let your thoughts wander

Category: Paris

Eiffel Tower, Trevi Fountain, Rialto Bridge, and Angkor Wat all shrouded in scaffolding.

Scaffolding, everywhere!

After several trips in which we have encountered the now ever familiar sight of scaffolding on some of the most popular sights around the world, we have come to the point where it no longer surprises us. My best word of advice to avoid these encounters is to do your research before booking tickets to a destination.

Landscape photograph of large metal tower in the distance with roads, fountains, and a park in the foreground.

Eiffel Tower

Having decided against traveling to Europe for our honeymoon in 2008 (due to lack of sufficient funds), we finally decided to revisit the idea and went for our fifth anniversary in 2013. Upon arriving at the Trocadero Gardens, we were welcomed by the discouraging sight of scaffolding on the Eiffel Tower. We later found out that 2014 was the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower and it was undergoing major renovations for the celebration the following year.

Large fountain sculpture with Roman style architecture and figurines covered in scaffolding.

Trevi Fountain

Luckily, we were somewhat prepared in knowing the Trevi Fountain had been under construction soon before our trip to Rome. We did not, however, expect that it would still be in such disarray over a year later. The fountain was bone dry with the walls still being reconstructed. As a consolation to visitors, they had small video screens playing video of the fountain in working order. Certainly not the experience I had hoped for and quite disappointing.

Nighttime photo of arch bridge over canal covered in scaffolding on the left side.

Rialto Bridge

One of the most iconic structures in all of Italy, upon approaching the Rialto Bridge we were welcomed by half of the bridge being visible, while the other half was covered in scaffolding and tarps with false facades to give the impression of the typical sight.

Vertical photo on the left of temple structure against blue sky and horizontal photo on the right of temple walls in the foreground with green trees and blue sky in the background.

Ankor Wat

While touring the main temple complex in Siem Reap, we again encountered our old friend. Thankfully, this time there was no major obstruction of what one would expect to see, and with the age of the temple, I understand the importance of its presence at that time.

 

Female with long dark hair hiding her face behind a crepe.

Best food in Paris

Having visited Paris twice, I want to share some of the best food in Paris. Some are items I loved the first time around and had to have again, others are new to the scene from my second visit.

Nutella Crepes

Even before visiting, for me crepes were always synonymous with Paris – and they truly are an absolute must! Words cannot describe how amazing they are. And you cannot find anything like them anywhere else. Special note: DO NOT try to “spice them up” with anything, just go with the straight Nutella variety. I tried a coconut Nutella crepe once and was highly disappointed. (And I love coconut.) Order them from the street side vendors. They seem to be the best.

Two crepes held up in the foreground with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Steak and Fries

After our friends visited Paris they told us about Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, a restaurant that only serves steak and fries. They also warned us that it gets very busy. So when Bill and I decided to go, we were sure to arrive just before they opened and were lucky enough to get right in. The waitress took our order, which consisted of what we wanted to drink, and if we ate meat – which was certainly an interesting question to say the least!

Shortly after, she returned with our beverages and salads. Then she returned with the steak and fries, two plates to split it between, and a special warmer to keep the remaining steak and fries on until we were ready for seconds.

Steak and fries with green sauce.

Not only was the food delicious, but the decor and architecture of the restaurant was beautiful, and the whole visit was an experience I will not soon forget. At the end of our meal, Bill asked for our check in French (the waitress knew very little English). We then overheard the couple at the table next to us discussing that they would want separate checks. When the waitress returned and they were having difficulty explaining their request to the waitress (it seemed the couple did not know much (if any) French), Bill did his best to intervene and let the waitress know they were sharing and would need their check split into two. We did not stick around to see how things worked out, but the couple was thankful at the time. Hopefully the waitress understood what Bill was trying to explain!

