They say “Paris holds the key to your heart” it is where you find adventure, romance, culture. I couldn’t agree more. Paris is a city full of sights to see, places to try, things to do. My best friend’s 26th birthday was coming up and we were sitting in a restaurant on a Friday night after tough days at work, had a good cup or two of wine and were just discussing the idea of going somewhere. The idea of exploring somewhere in Europe. BOOM! Then we said Paris. We went on our go-to app for great deals, Skyscanner, and actually found a round trip from Thursday night to Sunday night for only $380! Now we did go in the beginning of March and only for like three days but it was worth it to us.
I’m the type of person who is spontaneous when it comes to booking a trip. We literally both bought the trip mid dinner without telling any of our other friends, family or significant others. The alcohol may have some influence on us but a round trip to Paris under 400, SOLD! I want to share also that you never know when an opportunity can arise and you never know what will happen in the future. I never want to be known as “the girl who didn’t go to Paris.” I may never get another chance to go explore the City of Love so I seized this opportunity to go.
We left Thursday night after work on Air France, one of the biggest planes we’ve ever been on. It was two levels, had a bar and plenty of walking/standing room for our 8-hour flight. For two of us this was the first time leaving the United States, so it was exciting and new. We arrive Friday morning and went straight from Charles De Gaulle airport to our hotel room. Now we are in Europe so rooms are much smaller than American hotels. We were a total of six and each pair split a room. Honestly, only two people can really fit in a normal room. It was super cute and a new experience for us. We had a small balcony and just looking down the street and seeing the architecture was impressive to us. We went prepared for the cold weather but it was also raining during this time so we had to get umbrellas. Rain and cold were not going to ruin our experience but did make it harder to want to stay out all day. But we arrived! We were literally in Paris!
We knew we only had two and a half days really and had a jam-packed itinerary. We wanted to go see the Louvre, catch a show at Moulin Rouge, window shop down Champ de Elysee, explore the Luxembourg Gardens, visit Norte Dame, and of course see the Eiffel Tower. I know a lot to do in such a small amount of time. We knew we weren’t going to get to see everything but it was the experience, the excitement, the rush of everything that made our adventure amazing. We were with people we loved and in a new city, not knowing how to speak any French, and loved every moment of it. First on our list was to find a hop-on hop-off bus to help us go around the city, because a cab would be too expensive for six of us, Uber in a foreign country was not going to happen, and the train wasn’t an option because we wouldn’t know which exits to take or the language barrier would confuse us. The bus tour was the perfect option for us because it took us right in front of the big tourist spots, we were not on someone else’s time and we got two days and our tickets to the Louvre all for about 80 Euros. The first stop was Norte Dame. As a little girl, I always knew of Norte Dame but through the Disney movie Esmerelda and then in school I learned about the history of the church. The architecture was gorgeous, literally every brick of the church was designed with a purpose and the inside just as stunning as the outside. Norte Dame is also located right by the Seine River, which you can take a river boat ride to other tourist destinations too.
Next on the list was the Eiffel Tower during the day and the biggest photo op for all travelers to see. We also went to the Arc de Triomphe, but it was closed due to a religious ceremony happening. After the Eiffel Tower we also explored the Champs de Elysee and it was beautiful. Fifth Ave in New York on Christmas cannot compare to the beauty of the stores and lights of one of the most famous streets in the world. Throughout the day, we would walk to some places, stop at about almost anywhere to eat. Eating was a whole new adventure on its own. Now by this time, I changed to a vegetarian diet and found it hard to eat. I honestly ate, macaroons, baguette, and more America foods than my other travelers. One of my friends is a huge foodie, so he would order all the French delicacies, try new things, and it made everyone else try too. They all loved it! To me the macaroons were AMAZING! It was like Italy where I had a gelato almost every day because it doesn’t taste the same back home.
Later that night we went back to freshen up and got dressed up to go to Moulin Rouge. The iconic building seen in movies, photos and known as the birthplace of the modern-form of the can-can. We bought our tickets prior because shows do sell out fast. I recommend catching a show and having drinks because it is so dark inside I could not imagine eating and watching. Plus, the menu is very particular. We had about three bottles of champagne for the 6 of us and that came with our tickets! The show was amazing except be prepared to sit through a whole two-hour show, there is no intermission for you to get up quickly, go to the bathroom, and it is so hard to leave because you’ll be blocking others from the show. The show is simply amazing though and truly something you have to see.
The next day we got up super early to eat breakfast and then to the Louvre Museum. There are so many exhibits to see and we knew we couldn’t do everything we wanted but wanted to explore one of the exhibits and of course the Mona Lisa. The Louvre itself is just a site to see and walk around, I can see how you easily can get lost in all its history.
Later that day, we went to the Luxembourg Gardens and the Pantheon. The Gardens are beautiful and the castle a site to see. We went in winter so obviously the flowers were not in full bloomed, but still beautiful. Then we went over to Montparnasse Tower to get the best view of the tower. You can see the whole city from here and definitely a view you cannot miss. After we went to the Eiffel Tower to see it completely lit up at night and caught dinner right near the tower with a beautiful view of it behind us all lit up.
Paris was a city full of adventure. Also the tale of the French hating Americans is so false, everyone was so helpful when we needed it and even when asking for directions they took the time to explain it to us. Paris is a city everyone needs to go and see, whether it’s for a week or two or even a couple of days make it the trip you want to do and see the things you want to see. We didn’t get to see everything Paris has to offer, but I feel like I had an amazing sense of Paris and what it can offer me. I don’t feel like I missed something. Traveling is on your own terms and you get to decide how you do that. Does Paris hold the key to my heart? I can say in a way, yes, I got to see another culture I was unfamiliar with and truly get lost at times. We went for an adventure, we went for a sense of wonder, I mean “it’s Paris. You don’t come here for the weather.” And that’s exactly what we got. Beauty and exploration.
Until next time Paris…
XOXO Karen Giuliana