Visiting Rome, Italy Between Christmas & New Year’s Day: What to Do, Where to Eat, and the Weather!

Dan and I made our triumphant return to Rome Italy between Christmas and New Year’s to celebrate my 35th birthday!! We originally visited Rome in 2008 as a law school summer study abroad and LOVED it but, unfortunately, had not been back – despite having been to Italy many times over the last decade… Since my birthday is in late December – the 26th to be precise – we visited Rome between Christmas and New Years. I was a bit concerned about the timing, the weather, what to do, etc., but we ended up having the perfect trip and now I really want to go back!

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Dan and I at Circus Maximus. December 2018.

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Dan and I in Campo di Fiore 11 years ago. July 2008.

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A Second Dinner At Le Grand Colbert, Paris – 15 Years Later!

Le Grand Colbert is an old-school Parisian haunt near the Louvre (and even closer to the Bourse (aka stock exchange)). Its also right around the corner from Ellsworth, an adorable restaurant that I recommend!  Being old-school, Le Grand Colbert has been around for years – since 1900 (current owners since 1992) – and its everything that you would imagine in such a bistrot – gorgeous interior, fancy waiters dressed in full suits, and classic French fare. The building also has tons of history, originally dating to 1637. Be sure to check out the details in the small details, including the mosaic floor!

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Le Grand Colbert.

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Gorgeous interior!

Doesn’t le Grand Colbert seem like the perfect spot? Well, its also, and somewhat unfortunately, quite popular with the tourist crowds due to the fact that it was featured in the hit American move, Something’s Gotta Give (GREAT movie though!). So while its a classic, you will not likely be enjoying a meal at Le Grand Colbert with Parisians, but with other tourists. Even then, however, Le Grand Colbert is a pretty fabulous meal in Paris, especially for those on a first time (or once in a life time visit)!

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Le group at le Grand Colbert.

As you can probably guess, I dined at Le Grand Colbert on my Ladies Trip to Paris earlier this year, but my mother and I visited Le Grand Colbert way back in 2004 when I studied abroad in Paris! We loved it then and it was just as good this time around. One of the best things about Le Grand Colbert is its classic, and lengthy, Parisian/South Burgundy menu. You want something classically French, its probably on this menu. Le Grand Colbert also boasts a great wine list! Every table at Le Grand Colbert starts with olives, potato chips (my favorite!), and crusty French bread. We paired this with a 2014 Bordeaux from Haut-Médoc from that excellent wine list.

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Olives & crisps.

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2014 Bordeaux!

I started my meal with a bowl of French Onion Soup because well, I was in Paris. This one was particularly good and super cheesy! Highly recommended. My only complaint is that it was too much food for me, ha!

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Real French Onion Soup.

I then ordered a classic Parisian dish and one of my favorites, steak au poivre. This is basically a deliciously rare steak in a pepper corn sauce. My steak was served with a slice of tomato with Parmesean crust, really good haricot vert (green beans), and pommes frites! Super Parisian, and super delicious! Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of other peoples food, but other popular choices were the very fresh scallops, and the huge pot of moules-frites (mussels and fries)!

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Steak au poivre.

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Real scallops.

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Pommes-frites and sauce for the steak (or the fries).

For dessert, because, Paris, I ordered a classic crème brûlée. It was served flaming, and it was absolutely delicious! 

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When in Paris?

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Flaming crème brûlée!

STEAL OUR DINNER

Le Grand Colbert: 2 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France. Open daily 12h – 00h. Reservations recommended and can easily be made online. Not cheap, but not as expensive as you would think. Below are some pictures of the large menu (but not all of it) for price point comparison. While touristy, I do recommend this restaurant and would absolutely eat here again. Le Grand Colbert is also good about reserving tables for large groups without issue, a plus for groups or families!

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Seafood.

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More food.

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More of la carte.

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Desserts!

Dinner And A Visit To The Eiffel Tower 2019!

Ah, the Eiffel Tower. The definitive bucket list site in Paris. Completed in 1889 for the World’s Fair in Paris, its still the tallest structure in Paris and very popular with visitors, who can ascend to the very top on most days (the top is occasionally closed for wind). I’ve visited the Eiffel Tower many times of the years, and visiting it has changed significantly in the last 20 years. Gone are the days of picnicing in the Champs de Mars and gone are the days of buying a ticket on the spot. Now, due to increased security measures, tourists should plan their visit in advance to save precious Paris vacation time and ensure their ticket to the top! Here is my guide on visiting and dining on the Eiffel Tower (skip to the bottom for information on dining on the Eiffel Tower only) in 2019!

