Monday, January 23, 2017

If there's one place I'll never get tired of blogging about, it's Paris. 

I could go there a hundred times and I'd still want to recap each trip just as enthusiastically as the last. Our adventure there in November was no exception. This was the first leg of our latest European trip and while we were only there for a few nights, The City of Lights did not disappoint. I was a bit worried about the weather since I've heard Paris can be a bit dreary in the winter with all the rain, but much to our delight the city shined more beautifully than ever, even in the fog and drizzle. 

Everywhere we went, from the Tour Eiffel to the Champs-Élysées, the city was quite literally sparkling. The darkness fell much earlier than I was used to, which normally depresses me, but it turns out the short days there play up the winter magic quite a bit. When the sun went down, the fun began.

On our first night there, we dined at little café across from our hotel and then stepped out to wander the streets to see what we could find. We were staying only a block off the Champs-Élysées, and we pretty much fell into Christmas wonderland as soon as we hit the avenue. There were street vendors at the market selling everything from hot roasted chestnuts and cheese to jewelry and handmade wool hats. We snagged a few Nutella crepes and cups of mulled wine and walked along with wide eyes, admiring the displays. The streets glistened from the day's rain reflecting the bright lights strung on every tree. There was even a large ice rink with kids skating along to carols playing up and down the avenue. It felt like a Christmas dream. 

We ended up going back the next night to buy a few gifts and found this stall selling the most amazing sausages. There were all kinds of fancy mustards and sauces to go with them. The curry one was my absolutely favorite. After devouring two of them, we were pleased to find that there was a wine bar right next door. We went in and found that they had live music too! We sat down and ordered a bottle of Bordeaux from the sweetest old lady who spoke nearly no English, and she also brought us a couple glasses of a white wine we couldn't pronounce. By the end, we were a little tipsy but she certainly made out well since we bought a few bottles to take home!

We did our best to maximize the few days we had and hit all the major sights since Mike had never been to Paris before. The next day we started early at the Tour Eiffel (and ended up going back a second time to see it at night) then made our way down the Seine from there. We walked up to the second level of the tower and then took the elevator to the top. The climb was a lot of fun and new for both of us. The view from the second level was amazing but the top was encased in fog so we couldn't see out. Somehow, being at the top of the tower in the rain was still incredibly romantic. It might have been because there weren't many people there or that the fog sort of insulated the silence but it was so peaceful. 

We walked along the Seine and then cut over to do a little museum hopping. From the Musée d'Orsay to the Musée de l'Orangerie to the Louvre, we did a crazy amount of walking but it was totally worth it. We learned a lot and of course I deeply enjoyed getting to sit with my favorite lilies again. It was also nice to pop inside for a bit to warm up and dry off since the day was chilly and damp. 

Our last night in Paris will remain one of the best nights of my life. We had finished dinner and gone to visit Notre Dame, which was beautiful as always, and then headed over to Sainte-Chapelle to see the beautiful gothic chapel during the last few minutes of daylight. As soon as we entered, we were struck by the stained glass. Fifteen windows full of thirteenth century stained glass nearly fifty feet high surround three sides of the chapel. The intricate panels depict more than a thousand different scenes from the bible. As if the church itself isn't magical enough, Sainte-Chapelle houses relics including Jesus' crown of thorns. We were in awe of the entire place. I had heard from one of my co-workers that Sainte-Chapelle does the most amazing classical concerts on the weekends and we were told to snag a couple of tickets if we had the time. We bought tickets for that night right after our tour of the chapel and it was the best decision we could have ever made. This is the caption I posted on Instagram right after we had left the concert:

"13 Novembre 2016. Exactly one year ago I was listening in shock to NPR as news of the Paris attacks poured in. I had just returned from my first trip to this beautiful city only a few weeks before and I couldn't wrap my head around what I was hearing. It was earth-shattering and scary and downright heartbreaking. Tonight, on the first anniversary of that horrible day, we sat inside Sainte-Chapelle, a thirteenth century gothic church that houses relics like the actual crown of thorns, and listened as an orchestra played the most breathtaking rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons I have ever heard. One year ago, I was terrified at the thought of ever traveling to Paris again, and tonight I can't fathom ever depriving myself of it's magic. Paris, je t'aime."

We practically floated back to the hotel. All I can say is, if you are ever in Paris, please please please go and check it out. If orchestras aren't your thing, they also have chamber choir performances which I've heard are also amazing. It's next on our list, that's for sure!

Our time in Paris may have been short, but my dream is to visit in all four seasons. So far, I've had the pleasure of experiencing the city in fall and winter and I'm dreaming of the day when we can hopefully spend a few weeks in the spring and summer. There's still so much to explore!


  1. This post brought so many amazing memories and fun experiences back to mind. I would love to see Paris in the Winter, both times we visited was in the summer and while it was absolutely amazing, seeing it during another season would be a dream come true. I am so glad Mike was able to experience the city with you this time, maybe one day we can visit together!

    1. YES PLEASE!! I've always wanted to see Paris when the weather is warmer. When I went in the fall, there was one warm day but I'm sure it's nothing like seeing it in the spring and summer. Blogger trip?! :)