Just got back from a whirlwind trip to the magnificent Paris. I have been blessed enough to have visited this city three times now, which is hard to believe. Every time is like I’m seeing it anew. The Eiffel Tower still takes my breath away, as do the other monuments. And of course, there’s the food. Ooh la la.
We arrived on Monday afternoon and left Wednesday afternoon, and I was determined to take advantage of every single second. Along with different group members here and there, I visited the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysées, Notre Dame, the Louvre, that lovely bridge where couples go to put a lock with their initials on it and throw the key into the river (so romantic–I’m determined to come back one day with a significant other!), the Eiffel Tower*, and Montmartre/ Sacre Cœur.
*I actually managed to go to the Eiffel Tower 3 times while we were there. I went the first night at midnight right when it lit up and sparkled for 5 minutes just to revel in its glory for a few moments before rushing to catch the last train back to our hotel before the metro stopped for the night. The second day a group of us spent a good part of the afternoon sitting in the grass in front of it–it was one of the girls’ visions to eat bread and cheese and drink wine while sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower so we made that happen complete with chocolate and a delicious french raspberry wine (all for under 8€!). And later that same night my friend and I ventured out again and laid on the grass directly in front of the tower with other rebels (we had to climb over the fence that keeps people off the lawn during the day) and saw it light up again at both 11 o’clock and midnight. This last time there were people going around from group to group selling beer, wine and champagne, so of course I got swindled into paying too much for some vague red wine (my haggling skills are NOT something to brag about).
These were definitely my most cherished moments in which I took it all in and let the magic of Paris wash over me. Having studied French for 7 years I’ve come to not only love the language but French culture as well. I adored being able to tentatively speak to locals here and there, and was delighted to find that I was much more competent than I expected to be.
It just about broke my heart to hear some of the other kids on the trip saying how they hated Paris, and that they would never come back. I honestly think that if you didn’t find at least one thing to love about the city, then you have a major character flaw, and should get that looked at. Sure, I get that the language barrier is really intimidating, and the metro system is genuinely terrifying. But compared to all that Paris has to offer? I mean, it’s Paris. If you even attempt a “bonjour” and a smile, 98% of the population will reply to you in English.
As much as I love the U.S. and truly see how good we have it in so many ways, we are just sorely lacking in history. We will never have monuments as famous as other parts of the world. How could we even compete when here there are churches and castles around every corner?! So maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much.
I refuse to let the opinions of some of my classmates ruin my time spent Paris. It was nothing short of perfect and I will always jump at the opportunity to go back.
As Ella says:
“I love Paris in the springtime,
I love Paris in the fall
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles