October 18-22, 2023

“Mais Paris est un véritable océan. Jetez-y la sonde, vous n’en connaîtrez jamais la profondeur.” — Honoré de Balzac, French author.

But Paris is a real ocean. Throw in a stone, but you’ll never know how deep it is.

Unlike many people I didn’t have many expectations for Paris. I was just open and curious to see what it had to offer.  It was the tail end of our Europe travels so we had 3 full days to explore this massive area.   We arrived late at night and for whatever reason it took forever to get our bags, so we didn’t reach the our hotel until near midnight.  We stayed at Novotel Paris De Versailles, a polished hotel on a treelined avenue with all the amenities.  Located on the outer edge of the 15th district.


This next morning we were very excited about a Champagne Tour we booked.   The tour was all day and we needed to take the train to Reims (about 45mins/about $20) to meet our guide.  Once in Reims we were greeted by Luiz our driver and guide for the day along with 5 other lovely ladies from Georgia that we quickly made fast friends. 

This tour was fabulous we drove around in a nice clean van through the city and countryside.  We started at the Cathedrale Notre-Dame De Reims.  This cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was the traditional location for the coronation of the kings of France.  It was stunning and is constantly being worked on and repaired in order to maintain its beauty.  From there we made our way to Avenue De Champagne, about a 30 min drive with stunning scenery.  A renowned street located in Épernay, often referred to as the ‘Capital of Champagne’, in the Grand Est Region of France.  This avenue is home to prestigious houses that produce and trade in the world-famous champagne.  

We began our Champagne tasting tour at Mercier.  This champagne was founded in 1858, the brand offers a range of champagnes that are known for their freshness, intensity, and spontaneity.  The maker Eugène Mercier was very ahead of his time in everything he did from his wines to his advertising.  This tour is known for their unique cellar tours, which include an audio guide and a small train ride to discover the beautiful wine cellars of Mercier.

From there and after about 4 large glasses of delicious champagne we went over to La Cave De L’Avenue a charming restaurant that makes it a point to to serve quality dishes cooked with seasonal products where simplicity and deliciousness rhyme! Let me tell you, they did not disappoint!  After good food, drink and great company the tour had to continue so off to the next stop.

After about a 10 min drive just outside of town we came to Joseph Desruets.  This family-owned champagne house located in the village of Hautvillers, the birthplace of champagne, in the heart of the Marne Valley.  This production, a much smaller scale then the first establishment we visited but just as impressive in other ways such as their family oak press, “DarcqFlamain,” which they use to press their cuvées through a process dating from the 19th century. 

With the time quickly approaching the evening we set out for the train station to head back to Paris with our new friends along side.  They generously invited us to join them back at there Airbnb to take in the spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower.  We finished out the night with more food, wine and amazing company with new friends and forever memories!

Louvre/Pere Lachaise/Moulin Rouge

The next day was a full day of exploring Paris.  We started off at the Louvre Museum, we of course had to see the Mona Lisa. We took a back way in that saved us time and less crowds.  If you ever visit Paris check out Jay Swanson’s you tube videos he has a ton of helpful tips and tricks.  

We wandered around there in and out, up and down until we felt we saw all that we needed. You could spend days in there and still not see it all.  So until next time.   From there we took a walk along the seine and just enjoyed the sights. Eventually by foot and uber we made our way to Pere Lachaise.  Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris, France, at 44 hectares or 110 acres. With more than 3.5 million visitors annually, it is the most visited necropolis in the world.  Probably due to the many famous graves that reside there.  This resting place of so many is a special place.  It’s quite, beautiful and in a way enchanting.  

To wrap up Day 2 in the best possible way we got cleaned up and set out to check out Montmartre before going to enjoy dinner and a show at Moulin Rouge. Montemarte is an area of Paris is renowned for its bohemian atmosphere, its cobbled streets, artists, bistros, and stunning views over Paris.  The charming cobble stone streets weave around and you feel a visitors hustle as people gander around the area.  We stopped into a tiny Italian restaurant, La Petaudiere,  that had a delightful pianist playing, met some new friends and enjoyed a drink before heading down the hill to dinner.

Moulin Rouge was everything we could have dreamed of and more. It was welcoming, spectacular and fun! The food was worth the dinner price and the service was top notch.  The show itself was Vegas level on a much smaller scale of venue.  So you could see everything on stage up close and personal.  The performers were 10 out of 10!  We absolutely  loved it and felt it was worth every penny! I highly recommend.


Talk about the day of getting your steps in. After a long night we took a semi slow morning and then went to check out the Palace of Versailles.  The palace is renowned for its architectural and historical significance, with famous sections like the Hall of Mirrors and the King’s Grand Apartments.  It was commissioned by King Louis XIV and served as the principal residence of the French kings from his time until Louis XVI.  The Palace of Versailles is also known for its extensive and meticulously planned gardens. The palace and its gardens have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the past 30 years and are considered one of the finest achievements of French art of the 17th century.  The property, including the gardens, spans over 800 hectares (around 1,977 acres). This grand estate features 50 fountains and 210,000 flowers planted every year. The palace’s most famous room, the Hall of Mirrors, is approximately 73 meters (239.5 feet) long.  It is a monstrosity, but gorgeous.  We rented a golf cart and checked out more of the grounds and other buildings.  It was cold and rainy the day we went (The only day our entire trip that was a bit chilly) and there was a bomb threat.  But we didn’t let any of that slow us down.  

That evening we took to the depths of the city and went to see the Catacombs.  A veritable labyrinth in the heart of underground Paris, the Catacombs were installed in the tunnels of former quarries. And they are a Trip!  These hold the the remains of more than six million people. These catacombs were established in the late eighteenth century when major public health problems tied to the city’s cemeteries led to a decision to transfer their contents to an underground site.  I almost felt guilty taking pictures down there.  It’s a strange feeling being deep in the belly of the city with the remains of so many lost lives. 

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