Paris, oh Paris. Paris was never on the original itinerary, and I honestly planned to skip it this trip. But something about it kept calling me. It was so close, I had time, and other reasons all conspired to get me to board a plane from Naples and head to Paris.
I never thought Paris was for girls like me. I always thought Paris was for beautiful people… and before you comment “But you ARE beautiful,” I’m not talking about that so much. I’m talking about Paris being for the kind of people who enjoy beauty as a hobby. Not necessarily naturally beautiful, but the people who spend their free time perfecting their new makeup technique, or researching the next season’s trends and colors.
Some days, I wish I was one of those girls. But the fact is I’m definitely not. (Evidence: I took off on my fourth-month trip with not a single piece of makeup in tow. Not. One.) So I thought Paris would be good to see, but I honestly didn’t have high expectations.
And then, for the very first time, I saw the Eiffel Tower from the banks of the Seine. And I realized – maybe Paris isn’t just for beautiful people.
There really is something about Paris that makes it magical. Compared to so many other big cities, it’s incredibly clean. The architecture is an OCD person’s dream – the Haussmann architecture gives it such cleanliness and continuity through the sprawl. The major museums are amazing, and the city oozes charm.
On my way down the Seine, I stopped in the museum L’Orangerie to see the impressionist paintings. I loved them! The museum houses the original Monet Water Lillies in their full glories – there are two rooms, each with four canvasses surrounding the walls, filled with Monet’s work! It’s much more breathtaking in person than in pictures. The rest of the collection there is also fantastic! I bought a combo ticket to there and the Musee d’Orsay, but alas, I got dates and times messed up and missed the d’Orsay this time around. Sad day! (Anyone going to Paris before December? I have a free d’Orsay ticket for you!)
I also wandered back up to find Lauderee, the storied Macaroon maker. I tried three flavors – strawberry, orange blossom, and chocolate, and took them to eat in the Tuileries gardens outside the Louvre. It was a perfect way to spend part of the day!
At the Place de la Concorde, I saw the Obelisk of Luxor – and so in one trip, I got to see both obelisks! There were originally two outside the Temple of Luxor, but one got removed and is in Paris. I have to say, the one in Paris is more impressive to look at. I think it’s because they only have that one, compared to Egypt’s wealth of ancient treasures, the way the French display it is much more breathtaking. And the addition of the gold top helps!
When I was in Paris, I rented a flat through AirBnB, and it was the cutest, most perfectly Parisienne apartment ever! It was the top floor of a building (with winding stairs and no elevator – how very French), and it was a small studio. It was tucked under the Mansard roof, and it looked out onto a pedestrian area near a canal.
It was so cozy and perfect! The weather turned while I was in Paris, and I was very happy to have coat weather! It managed to stay mostly dry, though it rained a bit. I loved getting to stay in a non-touristy area and enjoy the local bakeries and even the grocery store.
The grocery stores here are incredible! I found a whole round of Camembert cheese for a Euro! (That’s about $1.20.) It was pretty tasty, too! Every day, I got a baguette to eat – at a meter long, it’s a lot of bread. But it’s perfect bread. I’ve never had bread that tastes like that.
And so I have to admit – I became that girl who fell in love with Paris!