Paris the local way
Paris, arguably the most popular city in all of Europe…from the Eiffel Tower to The Louvre, the monuments will leave your breathless with their immense stature and beauty. We have all read and heard many stories of Paris in its daytime glory, but in my personal opinion seeing Paris in the daytime does it no justice. Paris is the most beautiful at night…let’s argue!
I visited Paris for the first time and I was determined NOT to experience the city as a tourist. I stayed with a friend that lived in a condo in a small quiet neighborhood so that was the first check on my list (no hotel). The first night we ate sushi in the house and watched a basketball game surprisingly! I couldn't think of a better way to adjust to the time change from Houston, Texas! The next morning it was time to get to it. I had 4 more days in Paris and I was so excited to start my adventure! We woke up around 9 am, made breakfast (or coffee and a pastry), and headed for Champs-Élysées, which is an avenue that stretches through many other landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe. We walked for what seemed like miles past every luxury brand you can think of, passed a beautiful theater, and made our way to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc stretches high and wide across one of the main streets and is carved with some of the most detailed images I’ve ever seen. During the day there were so many people in the middle of the street, taking pictures and holding up traffic, but no one seemed to be concerned. However, I was slightly bothered by the lack of stop signs and traffic lights as well as the non stop traffic and pedestrians, but luckily no one was hurt at least while I was there.
On the third day we made a short hour drive to a city called Versailles to see a grand palace called the Palace of Versailles. I remember seeing the tall golden gates miles away from the car and the closer I got the more I had to ask myself if I was really looking at solid golden gates like the ones they mention in Heaven! We went through the extensive museum and into a huge garden that unfortunately was not as colorful as one would expect a garden to be because of the season. But nevertheless it was beautiful and big, which seems to be a theme with the landmarks in Paris. [Side note: Although the landmarks in Paris are huge, the city itself is quite small and almost overpopulated, you really see a difference in the times here].
On the fourth day in Paris, we went to visit the Eiffel Tower again, this time at night, the Louvre, and the Christmas Market on the Champs-Élysées. The Louvre was everything I thought it would be, cool and chic. The pyramid shaped building was surrounded by a castle-like building, which really added to the view. We were able to walk through the public areas like the mall (yes they have an entire mall in the Louvre), but we were a little too late to see the exhibits and the Mona Lisa. Not too bummed about that however, because I know the actual painting is no larger than my carry on suitcase. After about an hour at The Louvre we drove over to where the Christmas Market was. To be honest, my family has never been big on Christmas so decorations and Santa Claus didn't seem like a big deal until I got there. The market was magical! If you happen to be from a southern town, just imagine a county fair or carnival decorated like a millionaire’s wedding. That's the best way I can describe it! There were fancy lights and flowers everywhere. We walked the market for a few hours and I didn't even want to leave! The Eiffel tower was luckily a short distance from where we walked and soon I was standing under the Sparkling tower. If you've ever dreamed about seeing the Eiffel Tower, I encourage you to make it a reality. It is truly unlike anything you will ever see again in your lifetime and everyone that I’ve talked to say the same thing…”it’s much larger than I imagined”!
My last day in Paris was spent in a gorgeous area where Sacré-Coeur Basilica or The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is. It’s a beautiful yet massive Roman Catholic Church with all of those painting in the ceilings that you see on TV! My favorite part however was the front of the church. The view is spectacular giving you an almost aerial view of Paris. There was a cute Parisian guy with a guitar singing and too many couples to count sitting around him all cuddled up…Paris is truly an organically romantic city.