If you didn’t catch the first leg of our road trip through Burgundy’s wine country, you can find it here!
Day 3: Vezelay to Paris
Monday morning we rose early in order to get a head start on our busy day. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the medieval town of Vezelay. Vezelay is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the revered Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene and its well-preserved 15th, 16th and 17th century houses, gates and ramparts. In the 9th century, the relics of Mary Magdalene were brought to Vezelay. Since then it has been an important destination for pilgrims.
Perched on the top of a hill, it’s a lovely trek to the Basilica. As we climbed, we passed charming boutiques and galleries, cafes and restaurants with music spilling out of their doors, and alleyways and courtyards burgeoning with geraniums and wisteria. A masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, the Basilica was unlike any church I had seen before. Its walls emanated history and holiness. While we were there, morning rays of sun shone through the stained glass windows, casting the most beautiful light over the statues of saints and the altars before them.
Although we would’ve liked to linger in this enchanting town, we were determined to reach Paris by late afternoon. The two and a half hour journey from Vezelay to Paris was so scenic that I snapped pictures out of the window the whole way. I especially loved the enormous wind turbines rising out of the golden mustard fields and the adorable cows dotting the countryside. We were so lucky to be there at this time of year because late spring is the best season to see the mustard fields in full bloom!
We arrived in Paris right on schedule and headed to our hotel for the evening, the Plaza Athénée. One glance at this magnificent hotel and I was in love. From its location on renowned avenue Montaigne (the 5th Avenue of Paris), to its stunning facade, glittering lobby, lush courtyard, and exquisite Louis XVI inspired decor, every inch of the Plaza Athénée oozes Parisian glamour and charm. Needless to say, I never wanted to leave!
After settling in, we took advantage of the last light of the day to walk around the city. Though I’d been to Paris before, it is a city that you never grow tired of. As I walked down Champs Elysees, alongside the Seine, and through Champ de Mars, I was mesmerized by my surroundings. It was like I was seeing Paris for the first time! Our first stop was, of course, the Eiffel Tower. If you’re planning a trip to Paris, go in the spring when the cherry trees surrounding the Eiffel Tower make it even more picturesque than usual.
On the recommendation of friends, we decided to have dinner at the trendy Monsieur Bleu. Since we only had one night in Paris, we wanted to go somewhere special. Located inside the Palais de Tokyo, Monsieur Bleu boasts a stellar view of the Eiffel Tower, delicious food, great service, and a cool ambiance. Go here for a romantic dinner date or to see and be seen, it won’t disappoint.
Day 4: Paris to Basel
For our last day in France, we wanted to squeeze in as much as possible before driving back to Basel. We started our day at the Petit Palais, Paris’ Museum of Fine Arts. If you haven’t been before, put it on your Paris to-do list. In addition to its incredible pieces and eclectic exhibitions, the museum houses a magnificent outdoor garden and cafe. When the weather is nice, the cafe’s terrace is the perfect spot to relax and grab a bite to eat.
After touring the museum, I hopped in a cab to meet a friend for lunch. We met at a bistro on Rue Montorgueil, a charming cobbled street in the 2nd arrondissement lined by specialty shops, eateries and the like. It’s the perfect place to grab lunch and then head to the nearby shops on Place des Victoires. This trip I didn’t get nearly enough time to shop, but I hope to be back soon to rectify that!
Our last stop in Paris was the Jardin des Tuileries. Located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, this enormous park is the ideal hang-out spot on beautiful days. Unfortunately, it was overcast when we went but we still enjoyed strolling around, people watching, and relaxing by the fountain.
Though there was still so much we wanted to do, we knew we had to get on the road before it was too late. So we bid au revoir to Paris and set off on the five hour drive from Paris to Basel. We spent the journey reminiscing about all the wonderful things we saw and did in the last four days. All in all, we agreed our last-minute road trip through Burgundy was certainly a success. Now we’re already thinking about where we should go next!