Montmartre, Museums, and Hidden Gems in Paris!

 

This is part three documenting our Honeymoon in France travel series – click here to start with part one.

 

We woke up on day three of our honeymoon in Paris and realized that we had not yet had coffee in this fabulous city! We had purchased a specialty Paris coffee map from Blue Crow Media that was recommended to us by a fellow Paris traveler on the TripAdvisor forums (looks like they are currently sold out! 🙁 ). We ordered it from the UK only a couple weeks before take-off, and surprisingly, it arrived before our trip. We made sure to pack it carefully in our luggage among the other important documents so it made it to France with us.

 

 

On that chilly morning in May we were headed to explore Montmartre, and we wanted to choose a café on the way to stop and grab a bite to eat for breakfast. We decided on KB Caféshop, a craft coffee roaster and brewer in South Pigalle who offers an assortment of scrumptious drinks and food items. We took the metro from our hotel, and when we hopped off we realized how different the Paris neighborhoods really were. South Pigalle was lively with restaurants, shops, and tons of stuff to see. It seemed like such a carefree area — where you could literally stop and smell the flowers! We finally made it to KB Caféshop, and it was everything we had hoped for. The café was homey and the baristas were very welcoming and accommodating by showing us everything they had to offer for petit dejeuner (breakfast). We each opted for a slice of their homemade banana bread, a glass of made-to-order, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a latte. We sat outside on the sidewalk and enjoyed the people watching that ensued in the lively neighborhood.

 

 

After savoring every last crumb of the delectable banana bread, we walked just a little ways north to the adjoining neighborhood of Montmartre. We took the morning to explore the beautiful gardens and parks, picturesque cobblestone streets, and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica on the hilltop of this truly eclectic neighborhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we meandered through all of the winding streets in Montmartre and grabbed a quick lunch, we took the metro to Jacques Genin, the shop of a well-known French chocolatier. We walked in and thought for sure we had accidentally stumbled into a jewelry store, but we were indeed in the right place. There were counters of glass-covered cases lining the store, each displaying the carefully made chocolates and candies like the precious jewels they were. And if that wasn’t enough, when we placed our order the woman behind the counter put on white cloth glove to carefully pickup and arrange the pieces in their individual tins. There were so many different flavors to choose from, and our favorite of them all was tonka. We were disappointed to find out that we can’t find that little bean in the states, but it just gives us another reason to go back! We also had to order a box of the cute little pâte de fruits because we just couldn’t resist the temptation.

 

 

 

Next we headed to Butte Bergeyre, a wonderfully hidden gem within the city that I found by stumbling upon MessyNessy’s blog post about it. The gates to the secret vineyard were locked and there was a gathering happening in the garden, so we just settled for the incredible vine-covered buildings and the marvelous view of Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur once we got to the hilltop. 😉

 

 

After enjoying a stroll and hoping our chocolates didn’t melt in our pocket, we took a quick trip back to the hotel to freshen up and then headed back out to explore the beautiful city. We meandered through Le Marais and into Les Halles on our quest for a wine bar, and ended up walking past O’Chateau (the same company that we went on the champagne river cruise with)! We decided it was fate that we stumbled upon it and took a seat at the bar inside. We decided to try flights of both whites and reds alongside an absolutely fabulous charcuterie board. If this isn’t the life, I don’t know what is! Just like on the champagne cruise, the sommelier behind the counter was extremely knowledgeable about all of the different wines. Even though the bar was crowded, he made time to stop by each group and talk about the wines as we tasted them. He went in-depth on each of the wines, mentioning differences in the wines based on the region, vintage, and terroir (climate, soil, terrain, and tradition). We learned so much about French wine, and he even gave us an extra sample pour of a very interesting white wine from Jura that was an example of how much the terroir really plays into the taste of the wine. It was not our favorite by any means because it actually tasted almost charred, but that is a special characteristic about Jura wines. Who knew?

