Shaun and I landed in Paris at 4pm after an overnight direct flight from San Francisco and we had a train booked for the following morning at 7am, so we literally had only 15 hours in Paris. Although we were exhausted (to say the least), we still wanted to make the most of our limited stay in the city of love!
Paris has been one of my favorite cities since I first visited when I was eleven years old. This was my fourth time to the City of Love and Shaun’s very first. We spent 5 nights in the heart of the city in an adorable Airbnb in Le Marais — a cozy quartier in the 4th arrondissement, popular for shopping and dining along the network of cobblestone lanes with a classic Parisian feeling. We were lucky enough to experience Paris in both rain and sunshine, each equally romantic and charming.
Pintxos! Pintxos! Pintxos! The Basque word for Spanish “tapas”, pintxos are the cultural heart of San Sebastian, Spain. They are also my current culinary obsession. Pintxos are small plates served in-between meals (or in bulk to substitute as a meal), all day everyday, usually for as cheap as 2€ – 5€ and typically enjoyed with a glass of wine for equally as cheap. Enjoying the daily pintxo with a local Spanish red wine was definitely the highlight of visiting San Sebastian.
Our next stop was San Sebastián, Spain, further along in the Basque Country. We had spare time before we bid farewell to my mom, so we decided to take the 7€ bus for a 5-night getaway in Spain. The city is famous for the calm turquoise waters of La Concha Bay, but thankfully there’s also the neighboring Zurriola Beach with surf for Shaun. A definite highlight of San Sebastián, or the Basque name Donostia, is the “Old Town” – Dozens of tiny cobblestone walkways squeezed between two iconic churches, packed full with standing-room only bars, tapas/pintxos restaurants, and unique shops with a gelateria on every corner.
The next surf contest on the schedule led us to Anglet/Biarritz on the southwest French Atlantic coast. Anglet is the smaller town neighboring the ritzy city of Biarritz, both with beautiful beaches and cheerful boardwalk promenades for eating, drinking and sunbathing. Our whole week here, the weather was staggering around 97°F / 36°C so we spent a LOT of time à la plage.
Lacanau-Océan is an adorable seaside surf town on the Atlantic coast of France. The town itself is only about one square mile, but packed to the brim with tourists, beachgoers, surfers and sunbathers alike. The main street Allée Pierre Ortal has dozens of indoor/outdoor restaurants, tons of shopping and a handful of gelato shops along the pedestrian-only strip.