what hasn’t already been said about paris? the food, the architecture, the sights, the crowds, the pastries, the snooty french citizens that seemed to hate us…paris is a lot to take in.
like probably every american girl in history, i’ve always wanted to go to paris. the city is huge, so alive, and always seems to be the ultimate romantic, beautiful, life-changing destination.
and don’t get me wrong – it is. paris is gorgeous. but it’s also… overwhelming. the city is absolutely huge, and as a two-night stop in an eight-day road trip, it’s hard to feel like we saw even a hint of what parisian life is like.
after a lovely morning in prague, we ducked into the car, struggled with our gps, and finally set off on our ten-hour drive through germany and the french countryside to arrive in paris. by the time we arrived at our hotel just outside the city, it was past midnight, and it was all i could do to crawl into bed and sip some wine from the minibar…
…but the next morning, we were finally, finally in paris. beautiful paris. crowded, bustling paris. cold, rainy, springtime paris.
i’m sure it didn’t help that we were there on easter sunday, and everywhere we went was absolutely crawling with tourists. with only one full day in the city before we had to head to our next destination, i resigned myself to joining them and went to see the notre dame cathedral, the louvre, the arc de triumph, the eiffel tower…all the typical sight-seeing spots. we rode in a motorbike, enjoyed croissants and espresso by the river, and stood on the edge of the huge crowd gawking at the mona lisa.
and if you’ve never braved the terrifying crowds to see this beautifully small painting, here’s a quick (shaky!) video to give you an idea of what we faced.
hardly the way to study this magnificent work of art…but i suppose we can say that we (sort of) saw it.
but there were some definite highlights. wandering french alleys, having some kind american stranger give us his used tickets to the louvre so that we could skip the line and get in for free (thanks again!), eating incredible cheeses and enjoying local wine with every meal…and being able to drive around in such a huge city was a lot of fun. all the guidebooks tell you not to, that americans can’t handle it, but my husband did a great job. we got to drive through some beautiful neighborhoods and see things like the moulin rouge that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
while paris was actually not my favorite french destination from our trip, it was a delight. and i hope to someday spend a bit more time in this magnificent city.
want more? check out my initial posts on our eight-day, eight-country road trip through europe, our first night in prague, and watch my short video with some of the highlights. next up later this week? lyon, the gastronomic capital of paris – and one of the most beautiful, relaxing places we visited in europe.