Settle on in people, this is a big one. Jon and I have been back from our “we have no kids, we can still do whatever we want, we better do it now” trip to Paris for over a month and it still feels like a dream. I’m sure part of that is because I was given 13 days to plan the trip and it was all a bit of a whirlwind.
We had talked and talked all late summer about taking a trip to Europe before Christmas, but as everyone knows, time flies and before we knew it we felt out of time. We decided we would wait and so I put it out of my mind.
One day Jon suggested we walk up the street to my favorite Denver spot, Z Cuisine. The fact that he was suggesting a glass of wine instead of myself should have been my first hint. The second hint should have been that Z Cuisine is a French restaurant. We ordered our wine and before I knew it Jon dropped two tickets to Paris in my lap. Surprise! We leave in less than two weeks! After a day or two the shock wore off and then I was left with little more than 10 days to find us a place to stay and plan a 10 day itinerary. Boohoo right? I know, I know.
we I pulled off all of the planning and a few days before Thanksgiving we were flying into Paris!
Since our return, friends and family have been asking how it was, and I never know quite what to say.
What can I say?
Yes it was amazing. Of course we had fun. Obviously it was beautiful.
It’s just that I can’t find a way to describe the experience of it all.
People we spoke to before our trip about what to expect were correct when they told us that Paris just feels different. “There’s just something about it”, they’d say, and they were right. I thought it felt like a dreamworld that couldn’t possibly be real. But then we would run into a modern convenience or a current movie poster and realize that…oh yeah, this is a real, modern and BUSY city and we are in fact not starring in a romantic comedy from a different century.
I wish I could find the words to tell you what it feels like to be in Paris, but it’s been a struggle. It’s like I either have to tell every single thing in my brain with incredible and annoying detail, or just let the photos speak for themselves. I’m not really happy with those options, so I’m going to do my regular routine of lots of photos (probably too many) with sporadic blips of storytelling here and there. I will be including some photos from our phones as well. Hopefully they stand out as obvious iPhone photos, but if not, don’t tell my expensive camera.
Ahh…Paris. A photo-op at every turn.
We arrived very early in the morning on a Monday. So early that it was still dark when we landed. We retrieved our luggage, bought metro passes and found our way to the train that was going to take us into Paris. We thought we were being adventurous by navigating our way there without help, but in retrospect, we should have hired a driver as we were the only people on the train with luggage. Regardless, we made it to our little flat, took a nap, and then headed out to see the sights.The city of Paris is like an enormous interactive museum. Everything around you is a work of art worth admiring. What’s great about that is you don’t have to ‘seek out’ any of these photo opportunities. It’s literally all around you at all times. For a photographer it can be overwhelming, the temptation to try and capture it all, but I was pretty good about shooting in spurts and then putting my camera away for a bit.
If you run out of things to admire in any given room you enter, simply look up. There’s a good chance the ceiling will end up being the most beautiful thing in the room.
This is a photograph of a busy Sunday in the wonderful neighborhood we stayed in. I’d love to take credit for choosing the Marais but it was quite a bit of chance. From the minimal research we did on the different neighborhoods of Paris we were able to eliminate those in which we did NOT want to stay. Out of the remaining areas, the Marais became our choice mainly because I fell in love with the apartment we rented, which I found using Haven in Paris. As luck would have it, the perfect choice. I simply cannot recommend this area enough. The boutiques, the restaurants, the markets, the location…we just loved it.
Here are some iPhone shots from our apartment and neighborhood…with notes:
-Winding Apartment Staircase- -Stalking Jon from Living Room- –Best Falafel in Paris. The sign said so.- -Nightly Ritual-
–Best Gelato in Paris. Again…the sign said so.-
Finishing the tour of our neighborhood, below is a photo of our go to breakfast spot which was right down the street from our apartment. Cafe Creme and a chocolate croissant to start every day, as God (should have) intended.
We won the lottery with a metro stop right outside our front door and if instead we chose to walk anywhere, the path usually brought us right up the street past the Seine and the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Speaking of……talk about being transported to another world. I challenge anyone to walk into that building and not be completely overwhelmed both visually and emotionally. It instantly feels magical and there is absolutely NO WAY to capture its enormity nor beauty with a camera. Forgive my feeble attempts.First of all, the building is stunning from the outside. Very gothic and almost ominous, especially on the gloomy day we went. It also pays to keep in mind that construction on this behemoth was started in 1163. Mind boggling.
You walk out of the chaotic streets of Paris, in through the massive doors, and an immediate hush and cool falls around you. Then slowly your senses begin to take it all in, your eyes rise up and up and up and then your jaw drops and you stand there frozen for about 10 minutes. It’s such a cool moment, possibly worth the trip to Paris in itself.
Sigh. It was so beautiful. THAT VIEW. That’s why you feel like you’re on a movie set.
We could never get our fill of that view, but we had to make room for other tourists, so we headed down. On the way down I ran into the infamous ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ so that was pretty cool. : )Notre Dame was one of our fist stops and was definitely one of many trip highlights.
We’ll never forget it.
Another thing I’ll never forget are the macarons from the famous Laudureè.
The beautiful pale pink one in the bottom corner was called Rose and it was my favorite. These macarons don’t simply taste like the flavor they are, they smell like it too, and when you put them in your mouth they do some weird ‘invade your brain’ thing where it’s as if you’re eating the exact thing they’re supposed to taste like. Bizarre. In a delicious way. I would have bought out the entire store but they’re were about $5 a piece and only stayed fresh for a couple days. Now that we’re back and I’ve had time to reflect, it’s impossible for me to choose a ‘favorite’ thing we did. However, before we went, I was definetely looking forward to Palais Garnier the most. Jon had to drag me out of there before I photographed every square foot of the building. It was exquisite. Again…not a museum. People still get to attend ballet and opera there! I would love to experience that. It’s perhaps the most famous opera house in the world, partly due to its use as the setting for the 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera. It was also used in the 1986 Phantom of the Opera film. It’s ridiculously beautiful.
As usual, the ceilings were absurd. I had a neck ache by the time we left. Also, I didn’t have the right lens with me to capture the enormous
ceilings works of art on my camera, so we used our iPhones to try and get them all in one frame.
Well, this is where I’ll bid you adieu for now. I’ve got part two coming soon.
Yes, I have more photos! Don’t act so shocked. I’ll be taking you through the Louvre, to Versailles and down more Parisian streets. Thanks for reading!