Ever since I was about 5-years old and saw the movie “Sabrina” I always wanted to go to Paris. I fell in love with the Eiffel Tower and the thing that Paris epitomizes, love. When in high school I decided to take French, which is why my parents decided to send me to France, and make my very first travel dream come true.
Our French adventure started in Paris, of course! I landed in Charles de Gaulle and was instantly excited by the posters in French, and knew I was not going to be disappointed in this adventure. We got off the plane and went right into the sightseeing. Our first stop was sightseeing, and the whole bus-ride there was thrilling! I think I actually squealed when I saw the Eiffel Tower! In Versailles, though I was amazed for the first time by architecture. I had never been to a big city, let alone in a Palace! I took pictures of EVERYTHING! Light fixtures, the ceilings, doors, windows, and floors! I was in heaven. Then after our tour we found a little cafe and had our first french meal… Crouque-Monsieurs (Open-faced hot ham and cheese); YUM!
Later that evening we went on a Bateaux Mouche. Which is a touristy, but delightful river-cruise down the Seine. We went at night, which was so beautiful. The Eiffel Tower was all lit up, and every hour, on the hour it twinkled. It was stunning! All the buildings along the Seine were also lit up, as well as the bridge that we floated under. It was a very touristy first day, but I loved every second of it!
The next day we went on a city tour in the morning, where we went around to the hot spots and then we had the afternoon to get lost. We went to the Eiffel Tower first things and took tons and tons of pictures. We also went to Notre Dame, which, was so amazing to see such a legendary church, but I wish I would’ve paid to climb up and around to the back side of it. Then we just walked around the city. We stopped at a bunch of street vendors, where, I tried to use as much french as humanly possible, even though it wasn’t much. This sweet, old man selling candy who laughed at my french and told me that he liked my attempts at speaking french, and gave me a bunch of free candy. It was so sweet.We walked around and talked to everyone we could. It was a lot of fun, and that night at dinner I had my very first glass of wine!
Our next day in Paris we went to the Louvre! It was so beautiful! The museum itself was a true work of art. Our tickets got messed up, so since I was on a tour, we ended up having to kinda rush through the museum. We hit most of the “hot spots” like the ‘Mona Lisa’ (which I found to be overrated…), ‘Venus de Milo’, and the ‘Winged Victory’. Of those three Louvre classics, I thought the Winged Victory was my favorite! After hunting those down we only had about 30 minutes left there, so we went to the Egyptian exhibit.
After that we went up in the Eiffel Tower. We had the greatest view in all of Paris! It was so fantastic! You could see every amazing building, Montmartre, and the Seine. I was living my 5-year-old dream (minus Harrison Ford flying there and finally showing his sensitive side….).
After soaking in all the time on the Eiffel Tower we went on the Champs Elysees. We went into a bunch of fun little shops, went by the Arc de Triomphe, and gazed upon the giant Louis Vuitton Purses! One really memorable experience was we got to see the flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier get changed out. There was a group of older gentlemen in their uniforms and they had this very obvious sense of pride about them, and it was such a special moment to get to witness. After a little bit of shopping and some dinner we called it a night.
The next day we went to the Musee D’Orsay, which was, from what I saw, my favorite of the two museums. It was full of impressionist art like Monet, Van Gough, and Manet. It was amazing! There was a huge display of ornate furniture, which, I’m not really into, but it was still pretty! I also loved the huge animal sculptures outside of the museum, and the huge clock in the museum is very beautiful and well known.
Then we went to Sainte Chapelle, which is one of the most stunning cathedrals I have ever seen, if not the prettiest. The walls (floor to ceiling) were covered with the most ornate stained-glass! Every where you look there’s another story told through tiny mosaics of glowing glass! It just makes you step back and think about just how much someone went through to make this beautiful piece of art.
That night we went to Montmartre, which, thanks to Moulin Rouge was another obsession with Paris and love. The Moulin Rouge, was nothing like I expected, and there is no awesome, giant elephant that you can live in behind it. However, there was an amazing, yet touristy, little square with all of these stands set up with artists painting Paris-scapes, and portraits, and I had my portrait drawn while I was there. It was a really neat experience. Then we walked over to Sacre Coeur after sunset, which was all lit up, and from on top of the hill you could see all the lights of Paris, but including the Eiffel Tower… I’d say it’s the second-best view in Paris.
Paris, being my first international trip, will always hold a special place in my heart. That being said, there are a few things that I would do differently. I would cut back on the more touristy things. However, I would spend a day in the parks, with a bottle of wine and cheese, I would go to the parc where Monet was inspired to paint to Water Lilies! I would’ve tried to eat more like the locals, looked into some of the lesser known museums, and spent more time in the Louvre.