10 Year Anniversary Trip Recap (Part Three – Paris Days Two and Three)

As you may know, on August 24th, Rachel and I headed out for a 16 day trip to Europe to celebrate 10 years of marriage bliss. Today will be the third part of a series of blog posts highlighting this amazing trip. (Check out part one and two here!) Without further ado…Part Three – Paris Days Two and Three!
The next morning, we started out the day by making our way over to the Notre Dame Cathedral, where once again I was checking off a huge bucket list item. And friends, it was absolutely amazing.

We were able to spend some time inside walking around this beautiful and historic cathedral. Honestly, the pictures we took don’t do it justice.

After spending some time at Notre Dame, we made our way over to the Musee d’Orsay for our 1pm private tour, but not before stopping by Sainte-Chapelle to grab a few pictures.

When we were talking to people before our trip, the number one museum that anyone who had visited Paris mentioned was the Musee d’Orsay (MO). The MO used to be an old railroad station that was converted to a museum in 1986. It holds the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings in the world, including works from Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.


We were very fortunate to have a private tour with a wonderful guide, who showed us around for several hours hitting a lot of the high points of the museum. We had a wonderful time exploring the MO and in some ways preferred it to the Louvre (which we visited the following day.)

After visiting the MO, we walked around more of Paris, stopping by Angelina’s (Thanks Stephanie for the suggestion!) for pastries and the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had!

We also made stops at the Palais Garnier (Opera House) and the Galeries Lafayette, which is a large department store that has one of the most remarkable domed ceilings I’ve ever seen.

Later that evening (after grabbing dinner), we made our way back over to the hotel and called it a night. The next day (our last full day in Paris), the weather finally gave us some cooler temps after several straight very warm days. In fact, I actually got up a little bit early and got in a decent run. It was nice to get in a few miles while on vacation.

So for our last full day in Paris, the biggest thing on our list was the Louvre Museum (LM). We knew the LM was the world’s largest art museum and that there was no way we would be able to see everything; however, our hope was to at least make a small dent.

The first thing we both noticed was just how absolutely beautiful the outside of the LM was. And, of course, the famous glass pyramid in the middle of everything outside is so iconic. I think we could have spent hours just admiring everything outside.

Once we got into the LM, I was determined to make a beeline for the Mona Lisa. I knew the painting was quite small and that whole area would be crazy crowded, but still it’s the Mona Lisa. You have to see it!


Once we crossed that off our list, we grabbed a quick lunch in the cafe and made our way through this massive, but super impressive, museum. We ended up spending a good 4-5 hours enjoying the LM.

After we finished exploring the LM, we made our way over to the Place de la Concorde and then up the Champs-Élysées for a little shopping.

We even made a stop at Laduree (thanks to Naama for the suggestion!) for some macaroons and pastries, because when in Paris, you eat a lot of pastries and desserts!

We eventually ended up back at the Arch de Triumph for a few more pictures.

After exploring a little more, we grabbed some dinner before calling it an early night. Our wakeup call to the airport and Barcelona the next day was bright and early.

All in all, we had a great 3 days in Paris. I think we both agree that we could have easily spent another week in Paris. There was just so much to see and do, but I do feel we knocked out several “must sees” while visiting this wonderful city!

Next stop on our anniversary trip recap…Barcelona!

10 Year Anniversary Trip Recap (Part Two – Paris Day One)

As you may know, on August 24th, Rachel and I headed out for a 16 day trip to Europe to celebrate 10 years of marriage bliss. Today will be the second part of a series of blog posts highlighting this amazing trip. (Check out part one here!) Without further ado…Part Two – Paris Day One!

After spending 2.5 days at Disneyland Paris, we were ready to head into the city on Monday morning. We ended up taking the train into Paris, as it didn’t look to be too terribly long and was quite a bit cheaper than taking a cab.

Once we got over to our hotel, we checked our bags (since our room wasn’t quite ready yet) and grabbed lunch at a nearby café (which was delicious!).


Luckily, after lunch our room was ready so we were able to go ahead and get settled into our room before heading out for the rest of the afternoon and evening. 

Our time in Paris is best broken down into the 3 main days we were there. So…I’m starting with Mondayafternoon/evening. We headed over to the Arc de Triomphe (AdT) first, which is at the western end of the Champs-Élysées (probably the most famous avenue/road in Paris for shopping).



The AdT is absolutely amazing. We both were so blown away at the size and beauty of this monument. We ended up buying tickets and making our way up to the top to take in the city. And, of course, the first thing I noticed as soon as we got to the top was the Eiffel Tower! After spending some time taking pictures and videos, we made our way back down (it was all stairs, the entire way…).

We spent a little time making our way down the Champs-Élysées just taking in the city (including finding some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had) before heading down towards the Eiffel Tower and our scheduled 5pm tour. 


Now for me personally, there were several bucket list items I knew I wanted to check off my list during this trip. At the very top was the Eiffel Tower. And friends, as we finally came upon it, I was absolutely blown away. It was without a doubt even more impressive in person.


Our tour guide ended up taking our group up to the second floor (about halfway up) and gave us a great explanation/tour of the city. We had the option to go up to the top, but for multiple reasons, including the fact that it was a good 30-45 minute wait, we decided to pass on going all the way up. Once the tour part was over, we stayed on the second floor for a bit before heading back down and grabbing some more pictures/videos. 

After spending quite some time at the Eiffel Tower, we headed over to the Seine River for our evening river cruise. We ended up getting on the 8pm cruise (which lasts roughly an hour), which takes you around the river and so many amazing parts of Paris. 

As we got towards the end of the cruise, night began to fall on us, which allowed us to experience this beautiful city in a different light. Right at 9pm as we were about to dock, the boat stopped right in front of the Eiffel Tower and the tower began to sparkles as it does for 5 minutes at the top of every hour in the evening. It was breathtaking!


