Paree holds the key to her heart! Or at least that's what they said in Anastasia. My first trip to Paris was jam packed into two days of great moments, ones that I will never be able to forget. I've boiled it down to six things, and that sounds a little strange to hammer it down into six things. These are probably the six most quintessential experience that every second person to enter this city has had, but they're ones that I hold near and dear to my heart. The reason why we only had two says was because we joined a tour group with Trafalgar. What? I hear you say, are you serious? Yes, I am serious. We knew nothing about Europe, and with little kids, it was better that we didn't really have to think too much about what we should do next. Our tour guide was a walking encyclopaedia of vast knowledge, and made sure we made the most of our short time. I have to say we achieved that goal! It was tiring but oh so worth it.
1. Cruising along the Seine and Walking the Champs Élysées
My first experience of Champs Élysées is, ironically enough, from the Korean TV show Running Man, where they had to sing it while in Petit France in Korea. Then I heard this version by Zaz, and it was my soundtrack for our whole afternoon jaunt.
Our Seine cruise was so much fun--everyone was sitting out in the sun and waving at the silly tourists taking a boat ride. We saw people dancing by the water, most of them drinking in public.
Then of course, there was the Arc de Triomphe, marking the start of the Champs Elysees. It's WAY bigger than I ever pictured it to be, and so hard to take a photo of! I got really lucky with this one, what with all the tour buses zipping in and out.
2. Going up the Eiffel Tower
I hear the wanderlusters scoffing, but I wasn't going to miss this. Stunning views of Paris, scary steel elevator? Oui please!
The perfect place to fall in love, really. Although I had to close my eyes on the shaky elevator ride up.
We didn't care whether people were judging, we just took photo after photo after photo after photo....
3. Visiting the notre dame
The soundtrack this time was the Hunchback of Notre Dame's 'God Help the Outcasts.' I was so terrified of this movie as a child, and now I might appreciate it more (but I'm still scared of the film!).
It's an architectural wonder, and I had no idea that it was Catholic! No wonder it took three hundred years to build.
4. Walking around the latin quarter
We all have visions of what a city would look like, and I imagined that all of Paris would be much like the Latin Quarter--a mishmash of detailed buildings of different colors and sizes, small shops and corner cafes.
I was surprised to learn that I actually pictured the Latin Quarter before knowing what it was. But it's a fun place to explore, and while I would love to explore it more next time, I'm pretty happy that we were able to have lunch there.
Here's our lunch spot--Le Saint Severin was a corner cafe in front of a medieval church, just a few steps away from the Notre Dame. We had yummy fondue, silky foie gras, soft boeuf bourginon and ice cream for 10 euros each! Even if we had to scarf it all down.
5. Walking around the louvre
It was a HOT spring day when we were given free reign around the Louvre. We walked to Pont Des Arts, which didn't really live up to its reputation (there were so many locks that they had to board it up to keep people from adding more), but the courtyard of the Louvre was incredibly charming, if scorching hot.
6. Exploring Montmarte and the Sacre-Coeur
We almost didn't go up to Montmarte--there weren't enough people in our group who wanted to go. But our tour director was more than happy to help us get there himself. After an uphill walk, crazy tram ride up the side of a hill, we were there! It was another moment of the trip where you just had to stop and sigh at the view. And everyone was sitting in the steps, drinking beer sold on the street while buskers busked.
In Montmarte, it was all about the corner cafes. I didn't see one in Paris that wasn't full. There were a few tourists that had their portraits made by the local artists, and scammers handing out red roses. But our focus was on just taking it all in, and grabbing a few prints and postcards too.