April 25, 2012

My trip to Paris

Apparently, the third time really is the charm.  I finally made it to Paris, a city I've wanted to visit for a long time.  I've never been much of an adventurous traveler, usually preferring familiar surroundings and home, though I find that changing as I get older.  Before this, there were two previous attempts to go to Paris that just didn't pan out.  The first time, I was going as part of a work trip to Europe.  I was just out of college, back in the day when corporate jets were still commonplace, and I was looking forward to traveling (at least a part of the way) in style.  Long story short, my boss was needed in New York at the last minute and we canceled.  The second time - a couple of years later - my husband and I had our tickets booked and hotel reserved for a romantic getaway to the City of Light...when I found out I was pregnant!  My doctor strongly suggested I cancel my trip so I did.  It was a good decision because I ended up with the worse of my morning sickness during that time.
Well...fast forward a handful of years and we finally made it - to Paris!!  And with our six-year old son in tow.  Call us daring (or delirious) for taking him but it never crossed our minds not to until several people started to ask why we were taking him with us.  I have to admit that for the first couple of days, my husband and I would whisper wistfully about how romantic it would be if we were on a couple's getaway but, all in all, it was an amazing experience to share with the little guy.  We made a lot of memories and I hope some remnant of them will stay with him.
I waited too long to go to Paris.  The city was everything I expected and more.  It was a lot to take in and I told my husband my eyes were hurting because of how beautiful it was.  I could just stand or sit somewhere for hours soaking in the surroundings.  But since this was our first time in Paris, we didn't have the luxury of staying in one place too long.  We packed as much sightseeing and taste-testing (more on that next time) as we could into five days.  We checked a lot of things on my must-see and must-eat list but we really could've used a few more days (at the very least) to explore some more, at a more leisurely pace, and to revisit a couple of favorite discoveries.
When it comes to places, there were too many highlights to name individually.  In general, the city was just a sight for sore eyes.  The Louvre was an utterly amazing place, whether it be the grounds, the bold pyramid out front, or the museum itself. 
My son was enchanted by Leonardo da Vinci and the story behind the Mona Lisa.  One night he actually said "Mona Lisa!" in his sleep.  He asked if there were more of da Vinci's paintings at the Louvre and we ended up going back the next day and discovering a special exhibit on da Vinci's work and painting of Saint Anne.  We all learned a lot about da Vinci on this trip and I was happy to see so much genuine interest on something other than videogames from my little one. 

And the statue of Winged Victory has got to be the most beautiful piece of sculpture I've ever seen.  Venus di milo was special too but I think my son just liked saying her name.
Without a lot of time to stay indoors at any one place, we walked miles and miles everyday despite the rain we had for about a day and a half of our 5 day trip.  We also hopped on the metro and took boat rides along the River Seine - the little one was more than happy to take a load off with those modes of transportation. 
Besides the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and a couple of other museums, we visited Notre-Dame, the Opéra Garnier, and the Luxembourg gardens on a rainy afternoon (still gorgeous).  I loved "the islands" or the Ile St. Louis part of Paris; we went there twice and left our own love lock  on a bridge.  On one sunny afternoon, we spent time taking a walk along the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe.
And on one early morning, we journeyed to the Sacré-Coeur basilica on the Montmartre hilltop.  It offers an amazing view of Paris, even when the weather was not ideal.
Beyond the city, we hopped on the RER to visit Versailles on the last day of our trip.
Versailles was a must-see for me (and for everyone else, judging by the crowd).  I've always wanted to see the palace, the grounds and gardens, and the Hall of Mirrors for myself since those history classes back in high school.  I think my old high school teachers would be proud.
I didn't want to leave but five days later, we had an early morning flight back home.  Thanks to my husband who took about a thousand photos, I have plenty of memories to look back on though I suspect they'll stay vibrant in my mind for some time without any help.

I'm so grateful for the chance to take this trip.  It was just amazing and something I'll remember fondly.  I'm really looking forward to going back one day.

Wait..did I forget something?

Now I know there's something obviously missing from this post about my trip to Paris.  Surely, it's the food!  Oh, the delicious food!  Plus, I had an amazing experience taking a recreational cooking class - a macaron class to be exact - at the famed cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu.  I found myself standing in that class just a few hours after touching down in Paris and I'm so glad I made it because it was an awesome and fun experience of a lifetime (more on that another time as well).

I'm going to devote a separate post to food related talk so stay tune!


  1. Hi Monica,

    The pictures look great! I hope you and your family are having a wonderful time. I can't wait to go to Paris! Hopefully soon.

  2. Thank you, Arlene! Paris was amazing - I feel so lucky I finally made it there. I hope you go one day soon; I'm sure you would love it.

    I was looking at your blog...and I love your table settings under the Entertaining tab. I need to figure out how to do that! The tables are so lovely - makes me want to pull up a seat and linger.

  3. Thank's Monica!

    Maybe we'll meet-up one day; That would be nice.

  4. Thank's Monica!

    I appreciate it. I love doing stuff like that.

    I'm glad you had fun in Paris.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...