James’ winter vacation: recap

James had a little over a week off at the end of February, so I thought I’d share a little recap of all the things he/we did. (Lots of pictures!) 

Cook’n with class: Market and French Dessert Classes

James’ company is partnered closely with the Cook’n with class cooking school in Montmartre, so he decided to check out a couple of their popular classes. Looks like SO much fun!

For the market class, the chef takes the group around to all the little food stores (fromagerie, boucherie, epicerie, etc) in the area and gives a quick explanation. While they’re going to these shops, the group (with suggestions from the chef) decide what they want to cook and pick up all the ingredients.

une fromagerie

une boucherie

une poissonnerie

started with scallops, salad, and an orange vinaigrette

main course: steak with buttery mash potatoes and a fancy sauce

cheese course!

chocolate soufflé for dessert


The dessert class is more structured and everyone makes the same set of desserts. Lucky for me, James brought a ton of food home. So good!!

tarte citron, moelleux au chocolat, white chocolate mousse, financier aux cerises (my favorite!), and crême brulée (not pictured)

Bike About Tours

James also took a three-hour bike tour around Paris. The weather, once again, wasn’t super nice, but he still had a fantastic time. Definitely a great way to see the city!



Seine River Cruise

This is one of my all-time favorite things to do in Paris. You can do it during the day, but it’s so much better at night. There are quite a few companies that all have about the same tour, but we choose to go with the Vedettes du Pont Neuf because they were offering a discount on tickets ordered online.

Chateau de Versailles

They had a special on tickets into the Chateau and the gardens (2 for 1!), so we decided to go, even though we knew the gardens wouldn’t be in bloom. Turns out you can get in the gardens for free, so I think we might come back again in the summer.

This is my third time out to Versailles, but the first time I’ve made it out to the Grand and Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet. The Trianons are okay, basically mini-castles that they used when they needed to get away from the giant one. But the Queen’s Hamlet, so cute! It honestly feels like Disney set the whole thing up instead of Marie Antoinette. Its where she would go to play “peasant life” and it couldn’t be more quaint.

The Queen’s Hamlet also includes a working farm and vineyard that would supply the castle’s kitchen (and is still functioning today!).

Sainte Chapelle

Small, and usually quite expensive (free first Sunday of the month during the winter!), but wow, those stained-glass windows are gorgeous!

Notre Dame Towers

Another free thing to do on the first Sunday of the month in the winter, and definitely worth it, is to climb the towers of Notre Dame. I’ve been up in quite a few monuments in Paris, and I would say this has been my favorite. The views are amazing, and you’re still close enough to the ground to make out the details of monuments/buildings/etc. Plus you get some tête-à-tête time with the gargoyles.

Whew! We joked that we were playing tourist for the week, and really, I loved it! Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in work and paper-writing that I almost forget we live in such a beautiful city. We still try to go somewhere new at least once a week, but with the tourist season starting up, James’ work is really busy.

Looking forward to friends and family coming soon! 🙂

3 thoughts on “James’ winter vacation: recap

  1. WOW!! James, way to spend your week off!! (I plan to steal many of these ‘idees’ when I tote my fam to Paris cet ete). Miss Francey Pants– great blog. Once again, your photos are mouthwatering or breathtaking. Can’t wait to see it all in person! Needless to say… I’m counting down:).

  2. Pingback: Advice on taking a day-trip in France (plus favorite day-trips from Paris) |

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