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Pryor and me visiting the Eiffel Tower in February 2019!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And here we are visiting in 2010 with Dan Dan!

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Restaurant Review: Ellsworth, Paris!

Ellsworth is an adorable little restaurant near the Louvre! With a little American flair and lots of Parisian flair, Ellsworth is  fun stop not too far from a very touristy part of Paris. I have been to Ellsworth twice for lunch; once in the summer with Dan and once in the winter on my Paris Ladies Trip. I enjoyed both of my meals and will definitely return again!

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Ellsworth!

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Exploring The Heart Of Montmartre With Secret Paris Food Tours

Earlier this year with my mother, Dan’s mother, sister, and aunt, and our friend Pryor (frequently on this blog) and her mother went to Paris over Valentine’s Day.  On this lovely Girls’ Trip, we took a food tour through Montmartre on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon – I’m talking sunny and 60 degrees! It was pretty great and a fun walk to explore a usually too touristy part of Paris!

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Montmartre. You can still see a windmill in the background!

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The Perfect Long Weekend In Paris: My Itinerary!

Earlier this year, actually over Valentine’s Day weekend (ha!), I took a ladies trip to Paris with my mother, Dan’s mother, sister, and aunt, our friend, Pryor, and her mother! It was a little reminiscent of our 2016 trip to Italy, but without Dan Dan (SAD!) Since some of the group had never been to Paris and others had not been for years, I took the lead in planning. So, for your reading, and hopefully planning, pleasure, here is our itinerary, which I think is perfect for first time visitors to Paris!

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Paris on Valentine’s Day!

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A Delicious Exploration of Testaccio, Rome: A Culinary Tour With Eating Italy!

As some of you may know, Dan and I spent a fabulous summer in Rome wayyyy back in 2008 (so long ago!). We lived in the very residential part of the Trastevere neighborhood that summer, not too far from the adjacent Testaccio neighborhood. In fact, I have vivid memories of being in Testaccio (and Trastevere!) and thinking that Rome was not at all a touristy city. How wrong was I? Despite Rome being super touristy, certain areas, including parts of Trastevere and Testaccio, remain local and largely devoid of tourists. When we went back over the New Year this past year, I definitely wanted to explore more of these areas.

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Me and Dan our first night in Rome, June 2008! I still drank white wine… #basic

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Restaurant Review: La Brigada, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A “parrilla” is a casual restaurant serving all types of meat, are extremely popular in Argentina and other South American countries (hello, Uruguay!). Buenos Aires is home to several famous parrillas, and you really shouldn’t visit Buenos Aires without a proper meal at one. When Dan and I first visited Buenos Aires, we dined at a famous parrilla called La Brigada, and decided that this was the spot for our only dinner in Buenos Aires this trip!

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La Brigada!

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Hitting the Highlights of Santiago, Chile!

Santiago is the capital of Chile, the long, skinny country on the Western side of South America. Chile is bordered to the right by the Andes mountains, to the left by the Pacific Ocean, to the North by the desert, and to the South by glaciers. Due to its isolated location, Chile is indeed unique and extremely proud of its country and local products. Side note – to protect this status, Chile is also very particular about what one can bring into the country (wine is allowed).

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Wine map of Chile. The most appropriate kind of map.

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February In Paris: A Brief Photo Tour.

I spent Valentine’s Day weekend in Paris, France this year, sadly without Dan (SORRY DAN)!  It was a girl’s weekend, and we had the best time. I will be posting more about what we did, where we ate, how Paris is in February (spoiler alert, it was amazing and 60 degrees and sunny!), and how you can recreate our itinerary, but for now, here is a snippet of some of my favorite pictures!

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First up,  la tour Eiffel at sunset. Valentine’s color schemed.

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Macarons at Laduree.

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60 degrees at la tour Eiffel actually on Valentine’s Day.

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Pretty rugs on a private tour at Versailles.

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Le Louvre.

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Truffle cheese, french bread, and wine.

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The little hens on the trip. On top of Galleries Lafayette at the Ice Cube Bar.

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O’Paris Pub in Versailles. A great post-Versailles break with outdoor seating.

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The group at dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel.

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Winged Victory.

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Parisian fried chicken.

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Swoon.

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Les Jardins de Versailles.

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Love an old French advert.

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Cute restaurant that was there when I lived in the 11th!

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Pretty Parisian buildings.

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Another pretty restaurant.

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Le Tabac.

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Notre Dame de Paris.

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View from the top of le Centre Pompidou.

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Midnight at la tour Eiffel. Post dinner, drinks, and a visit to the top!