Paris guide for the ordinary traveler

Wanderlust Wonderland brings you: a travel guide for ordinary travelers, with must-sees, tips and tricks and the most delicious food, for ordinary travelers, like you and me.

Paris, city of love, I realized I hadn’t written a travel guide for the city yet. I’ve been there a couple of times and I have a kind of love/hate relationship with the city. When going there, I’m always excited to be there but usually the city feels crowded and I’ve had some bad experiences with food in the city. But it really has it’s highlights and great food and it’s certainly a city that should be on your bucketlist. If only for the higlights and the art museums.

more

A visit to the Louvre

A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to a museum. There are so many wonderful museums in the city! The most famous one is the Louvre, where you’ll find the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory and many, many more. You won’t be able to see everything the Louvre has to offer in just one visit.

I’ve been to this museum before, a couple of years ago. My friend knew a secret entrance through the shopping mall underneath the museum, and we went in super fast (and free, as it’s free if you’re under 25). The second time I wanted to visit, this entrance wasn’t so secret anymore and was even more crowded than the regular entrance, the one in the pyramid. That time we quickly decided to visit a less crowded museum, one that became my favourite one in Paris: L’orangerie, where you’ll find Monet’s waterlilies. When we returned this weekend to shop for wedding rings, we decided that now was the time to visit the Louvre.

After looking for wedding rings and seeing the highlights of Paris by night on Saturday, we started our Sunday morning having breakfast like a local. We checked out of the hotel, and walked toward the Louvre, looking for a place to have breakfast. We bought some croissants in a little bakery and ate them on our way to the museum.

Tip: buy your tickets online and pick an early timeslot, and then visit the most famous pieces first

Boyfriend had been in Paris a couple of times, but had yet to visit the Louvre. So this time we bought our tickets online (as was mandatory because of covid) and picked an early timeslot. We were inside the museum in no time instead of having to wait in line for hours.

The Louvre is so big, you really have to make a choice in what to see and what to skip. I had bought a museum guide last time I was there, which is something I really can recommend. You can easily see what the museum has to offer and decide what pieces to check out first. My tip: if you go early in the morning, check out the most famous ones first, as it will only get more and more crowded later in the day.

We decided to visit the roman statues first and saw some really beautiful ones.

Amor & Psyche is one of my favourite pieces. I love how it really tells a story and it is beautifully made. I can look at it for hours.

I don’t really like to take pictures of paintings, so most of my photos from the museum are from statues. I think we spent most of our time wandering these halls, as the art is just so beautiful.

If you’re visiting the Louvre, make sure to look up now and then. The ceilings are magnificent as well. There is so much to see, even things that aren’t really there. For example, at one time, I looked up and stared at the ceiling and saw a tiny baby dragon, that looked like one from how to train your dragon. I pointed but Boyfriend didn’t see it, until I took a picture to show him what I meant. It’s the first picture from these three. The tiny dragon is actually the upside down nose from a lion but I can’t help but see an adorable little creature in there!

We saw all the famous pieces, like this one, The winged victory of Samothrace, or Nike. This one I really liked, it’s so impressive and old and I really like the boat she’s standing on. I also really love to get to know more about these artworks, and the guide I had with me helped me greatly with this, as did the little signs next to the artworks. For instance, did you know that the boat that Nike is standing on, used to be way, way bigger? There’s only little of it left. Luckily, the statue itself has survived a great deal.

The Louvre truly is a magnificent museum. Though it is a bit too crowded for my taste. I like to be able to spend time with some artworks that speak to me, try to figure out the story. We spent quite some time looking at The raft of Meduse to figure out the story, and did a little research on it. But many rooms are so crowded it’s hard to just stand still and look at paintings. Especially if you want to take your time to see why the Mona Lisa is so famous. There’s endless rows of people in front it, waiting for their turn, whilst most of these people ignore the other paintings in the room, that might be just as beautiful.

That having said, if you haven’t visited the Louvre yet, make sure to put it on your list.

