For those of you that follow the blog I share with Dave, A Fox and His Anchor, you may have already read this post about our wonderful time in Europe that summer. Since I loved this trip so much, miss my bff so much lately, and wish I was feeling the excitement of counting down the days, I decided to post on this blog as well. I decided to only post about Paris though, I can talk more about Amsterdam and Brussels another day. Enjoy!
We will truly always have Paris. Our first big trip together was back in July 2013, we traveled to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. This trip started as merely a thought about something I never knew would really happen. It was way for me to visit my best friend, Allison, who recently moved to Paris after she married an awesome Frechie,Oren, and spiraled from there. Dave and I decided it would be a great experience to go together, so I got to planning. Travel and planning are two of my favorite things to do thankfully, so I didn’t quite mind spent hours upon hours figuring out which airlines had the best deals, and figuring out what we needed to do (22 years old and I still didn’t have a passport, whaaat!).
On April 19th, we settled on the dates and purchased our tickets. Let the countdown begin! The next 3 months were spent getting things together, and thinking about things that needed to be planned. My life totally revolved around this trip, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also warned Dave as many times as I could that I would most likely stress out and lose it at some point at the airport, during the layover, or on the plane.
July 22nd finally arrived! We were greeted at the airport by a 2 hour delay, but luckily we had so much energy we were fine with waiting a little longer. Although, that 2 hour delay actually turned into us waiting in the airport for 12 hours, Paris was right at our fingertips! During the plane ride to Russia, where we had a layover, I experienced my first airplane meal and it actually wasn’t too bad. 14 hours after we were supposed to arrive in Paris, we landed. Unfortunately, our luggage wanted to stay in Russia after our layover. This might be the only time I ever say this, but Dave was right when he said pack everything in our carry-ons. Even with this slight set-back (and the lack of shoe options), we were so excited to turn the corner and see our friends that it didn’t even matter. I am also proud to say I didn’t have a panic attack during the chaos, and was able to remain fairly stress free.
Since we arrived fairly late we went to dinner, walked around the canal a bit, and then crashed. We needed to prepare for our first full day in Paris! As we drove around the city the next day I was in awe, I still couldn’t fully grasp that I was in France. Our friends, Allison and Oren, took us to the top of a department store (next to Galeries Lafayette) and we discovered a wonderful view of the city. We were able to see everything, from the Eiffel Tower to Montmartre. I highly recommend doing this, there were hardly any other people around so we were able to spend as much time as we wanted for a photo shoot.
We continued to walk around to sightsee and see as much as we could. We walked by the Opera where someone was playing piano on the steps and it was beautiful, but unfortunately like the rest of Paris in July, it was under construction. Dave had never tried a Macaroon until our next stop. I have had them before, but never this good. They were so fresh and flavorful, I highly recommend going to Paris if not for anything but these lovely little treats.
Our first experience around the Louvre Museum was perfect. Like everyone else we of course had to be tourists and take a picture like we were holding the pyramid. I’ve always imagined being here and experiencing the culture around the area, and in no way did it disappoint. Everywhere we walked was so quaint and filled with culture. Across the street from the museum is a courtyard with columns of different heights, so we had another opportunity for pictures. There was a short rainstorm as we trekked the area, but that made everything even better at the time. Everyone was huddled under cover at restaurants, or walking around with their umbrellas. Picture Perfect. That night we went to the best restaurant I have ever been to, and ate the best meal I have ever had.
One of the coolest experiences of my life so far was visiting Notre Dame. I was amazed by the architecture. The building design in general is amazing, but when you look at every little detail it is mind blowing. Surrounding the property is the Seine, which was transformed into a beach for Paris Plage. The entire area is breathtaking. After I thought my day couldn’t get any better we had our first of several crepes. Banana and Nutella with a coke please. If only food like this was around in Baltimore.
We traveled to Brussels and Amsterdam over the weekend, you can read about Brussels here.
After our vacation inside of a vacation, it was July 29th, which was mine and Dave’s first anniversary. Being in Paris for our anniversary wasn’t planned, so we knew it was meant to be. We did some exploring on our own during the day, enjoying each others company. Starting off with a stop at a bakery and some metro rides (woohoo we did it on our own, thanks to directions in English from Allison). We went to the Louve in the morning to enjoy our pastries and explore the inside. I had no idea the Mona Lisa was so small! Afterwards we walked towards the Eiffel Tower, and the famous lock bridge. I got a lock before our trip (told ya I planned everything) unfortunately I forgot to get one with a key, I was only focused on the color, purple of course. I hate to admit it but this was the only day I stressed out, but it as because we couldn’t use our credit card to rent bikes which we really wanted to do. Way to go Bank of America. The original plan was to go to Disneyland Paris for dinner, but some rainy weather came our way and we decided to stay in with Allison and Oren and make dinner. We brought them Old Bay, so of course we had some seafood. Eating in was nice since I don’t think I have ever walked as much as I did that day.
On our last full day we went to Palace of Versailles. The line to go into the main building was about 4 hours long, so we stayed on the outside in the gardens. Allison has heard about an area of the Gardens where Marie Antoinette had her own Hamlet. It was beautiful. So many little houses, smaller gardens and a pond full of fish. It is crazy to think that she had the area built to use as her escape from life. She even had people living there to make it seem as real as possible to her.
That night we went to Montmartre and had some gelati as we walked around the quaint little village area. There were so many artists, and people selling toys for kids and beer for adults. Everyone seemed so happy, there was even a bride and groom having pictures taken (the 3rd we spotted during our trip). Off in the distance was the Eiffel Tower glowing in the darkness. As we walked down the 300 steps we could see an amazing view of the entire area. I will have that image in my head forever.
Unfortunately our last day arrived and we only had two more places to go. We visited the area where Rodin had his sculptures, along with the Thinking Man, and finished sightseeing the city by going to Luxembourg Garden. The kids (or adults) could rent wind powered boats and sail them around the fountain, it reminded me of Stuart Little. The kids were having so much fun, and not using any technology it was nice to see something similar to life before video games and texting, its so easy to overlook simple. This whole trip reminded me that simple things can be great, and memorable. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to go on this vacation with Dave to visit our friends, Allison and Oren.
There we a few things we didn’t get to do, like see the Eiffel Tower up close at night, ride bikes, or toss a key into the Seine, but I know we will be back.