This year, Stephen and I decided to inaugurate our thirties by doing what we love most: traveling. When we found flights to Paris in January for under $400, it was decided - a winter trip to Paris, it was.

We arrived to our little corner of Paris, complete with cobblestones streets, grey skies, a chill in the air. We loved it immediately.

We grabbed a quick coffee and croissant while we waited for our airbnb host to arrive, and this was the beginning of our love of french pastries.

We knew it would be cold and rainy, so we came prepared with umbrellas, lots of layers, and the mindset that we would be hibernating in art museums and cafes most days, which we were totally OK with. I even brought hand warmers to tuck into my gloves, (best decision!)

Although the wet and cold was consistent throughout our stay, we found lots of ways to enjoy Paris’ charms, even in January.

From the start, we were completely enamored by our neighborhood and our gem of an airbnb in Le Marais. The side streets of Marais are quiet, filled with chic, well-curated shops, apartments and restaurants.

Honestly, the beauty of the muted-tone streets and alleys and rooftops is completely overwhelming.

Our airbnb was a cozy retreat from our rainy day outings. It sat on the sixth floor, with two french balconies, and served as the most strategically-designed small apartment.

The main streets of Marais are lined with bustling cafes, the best falafel spots, flower shops, and busy markets. And everything is nestled within easy walking distance of the Seine, Louvre, Notre Dame, not to mention how perfect and convenient the subway systems are to navigate to anywhere in the city! (Moral of the story is - stay in Le Marais when in Paris.)

Our favorite things to do when we travel are walking, eating, and going to art museums. We did all of the above A LOT throughout our trip. We walked about 7 miles a day! (Even in the rain!)

Aside from walking around and pretending we are locals, we try to enjoy the sights of a city leisurely, intertwining lots of cafe and aperitif stops along the way.

One of my favorite things, which we stumbled upon by surprise, was climbing to the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral, where we found the MOST STUNNING views of the city, the Eiffel tower and the rooftops.

It's a HIKE to the top (about 11 flights both ways), but the views at the top made it worthwhile!

We spent another day in Montmartre, which is a charming neighborhood. It's a bit more touristy than Le Marais, but still was worth a day trip, even if just for a pastry at Boris Boulangerie.

The Louvre is a given, when in Paris.

It’s overwhelming in size so we just decided to see our favorites and save the rest for our next trip. The painted Georges Braques ceiling inside the Louvre was one of my favorites. It's such an awing experience.

We walked around for a few hours and then popped over to see the Colonnes de Buren across the street from the Louvre.

Musée D’Orsay was hands down my favorite art museum, with the best selection of impressionist art. It was so stunning, especially set in an old train station. The art took my breath away.

For contemporary / modern art, we found the Pompidou Center and Palais Tokyo (especially their bookstore) to also be amazing.

If you like art museums as much as we do, Paris is not in short supply, and it was a perfect hideaway from the rainy skies.

We bundled up and visited all of the main sights like the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and the Eiffel Tower but one of our favorite parts was just watching and learning the ways of the French. Like nibbling on a baguette on the way home from work, or lining up in the pastry shops on the weekends to order a small army of eclairs or brioche rolls.

We loved the bustling cafe culture and the small details like how they lay blankets on the chairs for outdoor seating.

I'll be writing another post just on cafes, bakeries and restaurants because there were too many noteworthy ones to fit here.

As a florist, I loved how hellebores were in every market and displayed in planters of storefronts and restaurants. I was in awe that every single flower shop was filled with peonies, hellebores and ranunculus (even the ruffly ones!)

Although most of the shops were out of our price range, I have never been to a place with so many minimalist and spaciously curated shops.

We loved window shopping, and I especially loved Sezane, a company that collaborates with one of my favorites, Madewell. Definitely worth a stop, just for the free photobooth and perusing.

Another favorite store was Maison Kitsune, and the one by the Louvre has a great cafe too, Cafe Kitsune!

We filled our days with adventure and lots of progressive eating, and then would return to our apartment in Marais, so content. Our trip to Paris felt like a dream and we can't wait to return. We know we will be back time and time again to this white-washed, pastry filled city.

Floral photography by Mountain Gap Photography and Lefont Events
Journal photography by Courtney Di Trolio