After London we took the train to Paris. Europeans can just travel in between all these amazing cities in no time and with such ease. Cue the jealousy. I also wrote this on a phone so again, it’s ordered weird and the pictures are at the bottom.
Original post (with edits) 4/13/2014
PARIS IS BEAUTIFUL.
We arrived before dark, giving me my first glimpses of the gated windows in the evening light. My insides were screaming with anticipation as we zipped through the city on the train to our stop. My eyes couldn’t take in enough. Everywhere one looks in Paris is something beautiful. Everywhere.
After getting settled into our tiny AirBnB apartment, we decided to walk the 10 minutes to the Eiffel Tower (!!!) to watch the sunset and the show of sparkling lights the Tower puts on every hour after dark. After dreaming of seeing this icon of Paris my entire life, actually sitting in front of it is overwhelming. It’s enormous! It’s so much bigger than I thought.
The next morning, we found a little market and got bread, cheese, salad and wine (typical and cliché) and had our picnic lunch there on the grounds of the Tower. I tell you what, there are few things more satisfying than having lunch IN Paris IN FRONT OF the Eiffel Tower. It’s just like the movies, truly. We walked to the other side of the river to get a different view and then went to the Orsay Museum. I was really looking forward to this museum because it has everything I love: Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Matisse, Gauguin, Seurat, Cezanne…magical. I have been nerdily overcome with emotion over the art I’ve seen on this trip and I have literally been brought to tears over the first Picasso I had ever seen in my life. (I also cried over seeing the Globe Theater in London. I mean, Shakespeare was there! Right there! Directing plays! What’s not to cry about!?) So the Orsay was definitely a highlight.
We also walked over to the Notre Dame that first day. These iconic things that we all know by sight are all of a sudden in front of my face. It’s remarkable. Al has been lighting candles for his grandma in all the Catholic Churches we’ve gone to so of course the Notre Dame was a big one. It’s magnificent inside and one of the most detailed and ornate churches I’ve ever seen. The stained glass…whoa! What is truly shocking, especially to an American, are these landmarks here in Europe, the buildings and churches and monuments…are old! I mean old old. Like hundreds or even thousands of years old. Back home in America we flip if something is from the 1700s.
The next day we went to the Louvre. They have things in there from ancient Egyptian times that were dated to like 5000 years ago. Its hard to even wrap my head around! We also, of course, saw the Mona Lisa. Womp womp. I know da Vinci was brilliant and everything, but for the life of me I just don’t understand why it’s so much more famous than other works. It’s lovely and I understand the mystery behind it, but there are much grander and better works in that museum. Plus, there are 800 other people all crammed around it all holding their phones and iPads and GoPros and selfie sticks up in the air. It’s not a very magical experience.
Our second day we meandered around Montmartre and saw the Moulin Rouge and the Sacre Coeur, then wandered up the river to enjoy the evening. After getting back to our place, I realized I had somehow lost my new favorite hat I bought at Topshop. I don’t lose things and I’m still pretty mad about it. There is no Topshop here in Italy, but there is one in Iceland so I think I’m going to get another one there. Sad face.
Like I said, Paris is beautiful but just like any metropolis, there is graffiti ruining beautiful things and slummy areas and bums…but the magic is underneath. It’s downright gorgeous and just as stunning as you imagine. The little cafes with the tables outside and flowers in windows are everywhere, reminding you of where you are in the world.
Parisian people aren’t too snobby, but that could be because I have a French husband. The women are very plain, pretty, but plain. The fashion is very simple. The opposite from London! I prefer London’s style: more funky and colorful. I dig the classy black of Paris, but I’m feeling London more when it comes to fashion. (And the weather is better in Paris)
The next day we packed up and got our rental car and headed south to the Loire Valley…castle central.