I expected to love Paris. I mean, it’s Paris. How could I think I would feel anything but awe while exploring the city that I’ve heard about since I can remember? That said, though, I also felt like maybe I’d heard too much about Paris – I’d argue that it’s among the most famous tourist destinations in the world, which just made me feel like perhaps it was overdone.
Despite my odd mixture of trepidation and excitement to finally set foot in Paris, I fell head over heels in love for the City of Light. From a picnic in a packed Parisian park (how’s that for alliteration?) to a busy afternoon hitting the highlights, my sister and I couldn’t stop exclaiming over just how gorgeous this city is. Pictures can’t do it justice – after all, I’ve certainly seen enough photos, and I was still blown away.
Perhaps the best part of our stay was the fact that our accommodation was free. My last post was about our incredible night cruising the Seine, which featured some gorgeous photos from Catherine, my sister’s old classmate. She was kind enough to let us crash with her, which was amazing in such an expensive city. She even picked us up at the train station, which was lucky since I had never been more sleep deprived and would have gotten completely lost in the maze of tunnels we found ourselves weaving through.
We emerged into a very authentic area of the city, which Catherine described as a student ghetto: it was extremely vibrant, filled with immigrants and of course students. Our personal tour guide then proceeded to show us all the highlights of her adopted city from Montmartre to the best street art to icons like Notre Dame and the Louvre.
Now, before we go on – I did not go into either Notre Dame or the Louvre. I know, a travesty. Multiple people have given me disdainful looks when I tell them this, especially about the Louvre. My sister and I are in agreement – art museums are boring. Sure, if I had two weeks in Paris and the museum was free, I’d go in for a bit, but it wasn’t and I didn’t. No regrets! So don’t judge us.
We did, however, walk by the Louvre, which was gorgeous. Catherine took us along the perfect route from her apartment to Notre Dame, the Love Lock Bridge (which is apparently very controversial, I just thought it was pretty), and through the magnificent Jardins Tuileries.
To cap off this amazing day, we headed to a supermarket, grabbed supplies for an evening picnic (naturally, including wine) and headed to a park near Catherine’s house to indulge in this commendable Parisian tradition. I don’t know why North Americans don’t have as many picnics as Europeans, but I think it’s a terrible oversight.
To sum up this rambly post, Paris surprised me. Two days there was not enough, although we managed to pack a remarkable amount of things into our whirlwind trip. As soon as we got on the plane I was plotting when I could return for a much longer period of time.
Have you ever been to a city that surprised you? What about Paris – have you been and was it like you expected?