Photo by Elizaveta Photography 

I had never been to Paris, which is why it was essential that we spent two weeks there in order to see everything I needed to see. Here is a brief recap of the places Joel and I went. All my photos were taken on iPhone (boo, I know). The main struggle was trying to capture anything without 10 million people in the frame. So these photos do not do it justice.

The goal for this trip was really to see everything on my list (it was a long list) while still taking it all at a relaxed pace. With this strategy in mind, I only planned one major activity a day which usually left the morning or afternoon/evening free for exploration and eating.  In order to expedite our trip I purchased all our tickets to museums and sights ahead of time. This was a huge time saver and meant we skipped hours of standing in line for tickets. The only thing I forgot to book tickets for was the Eiffel tower which we had to wait in line for about an hour and a half, otherwise our wait times were usually less than 15 minutes because of prior ticket purchase.

My complete list of all of the places we visited is at the bottom. Not all are pictured.

The Louvre was huge and overwhelming there was no way we were going to see everything inside in a day. There is so much rich history from all over world in one place. There were way too many paintings, sculptures and history to probably absorb it all in one day. Christine_Olmstead_Louvre3_Paris

With tickets we skipped the line. You can also enter the Louvre through the shopping mall which is underneath the museum. One of the most impressive parts of the louvre to me was Louis the XIV’s quarters. https://christineolmstead.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Christine_Olmstead_Louvre1_Paris

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting Sennelier art shop which is across the river from the Louvre. Christine_Olmstead_Senelier_Art_shop_Paris

This shop opened in 1887 and was the art supply store of choice to many famous impressionists including Cézanne, GauginPicasso, and van Gogh. I bought a couple brushes but mostly marinated in the fact that some of my favorite artists walked on these floors. Below are reams and reams of huge watercolor paper rolls are different weights made from different materials. So cool! Christine_Olmstead_Senelier_Art_Shop2_ParisWe were able to  go to the Louvre, the d’Orsay , and l’Orangerie. We saw so many works of art I’ve only studied and dreamed of seeing in real life. So many that I cannot possibly share them all. But here were a few of the paintings That really got me excited. Christine_Olmstead_Degas_Dancers_ParisDegas Dancers in blue were a highlight for me! We saw so many of his dancers but the dancers in blue have always been one of my favorites! Christine_Olmstead_Van_Gogh_Paris

Seeing van Goth’s bedroom was so cool! Only downside was they had put glass over the top. It was impossible to get a picture without glare. Christine_Olmstead_toulouse_lautrec_parisToulouse Lautrec’s style has always captivated me. His color palette is amazing, his figures are fanciful, and something about all of his works are just a little bit haunting. It was an honor to see his work in person.

We were able to do a tour of the Champagne region of france about an hour and a half north east of Paris. This was such a fun experience to see the countryside and tour different wineries. We visited Moet and Chandon as well as the House of Mumm. Generally not a Mumm fan and now I understand why after seeing the way the two different houses make their wines. Moet and Chandon is by far my favorite and their champagne making process is a lot more artistic than other houses.Christine_Olmstead_Dom_Peringnon2

Visiting the Palace of Versailles was incredible, but somehow it didn’t quite live up the the level of extravagance I was expecting from everything I’ve studied about it. Don’t get me wrong, gold covered everything is impressive, but somehow I had “more” in my mind. Not to mention they don’t let you tour a whole lot of the property so I’m sure if you had seen it in its’ day and full glory it would have been quite breathtaking. We only got to tour about 1/4 of the estate. The gardens and grounds were much more impressive to me than the palace itself.Christine_Olmstead_VersaillesChristine_Olmstead_Versailles_ChappleThe king’s private chapel

Christine_Olmstead_Versailles_GardensThe massive, highly manicured gardens went on for miles. I can’t even imagine how many people it takes to keep these gardens looking like this

And finally one of the biggest highlights of all was going to Giverny (Monet’s home) followed by the l’Orangerie museum where his huge waterlily pannels are on display. Monet has been one of my favorites, if not my main favorite artist for very long time. His stroke and his palette have always captured me. Here is his home, his gardens and finally his works of art that were inspired by his gardens.Christine_Olmstead_Versailles_GardensChristine_Olmstead_Giverny3

Christine_Olmstead_Monet_Waterlilly_Pannels

Christine_Olmstead_Monets_Waterlillies2These huge pannels are breathtaking and thrilling! I’ll never get enough. I could have sat and stared at these for days. Christine_Olmstead_Eiffel_tour1

There were so many hundreds of photos from this trip that I took and I wish I could share them all with you. But the moments I listed were the highlights. I wish I could show you all the rest.

Here is a list of all the places I HAD TO GO and got to see in no particular order:

  1. The Louvre 
  2. Jardin des Tuileries 
  3. Eiffel Tower
  4. Sennelier 
  5. Shakespeare and Company
  6. The d’Orsay 
  7. Musée de l’Orangerie 
  8. Sainte-Chapelle 
  9. Notre Dame 
  10. Les Deux Plateaux 
  11. Luxembourg Gardens 
  12. Sacre-Coeur 
  13. Versailles
  14. Giverny
  15. Champagne region 
  16. Arch de Triomphe 

There were many other things we ended up seeing and doing. I wanted to sit on  the Champs-Elysees with a coffee, I wanted to ride a bike and have dinner along the Seine. I wanted to go up the Eiffel tower at Sunset then watch it light up at night. I wanted to go speakeasy hunting, which is a tradition for me and Joel with every new city we visit. (Lavomatic was by far my favorite, I ordered the Philosopher’s Stone, it’s like berry popsicle meets incense, they had swings, pop-up books, and it’s hidden in a laundromat. What more could you ask from a speakeasy?) We got to do all this and more! And you want to know what really made this one of the best trips of my life? I didn’t get sick there, or when I got home. #besttrip ever. Paris exceeded all of my very high expectations except when it came to food. I was not as impressed with the food as I wanted to be. So many carbs, so much cheese.

Have you been to Paris? what was your favorite thing you saw while there? Let me know in the comments!