Okay, bear with me here, this will be a long post with many many pictures. Paris was probably my favorite part of the trip. At the beginning of the trip I was really intimidated. Before we left for our trip John burned me some cd’s to listen to in the car to learn French and Italian. The only other language I partially know is Spanish. I found the Italian fairly familiar but the French was very foreign. Not to mention that the French lesson was by a different company than the Italian and it wasn’t very good. I hate looking like an American tourist when traveling and like to do what I can to blend in. Knowing a tiny bit of French would have made this easier. As it turns out, I have a really good ear for language. I can hear and repeat things with pretty good pronunciation. The problem with that is that people assume I know what I’m talking about and start speaking to me in French, Italian, Hebrew, Spanish etc. I also have a face that easily blends in any culture. So of course John wanted me to do all the talking, but then I would panic when I didn’t understand. On the upside, most people speak English and I feel like everyone was appreciative of my efforts. Another bonus that we noticed was that other Americans were often greeted and spoken to in English but people usually started with us in French, always flattering when traveling, one old woman even stopped and tried to ask me for directions!
We stayed in Paris for one week. In a studio apartment we found via LivinParis, which is similar to Air BnB but specific only to Paris. The apartment was literally about a block away from the Louvre and cost about 700 Euro for an entire week. You can’t beat that!
We spent a lot of time strolling through the Louvre gardens, picnicing and exploring. It was basically our backyard after all.
For the most part, we kind of avoided things that were super touristy. We usually like to just kinda do what the locals do. Take the subway into a neighborhood, wander around, shop, hang out in cafes etc. We like to slow down, and relax, rather than stress out about schedules and stand in lines.
This was the day a Parisian girl told me “I love your style!”. It was a pretty proud moment, I must admit.
Speaking of café (which by the way, is café un creme not café au lait, a common American give-away). I guess France is not really known to have good coffee. But Telescope coffee knows what they are doing! Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself looking for a good cup of joe in Paris.
There were still some sites we didn’t want to miss. First on list? Come on. We had to see the Eiffel Tower!
Soaking it all in at the River Seine (right next to the tower).
One of my all time favorite Paris memories was spent at the Louvre gardens taking in the tower at dusk. We took a picnic to the park then sat by the fountain and watched the most beautiful sunset ever. I was under the impression that as soon as the sun went down the tower would light up and twinkle for the first 10 minutes of every hour. The most beautiful twinkling lights you can imagine. Apparently I heard wrong because the sun went down fairly early but the lights didn’t go off until at least nine. But we waited in the park, because it was absolutely beautiful that evening, and I was determined to see the lights twinkle!
Paris is often refered to as La Ville-Lumiére (The City of Light) and I really can’t explain to you just how breathtaking it all was. The glow and the light was…engulfing…and unlike anything I have ever seen.
“Nailed it!” I had to show Instagram how awesome it all was.
We got goofy while waiting around and started a new travel tradition of jumping in front of sites. Why? Well, why not? Mostly because we are weirdos, but also because, why not jump for joy?!
Paris’ other nickname? Well….maybe not a nickname…but they say “Paris is for Lovers”. We totally got that memo. How could you not fall in love all over again in such a romantic and beautiful place, awash with twinkling lights and gorgeous architecture? Not to mention that we were just a few weeks away from celebrating 2 years of marriage and 11 and a half years together! How handsome does my husband look here!?
What were some of the other tourist sites we saw, you ask?
We stopped by the Arc de Triomphe
I’m still not really sure why that soldier guy is nekid.
Visited the Sacre Coeur (which I still can’t pronounce) in Montmartre. It sits at the highest point in the city and therefore has some pretty amazing views. Tons of tourists who want to hang out there all day. Because of this, there are also a lot of local scam artists. (Like the guys who try to tie a friendship bracelet onto you, they just want to distract your boy so they can steal his wallet, wave them off. And also the girls who want you to sign petitions of some sort. They are also known to pick pocket, but I just witnessed a lot of tourists, just handing over money!)
It was overcast that day, but awesome, none the less.
Being vegetarian, our food experience in Paris was a bit different than what you might expect. Since much of the French diet is centered around meat, we opted instead for “simple foods”. We looked up “the best baguettes in paris” and found that #7 on the list was right down our street. We didn’t get to try #1, but let me tell you, #7 was out of this world and cost about 1euro. Also on our street was a small produce stand where we could get vine ripe tomatoes and a fancy fromagerie where we could get fresh cheese of our liking and olives. This is essentially what we ate, day in and day out, without complaint.
We did a lot of walking and shopping.
Some random guy walking and shopping in front of a cool wall.
Vintage French photo souvenirs.
The Paris Opera House. I desperately hoped to see the ballet while we were there. But sadly, just missed it.
There was however, more football (soccer).
A Paris St.Germain game, which was pretty “spirited” and really a fun experience. Lots of chanting, lots of yelling and lots of fun.
Some fun light posts in the neighborhood of the stadium. Looks like Disneyland right? ha.
Shopping at Merci. An amazing concept store filled with great stuff. All of the proceeds go to charities. We bought some rad blankets that say Merci on them, as well as some enameled espresso sets and some other odds and ends.
And lastly the other big touristy thing we did was visit Notre Dame.
We went fairly early on a day when the weather wasn’t at its best, this also meant there weren’t as many tourists. Although, dont get me wrong, there were still a ton. But the upside was that the long line to climb the famous bell tower, wasn’t as long as usual. We waited for probably about an hour. But it’s definitely worth the wait. It is by far the best view of Paris and you can see every inch of it! The tower itself is a long way up a tiny tiny winding staircase. Its dizzying and tiring, but once you arrive at the top you are given plenty of time to enjoy the views.
Looking down over a gargoyle rain spout onto a sea of visitors.
Isn’t it amazing?!
Do I win some kind of award for world’s most ridiculously long blog post?
Reaaaallllly long story short: Paris was unbelievable. I feel so fortunate to have visited it and I hope to visit it again. When the week ended we really felt like we hadn’t had enough time. Which always leaves more for next time!
All illustrations by me.