Bonjourrrrrr friends and family! It’s been about a month since I’ve blogged and I sincerely apologize. I didn’t do any major traveling for two weeks and then I had midterms so I didn’t feel the need to share much (however if you’re curious about those two weeks, don’t be afraid to inquire). Last weekend I went to the most romantic city in the world: Paris!
I spent 3 days there with my friend Alex and am happy to say we covered most of the must-see places, and made sure that none of the crepe or macaron places were poisonous, don’t worry! I got in Thursday night and checked in at the airbnb and went to sleep because it was already 12:30am. Friday morning we got up on the early side and began our adventure to be super tourists. It is almost always overcast in France, which put a little damper on sightseeing, but none the less, I enjoyed it. First up, we went to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Although I am Jewish, I’ve probably been to more cathedrals than synagogues at this point. Notre-Dame was very impressive, my favorite part were all the stain glass windows, or “vidrieras” as you say in Spanish.
Side view of the cathedral
We climbed to the top and had a lovely (but cloudy) view of the city. Climbing all these spiral staircases will never get easier, and every time I do it I am reminded how out of shape I am.
View from the top!
After that we tried to find the Louvre, aka the famous art museum that is home to the Mona Lisa. One thing I learned is the French are terrible when it comes to directions and signs. Every sign for the Louvre pointed in a different direction, leading us all over the place. In our quest to find Ms. Lisa, we stumbled upon the love lock bridge, which was convenient because I had really wanted to go there, but had no clue where it was. Perfect. Back in December when I was packing for my trip, I made SURE to pack a black sharpie, knowing I would bring it to Paris and use it to write on my lock for the bridge. Well, I remembered to bring it to Paris, but of course I left it in the airbnb that day. At least I tried. Luckily the shady people selling locks had extra markers, so I tried to get super crafty (kidding, not at all) and on one side wrote my ADPi family’s initials, and on the other side I wrote my bffs back at school. I wish I could’ve bought more locks for all the other important people in my life, but I needed to save money for the rest of the trip (and Alex was not really feeling the bridge whatsoever, so I had to rush). The lock came with three keys that are now with me in Sevilla, maybe someone will go back to Paris and unlock it hehe. But it’s very unlikely considering how many locks are on that bridge.
After that, we FINALLY found the Louvre and took the classic touristy picture touching the point. Im not sure what I enjoyed more, trying to position my own hand in the right spot, or seeing everyone else attempt the same thing. It looked ridiculous. Just touristy things.
The Louvre is huge. At this point in my trip I have been to plenty of museums and even though it’s terrible to say, I’m kind of tired of them. I wish I could appreciate the art more but I just can’t, so finally we decided to just find the Mona Lisa. Boy is she tiny. There was a huge crowd of people trying to get group shots with her. I still don’t understand the hype over that painting. No offense to Leo. Either way, here is me posing with my new pal who never smiles.
Then Alex and I decided to have some fun in the museum since the art was way too profound for us…
After the Louvre we made a quick crepe stop, before heading over to the Eiffel tower. I don’t really like change so I got nutella and banana multiple times throughout the course of the weekend, but the first crepe I had was the absolute best. He cooked the nutella on the crepe and it got all melty and delicious. Word to the wise: never order a nutella crepe on a first date or if you’re with someone you’re trying to impress, things WILL get messy. Thankfully I’ve known Alex for years and couldn’t care less if I was dripping nutella by the end of it…
Off to the Eiffel Tower, aka the most touristy spot in Paris. It was pretty incredible to be standing in front of something I’ve seen portrayed a million times in textbooks, movies, any French-themed things, and anything romantic really. My biggest regret was not seeing it at night when it lights up. Nonetheless it was impressive, just not what I expected. There’s a highway running right past it, and it’s just not as romantic as I imagined. Regardless, I got my touristy pictures in front of it. Then I decided to be a little different and flash back to my gymnastics years (circa 2001). After many failed attempts, I managed to do a (sloppy) handstand in front of the tower.
