Last night I arrived back home from a perfect getaway to Paris with Matt. As of this Thursday, we will have been dating for two years, and we got to celebrate this together in the most romantic city in the world – can you imagine anything more perfect? Before getting to Paris, I didn’t want to get ahead of myself with excitement. Sure, everyone talks about how romantic Paris is, but they also talk about the crowds, the pickpockets, the rude people. Would it actually be a romantic place to spend the weekend? I lowered my expectations, which I guess was a good idea, because everything was beyond what I could’ve expected.
I’m just going to do a painfully long weekend recap, because I need to get it all out now. Brace yourself, adventure and romance ahead.
Our hostel was near the Sacre-coeur church, up on a hill overlooking the city. We walked there on the first night with plans to find a place to eat on the way. This was much easier said than done, but eventually, just in time for us to really start getting hungry, we found The Annex, a tiny little place attached to a very loud bar, with people sitting on top of one another eating delicious looking food. Seated right in the middle, we quickly realized that there was only one chalkboard menu, all in French, and one waiter, who only spoke French. Taking the challenge head-on, we asked him for a recommendation – I did a thumbs-up, and he understood this universal sign for “good” and gave us some suggestions. I ordered pasta because linguine is the same in every language, and it was a great choice – but Matt’s more daring choice of some sort of chicken proved to be even more rewarding, he put it on his list of top 5 best meals in Europe. The waiter was really awesome even though we couldn’t really communicate with each other, and we had our first expectation – that people would be rude to us – quickly thrown out the window.
Friday was a very long day, with a walking tour in the morning led by a comically cynical American tour guide who gave us all sorts of tips that came in handy over the weekend. We saw lots of highlights, and decided to walk up the Champs-Elysses to get to the Arc du Triomphe (how the eff do you spell french things?) and would get lunch on the way. Great plan! …..terrible plan. We didn’t find crepes which is what we were determined to have, and the walk was much longer than we needed after just finishing a walking tour of the rest of the city. Needless to say we weren’t all too excited to see the Arc, and quickly went in search of food after that, only to find a sandwich place which ended up being pretty damn good, thankfully. We checked out the Eiffel Tower, which was honestly surreal to see up close. After having seen it so many times in movies or pictures, I felt like I had seen it already, so being right underneath it in person was a cool experience. That night we went and put a lock on the love locks bridge – aww how cute are we! Then we went to the Louvre to say hi to Mona Lisa. Pretty cool, but I’m glad my expectations weren’t that high for this one. If we didn’t get the student rate for the museum – aka free – I probably would’ve been disappointed, but instead I was content to see the painting and then move on. We moved on to another long-winded adventure of finding a place to eat, and found yet another everyone-sitting-on-top-of-each-other place, which really didn’t compare to the first night at all, but it also didn’t cost us our life savings, so we accepted it. From there we went back to the good ol Eiffel tower, to see the “light show,” which is just the tower sparkling for a few minutes every hour, but it was amazing nonetheless. Plus, romance!
Saturday we went to the Montparnasse tower which is the only skyscraper in Paris because after they built it the Parisians hated it and they set a new rule that buildings couldn’t be more than 9 stories high. Luckily for us this means that there’s one tall building that you can go to the top of for a full panoramic view of the city – with the Eiffel tower included, which you don’t get if you take the trek up there. Pretty cool! Afterwards we got crepes and honestly it was an incredible eating experience. I couldn’t eat all of mine because we had filled up on hostel breakfast (bread) not long before that, so I got it to go in tinfoil and ate it later on – still just as delicious! We saw this adorable jazz band playing on the sidewalk with a zooey-deschanel type singer, and it was so “Paris.” After that blissful little moment, we went and walked around the Luxembourg gardens, which was a decent alternative to Versailles which we didn’t want to take the trip out to. From there we went to the D’Orsay museum and saw some impressionist art, some Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, etc, and it was absolutely amazing. The museum is in an old train station which I loved, just looking around there was awesome. And then the art was so beautiful and interesting, and seeing things like Van Gogh’s self-portrait and other famous work was really cool.
After that we did some shopping, I got some macarons, and then we got to the best part of the whole trip….
Wow. I mean, I really didn’t realize how happy I would be to have chipotle until we arrived there, but man was I excited. We got some burrito bowls to go, and headed back to say our goodbyes (aww! romantic weekend over!) and then I devoured my burrito bowl in the Orly airport like the American savage I am. Talk about rewarding experiences.
So, to wrap up this novel, Paris was incredible. We had leisurely strolls along the river holding hands, beautiful views, wonderful food, etc. Paris isn’t just about romance, and there is so much to it that anyone can enjoy. But I’m so happy that my first time there was with Matt and we got to be cheesy romantics and clueless tourists together in this city.
Another successful weekend, less than two months to go until I return home to unrestricted access to chipotle and people who speak my language. 🙂