Over Christmas my family took a week and a half long vaction traveling through mountains in Switzerland, Zurich, Paris and even stopping in Copenhagen for a few hours during our layover. We spent majority of time skiing at Laax, a resort a few hours from the Zurich airport. Laax has taken the place of my favorite ski resort. From the breathtaking views being over the clouds while skiing, to the cozy atmosphere throughout the village, it feels less commercialized and more local compared to some of the other resorts I’ve skied at. We stayed at the Rockstreet resort, at the base of the mountain, where we could see the main gondola outside of our bedroom window. The villa had two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open kitchen, living room and dining room concept in the middle of the villa. It was impeccably designed and the Scandinavian style was very present from the floor to ceiling wood planks in the bedrooms to the slate rock in the bathrooms as well as in the kitchen.
After staying in Laax we made our way over to the city of Zurich where we spent our time seeing Christmas markets and walking around the city. Being honest, Zurich is not on my list of places to go back to. The city felt dark and melancholy. We found there wasn’t much to do and were glad we only booked to stay there for a day and a half. From there we flew to Paris on Christmas morning through Copenhagen where we had a few hours to walk around the city during our layover. By 6:30pm we were finally in Paris, and headed to dinner at Café de la Rotande. I had steak and fries (traditional to France) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Their baguette was my favorite I tasted the entire trip, It was soft and I could taste the flavor of the yeast used.
The next morning we woke up quite late (around 10am) and stopped at a café across the street from Café de la Rotande to grab a slice of quiche and a coffee. This café was absolutely adorable and the food was well priced and delicious. One thing I noticed in Paris was how expensive the food was, for our family of four we would easily spend over 100 euros for both lunch and 150 for dinner most nights, so this café would be perfect if you wanted to grab breakfast or lunch without spending a fortune! Unfortunately I never wrote down the name and it’s fairly new so it isn’t on google maps, but just search up Mont and it’s next door.
Afterwards we walked around the Luxembourg gardens. Unfortunately since it was winter, the gardens were not filled with flowers or green trees, but nevertheless still beautiful! For lunch I made reservations at Monsieur Bleu, which quickly became my all time favorite restaurant. I like to think I’m a restaurant connoisseur, so there are a few things on my list that must be “top of the top” for me to really love one. First, the atmosphere. The atmosphere there was elegant, green velvet chairs, black glass tables with gold rims. Black marble floors, tall ceilings and lots of windows facing the Eiffel Tower make this restaurant an Instagramer’s dream! The food was amazing, I had crab and avocado for my starter, scallops with a passion fruit butter reduction for my main course, and the most incredible upside down pineapple pavlova for dessert. The plating for each dish was absolutely beautiful! The only thing I didn’t like about Monsieur Bleu was the service. Our waiter was lovely and very cooperative with all of our requests to split and share, but I was disappointed with another part of the service. I made a reservation a week in advance (and recommend you do as well) to ensure we would have a table, I requested a table with a view of the Eiffel Tower and called to confirm the morning of. When we arrived and were brought to the hostess to be seated, she said my reservation was not in the system. I showed her my confirmation email and she said they would “find a table for us”. I told her about my phone call that morning for a table by the window and she smiled and said they would seat us. We were not seated by the window, but rather in the back corner of the restaurant even though she told me they would. Although this isn’t that big of a deal, I thought I would mention it, because I think service is an important factor to a restaurant. And especially when I am paying that much, I would expect them not to lose my reservation.
From lunch we headed over to the Eiffel Tower and took a few Instagram photos. It was very surreal to be standing in front of a monument I’d seen in pictures for ages and to be able to truly appreciate the architecture and work put into this beautiful tower. The rest of the day was spent exploring, we stopped at Notre-Dame and got coffee at a café near by. We spent a good part of our trip in random corner cafés to warm up as well as to use their bathroom to freshen up, but I can’t complain because that meant I got to drink a lot of tea and coffee (lol). For dinner we met up with an old friend and just caught up.
Our second day in Paris was very rainy and gloomy so we headed over to the Louvre to look at some artwork and sculptures. I would highly recommend you buy all your museum and attraction tickets in advance online, as the lines are ridiculously long and a waist of your trip in Paris. We had lunch at Coco Rico, a short walk from the Louvre, and enjoyed eating gnocchi, salads and burgers. The only thing I didn’t like was the French onion soup, it was undersalted and seemed to have been microwaved as the bowl was hot but the soup inside was lukewarm. The cheese on top was hard and tasteless, but other than that soup, the rest of what we ordered was very good and the service was nice as well.
