Independence Day 2018 in Paris

I spent a long weekend over Independence Day with Kev in Paris. We stayed at Hotel Malte – Astotel at 63 Rue De Richelieu which was a nice boutique hotel. The room was tiny but nicely decorated. Since we were only there for a short trip and I had been begging Kevin to go on another Paris trip for a while, I wanted to make sure we made the most with our time there. We booked several tours via Airbnb Experiences which ended up being the best decision because it forced us to power through our jet lag and we saw a good portion of the city in a relatively short amount of time.

Here’s a recap of our trip and jam-packed itinerary:

Wednesday, July 4th
We landed in the afternoon and though we were tired, we forced ourselves to go out. We stopped at Nina’s Paris, a Marie-Antoinette-themed tea shop that is pink and lovely. I read about Nina’s while doing my research on Paris and I’m so happy we went. The decorating of the parlor was so pretty and feminine and the classic pink cake was delicious as was the original Marie-Antoinette tea.  I ended up buying a can of the signature Marie-Antoinette tea which is a delicate tea flavored with apples and rose with a touch of strength from a Ceylon tea basis. So good!

After we were full from lunch, tea, and cake, we headed over to the  Eiffel Tower to watch the sun set and to take some evening pics at the tower.

Thursday, July 5th
We started the morning right with “The Delicious East Vegan tour.” We went to Comptoir Veggie for a vegan yogurt parfait and latte, Jay & Joy to sample several vegan cheeses, Manifeste011 to try on vegan clothing, and VG Pâtisserie for some delicious vegan pastries.

After eating our way through Paris we went on another tour, “Lourve-A Crash Course in Art History.” The Lourve can be overwhelming and I did not take art history in school, so I really enjoyed having a guide.

Friday, July 6th
On Friday morning we went on a biking tour, “Paris’ Best Kept Secrets Tour.” We rode electric bicycles which was pretty cool. I normally don’t feel comfortable biking in cities but it wasn’t too scary with our guide and we all chose to wear helmets (oddly, it was not a requirement of the tour company). It was a great way to cover more ground and we even unintentionally came across a new street art piece by famous street artist, Banksy.

After a pleasant morning biking around the city, we had afternoon tea at Salon Proust Ritz Paris. Afternoon tea is one of my favorite things to partake in when I’m in Europe. From there we watched France play Uraguay in the World Cup soccer game which was even more fun being in France for the semi-final. On our walk back to the hotel after a long day, we stopped at Guerlain to pick up one of my favorite perfumes. Guerlain is a French perfume and it’s special to me because not only does it smell good but it also makes me think of Paris and my great trips there.

Saturday, July 7th
On Saturday morning we went on our last tour, “Discover the Secrets of Versailles.” Similar to the Lourve tour, having a tour guide and being able to cut the extremely long line was key for the Versailles tour. The Palace of Versailles is beautiful and I loved hearing about the sun king, Louis XIV. The famous Hall of Mirrors was my favorite part of the palace and I loved everything about the gardens. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day to walk the grounds. We enjoyed it so much that as soon as we got home we went on a Netflix binge of the historical fiction show, Versailles.

After a morning walking around the Palace of Versailles, we were driven back to Paris. We enjoyed an afternoon snack with tea and iced hot chocolate at Angelina’s. The iced hot chocolate at Angelina’s is out of this world. From there we headed back to the hotel to grab our bags on the way to the airport but we made a quick stop at Maison Kitsuné to check out their Parisien collection on first.

Overall we had an amazing time. It was a beautiful, sunny weekend so we couldn’t have asked for better weather.  Paris is wonderful but the city is even more magical in the summer. I get all dreamy just thinking about the trip–I already can’t wait to go back. Also, Airbnb Experiences for the win! I will definitely be checking out their available tours in any new city I want to explore.




Independence Day Weekend in Savannah

For Independence Day weekend this year, Kev and I decided to spend it in Savannah, Georgia because neither of us had ever been and we needed a destination that isn’t far from NYC and that we wouldn’t need to take any vacation days for. And boy am I happy we picked Savannah–we had so much fun!

