London and Paris Trip

I have been SO bad at setting time aside to blog and I apologize for being so absent on here! Many of you requested a full London and Paris trip recap from my trip a month ago. I still cannot believe we went on a whim and planned the entire trip in under two weeks. I also cannot believe I was able to compile and post this blog post within a month, I am honestly impressed with myself. This trip was my first time taking off a full week from work since 2019! It was so nice to step away to recharge and disconnect. I hope you all enjoy the recap and find it helpful if you are visiting London or Paris soon. PS any text in grey throughout the post is a clickable link. 🙂

Day one:

I woke up at 5am to attempt to catch the second flight from Phoenix to Dallas since I was flying standby and all of the flights from Phoenix to Dallas were extremely full. I unfortunately did not make that one, which I was actually happy about for once because I was starving and was able to get a coffee and breakfast sandwich at the airport before the next flight. I barely made the second flight to Dallas as I got either the last seat or second to last seat on the plane, but either way, I made it to Dallas! I traveled with my cousin and she also made it on that flight so we both landed in Dallas together and had a few hours to kill before our flight from Dallas to London. We found a modern Mexican restaurant in our terminal and had lunch there before our next leg of the trip. Our flight to London was pretty empty so we both got business class and had pods next to each other, which was so fun! We were served champagne as we sat down and got comfy for our long overnight flight. I watched a couple of movies, had dinner and dessert, a glass of wine then got ready for bed. I was so excited and overtired, I maybe got a couple of hours of sleep during the flight over. Before landing, they served us breakfast and we then landed in London! After we deplaned, we got tickets and jumped on the Heathrow Express to Paddington then took the tube to Notting Hill. The public transportation was absolutely incredible in London and SO easy/convenient to use. I never felt confused or scared while navigating our way from the airport to the train to the tube.

Our Airbnb was not ready for check-in until 3pm, which is probably the only complaint or negative item I have to report on this trip. If I were to do it again, I’d make sure to have a place to immediately check-in at after the flight. With the time change, not sleeping on the plane, being dehydrated, etc., I felt SO sick for most of the first day. I did not drink enough water on the flight over and was extremely dehydrated and motion sick. Despite not feeling well, we still made the most of our first day in London and explored Notting Hill. We walked around the colorful, cute neighborhoods and stopped at Eggbreak to relax and have coffee. I got the most amazing iced oat milk latte and Golden Glow smoothie to try to help my stomach. We then walked around the famous street in Notting Hill, explored the markets, and did some sightseeing. We stopped at Farm Girl for tea and to sit somewhere before our Airbnb was ready for check-in. We then walked around more and ended up at The Duke of Wellington. I wish I was feeling well while we were there because they had amazing beers on tap and the food looked amazing. My cousin got a burger and I got sweet potato fries since my stomach still really hurt.

After lunch, it was finally around 3pm and we were able to check-in at our Airbnb! I was so happy to take a shower and took a power nap for an hour. After power naps, we woke up and went to The Churchill Arms, which is a famous spot in London and SO cool to see! Interestingly, it is half a pub and half a Thai restaurant. I got the BEST chicken pad Thai and highly recommend it and then also tried the London Pride draft beer. After dinner and the drink, we went back to our Airbnb and watched Notting Hill (we had to do it).

Shop my day one look and travel must haves here:

Day two:

I seriously felt like a new person when I woke up the next day and was so excited to head out to explore! We started the morning at Joe & The Juice and I think I had the best oat milk latte of my life, not joking. I’m a sucker for fresh pastries and don’t get them too often while I’m home so we stopped at Bakery Blakes after and I got the most delicious apple danish. We then jumped on the double decker bus, which was SO fun and something that had been on my bucket list forever and went to Buckingham Palace. We explored the palace for a bit then went to Afternoon Tea at the Rubens. This was also another bucket list item to have royal afternoon tea next to the palace and it lived up to my expectations! After tea, we walked around to see the most famous sites, such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge, etc. and they were all so incredible to see in person. We then made our way to ride the London Eye, which was also an amazing experience.

