls were quite productive! We woke up early, had some breakfast at a cafe near our hotel, by the Arc de Triomphe. Then it was off to the Musée d'Orsay! We made our way, floor by floor, up to the famous clock up top. It was fun to see what changed since my last visit. Then it was across the Seine to the Louvre. Museum-ed out, we decided to leave the inside for another day, and we were off to the top of the Eiffel Tower (my first time up)! Lastly, we ended our night with dinner at Carbon Paris.

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Suddenly, everything I loved about this city was coming back to me. Coupled with the fact that I had been reading up on some French history & learning some more French words, this first day was more than I could ask for. I just can't wait to see what the next few days with these ladies have in store for more! Thanks for reading! Love, Jen

Coat & Top from Express
Backpack from Michael Kors
Boots from Alexander Wang

Wandering Paris

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In my few days in Paris, I took the underground trains to visit numerous sites around the beautiful city. Besides the landmarks I've already mentioned, liked the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero and Pont Alexandre III, here are some of my other favorite picturesque spots to explore.

Musee D'Orsay

The thing I liked about museums in Paris, was that you could easily do a self-guided audio tour in whatever comprised your native language. For the most part, informational plaques were in French, so it was nice to walk through a museum, with headphones on & actually understand the artwork. 

And in case you're wondering, this is indeed the museum with the Instagram famous clock. Like everything in else in Paris, the buildings that hold the art, are as beautiful as the artworks themselves.

Parc Andre Citreon

If the crowds at the Eiffel Tower is  too much for you, be sure to check out Parc Andre Citreon. Just a 2-3 train stops away, for about 12 euros,  you can get a hot air balloon view of the Paris, including the Eiffel Tower!

From the Generali hot air balloon, you can also get views of the beautifully lush & peaceful park itself. Even without the balloon ride, it's worth visiting for a relaxing kind of day.

Tour Eiffel at Night

Last but not least, there are various locations to view the Eiffel Tower at night, but if you cross the bridge towards the Trocadero, you'll find two merry-go-rounds that run only at night. A great photo op! Hope yo enjoyed my photo journey through Paris. You can check out my photo at other locations below:

Eiffel Tower at Sunrise // Petit Palais // Pont Alexandre III // Arc De Triomphe

Arc De Triomphe

For my last night in Paris, I treated myself to a night at Hotel Splendid ETOILE

 Just a block from the Arc De Triomphe, this small corner hotel offered hard-to-beat views from the balcony, as well as quick elevator access to the Paris underground trains. Oh and did I mention the view of the Arc de Triomphe?

A few streets away, within the famous roundabout, you’ll find stairs down to the underground walkway towards the Arc De Triomphe, where you can pay to 12 euros to climb. 

That’s right, I said climb. there are no elevators, which was a surprised to me & my legs, considering I had just run a half marathon a few days prior. The top though, is completely worth the climb. It offers fantastic views of the Eiffel Tower during sunset & even greater views of Champs Élysée at night. Not to mention, the Eiffel towers hourly light shows.

Dress from Zara.

Morning in Paris

On my first morning in Paris, I took a walk along the river, across from the Eiffel Tower (Avenue de New York), to watch the sunrise. Over the next few days, I found this particular view hard to beat, especially with the tower framed between the trees & not another tourist around you. It was quiet & beautiful, everything I wanted out of Paris. 

As the sun came up, I headed towards the Trocadéro, where I ran into a lot of tourists, as well as couples taking their engagement/wedding photos. They say Paris is the city of romance, but somehow it felt anti-climatic seeing 6-7 couples getting their photos done at the same location, side by side. Regardless of that, I found that if you walk along the Jardins du Trocadéro (along the pond), instead of the Trocadéro itself, you'll be pretty free of tourists & couples.

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Zara top // Express leggings // Alexander Wang boots // Tory Burch bag

After grabbing breakfast, I took a long walk towards the Avenue des Champs-Élysée. It seemed like everywhere I looked in Paris, it was a photographers dream, especially with blue skies as a backdrop!

Luckily, during my visit in Paris, most admissions into the museums were free. My first stop was at the Petit Palais, where walked through the Oscar Wilde exhibition. I don't think I've ever seen a building so beautiful! 

As you exit the front of the Petit Palais and head left, you head towards Pont Alexandre III bridge. If you're wondering, yes, this is the famous bridge that everyone Instagrams about from Paris!

I couldn't have asked for a better first day in Paris. This city is truly filled with endless beauties. Love, Jen

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