Saying the name of the city alone brings feelings of glamour and romance. It’s universal. Paris is just Paris.
And it lives up to every expectation. It’s just a beautiful place.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Like you’ve heard: Paris is dirty, there are some scummy people, and it’s got some weird smells (namely as a result of the aforementioned). But to enjoy Europe, you’ll have to look beyond that in nearly every destination.
And of course, the price of Paris is enough to make you sigh – in a less-than-romantic way.
This leg, Chris and I decided to nix the tiny and expensive hotels and opted for a VRBO. We were so happy we did!
Once we got to the rooftop studio and somehow communicated with the French speaking landlord – with lots of hand gestures – we got settled. It had been a long day of traveling, and we sighed (this time of pure happiness) when we opened the French doors to the terrace with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Just at dusk, it was turning on its yellow-gold nightly glow.
The days blended together in Paris. We spent each one walking the city, seeing both the big sights and the small side streets filled with Parisians. Admittedly, we were burned out every evening from walking so much. Staying in Paris’s 9th Arrondissement gave us advantage of a full view of center city, as well as being a stones throw from Sacre Cour and Moulin Rouge. We loved the area, but it was a hike anywhere else.
Still, the days felt long and with four of them to spend in France, we really felt that we got to see so much of the city. From the Bastille to the Arc de Triumph, the Louvre to the iconic Eiffel – we had time to look, stop, and just enjoy every moment.
Among my favorite stops was Pont de Arts – more commonly known as the love lock bridge. If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you’ve seen the thousands of locks chained to a bridge over the Seine near Notre Dame. Scribed on all of them are couples names and dates who have locked their own lock on the bridge and thrown away the keys – literally, keys are thrown in to the river for good luck.
I loved it.
The other favorite of mine was Angelina’s, where we had the best hot chocolate, ever. In true Paris fashion, the tearoom itself is fit for a queen – because you feel like a queen just stepping inside the lavish cafe. And at €5 for a to-go cup, you should be given the royal treatment.
Let me just tell you, it doesn’t fall short. It’s like drinking a melted chocolate bar. It’s like, they give you a straw because it’s so thick. And it’s African chocolate, if that means something to you.
It was just so yummy, I could have had one every day! (But I didn’t, don’t worry Dad!)
Actually, we countered the expensive cost of Paris by using our cute galley kitchen and cooking our own meals!
Ok, Chris cooked. And it was the best! Shrimp and pesto pasta, authentic French rotisserie chicken, and homemade burgers with avocado (my first across the pond!), it was all delicious! And every night we enjoyed sitting at our table with a view of the Eiffel and its brilliant light show at the top of every hour.
Of course, we ate plenty of baguettes and croissants. Delicious at the time, but I’m going to try not to think about that now…
Lastly, the Eiffel Tower. We actually paid two visits to it. One during the day, and one the following night. And it really was so beautiful. From far away, the Eiffel appears to be a statue of metal. From up close, it really comes to life. You can see people on every observation deck, climbing the stairs within the structure, and riding the trolleycar-like elevators.
And on our very last night, we were those people too. Chris convinced me we should take the trip all the way up, and though my knees shook the whole time I’m so happy we did. The views of Paris at night were breathtaking. Every monument we had visited over the last several days was beautifully lit and showing off its Parisian glamour. Glowing dinner barges moved slowly up the Seine from bridge to bridge. The water was flat. The sky was clear. And though the city below was restless, it was silent. It was a sight to be seen, but even more so to be felt.
And so that was Paris. It was just how I expected it, which was nothing short of wonderful. Of course, being there with Chris made it all the more easier to feel the romantic aura of the city.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After traveling Europe together, it was apparent we make a pretty good team. Sure, the flights and buses and trains and every other mode of transportation were long, the days were short, and there were a few unexpected bumps along our road. But when I look back, I know that week will forever be mine – it isn’t just a dream anymore.
No matter how busy life gets: how much work we have to do, deadlines to meet, tasks to cross off, etc., my time traveling over those two weeks made me realize that there is a time and a place to stop and savor the moments. Enjoy the process. Love the ones you’re with. No matter how far we get from those perfect pieces in time, nothing and no one can take away the memories you’ve already made, and dances you’ve already had.
Ciao, for now.