A walk along the Seine and Paris by Night

Looking for wedding rings in Paris is pretty much a perfect anniversary, if you ask me. We couldn’t celebrate our 7 years with a trip so we decided to travel on our 7,5 year anniversary!

Paris is pretty easy to reach from the Netherlands. All we had to do was get on a train to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and then get on the Thalys that would take us to Paris in 3,5 hours. It’s a really good deal.

We had made an appointment to go look for wedding rings at Edenly but had some time to spare so we walked around in the area a little bit, towards my favourite building in the city, namely: L’opera garnier. It’s so beautiful inside! Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to go inside, so we just looked at the building, listened to the music that was played outside and did some people watching until it was time to visit the jewelry store.

I’ve written a separate post about shopping for rings, so I won’t go into much detail. But the shop was cute and perfect and we fell in love with some rings. I can’t wait until they arrive!

After the jewelry store, we headed towards our hotel to drop off our bags. We had booked a room at Hotel Des Ducs d’Anjou which was in the city center. The room was perfectly fine, nothing too special but we would only stay for a night. After we dropped off our bags, we set out for something to eat and headed into the direction of the Eiffel Tower.

We had skipped lunch so at this point, we were getting really hungry. I was craving some pasta so we went into Il Timo, some kind of fastfood pasta restaurant. It reminded me of the Julia’s we have in the Netherlands. It was nothing fancy but the food was good.

I always like to do cities on foot. Of course, Paris has an elaborate subway system, but if you walk you just see so much more. We walked towards the Seine and could already see the Eiffel Tower from the distance. It was a lovely, romantic walk on the riverside.

A walk along the Seine is a must when you’re in Paris. You can see so much, there are often street performers and vendors selling portraits, postcards and trinkets along the riverbanks. You can see the Eiffel Tower from a distance and the Notre Dame on the other side, as well as the Louvre, Musée D’orsay and Musée l’orangerie. Besides, it’s a very pretty view, way prettier than the metro stations!

The sun was setting as we walked along the riverside so when we finally got to the Eiffel Tower, it was pretty dark and it was lit up. It was really cool, and I hadn’t seen it like this before.

There were a lot of vendors selling miniature eiffel towers that had some dancing lights. Nothing like the real thing, for that one was just lit up. Until the clocks striked six. Small lights appeared and started dancing on the eiffel tower. It was really beautiful! Check out my instagram for a video.

We took a hundred photo’s, trying to position the camera so that we could take a picture with the eiffel tower. It was a hastle, but we had fun and we took some really cool pictures!

After the lights stopped, we decided it was time to go back to the hotel, so we slowly headed back. It was quite dark now and the entire city was lit up. All of it was mezmerizing.

I really love how the city looked at night. Then we heard music playing from the square at the Louvre. A man playing the saxophone was making music and we sat there, listening to him and taking in the lights. Of course I also had to take some photos and videos, all of it was just so beautiful, but we made sure to enjoy the moment there too. We even danced a little when nobody was watching ♥

Shopping for Wedding Rings in Paris

When you get engaged, there’s quite a lot of planning that needs to be done and things you need to think about. One such thing is the wedding rings. There are many jewelry stores that offer wedding rings and most of them look a lot alike. As is often the case with wedding rings. I keep saying that, for a lot of people, if they were to take off their rings and put them on a table with a bunch of other people’s rings, none of them would recognize their own ring anymore.

And I don’t want that. I want something fun and unique, but also not too expensive as I would feel very uncomfortable wearing them. It was kind of a pickle.

We have been searching for rings for quite some time, but never found any that felt like us. Until, somehow, I stumbled upon the website of Edenly. A French boutique that sells not-that-expensive but gorgeous and original rings. We could easily pick out what we liked from the website and order them online.

But where’s the fun in that?

For our anniversary, we usually book a trip to celebrate. We went to Venice in 2018, the German Eifel in 2019 and in 2020 Covid hit so we had to stay home. This year, it was the same story and we couldn’t go anywhere. So we were thinking to maybe celebrate our 7,5 year anniversary instead of our 7 years with a trip. And though we were thinking to visit Vienna, a new city, we rather opted for a city that we already knew, so we wouldn’t have to spend too much time planning.