After getting off the cruise, we grabbed a few more pictures before making the walk back over to our hotel. All in all, we had a wonderful first day in Paris!

Stay tuned for Part Three – Days Two and Three in Paris!



10 Year Anniversary Trip Recap (Part One – Disneyland Paris)

As you may know, on August 24th, Rachel and I headed out for a 16 day trip to Europe to celebrate 10 years of marriage bliss. Today will be the first of a series of blog posts highlighting this amazing trip. Without further ado…Part One – Disneyland Paris!

The first stop on our trip was to Paris, France, or more specifically, Disneyland Paris. We left Thursday evening and arrived in Paris on Friday morning (Central European Time).


After getting our bags and finding our driver, we made our way out to Disneyland Paris, which was roughly a 40 minute drive from the airport. Let’s just say…the first experience of Paris was a little rough. It was absolutely pouring and our driver basically drove like the police were after him. Needless to say, I was happy to get to our hotel.

We had booked a hotel on the Disneyland property at the Sequoia Lodge, which ended up being quite nice. It had a little bit of a Wilderness Lodge feel to it (not as nice, but still pretty great). After checking into our room and dropping off our stuff, we made our way over to Disneyland Paris for the afternoon/evening. Fortunately, the hotel was only about a 5 minute walk from the Disney Village (the Paris version of Downtown Disney) or roughly 15 minutes from the two parks. (Just FYI…Disneyland Paris is split between two parks, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios)

Once we got over to the Disney Village, we stopped off for lunch as it was already after 1pm Paris time. We knew we were going to be dragging quite a bit the first day, but if we were going to adjust to the new time zone, we needed to start the first day.

After lunch, we hit up our first park, Walt Disney Studios (WDS). We were excited to see WDS, as they have a whole section dedicated to Ratatouille, which was absolutely wonderful. We walked around the majority of WDS, including riding the Ratatouille ride.

Plus, we scored a lunch reservation at Bistrot Chez Remy (the Ratatouille restaurant) for the next day, which was a nice surprise! Both of us gave Bistrot Chez Remy 2 thumbs up!

One of the big things we noticed about WDS is how similar a lot of this park is to Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Plus, the park is quite a bit smaller than the second park we hit up, Disneyland Paris. Still, we enjoyed our time at WDS over the course of the 2.5 days we were at the parks.

The second park, Disneyland Paris (DLP), was definitely the best of the 2 parks! We probably spent 75% of our time exploring all this park had to offer. And while it had a lot of similarities to the American parks, there were several things that truly made this park stand out.

  • Disneyland Hotel Entrance The first thing you come to when arriving at DLP is the Disneyland Hotel, which serves as the entrance to the park. You literally walk through the hotel and into the park. This was a neat touch and really sparkled at night. Plus, the entrance right inside the gates was truly magical as well!


  • Sleeping Beauty’s Castle The DLP castle is probably my favorite castle of the 3 parks I’ve been to so far. From the waterfall to the left of the castle and walking below the castle (with an animatronic dragon underneath the castle) to walking through the castle and up the stairs to look out over the rest of the park, the castle did not disappoint!


  • Phantom Manor, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and More So while a lot of the rides at DLP were similar to the American parks (except for the French language), there were a few new rides or similar rides that really stood out. Phantom Manor (DLP’s version of Haunted Mansion) was a totally new story and might have been my favorite ride at DLP. Alice’s Curious Labyrinth is literally a maze that takes you through the highlights of this animated classic. Plus, I personally think Thunder Mountain and Pirates are probably better at DLP. Also…Rachel will tell you that DLP’s Space Mountain was easily the best one she’s been on.
  • Side Streets on Main Street U.S.A. One of my favorite parts was the fact that on both sides of Main Street U.S.A. (literally on the other side of the store fronts) was an indoor walking area that takes you to the front of the park. The US parks could 100% use this, as it gets so crazy and hot down Main Street a lot of days/evenings. Just saying…

And while we had a great time and a great experience overall…a couple of other observations should be made…

  • The Cast Members were definitely not as friendly as the ones you encounter in the American parks. No one was ever rude to us at all, it was just a small, but noticeable, difference.
  • Smoking, while only allowed in designated spots, was not monitored at all. Almost everywhere we turned, we came across smokers. Definitely took a little bit away from the Disney magic.
  • Finally (and this was probably a good thing as we didn’t spend a ton of money) the Disney merchandise in the Paris parks was definitely not as good. Almost all of the stores were noticeably smaller and not nearly as crowded as you would find in America.

Anyway, we had a great time exploring all these parks had to offer over the 2.5 days we were there. And by Monday morning, when we checked out of the Sequoia Lodge, we truly felt like we had experienced Disneyland Paris and were ready to continue on our trip with our next stop, Paris!

I’m Back!

Hello friends! After almost a month off, I’m back with a ton of stuff to blog about. Here is a small snapshot of what’s coming…

  • 16 Day Trip to Europe to celebrate our 10 year anniversary
    • Disneyland Paris
    • Paris
    • Barcelona
    • Disney Mediterranean Cruise with stops in Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Cannes and Nice
  • Dopey Challenge Training (time to get serious about my upcoming 4th full marathon)
  • Things I’m looking forward to this Fall
    • Movies
    • TV Shows
    • Trips (including another trip out to Disneyland in California!)
  •  Races (including another Triple Peach Challenge in Atlanta)
  • Guest Posts (hopefully we will get a post or two from Rachel and her perspective of our European vacation, amongst other musings…)

Anyways…lots to talk about on the blog. Stay tuned! Until then, here are a few pictures from our Europe trip. Enjoy!