Pizza

I know what you’re thinking, “pizza in Paris”?! Simply put, YES! Pizza at Pizza Rossi in Paris is the best pizza we have had while traveling. And that says a lot considering we have visited several different cities in Italy. It is important to note that this tiny restaurant is an authentic Italian restaurant with a wood fired oven right inside the entrance. While other patrons order one pizza per person, Bill and I choose to share. They are definitely big enough for two!

Salami and cheese pizza.

All things from Eric Kayser

Everything at Eric Kayser is delicious. Sandwiches, pastries, tarts, quiche, chocolate chip bread, pain au chocolat, yogurt – EVERYTHING. We were repeat visitors on both of our visits to Paris.

Grid of six photos including two sandwiches, three pastries, and one quiche.

Pastries

I recommend to enjoy all the lunch specials (sandwich big enough to share, beverage, and dessert for 7-8 euros) you can and try all the pastries that catch your eye. Some my favorites have been eclairs and this chocolate chip and custard pastry we had. Deeeelicious!

Grid of two photos. Two eclairs on the left, one custard and chocolate chip pastry on the right.

Parisian hot dogs

I am not a hot dog fan by any means, but these hot dogs tucked into a baguette with cheese on top – you cannot go wrong!

Extra long parisian hot dog in baguette with cheese on top.

Planning a trip to Paris soon? I challenge you to try at least one of the items on this list!

Cruising on the Seine

As Bill and I planned our May 2013 trip to London and Paris, I came across the Paris ComboPass from La Conciergerie (complete with delivery to our hotel) that provided us with a package deal for admission to many of the attractions we planned to visit and more.

Included in the package was a cruise on the River Seine. Not being much of a boat person I didn’t expect we would actually use the passes, but we had them just in case none-the-less. One day, while we were in the area, we decided to use the passes and see Paris from the water. It was quite an interesting excursion – complete with narration!

As we floated in the Easterly direction, away from the Eiffel Tower, we passed under the extravagant Pont Alexandre III and learned of its history – being built for the Exposition Universelle World’s Fair in 1900.

Ornate bridge with gold detailing

Not too far from Pont Alexandre III, we floated past the Musée d’Orsay (home of “Whistler’s Mother”) – which gave us a better idea of where to find it when it came time for our visit later in the trip.

Museum building

As we continued down the Seine, Bill and I noticed the lack of room for error as we passed under some of the bridges. Much respect to the captains of these boats for being able to navigate such close quarters!

Further down the way, we came upon (and under) Pont Neuf (“New Bridge”) – one of the items on my list of things to see. The oldest standing bridge over the Seine, its sculpted faces (“mascarons”) are all unique of each other and enchanting in their own right.

After passing under Pont Neuf, we came around the South side of Île de la Cité and caught our first glimpse of Notre Dame. Soon after we turned around and headed back to the dock.

While taking a tour on the Seine was not something we had planned, it was an enjoyable experience and one I would recommend to anyone considering it.

My favorite destinations

There are many places I have fallen in love with. Below are seven of the top destinations I have visited and a few highlights from each of them. (In alphabetical order because I can’t bring myself to rank them.)

Cairns, Australia

Daintree Rainforest

Fruit Bats (locally known as Flying Foxes)

Great Barrier Reef

Crocodile Hot Dog and Kangaroo Burger

YoMG Frozen Yogurt

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Salt Water Crocodile

Hammerhead Shark

Camping on an island more than 70 miles away from any other major land mass

Paris, France

Parc Monceau

The Louvre

Whistler’s Mother

The Thinker

Park Hyatt Vendome

Pastries!

Portland, Oregon

Food Trucks

VooDoo Donuts

Nike Headquarters

Ruby Jewel Ice Cream

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbor

Pie Face

Gelato Messina

Venice, Italy

No vehicle traffic

Gelato!

Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go

Day trip to Burano

Vernazza, Italy

Ocean side serenity

No vehicle traffic

Day trip to Monterosso al Mare – enjoying Monterosso pie and anchovies while we were there

 

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