As soon as we arrived in Paris we left no time to waste and started touring Paris at dusk. The architecturally beautiful city started to light up in front of my very own eyes. I think this is one of the oldest cities I have ever seen before, if not the oldest. Driving around Paris and seeing places I have only seen in movies was a dream come true. The more I saw the more my eyes widened.
Like a wide eyed child, I sat and watched the sights pass me by as I soaked up as much Parisian history as possible. The Moulin Rouge, Napoleon’s tomb, La Madeleine Cathedral, Plaza de la Concord, Rodin Museum–statue of ‘The Thinker’, Hotel Invalid, Air France Museum, Twillery Garden, Le Grand & Petit Palais, Marigny Square, Palais de Chaillot which houses four museums: Homme, Costume, Cinema, Maritime, and Mairie de Paris wet my taste buds and made me want to see more. Passing by the Parisians as they sat facing the road, while enjoying a coffee at Paris’ most expensive restaurant, Cafe de la Paix, made me want to join them and be a part of the culture. I could sit all day in a brasserie while enjoying a French sweet and people watching. My appetite to absorb more increased the more I took in.
My first meal in Paris was a traditional Parisian feast of escargot, onion soup, French baguette, ratatouille, and chicken, paired with a perfectly Parisian white wine. As I talked with others over our dinner, we sat in awe of the fact that we made it to home of the Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, Venus, Joan of Arc, Opera Garnier–inspiration for Phantom of the Opera, and the world’s most exquisite shopping district: Rue de Rivoli, Forum Les Halles, Champs Elysees (and the world’s largest Louis Vuitton). The majority of us were traveling to Europe for the first time. What an opportunity it was to see Paris with others who were also experiencing it for the first time. The excitement amongst the group was undeniable. We were all eager to see everything Paris could throw at us during our quick visit, yet like lost puppies, we didn’t really know where to begin. Paris would take us where it wanted us to go.
What an experience it was to be in a city with the world’s best impressionist collections (Musee d’Orsay), see The Conciergerie Palace which was used as a prison during the reign of terror to house Marie Antoinette, and explore the Louvre, one of the world’s largest museums. Seeing the Louvre’s pyramid main entrance, inverted pyramid, and be in the presence of the best artists including Leonard day Vinci (Mona Lisa), Veronese (The Wedding Feast at Cana), Aphrodite-known as the ‘Venus de Milo, Michelangelo (Captive, “The Dying Slave”), and G. Erhart (Saint Mary Magdalene) left me speechless. Walking the halls amongst 17th, 18th, and 19th century French paintings, drawings, and pastels inspired me. The history of the Louvre is beyond what I can actually comprehend, but I appreciate it beyond words and comprehension. As a history lover, artist, inspiring writer, and thinker alike, I belong in a place that will challenge me.
One of my favorite parts of being in Paris was enjoying the simple pleasures in life: the food! Experiencing what the locals do everyday. Walking Paris’ streets with a croissant in hand was priceless. Stopping for lunch in Marigny Square Park for a takeaway chocolate hazelnut crepe was perfect; people watching, listening to the carousel with birds chirping in the distance, and writing in my journal on the hot sunny day had me right where I wanted to be. Ending my day with a picnic of wine, cheese, French bread, salad, fruit, and macaroons at the Eiffel Tower was exactly what I imagined it would be like: perfectly picturesque in Paris.