We flew into Savannah on Friday night after work and it was only about an hour and a half plane ride. We stayed at the Brice Kimpton all four nights. I liked the hotel but I definitely thought it was going to be a smaller, more boutique hotel. It is actually a very large three story hotel and there were a ton of people. There is charm to the hotel but the doors are pretty thin so I could hear people in the halls and a dog barking in a nearby room.  And it may have been haunted, but that’s a whole other story…

On Saturday we woke up excited to explore. We had brunch at Kayak in town. I had an amazing Mediterranean salad with grilled tofu, feta and a generous serving of humus. I didn’t even need to put dressing on it. Afterwards Kev and I walked all over Savannah for a few hours. We walked up to Forsyth Park then stopped at City Market where I bought some famous Byrd’s key lime cookies and had a delicious Georgia Peach sangria while listening to some outdoor music. Then we headed back to Broughton Street where we waited in line for some famous Leopold’s ice cream. It was definitely worth the wait–the ice cream was delicious! From there we swung by the hotel to drop off the cookies and then continued down to River Street where there was a BBQ and Blues Jazz Festival. I cooled myself off with a Bud Light Georgia Peach alcoholic slushie while enjoying the live jazz band.  It was the perfect day. While we were listening to music we also watched huge container ships cruise down the river. Before heading back to the hotel, we had dinner at Vic’s on the River which was delicious and then we had an early night.

Sunday morning we woke up early and had breakfast at the restaurant attached to our hotel, Pacci. Then we hopped on one of the Savannah tour buses to hear more about the history of Savannah. We were going to walk to the Bonaventure cemetery, but it was so hot that we turned around and headed back to River Street to try to cool down. We passed another Byrd’s cookies shop and I couldn’t help myself from getting some more cookies in other flavors–Byrd’s cookies are seriously the best! Then I stopped in Wet Willies to get an alcoholic slurpee mixed with a few flavors.

Brunch at Kayak was so good the day before that I was craving the salad again, so we went back for lunch. With our bellies full, we headed back to the hotel for a little siesta. It was good timing too because it started storming with pouring rain and thunder. Once the rain slowed to a sprinkle, Kev and I ventured out again. We walked to Collins Quarter for a caffeine pick-up. We both had their signature spiced lavender mocha while listening to some live music. We had a tour scheduled for 10pm and we had some time to kill with no where in particular to go so we had fun walking around for an hour and a half before stopping for dinner. We had delicious pizza and cheesy bread at Mellow Mushroom and then headed to one of the squares to meet the tour guide. We went on Blue Orbs haunted walking tour. It was about an hour and 45 minutes and we walked all over Savannah listening to why its called the city built on its dead and why it’s one of the most haunted cities in the world.

Monday was supposed to be a half day of work, so Kev was a trooper and joined me for a few hours at a local coffee shop. Luckily, emails were slow so it was stress-free and I got a few work things done. I was starving afterward, so we went back to Mellow Mushroom where we had dinner the night before because I saw that they had vegetarian hoogies on their menu. After lunch I was feeling full and lethargic, so we walked around for a while then made our way back to Leopold’s for Round 2 of ice cream. This time I got their famous Tutti Frutti. I could literally eat Leopald’s ice cream every single day and never get sick of it, it’s so good.

After our sugar highs, we were feeling ambitious, so we rode the momentum and went back to the hotel to change for a run. It was around 6:30pm and while it was still light out, the temperature at least was a little cooler. We ran from our hotel to Forsyth Park and back which was at least three miles. About half way through our run, we saw storm clouds roll in and the sky burst open when we had about a mile left in the run. We got completely drenched running through the ran and I was scared half to death because the thunder sounded so close, but it was a fun adrenaline rush and I was  grateful that I finally felt cool.

By the time we finished showering and changing, the storm had subsided so we ventured back out to have an early dinner. We went to Jazz’d Tapas Bar per the suggestion of our airport cab drive,  but unfortunately there was no live music that day. The menu looked good though, so Kev and I stayed and shared a few tapas plates.

On Tuesday, though we were having a great time in Savannah, we were ready to head back to NYC. We packed up our things, checked out, and had an early breakfast at Rise Biscuits Donuts. I got the strawberry buttercream doughnut which was absolutely delicious, and Kev got the Lemon Blueberry Meringue Bullseye doughnut. Then we walked to Starbucks to get out of the heat and take our time enjoying a cappuccino. We did so much exploring over the previous three days, we felt okay about taking a little break, and we went to the movies to see Baby Driver.  It was a nice break, and after the movie we headed back to River Street to have lunch at Huey’s on the River. Kev and I both got the fried green tomato muffuletta which was tasty, and then of course we had to try their famous beignets with praline sauce. They were delicious and Kev said he liked them even more than Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. After lunch we sat and listened to a little more live music before heading to the airport for our flight.

 

 

This was definitely one of my favorite U.S. trips. I fell in love with Savannah with it’s romantic, Gothic Oak trees laced with Spanish Moss and the rich history of the city. I liked the fact that there are 24 squares (Oglethorpe, you the man!) and everything is within walking distance. The city was clean, the people were very nice, and there was surprisingly many vegetarian options so Kev and I definitely did not starve. I look forward to visiting Savannah again!