I’ve never left the continent in my life. So when the opportunity arose for me to travel, it might have been wise to get my feet wet in some small country with a reasonable population.
Instead I went to the most visited city in the world. Because I never learn.
I went to Paris. And it was overwhelming and magical and exhausting and I already want to go back.
So if you’re planning a trip to the City of Lights, or are just curious why someone with a fear of airplanes and large crowds chose motherfreaking Paris, stay tuned! I’ll break it all down.
I ended up going to Cafe Panis for breakfast, and enjoyed it so much I went four more times. What won me over? The coffee. I say this as someone who was a barista and lives off coffee the way most people live off of water and oxygen… it was the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.
Mass at Notre Dame was afterward, and incidentally, it also happened to be a special occasion; remembering the Liberation of Paris. Resistance members and their families were in the procession, and the day was marked throughout the city, usually like this…
What I do know is after coffee and an omelette, it was off to a Batobus hop on, hop off river cruise. They take you to the major sites via the Seine, you decide when you want to check it out.
Naturally, had to check out the Louvre. It allegedly takes four months to see everything there is. I had a few hours. I did my best.
It was August and central A/C hasn’t reached museums quite yet, so large crowds + mid afternoon = sweat. But… look at these works of art!
A Google search found a day trip to Giverny and Versailles via Paris City Vision. You could choose a guided or unguided tour. I chose unguided because I don’t play by the rules (but really it’s because I’m easily distracted and would wander off from the group sooner or later).
I had to get up early this time. 6:30 a.m. Which I realize to some isn’t early at all, but if there’s one good quality I lack (among others) it’s being a morning person. But I made it down to Paris City Vision’s office with time to spare.
Boarded a bus (with A/C!) and 1.5-ish hours later had arrived in Giverny to tour the home of Claude Monet. Again, if you’re an Impressionist geek, you’ll adore it. But if you like gardens and quaint French villages you’ll probably get a kick out of the trip too. It really is something else.
After lunch, it was off to Versailles. It was beautiful, charming and hot. Oh man… it was mid afternoon and sweltering at that point. At one point, I was standing in front of a window for both the view and the occasional breeze. Bring water. Thank me later.
That being said, it was opulence in it’s finest. It was the home of the Sun King, after all. Louis would demand nothing less than the absolute extravagant. (insert terrible pun about the Sun King and how it was so obnoxiously sunny that day)
Started off the morning with the Sandeman’s FREE new Paris tour.
I mean, technically you’re supposed to tip the guide (please tip the guide) so it’s not really free, but it’s the best tour. Our guide, Hugo, had a history degree and spent the next 3 hours schooling us on Paris and the monarchy. (Did you know Good King Henry gave everyone a chicken every Sunday? History is wild.) I also learned of two super interesting places that called for a quick visit; Saint Chapelle and the Concierge.
The Saint Chapelle was commissioned by the Sun King because of course it was. It used to house what it believed to be the Crown of Thorns, which now resides in Notre Dame. It’s a lot smaller than Notre Dame, and not as many tourists pass through.
The Concierge was similarly quiet. It was royal-housing-turned-prison, and is architecturally beautiful but eerily creepy. It’s where Marie Antionette spent her last days, and where countless political prisoners were jailed before their trial, which usually ended in death.
Thursday was less about doing anything exciting and more about trying to pack all of my stuff into my luggage that had magically become smaller. Didn’t get much in the way of souvenirs, but I did grab this killer tacky t-shirt and I love it so much!
This post is already too long and there’s so much stuff I’m leaving out. Like the freshest orange juice I’ve ever had, the kind people who helped us when streets didn’t match up, this wonderful local bakery, or just how pretty everything is overall. Not to mention, despite how much was packed into 5 days, there’s still so much I have yet to see.
Anyways, I made it to Prague. I can already tell I’m going to like it here.
But Paris, I’ll be back someday. There’s a cup of coffee with my name on it.