We then made our way to Covent Garden, which is such a cute area and had dinner at Ave Mario where I had the most incredible Italian food – I got the Spritz on the Beach as my drink and Mafaldine al Tartufo (truffle pasta) for dinner. I highly recommend making a reservation here, it is always booked. We went in the off season and got SO lucky they had an open table for the two of us. After dinner, we met up with one of my close friends from college and her fiance as they live in London and went to a fun/famous bar called Mr. Fogg’s. We tried different gin drinks, which were all so cute and delicious. We then made our way to London’s oldest wine bar, Gordon’s Wine Bar, which is in a cave/rock (so cool), and got a delicious red blend. We then made our way to John Snow, which was one of the highlights of the trip for me. If you work in public health, you understand how exciting it was to see THE famous Broad Street pump. They had incredible John Snow memorabilia and if you are not a public health nerd like me, this is also very much a local hang out and people were very confused as to how we picked this pub over all of the rest. We ended the night with a final beer at Beer Dog in Soho then said goodbye to our friends and made our way home.

Shop my day two look here:

London details:

COVID-19 requirements and entering the country – United States to London:

*Please note, I am sharing MY experience and the guidance oftentimes changes daily. It changed days before we left for our trip. Please do not solely rely on this information and do your own research prior to traveling as this information will likely be outdated. Additionally, I am sharing our experiences and we are both fully vaccinated/boosted.

  • We did not need to test prior to departing
  • Our vaccination cards were checked and they looked for all three doses listed
  • Passport was required (of course)
  • Passenger locator form was required

Where we stayed in London:

We stayed at an Airbnb in Notting Hill and we absolutely loved the area we stayed in! The Airbnb was really nice and spacious. The check-in and check-out process was a bit difficult though, but otherwise recommend it.

Day three:

We stayed out way too late the night before and got a little lost making our way home on the tube and bus so we slept in pretty late the following day. Those who have followed my other travel adventures, you know the extreme weather ALWAYS follows me so we of course woke up to a historic wind storm (100 mph winds), which made us a bit nervous and we were traveling to Paris that day. We Ubered to Harrod’s, which my cousin really wanted to see and since we couldn’t bring our bags in, I had an oat milk latte and quiche at Paul while watching our bags. When she got back, we had the hardest time getting an Uber since the trains were all offline and made our way to Kings Cross (the Harry Potter train station!). I didn’t get a chance to visit the Harry Potter store or platform since we had 10 minutes before the train doors closed. We took the Eurostar from London to Paris and it usually take two and a half hours to get from London to Paris via the train, but due to the excessive winds, we kept having to come to a complete stop at times so it took us three and a half hours. When we got there, the transportation workers were on strike so none of the subways were operating, which is how we planned to get to our Airbnb. We were starving when we got to our Airbnb so we quickly dropped our bags and walked to the nearest restaurant, which was a cute little cafe called Le Marceau. We both got an Aperol Spritz and a French onion soup to start. I got the croque madame sandwich with a side salad and it was pretty good! We then went back to our Airbnb, watched Emily in Paris (of course) and went to sleep to recharge for the next day!

Shop my day three look here:

COVID-19 requirements and entering the country – London to Paris:

*Please note, I am sharing MY experience and the guidance oftentimes changes daily. It changed days before we left for our trip. Please do not solely rely on this information and do your own research prior to traveling as this information will likely be outdated. Additionally, I am sharing our experiences and we are both fully vaccinated/boosted.

  • We did not need to test prior to departing
  • Our vaccination cards were checked and they looked for all three doses listed
  • Passport was required (of course)

Day four:

We slept in a bit then made our way to Champs-Elysees to Laduree for breakfast (which at this point was definitely lunch). It was the most incredible experience and one of my favorite meals while we were abroad. I got a latte and Croque-Monsieur with fries for lunch, which were all delicious! We then of course had to get a famous macron for dessert and it was the fluffiest and freshest one I have ever had. We then set out to sight see for the day and first walked to the Arc de Triomphe then made our way to the Eiffel Tour. We then hopped on the Batobus, which is a hop on, hop off boat on the Seine River. It was such a fun way to make our way to each sight and loved being on the boat! We saw Notre Dame Cathedral, which was absolutely breathtaking, walked around Latin Quarter, then ended up at happy hour at Le Lutece Paris. We both got an Aperol Spritz and had to try their fresh popcorn (it smelled so good when we walked in).

After happy hour, we did a lot more walking around Latin Quarter then jumped back on the boat and made our way to dinner near the Eiffel Tower. We ate at Ill Sorrentino, an Italian restaurant with the most incredible views of the Eiffel Tower! We got to see it sparkle, which was breathtaking and had been on my bucket list for what feels like forever. I got the Fritto di calamari e zucchini and Spaghetti alle Vongole – the pasta was great! We then made our way back to the Airbnb for the night – 17,000 steps later!