 

 

We ended up stopping at Chéz Clement for dinner on the way back to the hotel. We sat in their large outdoor seating area, sharing a bottle of wine and enjoying a delicious little pot of their beef bourguignon while the sun set behind the buildings. It was a beautiful day in the city, but now it was time to rest for our last full day in Paris!

 

 

The next morning we woke up before dawn and quickly made our way to Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle in order to beat the crowds. We went to Notre Dame first as they opened earlier, and we still made it to Sainte-Chapelle before they opened. Both sites were beautiful, but the stained glass in Sainte-Chapelle was simply breathtaking.

 

 

 

 

By the time we got out of Sainte-Chapelle, we were starving. We were headed over to the Musée Rodin (Rodin Museum) and thr Musée de l’Armée (Army Museum), so we stopped to grab breakfast at Coutume Café. It was another stop on our Paris Coffee Map, and they had the most delicious blueberry pancakes with whipped cream and thyme syrup! We paired it with another amazing latte and it was the perfect fuel we needed to get through our busy day of sightseeing!

 

 

Because Colton and I enjoy different things, we made a plan to visit the Rodin Museum and the Army Museum just to be fair to each other’s preferences. While I think he still enjoyed the Rodin Museum, I definitely got bored at the Army Museum. I attribute it to the Rodin being small enough to get through in a reasonable amount of time… which was not the case with the Army Museum. While I found the first few collections interesting, I realized that the collections kept going and going … and going! We had to have walked miles just within the Army museum alone (Fitbit can confirm – we walked 10 miles that day)! I will have to admit that once we made it through all of the collections and to The Dôme des Invalides which contains the tomb of Napoleon I, I was a little more interested. That place was seriously cool!

 

 

 

 

 

By the time we got through the museums, we were once again hungry. But there was still one of the most iconic places in Paris that we had YET to see while we were there – the Louvre! So we took the metro a few stops because we couldn’t leave the city without seeing at least the outside of it (we didn’t plan on going inside to see the collections on this trip – hopefully next time!) Minus the crowds of people, it was so neat! We decided to grab a croque-monsieur at Café Diane in the Tuileries Gardens. It was the perfect spot to rest our feet and people watch for the last time while in Paris, and we also didn’t want to be too full because we had dinner reservations later that night.

 

 

 

We made it back to the Latin Quarter with time to spare before we needed to get ready for dinner, so we detoured over to the Pantheon and explored a little more. We also found an interesting ice cream shop, Amorino, that served scrumptious flower-shaped ice cream cones. We stopped to get one and then ventured over to the Garden of Luxembourg to rest for a while and enjoy the charming landscapes.

 

 

 

 

 

Later that night we walked up the street to a restaurant that we have been drooling over since we made the reservation 2 months prior. L’Etage de Pastavino is a small Italian restaurant in Saint-Germain-des- Prés, hiding above an Italian deli. It is not well known, but I found it on MessyNessy’s blog (yes her again, she has great Paris articles!). From there, we stumbled upon their Facebook page and were instantly hooked! The old Italian ladies in the kitchen sealed the deal, and even though we were in France, we were so close to Italy we had to try it. Because, who knows, we might never get a chance to visit Italy, but it is certainly a bucket list item! Dinner was beyond amazing. They served us a complimentary pizza with truffle oil entrée and then Colton and I ordered a plate of their homemade house cheeses for our other entrée. That ricotta was seriously amazing – I didn’t know it could taste like that! For our plats we ordered a gnocchi with butter and sage sauce and a spaghetti in a white sauce with shaved ham that we are still dreaming about. We ended dinner with my favorite dessert, tiramisu, and then finished off our bottle of wine before heading back to our hotel to toast to our very last night while in Paris. In the morning: off to Lyon!

 

 

More information on places mentioned in this article:

 

Blue Crow Media Paris Coffee Map (looks like it’s currently sold out)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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