Je T’aime Paris

Weekend getaway to the City of Love for Valentine’s Day, or shall I say “Galentine’s Day,” does it get much more romantic than that?

Oddly enough, this is my third time in Paris, but my first time being able to escape the airport doors. Every time I have flown into Europe, Charles de Gualle is my first stop. Little did I know, I would one day be wandering the streets that thousands of travelers get a birds eye view of each day. And what better weekend than the weekend of love and romance?

Our weekend was filled with lots of walking, breathtaking sites, poor attempts at speaking French, and never-ending rain. I consumed more bread, cheese, and wine than I thought was humanly possible, and walked further than I ever have in my life, but I loved every second of it.

We saw more of Paris in three days than most are able to see in one week. Our apartment was a ten minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, which goes above and beyond all expectations. I could have spent an entire day in the park, lounging in the grass with a bottle of wine, a baguette, and a friendly conversation.

Friday

We started off the weekend with a train ride from the airport through the outskirts of Paris, into the heart of the city. Walking up the stairs from our metro, trying to figure out what direction to head in to the apartment, I looked up and saw the Eiffel Tower off in the distance ahead of me. Right away, I knew this was going to be an amazing weekend.

See if you can spot the Eiffel in the picture below!

We settled in to our apartment, prepared ourselves to walk through the rain, and discover what was waiting for us. Our first stop was the Catacombs, which I had not known much about before. This was definitely an experience, and a bit different than the typical touristy sites Paris has to offer.

After the Catacombs, we wandered through the streets on our way to find lunch and the Luxembourg Gardens. I had posted on social media, asking for food recommendations, and vaguely remember a friend mentioning Paul’s. On our walk, it began to rain harder, and we found ourselves seeking shelter in a cute cafe that was filled with locals. We ordered lunch and warm drinks, and as I was looking around the cafe, I saw the word “Paul” written on a sign. What were the odds?

After filling up on lunch, we ventured off on a long walk to the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, Pont des Arts, and the Louvre. We decided to try out a local French cuisine for dinner, and were more than satisfied with the bread, bottle of wine, and warm meal. Our waitress was actually a Grad student studying in Paris from Canada, our world is so much smaller than we believe it to be.

Pont des Arts Bridge & view of the Seine River

The Louvre – Mona Lisa is here!

We headed home to freshen up, buy more bread, cheese, and wine, and warm up from our long, rainy day. Our apartment was in a local neighborhood, filled with lively bars, markets, and of course the Eiffel Tower only a few blocks away. After a few glasses of wine, we headed out to the Eiffel Tower, to see the beauty light up the night sky like magic.

Dinner & post-dinner snack (Bread & Wine, Wine & Bread)

Saturday

Up bright and early to get our day started. Our feet and bodies were sore from walking so much the day before, we clocked in at 16 miles! Our inner white girls were desperate for something quick and easy, so we found ourselves in a Parisian Starbucks on our way over to the Eiffel Tower. Thankfully, their menu was a bit different than the American Starbucks, and we were able to order a tasty Pistachio & Rose Mocha. Another plus, they spelled my name the French way, my favorite!

Afterwards, we decided to metro over to the famous Arc de Triomf to start our adventure. The Arc has many streets that go off of it, so we decided to walk down Champs-Élysées, the most well known avenue in Paris.

Of course our walk was rainy, but it was an amazing experience. Champs-Élysées is like the Fifth Avenue of New York City, filled with high-end, luxury shops and designers. Once again, we found ourselves eating Paul’s for lunch and window shopping. We walked straight down Champs and found ourselves at the Jardin des Tuileries as the sun slowly started to peek through the clouds.

Had to snap a picture in front of the Mercedes store off Champs-Élysées for Dad!

Off a boulevard near the garden, is the ever-so famous Angelina. For those of you that don’t know, Angelina arguably has the best hot chocolate in the world, so we had to try! The atmosphere and service was an experience within itself, it reminded me of The Plaza near Central Park. Our hot chocolate was impeccable, and left us feeling like we were in a daydream, perhaps ‘Chocolate Wasted.’

Following our delicious cup(s) of hot chocolate, we walked towards the Musee d’Orsay and stumbled upon the Love Lock Bridge on our way. I had to leave a lock for Nora, and we captured the moment with pictures and videos, something I will forever cherish.

Pictures below – Our walk to Musee d’Orsay & the Opera House in Paris.

After a few hours at the museum, we hopped on the metro and headed over to Centre Georges Pompidou, the Madeleine neighborhood, and Montmartre. We ended our night with dinner, wine, and macaroons, feeling exhausted from another 15 mile day.

The views from Montmartre were beautiful, unfortunately the experience was not. Not the greatest neighborhood / people in this area. Be aware when going!

Sunday

Devastated because our weekend in Paris is somehow already coming to an end. We woke up early, headed out to walk by the Eiffel Tower, and find a local brunch cafe. After brunch, we stopped at the market one last time and spent a couple of hours at the Eiffel Tower. It is amazing, because every time you walk by, it looks different than before. There are so many different angles, lighting, and views of the Eiffel Tower, I don’t know how it could ever get old.

We are sadly on our way home after an unforgettable adventure. Paris has captured my heart. It is definitely safe to say I fell in love with this city.

Thank you for being my Valentine, Paris.

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Au Revoir,

Madeline Alice Johnson

February 12, 2016 – February 14, 2016

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