Shop my day four looks here:

Day five:

We woke up for what was sadly our last day of the trip and wanted to make the most of the day. We first went to breakfast at Le Deauville, which was just okay. We ordered a breakfast special, which came with a plate of carbs (no joke) with a baguette, piece of toast, and croissant (which was flaky and amazing), orange juice, and a latte. It was a cute little spot, but don’t think I would go back just based on experience with food and service – nothing bad, just wasn’t amazing. After breakfast, we got our COVID-19 tests for our flight the following day since our test had to be within 24 hours of traveling. Of course pretty much all pharmacies (which primarily do the testing) are closed on Sundays so we were a bit panicked to find a test that day. We found a spot in front of the Arc de Triomphe and it only took 10 minutes to get our results emailed to us. It was a sigh of relief to have it done so we could fully enjoy our last day! We got tickets for Big Bus Paris to do more sightseeing and also hear the pre-recorded tour to learn more about the sights and city. We got off at the Eiffel Tower to see if from another view and I’m so glad we did because the views were incredible from the other side!

We drove around and saw other famous sites then got off at the Louvre Museum. Tickets were sold out for the day, which was a bummer to not see the Mona Lisa, but it was still beautiful just being at the Louvre. I also bought the cutest and coziest scarf from a local vendor for 10 Euro – I LOVE it! We then found another cute cafe called Café Le Corona where we got a basket of croissants and each got an Aperol Spritz. We did more sightseeing around the Louvre, walked through the Tuileries Garden (absolutely beautiful) then got on the tube to Montmartre. The tube was very easy/convenient, but was definitely not as spacious or as clean as the London tube (just a minor observation). A kind Parisian also told us to closely watch our belongings since pick pocketing happens on the tube fairly often.

We walked through the beautiful cobblestone streets and went to the famous Le Maison Rose (from Emily in Paris)! It was so cute and quaint. We somehow walked in and got a restaurant (it is the smallest space and obviously very well known) so we were very surprised to get a table. We each got a glass of wine and shared a little grazing board. We then did more sightseeing by foot and made our way to Moulin Rouge to see it. It wasn’t in the best area from what we observed so we quickly left after seeing it and hopped back on the tube to Champs-Elysees.

We did a bit of shopping for souvenirs then made our way to our final dinner. The 86Champs – L’Occitane x Pierre Hermé store was absolutely AMAZING. We went to a quaint Italian restaurant called Casa Luca and we each got an Aperol Spritz then I got the most incredible pizza I have ever had in my life (I am not even joking) called the parma. The restaurant had beautiful views of the Arc de Triomphe and was a short walk back to our Airbnb. We went back, packed up, and got ready for our early morning and long day of traveling.

Shop my day five look here:

Day six:

We woke up around 6 am and ordered a G7 (Paris version of Uber, highly recommend using while you are there) and made our way to the airport. There was of course a car fire near one of the terminals and backed up traffic. It took so long to get to the terminal and was nervous we wouldn’t make our flight, but the airport was relatively empty and we made it to our gate with time to spare. We got business class again and got a few hours of sleep in, which I was so happy about. I had dinner, dessert, a glass of wine, watched movies, and read a bit – I was reading Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo during this trip. We flew from Paris to NYC and had a couple hour layover where I had a slice of pizza and crossed my fingers I’d get on the flight home. We got the last couple of seats and made our way back home to Phoenix!

Paris details:

COVID-19 requirements and entering the country – Paris to United States:

*Please note, I am sharing MY experience and the guidance oftentimes changes daily. It changed days before we left for our trip.. Please do not solely rely on this information and do your own research prior to traveling as this information will likely be outdated. Additionally, I am sharing our experiences and we are both fully vaccinated/boosted.

  • We needed a negative test within 24 hours of our flight departure
  • Our vaccination cards were checked in France prior to boarding and they looked for all three doses listed. Vaccination cards were not checked once we arrived at US Customs & Border Control in the US
  • Passport was required (of course)

Where we stayed in Paris:

We stayed at an Airbnb central to Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, restaurants, bakeries, etc. The apartment itself was perfect for the two of us and great being in such a central location! It was a bit loud on and around the premises and the complex seemed to consist of younger tourists. Check-in and check-out was simple and fast!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip and for those traveling abroad soon, I hope you found this information useful!

Xoxo,

Jonica

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