After such a long day of sightseeing, we were wiped out so we just went back to the airbnb and passed out. The next day we did some more sightseeing, and eating, starting with finding one of the few Chipotle’s in existence in Europe. Normally, I’m all for eating authentic food when traveling, but (overpriced) Chipotle has never tasted so good. Definitely worth the trek. With full stomachs and slightly lighter wallets, we headed over the the Opera. Our airbnb host told us about it, and Alex said there’s nothing less he’d rather do than go to the opera. But I wanted to check it out. And thank goodness we did.
It was one of my favorite sights in Paris and one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. After so much traveling I’ve realized the truly amazing and memorable moments are the ones you stumble upon by accident, the ones that leave you absolutely speechless, where you just end up standing there gazing at your surroundings. It’s happened to me a few times by now, one was at the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, another time was when I was exploring around Sevilla, and the opera was another. There is one room in the opera house that is completely gold, and I don’t think I have ever seen something more beautiful. I could’ve stood in that room for hours. I was completely awestruck by it’s beauty. This is one of the many examples I have of sights that a photo simply can’t capture, but I tried.
After the opera, we headed over to the Montmartre area, which is located at the top of a hill. We climbed countless steps, once again, reminding me how out of shape I am, until we reached the Montmartre Sacré Coeur, aka another cathedral. From the top there is a panoramic view of Paris, which, once again, would’ve been nicer without the clouds, but still impressive.
With full stomachs and tired feet we went back to our airbnb to rest. I really wanted to eat at an authentic French restaurant. We met up with my friend Riyaz who’s studying in Paris, and he took us to an off the grid restaurant called Le Circus that ended up being AMAZING and reasonably priced. Best steak I’ve ever had. And thank goodness Riyaz spoke French, otherwise Alex and I would’ve been so lost. Normally, touristy restaurants offer English menus, but this place was strictly French. Bless you, Riyaz.
I still dream about this meal.
After dinner we waddled back to Riyaz’s apartment and got ready to go out. We went to what we thought was a bar but ended up being a crazy nightclub called Le Mix. Expensive cover but hey, when in Paris, right? The club played all American music so I felt like I had an advantage, despite not being able to communicate with a single person in the club besides Alex and Riyaz. Alex had a super early flight the next morning so he went straight to the airport after the club. I, on the other hand, went to sleep. 🙂
The next day Riyaz and I walked around and went to Champs-Élysées, a famous street filled with luxury shops and the Arc de Triomphe at the end of it. Before we trekked through the street, I bought another crepe, of course, and then proceeded to see all the things I couldn’t afford. We went to probably the world’s largest and most ridiculous Abercrombie & Fitch. It was a gated property, and you had to walk through a GARDEN to get to the store. The store had various floors and terrible lighting. Apparently A&F is huge in Paris. For me it felt like middle school all over again. After choking on enough cologne, we made our way out, and were faced with shirtless models telling us “au revoir”. I didn’t hate that part.
Then we ventured over to the famous macaron shop, Laduree, where I spent an unnecessary amount of money on macarons. And I had no idea what any of the flavors were so I literally just pointed at different colors and hoped for the best.
After that we went to the Louis Vuitton store and I’ve never felt more poor. It was one of those places where if you had to ask how much something costs, you probably couldn’t afford it. Riyaz and I went to the Arc de Triomphe and were touristy just one more time before I left for the airport.
Overall, I really loved Paris. It is such a nice city with plenty of places to see, I just wish I understood the language. The accent is so attractive. I expected Spanish, Italian, and French, to be pretty similar since they’re all romance languages but boy was I wrong. I am so thankful we met up with Riyaz so he could show us the ins and outs of the city, as well as communicate with everyone. After this trip I now know how to say “bonjour, au revoir, fromage, je t’aime, merci beaucoup, and excusez-moi” but I had to look up the spelling on those last two. Hopefully I can make it back to Paris in the future, so I can finally see the Eiffel Tower at night and maybe have some emotional connection to it. If anything, I’m definitely coming back for the food.
Sidenote: The Sunday I traveled back to Sevilla my diet solely consisted of a crepe and a ridiculous amount of macarons. Such a balanced diet.
That’s all I have for now! Until next time . . . Au revoir ❤