I first wanted to travel to Spain years ago when my Aunt Dawn told me stories about her semester spent studying abroad in Sevilla. I added Vienna to my “To Go” list when I watched the Austria episode of “Street Food Around the World”. Amsterdam was included soon after when I saw my classmates’ Spring Break photos of the cities’ canals after Semana Santa. I can identify the exact moment when I first felt pulled to each of these places, but I cannot for the life of me remember why I first wanted to go to France. It may have started the first time I watched “Beauty and the Beast”, or the first time I ate a chocolate croissant. I’m really not exactly sure where this desire to travel there came from, but I do know that it got stronger as I got older.
“Beauty and the Beast” was followed by “Midnight in Paris”, chocolate croissants where followed by Nutella crepes, and books like “Vango” were added into the mix. All of this came together to give me a view of France, and Paris in particular, as an utterly magical place. Going into my trip to Paris, it’s fair to say that I had ridiculously high hopes for the city. If you’ve ever been to Paris, though, you’d know that even my most fantastic and incredible dreams had nothing on the real city of love.
Every day started with an early trip to the nearby bakery where I utilized all of the French I know (“Bonjour! Un baguette, si–vous-plait. Merci! Au revoir!”) to pick up breakfast for Emily, Maddie, and myself. There was something wonderful about feeling the cool morning air on my face as I weaved through the early sidewalk traffic, hearing the sing-song “Bonjour” from the bakery owner, and smelling the intoxicating mixture of coffee and fresh bread. Really, there’s no better way to start the day. After breakfast, the adventures began.
Our first day took us to the Place des Abbesses, and then to the Sacre-Coeur, where we enjoyed an absolutely incredible view of the city. After that came the Notre Dame Cathedral (and the strong urge to re-watch the “Hunchback of Notre Dame”). We then headed off to the Louvre, where we saw the Mona Lisa (impressive), and the painting Liberty (very impressive). After that, we made our way along the banks of the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, which lit up a few minutes after we arrived. As soon as I saw it in person, I understood why it had become the symbol of Paris – it was magnificent. So magnificent, in fact, that we made our way back there the next day to see it again 🙂
As we saw most of the big sights on day one, day two was all about wandering the streets and learning more about each of the arrondissements. We passed by trendy cafés in the Marielle, as well as luxury jewelry stores on Grande Boulevard. Map in hand, we chose our direction based on which way we felt like going, and because of that, saw some of the prettiest architecture and most magical homes. We also found the most delicious bakeries (but I think that would have been a priority no matter what!)
By the end of the trip, we had succeeded in mastering the metro, had strolled along cobblestone streets, and had eaten more than our fair share of pastries. All in all, it was an entirely unforgettable weekend. For the longest time, I’ve felt a pull toward Paris. I’ve always said “I want to go there”. Now, I’m excited to be able to say “I want to go there again”.
Until next time,