We landed in Paris after one very, very long flight, some interesting airplane food (that was a new experience for me), and another long, but not as long flight. We were exhausted, starving, and incredibly confused about the time change, but still ecstatic to be in Paris. It was light outside, but we felt as though it was 2am. With our suitcases in hand, we went to find the shuttle that was going to take us to our hotel. We waited, still glowing with we-just-got-married-and-can't-hide-it happiness. After about twenty minutes of waiting I asked Josiah if maybe we should call and see if our ride had missed us. He did. The person on the other end assured him our ride was coming. So we continued to wait. An hour passed, still no ride. So, we called again. This went on for another hour. We called them, they promised someone was coming, no one showed, I cried, Josiah comforted me, yada yada yada. On and on this went until finally, we saw a shuttle driver parked near the pick-up area clearly waiting for someone. Josiah ran over and tried to talk to him. I sat, quite pathetically on top of my suitcase, palm-to-chin, and stared at them conversing across the street. I had no hopes of ever leaving this airport at this point. I started to think we flew half way around the world to grab a Starbucks latte in one of the airport terminals and then crash at the connecting hotel. At this point, I was actually fine with that. I just wanted to sleep. I watched hopelessly as Josiah conversed with the driver. I figured you add in the language barrier to an already confusing situation and you have a recipe for nothing to happen. To my dismay, ten minutes later Josiah runs over and tells me to grab my stuff, this guy was going to give us a ride. I was very pleased we were not going to be sleeping at the airport. At last, we were on our way to enjoying ourselves!
Despite the rough start, our trip was nearly perfect. Paris was everything I dreamed it would be and more. When my friends ask me what Paris was like I describe it to them by saying, "Think of any picture of Paris you have every seen, add the smells and the sounds, and you've got it. Spot on." The pictures aren't exaggerating the beauty of this world gem, they're simple capturing it as it is, perfect.
We did everything you could have imagined in the city. We saw the Eiffle Tower, ate crepes, went to the Luxembourg Gardens, the Lourve, Orsay, did the historic walk, went on a chocolate crawl, ate escargot, walked down Champs Elysee, drank wine (lots of wine), saw the love-lock bridge, Notre Dame, ate croissants, and so on. Seriously, everything! There was never a dull moment. Even just sitting at a bistro, people watching, was entertaining though.
Josiah and I pride ourselves on the lack of transportation that we used to get around the city. Aside from our rides to and from the airport, we walked. We literally walked everywhere. Each day I easily clocked 25,000-30,000 steps (for those of you that don't have a Fitbit, just know that is ALOT - roughly 15 miles). Clearly this indicates a need for proper walking shoes, which I did not bring and regret so, so, so very much. On the last day I finally had to stop and buy a new pair of shoes at a local shop because my feet were practically numb (potentially dramatic, but only mildly.)
The benefit of walking everywhere wasn't just saving money, but we were also able to experience aspects of the city that we would have simply overlooked had we been in a car. We walked down so many streets, each one revealing a new part of Paris to us. It was like unwrapping a gift, very slowly. You think you know what you're getting and then discovering that there is far more to the gift than you anticipated. Just like that, there was far more to Paris than we could see initially.
One night we took a dinner cruise on the Seine River (I highly recommend!!). The cruise ended just after dark, right by the Eiffle Tower. It was all lit up, which unfortunately pictures can not even come close to capturing, but it was magical. It's one of those views that you want to frame, smuggle home, and hang above your fireplace, forever. After the cruise was over, Josiah and I contemplated getting an Uber back to the hotel since it was dark, but decided to take our chances wandering in the city of lights. We probably didn't take the most direct way, and now looking back it might not have been the safest decision we made on the trip, but it was one of the most memorable. Hand-in-hand we ran (like actually ran) under the illuminated Eiffle Tower and kissed, as if we thought someone was filming us. We walked past bistro after bistro that had converted from it's casual, morning style, to it's lively night life. The same streets we had walked down just hours before, seemed completely different now that the sun had set.
I don't know what kind of traveler you are, but Josiah and I tend to be very go-with-the-flow like. The best thing that we did when planning our trip was to pick out all of the things that we wanted to do, geographically organize them (which was particularly important since we were walking), and then prioritize them based on our desire to visit them. Naturally, all of my picks were based around food and then Josiah picked out the sites. Every morning we would pick out the places we wanted to go to and then try our hardest to make them all happen, but we still wanted to make sure we were flexible and able to enjoy each thing to the fullest. If we ended up absolutely loving a particular museum and stayed longer than we planned for it was no big deal. On the flip side, if we hated a museum and wanted to leave after only being there for ten minutes, it was also no big deal. Having a very flexible mindset like this really helped us be able to relax, see everything on our list, and still have time to stop and pet random puppies or take a billion pictures.
Looking through all of these pictures I can't help but feel the urge to plan another trip. I could spend months there, years even , and still not fully discover everything about it. There is so much to see and so much to take in.
Now that I've been to Paris, I want everyone to go. I want you to be able to experience the same sights and sounds that I did! I want you to walk along the Seine and stroll through Luxembourg. If you're contemplating taking the leap and planning a trip there, I say go for it. You will not regret it. And if you need a little help with suggestions on restaurants and sites worth visiting, please do not hesitate to ask.
Here are some of the 2,000 pictures that I took that week. Disclaimer: All of the pictures are taken with my iphone because a) up until this point I kind of sucked at using a DSLR and b) it was super heavy to tote a DSLR around since we were walking c) I did not want to make myself a theft target. Nonetheless, I am hopeful the images will give you a taste of our experience and possibly make you even more eager to plan your own trip.
Happy Friday, friends!