And as the one and only Edenly Boutique happened to be in Paris, the decision was easily made to celebrate our anniversary in the city. It was perfect.

The Edenly Boutique is small and has a lot of charm. It was a perfect little haven. The women in the store were really sweet and showed us a lot of rings for us to try on. After trying a couple, I put one on that I had already seen on the website and it clicked. This was MY ring and I didn’t want to take it off anymore (except for that it wasn’t my size and probable a dummy, but whatever). It was perfect! I’m so glad we went to Paris to check out the rings!

Boyfriend didn’t have an immediate click, as the one he had had in mind, didn’t look that great on his finger. He tried some others and found another beautiful ring he was really happy with.

We found wedding rings in the city of love. Could it have been more perfect? They are ordered and should be here before Christmas. I for one, cannot wait ♥

The Traveling Bookclub: March

The traveling bookclub is a new bookclub focusing on books situated in a specific country or city. Books have a way of transporting us to other worlds, letting us visit cities and places from the comfort of our own homes. Especially now, when travel is simply not possible for most of us, books can be an escape. I’ve brought the Traveling Bookclub to life so we can travel these bookworlds together and chat about them when we finished reading.

The adventures of Alexander von Humboldt (february bookclub pick)

Last month we read The adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, a graphic novel written by Andrea Wulf and illustrated by Lilian Melcher, accompanied by Humboldt’s own drawings/writings.
Humboldt (1769-1859) was an explorer and scientist with a severe need to explore and travel the world. This book focuses on his travels to south America and his findings.

In the bookclub we talked about how much we learned about him through the book, we talked about the pictures and the way the book seems to jump from highlight to highlight, without giving too much information on the in-betweens. We suspected that this represented the enthusiasm with which Humboldt explored the world. We also talked about favourite passages and what we did and didn’t like about the book. The consensus was that this is a great book for everyone who likes to travel and explore the world, and to learn a bit more about this specific famous explorer. Though the drawings could have been a lot nicer.

Besides this book, Andrea Wulf also published a non-fiction book about Humboldt, called The invention of Nature. I’ve been reading this book alongside the graphic novel to fill in the blanks and get a little bit more information about Humboldts life. I’d highly recommend this book too, as it is a great read and highly informative.

The Paris Library (march bookclub pick)

For the march bookclub, I had selected two titles the bookclub members could vote for. The book that won was The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles.

This book is set in World War Two and is based on a true story about brave librarians in Paris and the power of literature. Though I am not a big fan of WW2 literature, this book focuses on a lot of things that I love; namely literature and Paris. I’ll share the goodreads summary:

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.

The bookclub will take place at the end of the month, and you can still join! The bookclub is free (you’ll only have to get your hands on the book) and we’ll chat away about the book on our discord server, which you can find here.

Celebrating my birthday in the happiest place on earth

A few months ago I had this awesome thought. On my birthday, I want to wake up in Disneyland. I convinced the boyfriend (which didn’t take that long) and we booked a happy weekend away from january 31st to february 2nd. Last weekend, the weeks of waiting had finally come to an end and it was time for three days of rollercoasters and happiness!

Continue reading “Celebrating my birthday in the happiest place on earth”

Postcards from Paris

For our first time in Paris, we had seen all the highlights. The louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elyséés, the Notre Dame and The Sacre Coeur. My second time Paris was a romantic getaway with Boyfriend, to celebrate getting my Master’s Degree, with walks along the Seine, finding the most gorgeous version of my favourite book and seeing Monet’s waterlilies. To be honest, I don’t remember much from this trip. I just wanted to enjoy being free of my studies and being in Paris with Boyfriend, so I didn’t document much, besides the pictures I do want to show you of this fine city. Time for a picture gallery!

Continue reading “Postcards from Paris”

Panthéon, Jardin du Luxembourg & The Louvre

Oh you guys I love this city. I love speaking French and people actually understanding me and I them. It’s amazing and there is so much to do and see! Time for an overview of our third day in Paris!

Continue reading “Panthéon, Jardin du Luxembourg & The Louvre”