As most of you probably know, Allen and I took a 10-year anniversary trip way back in August and September. We traveled throughout various cities across three countries and had an incredible time. You can read Allen’s recaps here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
After we returned from our trip, I went into hyperplanning mode to prepare for my company’s annual conference in San Diego and found myself exhausted each day when I got home from work, and thus too drained for blogging.
Therefore, I’m just now writing this: my super late but still relevant recap of one of my favorite parts of the trip.
My love of Paris started as soon as we stepped off the train from Disneyland Paris. Close your eyes and imagine a quintessential Parisian street. Do you see gorgeous stone buildings, window boxes filled with flowers, and awnings of intimate cafés? Because what I saw was that and more: the Paris of my hopes and expectations.
We stepped onto street level at the Monceau station in the 8th arrondissement and I was already in heaven. It only got better from there.
I first glimpsed the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe (the size of which, by the way, I am still not over. It was SO MUCH BIGGER than I thought it would be). I was giddy about seeing it, even from a distance. The closer we got, the more excited I became.
When we finally glimpsed the entire tower in all its glory, I realized how much I had truly been waiting for this moment. I finally saw in real life what my favorite 12 little girls in two straight lines saw every day. (If you don’t know that reference, you might be a male who has never read female-centric children’s books, and for that I am deeply sorry.)
A guide took us through the tower, and I found myself engrossed by the information. (History is not usually my jam, so this is a big deal.) For instance, did you know that the prideful French added an antenna to the top of the tower in the early 20th century when the Chrysler Building surpassed its height? Or that the elevators built in 1889 are still in use today (with some modifications, I’m sure)?
And the view! You can see the entire city from the top (or, more accurately, the second level), along with its many famous landmarks. I’m just sad we weren’t able to visit them all in this trip.
After we visited the tower, we took a cruise on the Seine at dusk. It was extraordinary. One interesting thing I noticed on the cruise is that the riverside is a hangout locale for young Parisians. Many were having a picnic on bridges overlooking the river. How lucky they are to be able to spend idle time in such a remarkable city.
The next day, we visited Notre Dame. Talk about your historic landmarks. If the churches in the U.S. were a fraction as incredible as the churches in Europe, perhaps more people would attend. It gave me all the feels, as they say.
We also had a private tour of Musée d’Orsay that day, which was awesome and ended up being more enjoyable than the Louvre, in my opinion (and Allen’s). The museum is housed in an old railroad station and is just really cool to look at (as is the beautiful art inside).
And French food! Bon appétit indeed. Before the museum tour, we stopped for a delicious baguette and San Pellegrino (how French!). I also ate probably the best chocolate mousse of my life that day, from Angelina’s. I devoured my delectable snack in Jardin des Tuilieres, which connects the Louvre and Place de la Concorde and is simply spectacular. The next day, we ate some macarons from Ladurée. Desserts like macarons aren’t usually my go-to, since I prefer something richer (ahem, chocolate mousse). However, these particular macarons were mighty tasty.
I haven’t even mentioned Galeries Lafayette, which is a French department store chain (like Saks or Barneys here). In the middle of the 10-story building, there is a massive stained glass ceiling display, alongside ornate designs dotting the various floors. Why can’t department stores here look like that?! It’s all beauty, all the time in Paris.
On our last day in Paris, we finally visited the famed Louvre. (On the way, we walked down Rue Saint Honoré, where many boutiques are located. We even saw people outside of Hermès waiting to buy a Birkin bag! Très chic!) Is it uncouth to say that I preferred the outside of the Louvre to the inside? Once again, a beautiful French building knocked my socks off. It was totally stunning, complete with glass pyramid in the center.
Ultimately, I wish we had spent more time in Paris. I could not stop marveling at the absolute splendor of the city. I was impressed by everything I saw, right down to the side streets and alleyways – everything was exquisite.
I hope to visit this amazing city again someday. There was so much we didn’t get to see, but honestly, I would be perfectly happy to wander aimlessly and breathe in the city.