J’adore Paris. Non, j’adore toute la France.
Sorry I’ve been incommunicado this past week. I left at 4:30AM last Friday to catch a plane to Paris. Despite barely sleeping the night before, it was an absolutely wonderful morning. I flew Air France which served hot chocolate and pastries that were absolutely delicious. When I landed, not only was I greeted by my wonderful boyfriend at Charles de Gaulle, but he brought me chocolates from Jeff de Bruges and flowers. Totally makes up for a long distance Valentine’s Day.
I spent Friday through Wednesday in Paris and then we hopped on a train (despite a few minor mishaps) to Nice for the rest of the week. Since there were obviously a lot of things I saw, did and tasted, I’ll keep this post as brief as possible by simply including the highlights of Paris. More on Nice to come later.
On Friday night Will took me to Notre Dame. Took me back to the days of Esmerelda and Quasimodo.
I have become obsessed with the Eiffel Tower. I love that you can see it from virtually any point within the city center. It’s a great way to complete any picture. Just frame the Eiffel Tower in the background and it’s automatically a perfect Instagram.
The Louvre was massive. I can’t believe that so much art and history can be held in one place. Will took me on a whirlwind tour and I was absolutely exhausted by the end.
Here are my classic Louvre pictures, which were kind of fails.
Will couldn’t quite get my finger on top of the pyramid.
My best attempt at a Mona Lisa smile.
On Sunday we went to Versailles, which could take up an entire post with pictures of what we saw, but I have to fit in all of Paris! Here’s Will and I outside of the gates (free entry on Sundays!) They were gorgeous and when we came out at the end of the day the sun was glittering off. I can’t imagine going to sleep and waking up to that every day. Louis XIV was one lavish guy that’s for sure. He knew how to live (while simultaneously driving his country into a debt that would eventually cause the upheaval of the monarchy, but who cares right? Okay well maybe Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette cared, but they were living it up too).
Will treated me to hot chocolate from Angelina’s. Not only did I get to sit down and sip on chocolate chaud in Versailles, but it was definitely the most delicious hot chocolate I have ever tasted. That’s saying a lot because Will and I aren’t coffee fans so we rate the hot chocolates of every cafe we go to.
I honestly loved Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, especially for the scene at her cottages.
Will lovingly trekked all across the royal grounds in search of the cottages. Truth be told I was more obsessed with the cottages than I was with the actual palace. There was something so romantic and peaceful about them. They were a twenty minute walk away from the most grand palace in the world and yet the area was perfectly serene (when you ignored all the tourists traipsing through).
On Monday Will had an exam, but afterwards it turned into a beautiful day and he took me to the Eiffel Tower. It was absolutely gorgeous. We decided not to go up since the prettiest part of the Paris skyline is the Eiffel Tower.
We brought a mini champagne bottle and sipped from it under the warm Parisian sun and the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect afternoon.
As the icing on the cake, we walked up Champs Elysees on our way to The Arc de Triomphe. On our walk I managed to talk Will into not only getting me my first real French crepe, but also macaroons from McDonald’s. Seriously, McCafe has delicious macaroons for super cheap. We got six flavors and shared them.
Oh yeah and a chocolate fudge McDonald’s sundae… We did a lot of walking that day.
After hiking up to the top of The Arc I saw the most amazing view of Paris. The Arc is right in the center of the city as a massive roundabout and you can see all of streets stretching out from it.
After all this walking, Will wanted to take me to Montmartre to watch the sunset. “Why not,” I thought. I mean are you really going to turn down a man trying to take you to watch the sunset over Paris?
Well, I didn’t quite realize how many stairs it would take to climb to the top of this hill, but I made it and I didn’t even take the tram up to the top. We listened to a man singing Adele one minute and then Eye of the Tiger the next with some Rastafarians trying to bust in with some Bob Marley.
After being thoroughly entertained we headed up the hill a bit more and got a delicious dinner before heading home for the night completely exhausted.
On Tuesday, Will had class in the afternoon so he took me to the Pompidou beforehand so I could walk around while I waited. Unfortunately it was closed, but I got to see my first Banksy! Honestly that was better than any art museum.
Since the museum was closed, Will took me to go shopping and I got some tennis shoes aka trainers, which I have been desperately needing since I left mine in America. Who would’ve thought I’d want to start working out while I was in Europe?
After shopping I started walking alone along the Seine on my way to The Louvre when I realized that for several blocks it was nothing but pet shops and flower shops. I had found Parisian heaven. If all dogs do go to heaven, this is where they go. I was in love.
After spending a good hour going into every single pet shop I saw I made it to The Louvre only to find that it was closed. But, right when I realized this my knight in shining armor came to rescue me! Will had gotten out of class an hour early (okay he had really gone to class an hour late and mixed up class times, but it was good news for me!)
I sat on the edge of the fountain in front of The Louvre while I waited for my knight in shining armor (okay button down and khakis) to ride his noble steed (okay a broken down Metro) to come and save me. I simply sat and soaked in Paris. I watched the children running around and chasing the pigeons. I watched a little boy wash off his hands in the fountain. I watched a young woman get a call telling her she’d gotten the job she’d been dying for. I watched her rejoice with her friend after she got off the phone. I just sat and watched and let the complete happiness wash over me. That is my Paris.
Finally my knight conquered the broken down Metro and swept me off my feet. There was a man outside the Louvre making huge bubbles for the kids to play with, so of course Will was playing with them too.
We met up with him and his friends and walked through the Tuileries Gardens. There were a bunch of little kids with sticks pushing around these wooden boats in the park. It was so beautiful with the sunset behind them.
After that we headed to Laduree for some real French meringues. I got the Marie Antoinette. It was delicious, but honestly McDonald’s was just as good and a third of the price.
On Wednesday before we left for Nice, we finally did what Will had promised we would do for the whole trip. We got our very own lock. Yup, it’s official, we are locked together now.
Will giving it a kiss for good luck before I tossed it into The Seine.
And there it goes into The Seine! (Don’t worry there are two extra keys in case things go awry. Those street vendors sure know what they’re doing by giving you three keys.)
We headed over to Saint Sulpice and then to The Hungarian Institute to get us warmed up for Budapest in April!
From there we went to The Pantheon, which was unfortunately closed, but it was still pretty impressive from the outside.
Before we went home, we stopped by The Pompidou again to see if it was open and it was! Modern art is interesting, but it’s neither of our cups of tea. We both prefer Impressionism so we weren’t in there too long. Some of the pieces were amazing and some were just a bit too strange, but that’s art.
After a long day it was time to head back and get ready for our trip to Nice which turned into one problem after another, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Like always, Will and I figured it all out for the best, but that’s a story for another blog post!