It’s been a REAL long time since I studied French…like a decade…UGH! So, sorry if the title of this post is a little bit incorrect, hopefully I’ll make up for it with the content.
I suppose I’ve always kind of had this image in my head of Paris being uber romantic and clean, gold-lined streets full of artists and smelling of sweet perfumes, or at least fresh croissants. Turns out it’s not really like that.
Upon our arrival to the city of love, we hit a café, embarrassingly struggled with the language in an attempt to satiate our dinnertime appetites, and then moved along to watch the sunset at the Eiffel Tower. Sitting in the park at the base of the tower was something I had always imagined being dreamlike but when we finally got there and made ourselves comfortable, we were completely surrounded by wine scalpers, cigarette butts, and bottle caps. Don’t even get me started on the underground train…
Come on Paris, clean up after yourselves! Your charming personality alone won’t get tourists to visit – protect your landmarks! It was disgusting. At least we got some good photos while we were there.
Did you know that the tower illuminates after sundown with twinkling lights? Me neither! It was truly a beautiful sight – all the park goers inhaled an accumulative gasp as the spectacle began. Unfortunately we only found this out as we hailed a taxi to take us back to our flat.
The next day we were carted around on a city tour through the POURING rain to see some of its highlights. I’ve got to say, for seeing Paris in so many movies, television shows, and photos, it’s truly interesting (as it is in any city) to see how the main areas that are showcased actually connect to each other. For instance, I had never realized that the Louvre was only across the street from the Seine. I hope I’m not the only one who didn’t know that…
The tour was fine, very cookie cutter, but a bonus was that it included a trip up into the Eiffel Tower, only to the second platform, but high enough to stare out into the city from a giant’s perspective. Cloudy and drizzly but not bad.
Eager to get out of the exposed cold dampness Paris offered us, we hopped on our next leg of the tour – a boat ride down the Seine. It offered a great new perspective of the city, showcasing gorgeous views of some of the city’s famous highlights – the Pont Neuf, Notre Dame, the Tower, and many more feats of impressive architecture. As one can imagine, we were very excited to reach the flat to dry off and lounge.
We celebrated my dad’s 50th birthday in style the next day – HELLOOOO Disneyland! We arrived just as the park opened and exhausted ourselves all day running around to see the sights and ride the rides. I have to say that some of the Magic Kingdom favorites are on steroids in the Paris park – Space Mountain and Indian Jones go upside down! I was not geared up for that. We came back to the flat that evening completely wiped out, had some dinner, slept it off, and hit the remaining sites our final day.
A casual morning and then we took to the Moulin Rouge (it really exists), the Louvre (the courtyard was good enough for us), Pont des Arts, the legendary Arc de Triomphe, and the renowned Champs-Élysées – a bit busy for me but exciting nonetheless. Pont des Arts was my favorite. It’s an old bridge (actually in the exact same location as the first metal bridge in France) known for it’s high fashion aesthetics and padlock covered guard rails, originally each representing the love of a couple, both new and old. In a world where the media is often dominated by tragic events and/or the daily comings and goings of the rich and the famous, it is a renewing feeling to be surrounded by locks of love. The eclectic and artsy neighborhood containing the Moulin Rouge, the Boulevard de Clichy, came in as a close second in the favorites department.
In conclusion, I enjoyed all that Paris had to offer aside from constant second-hand smoke, polluted parks, and disgusting state of the underground train stations. The highlights are beautiful and we had a great time at Disneyland. Do I feel an urge to return anytime soon? Not necessarily right away…
SEE WHERE WE STAYED: