Wanderlust 2017: Down the Avenue Lined with Trees, Paris Bells Ring on the Breeze

Based on my last post, I’m sure you can imagine that the trip from Bruges to Paris wasn’t exactly the easiest ride. We were on the bus for a few hours and I thought at one point I was going to (white girl) die – Kenny kind of died too.
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But once we got there, I puked my brains out, took a shower, ate a delicious meal, then reality hit me that we were in Paris!

The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame

On our first day in Paris, we walked around the older neighborhood and through town, viewing the little shops and culture lining the streets. We walked past palaces, gorgeous churches, and even the Moulin Rouge!
 As we continued to follow Google Maps to the Eiffel Tower, we walked through a town square. It was completely hectic, but we couldn’t figure out why. There was a small rally, people selling souvenirs, and swarms of people. We continued on and out of nowhere – it honestly felt that way – there she was. Tall, shiny, right out of a fairy tale! The Eiffel Tower is simply breath taking.
Of course we took pictures while marveling at it’s beauty, then continued towards the massive structure.
 The park surrounding The Eiffel Tower is full of art and people from all walks of life. You can’t help but constantly be looking up. It lives up to the hype – and I was initially questioning if it could.
 As the sun started to set, we made our way to Notre Dame de Paris; the historical medieval Catholic cathedral famous for it’s Gothic design (and of course, my fellow Disney fans, The Hunchback of Notre Dame – duh). Another immaculate structure, but the exciting part of this experience was the shock and aw on a lot of my friend’s faces. Quite a few of my comrades are heavily involved with their church communities, and seeing their eyes light up when we walked into Ile de la Cite (the square where the cathedral is located) was more than worth the experience.
 We then made our way to a boat tour, where we floated down the Siene and saw the city at dusk. The best part about this experience was that we were able to see the city go from being awake in the day, to falling asleep at dusk, and then come back to life at night; the entire city lit up in such a spectacular way that it was even more stunning than in the movies.

The Palace of Versailles

Our second day in Paris was an exhausting one. We started with a tour of the city in the morning – it was quite dreary outside but it didn’t take away Paris’ sparkle. Our tour guide showed us some historical sites, including the Arc de Triomphe, we ate crepes, then we ate macrons, and finally, we ended in the middle of the city.

From here, we hopped on a train to the Palace of Versailles.  In 1789, King Louis XIV moved the royal court to Versailles within three months after the French Revolution began. During this time Marie Antoinette married King Louis XVI and they lived in the palace. Antoinette, as you know probably know was a shopaholic and the people hated her for it. Eventually she was beheaded via guillotine right outside the palace for being convicted of high treason. But, let’s not keep talking about how barbaric mankind can be.

The exterior of the palace is gold – nothing more and nothing less. And the sun reflects off every surface point. The interior can only be described as lavish. Immaculate paintings, gorgeously carved and molded furniture, chandeliers for days, marble on every surface, and art work in every possible medium.

However, the best part of Versailles are the grounds. Versailles sits on 17 plus acres of gorgeous shrubbery, ponds, trails, and statues. We ended up sitting by the water and relaxing for over an hour to take in what we were experiencing. Oh, and I became friends with a couple baby birds too!

The Louvre

On our final day in Paris, we decided to spend a few hours in the Louvre – which for the record was not nearly enough time to see a quarter of what the museum had to offer.

Want to hear something horrifying? When we were walking through the museum, and we finally approached the Mona Lisa (honestly, it’s cool but really small and compared to the rest of the artwork in The Louvre, quite underwhelming) security started backing everyone away from the painting. It took a few seconds to fully comprehend what was happening, but I then spotted an Elmo backpack left right near the painting. I turned to Reagan and said “WE HAVE GOT TO GO”. I pointed to the backpack and in his Matthew McConaughey-esq voice responded “yea, we’ve got to get out of here” (the only thing that would make this moment hilarious was if he started with “alright, alright, alright”).

We quickly got out of the hall where the painting lives and all I could think was, OMG MY GRANDMOTHER WAS RIGHT! I’M GOING TO DIE IN PARIS! Let me back up…naturally, my family was worried about me leaving the US for over a month and traveling when there is so much evil in this world. My grandmother specifically said to me to watch out in Paris because of “the ISIS”, which was when I rolled my eyes at her and told her to calm down and to not believe everything she sees on the news. In this moment, I kept thinking that I should have taken her seriously and I was too young to die in the Louvre because a terrorist hid a bomb in an Elmo backpack! Obviously, I’m alive and well. The backpack was accidentally left by a child and there was no threat to the people visiting the museum. BUT TALK ABOUT A HEART ATTACK AND A HALF!
After a few hours, we decided to roam around the city, buy souvenirs, and take in our last few hours of Paris.
On our last night, we ended the evening eating at a small “mom and pop” restaurant on a Parisian side street, then bought a couple bottles of champagne to sit on the green under the Eiffel Tower chatting and drinking the night away. Then this happened at midnight, then 1AM:

Do I want to go back to Paris? YES. Will I go back to Paris? ABSOLUTELY!

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