Early Monday morning Hannah and I stepped off our overnight plane in our first destination: Paris. By early, I mean like 6am Paris time (midnight US East Coast time). I tried so hard to sleep on the plane but I just couldn’t. Too much excitement/people bumping my arm while making their way to the bathroom (darn you, aisle seat). But when we finally arrived in Paris I felt great for getting no sleep!
We quickly had to figure out how to get to the city center. After frantically googling and getting frustrated with the ticket machine, we finally got onto the RER B train that would take us near Notre Dame. Close enough to city center for us! When we walked up the stairs from the metro and saw Paris for the first time, I was in so much awe. It looks just like the pictures, but even more magical in person. So incredibly picturesque. I couldn’t stop gushing about the beautiful buildings and little patisseries we passed.
Our first stop was breakfast. We were starving after our long flight so we were happy to stumble upon a delightful little crèperie called Mamy Crèpes. I got a salted caramel crèpe and it was one of the best decisions of my life (not even kidding!). I even ordered in French for the first time and didn’t screw up completely!
After breakfast we headed straight for the Eiffel Tower, of course. Seeing it in person for the first time gave me chills. The whole city did that to me, actually. All throughout high school I learned about France, its culture, the arrondissements of Paris… and now I was finally here! It was pretty surreal.
We also found the Pont des Arts, which was sadly being taken down the day we got to Paris. Figures! The bridge kept getting too heavy with all the locks on it and it was an “eyesore” to some locals, so city officials decided to take the chain link fence down for good and replace it with plexiglass.
I did find a favorite lock though, featuring the one and only Hannah Montana.
For lunch we ate more crèpes. This time I tried trois fromages (three cheese). Mmmmm.
Our hostel was all the way in Montmartre, and we had the idea that we could walk there comfortably with our backpacks. That was pretty awful. I definitely regret not taking the metro. But with our backpacks dropped off and adrenaline still kicking in, we headed back to the city center to see the Arc de Triomphe. After circling it we finally figured out that to get to the center you had to go underground. That definitely beats running for your life across the traffic circle!
At dinnertime we stopped by the supermarché for some bread and cheese. We set up our picnic on the Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower, probably the most perfect picnic location in the world.
The next day we saw some more of the big sights. First up was the Louvre! Another iconic Parisian sight. Excuse the blurry picture.
Next we headed down the Seine to Notre Dame. I was disappointed I couldn’t find Quasimodo but I was still in awe of the BEAUTIFUL architecture! The gargoyles were just awesome.
We visited the Jardin du Luxembourg on our way back to the Eiffel Tower (we just love staring at it so much!). The gardens were smaller than I thought they would be but just as elegant as I’d imagined.
After seeing how long the line for the elevator was and determining that we were up for the challenge, we decided to climb the Eiffel Tower. 600+ stairs. My knees and calves regret that now. But the view from the top and the check off of my bucket list were totally worth it.
We wandered around a bit before our last dinner/picnic in Paris. I’m now a firm believer that there’s always more to see in Paris… you could spend years here and never see it all. There’s beauty and class at every corner.
Our last picnic was the best: we bought two baguettes, a carton of orange juice, an apple for me, a carrot for Hannah, boursin cheese, and a 4-pack of yogurt to celebrate Paris with. The only thing off about the picnic was the constant “beer, beer, wine, cigarettes, beer” being repeated over and over from annoying (probably illegal) vendors. They walked around to every group on the Champ de Mars (each one approached us multiple times) chanting the same thing, all selling wine, beer, cigarettes, and souvenirs. At one point they all set their buckets of liquor down, each by a different group, put their hoodies over them and walked away. The police was probably close. Other than that minor nuisance, our time in Paris was perfect. Yeah, my legs are killing me now from walking more than I ever had before in just two days, but I’d still do it again in a heartbeat. And I will! I can’t wait to visit again with Stephen in July. Paris has my heart.
As we walked towards the Porte Maillot bus station to catch our 11:30pm bus to Amsterdam, the Eiffel Tower started twinkling. It was just like a movie, so perfect!
Paris, je t’aime beaucoup.