From there we headed to the Galeries Lafaytte to do some shopping, not a favorite of the trip due to the massive crowds and size of the store. My mom, sister and I quickly decided that although it was beautiful, it certainly was not the place for us and opted to walk 15 minutes to Angelina for some hot chocolate and cakes. I think this might have been my favorite part of the trip, as the three of us navigated our way through the city laughing. We pleasantly stumbled upon Place Vendome and admired the square lit up with lights, designer boutiques and Christmas trees. When we got to Angelina, the line was to the end of the block to sit down, so we opted for the counter service with no line, grabbed some cakes to go and the most rich and decadent hot chocolate I’ve ever had! Next time I come to Paris, I’ll definitely be making a reservation here!
For dinner we were originally going to get crepes, but as we were a block away we saw a local fondue and raclette restaurant. Our hands numb and noses red, we all quickly decided cheese fondue sounded a little more appealing then a crepe and ran inside La Fontaine de la Mouffe. This was an adorable mom and pop restaurant, no frills or fancy decorations, but definitely a spot loved by the locals. The food was good and the couple who owned/ran it were the sweetest. We made friends with the Canadians at the table next to us and shared a bit about our trips. When we made it back to the hotel, we tried all of the impeccable desserts from Angelina before our heads hit the pillow and we got some rest.
For our third and final day in Paris we decided to pack it full of things to do. We went to the Musee d’Orsay after our two previous and failed attempts to go there the days before due to the long lines. I’d recommend going within the first hour they open to avoid the lines to get in. I enjoyed the art in the Musee d’Orsay more than I did in the Louvre. I like the work of Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh, so it was a bit more interesting to me than the Louvre. Afterwards, we walked down Rue Cler and had lunch at Le Petit Cler. The cheese board was incredible and so was the food. I found it to be reasonably priced and the service was my favorite as the waiter even wrote down the names of the cheese for me since I liked them so much. I had a spinach salad, and the rest of my family got a chicken curry, pot au feu and flank steak with a baked potato. I’d say this restaurant has a wide variety of food and a good price point.
We spent the next hour seeing the Arc de Triomphe and walking a bit down the Champs-Elysees. This area was very touristy and incredibly packed, so we quickly made a b-line to head to the quieter part around Le Marais. Afterwards, we caught an Uber to La Maison Rose for a much needed break and coffee. I snapped a few Instagram photos outside against the picturesque light pink café and we continued on to see the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Once again, beautiful but touristy. For dinner we grabbed the most amazing crepes at La Creperie Bretonne where my dad and I had a savory buckwheat crepe and my mom and sister got wheat sweet crepes. The buckwheat crepes were crisp and not doughy like a traditional wheat crepe. I really enjoyed them, and this was the first place I saw that had almond milk (whoop whoop). So of course I got a coffee at 5pm as well as a concerning look from the waiter.
We walked back to our hotel to pack our bags since we were leaving early the next morning. As an incentive to pack, we decided to go get a second dinner (when in Paris am I right?), as I still hadn’t got a crème Brule and my sister had yet to find her chicken au jus. We went to Café Montparnasse and adored the food! The smoked salmon blinis are to die for and the detox salad is perfect if you’re getting tired of the heavy meat dishes. The chicken was crisp and perfectly cooked and the mashed potatoes were light and creamy. For dessert I had to get crème brule which was unlike anything I’d had before! The only negative about the restaurant was the smell of cigarettes. We were first seated downstairs where the smell was very strong. As we were getting ready to leave, our waiter ran over and offered to move us upstairs where “there was no smoking”. At first it was fine and we sat in a stunning rounded booth tucked away in the wall, but about 20 minutes into our dining the smell of tobacco had creeped its way upstairs and was unpleasant.
All in all our trip to Paris was one for the books. I hope you enjoyed reading this and that it helped any of you plan your trip to Paris. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments and I’ll be sure to get back!
Note: You may have noticed I left out a few restaurants from our trip as well as our hotel. I want to always share only the things I truly love and believe in on this blog. So sharing a restaurant (or a product) I didn’t completely stand for wouldn’t be true to myself or you. Thanks for understanding!