A PARISIAN BIRTHDAY

After our incredible English Christmas we ventured to Paris for my 24th birthday. We rented the tiniest AirBnB that shared a toilet (outside of our room) with four other guests. Our room was so tiny that Ian could touch me from the bed while I was in the shower. We honestly just slept here and we had a view of the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect location and only $60/night. The one catch was that we could not check in until 4PM! This meant we had to find somewhere to store our luggage. I thought my plan was genius….After we got off the chunnel, we went straight to the Louvre. After my research, I realized the Louvre can store luggage in a locker if it is carry-on sized. Ian and I only traveled with carry-on baggage so we were set! After going through security to enter the Louvre, Ian and I shoved our bags into a locker and were off to see the Mona Lisa. The Louvre is an adult Disneyland. People run around every which way. It is massive and overwhelming. I wish we could have taken this museum more seriously but we strictly went there for luggage storage and the Mona Lisa. If you love museums, make a day out of this site. We did not have the time with only 48 hours in Paris. We finally saw the Mona Lisa and were dumbfounded. She is so tiny…I am talking 8.5×11″. She looked so big in movies! On the walk to the Mona Lisa, make sure you enjoy the incredible sculptures and paintings.

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The next part of our Parisian morning took my breath away. Ian and I picked up some baguette sandwiches from a street vendor and walked through a sculpture decorated park called Tuileries Garden…only in Paris! We continued walking to the once lock bridge. They began to take the locks down because the weight was bringing the bridge down! But people started to put them back on! Up next was Musée d’Orsay. This museum is a train station turned museum. And OH MY GOODNESS will it take your breath away. A giant clock serves as the museum’s focal point with gold accents across the walls and ceiling. This is why I immediately fell in love with Paris. The details matter in Paris, people care about aesthetics. I felt right at home!

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Continuing our adventure, we walked along the river towards Notre-Dame de Paris. Lying parallel to the river were street vendors selling antique books and trinkets. I mean stooooop! Ian had to drag me away. Not to mention, the precious European architecture in pastel colors with perfectly accented flowers in every window….okay okay enough Chandler. You get the point that I am obsessed with Paris. Notre-Dame was huge! I did not realize how large it would be. The gargoyles looked terrifyingly life-like. We then rode the double decker bus back to our AirBnB to check in.

When planning this portion of the trip, I wanted to ascend the Eiffel Tower during the sunset and be up there for the light show. I had no idea my timing would have been perfect with 6PM tickets. Even with tickets, we had to go through security and wait for our elevator ride up. This took slightly over an hour. All things considered, we aced the timing. We were on the top of this massive tower with a purple glow sunset. With all the smog, it created the most dreamy backdrop for our romantic evening. Then it was dark and the light show began…while we were on the tower! This was incredible! With a strong rumbly in my tummy, it was time to eat. We went to dinner then walked the Parisian streets at night.

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The next day was my 24th Birthday! Today, we went to the Palace of Versailles. Thank goodness I had my birthday glee with me because this was a long day. After having to switch our train to Versailles twice due to canceled lines, we somehow made it…without knowing a word of French apart from Escargot and Oui Oui! Walking up to Versailles was overwhelming. The line for tickets extended all the way down and around the block. Luckily, we had purchased Paris Passes which gave us front of the line hops, included access to all museums, and free public transportation. Even with our passes, we waited two and a half hours to enter. By the time we got inside, it was 12 noon. With a departure set for 4PM, we didn’t have time to waste. Versailles deserves a full day at the very least, something we could not devote to it. The rooms have to much detail. People used to live like this!

This place is HUGE. You must see it for yourself. My favorite room was the chandelier room. It is a giant ballroom with multiple gorgeous chandeliers hanging overhead. My largest regret was not having time to explore the gardens. Plan accordingly and make the needed time to appreciate this incredible destination.

We ate French crepes then went back to Paris for my birthday celebration on an hour long train ride. What better way to celebrate than with a bottle of champagne at the Eiffel Tower!? We then drove to the Arc de Triomphe while on our way to Sacré-Cœur. The Arc does its own light show which has vibrant colors and music. If you have the time, I would suggest adding this to one of your nights!

Paris is fairly flat. Sacré-Cœur is a church that sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. We made it here at dusk. Once again, purple-pink fog accented our photos and the church. Sacré-Cœur is located in the Montmartre district, and up and coming artsy area. It was super fun to explore and walk around here. We chose a tiny Parisian restaurant for my birthday feast then (as any tourist would do) went to the Moulin Rouge show. This show started off super fun! Not to mention the venue was gorgeous! But once hour two hit, I was ready for the show to end. So much so that I fell asleep, and Ian won’t let me live this down. I quickly awoke when realizing this was our last night in Paris. We headed back towards the Eiffel Tower and walked around the empty streets of Paris at midnight. With only two hours of sleep, we were off to Brussels in the morning for a little pre-New Year’s celebration.

After reflecting on my stay in Paris, I can truly say that I need to go back. I began to miss Paris before we even left. One thing I would do next time is stay in the Lafayette district. I would also go for at least a week so I don’t feel rushed. Lastly, I would shop, shop, shop!!!

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