Paris, the City of Lights

Paris was more than I could have imagined. All my life I’ve seen pictures of the Eiffel Tower and heard about how romantic and beautiful it is and well, frankly I was completely and utterly smitten with all of it. Was it the lights at night in front of Notre Dame, or the church bells ringing everyone in for that evening’s mass, the sparking lights of the Eiffel Tower as we sailed along on the Seine River at night in freezing temperatures, or the bottles of wine at every cozy restaurant after walking the streets of Paris all day? Yes, it was all of that and more. It was by far not the perfect trip, but certainly memorable. I will never forget my first trip to Paris. My phone was stolen and we threw our tickets away too early and got charged 25 euro’s each before getting off at the Eiffel Tower station…You should have seen me, I went off on the guy in Spanish after they tried to take advantage of us, we had 16 other previously purchased tickets in hand, none of which they would accept…the French man’s eyes got huge and he just kept staring at me and then back at Steve…quite comical actually.

Having driven for four hours from Germany, as we entered the city of Paris we couldn’t wait to ditch our car and set off on foot and become one with the energy of the city, with our two children in tow. Our first stop was Notre Dame. As we arrived the church bells summoned everyone to mass so we entered and were engulfed by the boldness of its interior. The massive columns and arches captivated me at first glance. We walked around for quite awhile and as we exited the church the sun had just set and we were again captivated but by its illuminated exterior. It was freezing outside and after taking tons of pictures we raced across the street to a little café where the kids had hot chocolate and Steve and I had a glass of vino.

Having warmed up we ventured outdoors again and walked along the busy streets, which came alive with shoppers. We happened to be in Paris at one of the two major shopping times of the year. So shopping we went. The kids bought gloves and hats and I bought a fun pair of tall boots, seems my flat boots were, well, flat. Steve just smiled and took it all in. As we stole glances at each other, while shopping, we were in complete understanding that, yes, we were shopping in Paris.

The city of lights was lit up at every corner. Seems every building had the perfect number of lights giving them an orange glow and sense of mystique. That night we had Italian food in some quaint restaurant off some major street. We didn’t plan anything on this trip. The only plan we had was to go with the flow and go wherever our heart led us that weekend. Dinner was perfect and come to find out we were only three blocks from the famous Champs-Élysées. After dinner you guessed it we walked up and down Champs-Élysées, the most beautiful, biggest, and luxurious shopping street in the world, according to some brochure I read. As we walked along the Champs-Élysées we walked right up to the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in Paris. Seriously I don’t know how many more of these surprises I could have handled. I think having seen all these at night made me fall in love over and over again. I can’t believe we walked so much, and me in my high-heeled boots. Eventually we found the metro and sauntered down the long flight of stairs to get on our train to our hotel. As Steve and I sat in the train with two pooped out kids, it was 11:30 PM, and we just couldn’t get rid of our giddy smiles. Tomorrow was another day. The Eiffel Tower.

The next day we were at the Eiffel Tower bright and early. We decided to climb the 668 steps to the second level and not wait in a line for two hours to take the elevator. I in my really cool tall high-heeled boots and the kids in their hiking boots. When we got to the top I was truly in awe. Although we were there during the day, the experience itself was pure and truly one-of-a-kind, other than the cold air, we had gorgeous blue skies, and few tourists to contend with. After all that exercise we decided that a trip to the infamous Angelina’s, who is known for their decadent hot chocolate, would be our next stop so off to Angelina’s we went. I have to admit, I took one long sip, closed my eyes and they gently rolled to the back of my head. The kids asked if I was okay. I must have had my eyes closed for what seemed like an eternity. It was but a momentary lapse in time, an orgasmic food moment if you will, one I just couldn’t explain to them. I also tasted macarons for the first time that day and well…I’m hooked. I have to learn how to make these mini nuggets of goodness.

Paris is not a place you do in a week or even a month, I have decided Paris is a place one goes to experience over and over again. I’m so glad we live only four hours by car and two hours by ICE train, (Europe’s version of a bullet train). We are definitely going back, if but for another chance to walk the streets of Paris, sit in their unhurried cafés, and partake of the lovely illuminated city at night, walking hand-in-hand of course with my husband of nineteen years. He still holds my hand when we walk together and I love him for that.

What is your favorite place in the world?

Written by Veronica / Photos by Veronica