The city of lights is one of the most delicious places I have ever been. The sights were breathtaking, the food was amazing, and the experience was truly inspiring. Here are just a few of my favorite things about Paris…
1. Our first full day in the city we hit Disneyland Paris. You all know how much the Hackmans love Disney so we were more than a little excited. Honestly, it was like being at Disneyland in an alternate universe. It was Disney, but a little different. We loved experiencing some of the changes. Dan’s favorite ride was Ratatouille – it was an amazing 3D ride where you say on what I have compared to a giant air hockey puck. The ride had no visible track and was so smooth! It blew our minds. I loved Phantom Manor – their version of the Haunted Mansion. It was so different from the ride in the states! There is this whole eerie storyline that was actually kind of scary. I loved getting to see a whole new version of my favorite ride. The people there were so nice, the lines weren’t very long, and the weather was perfect. Of course, it was a magical day.
2. Prior to our trip, my friend Ali passed on an epic list from a friend who had lived in Paris. This epic list was three places to find the most delicious desserts in the city. The best place for hot chocolate, the best place for crepes, and the best place for macaroons. I was all about this list so I made it my goal to get to all three. Well, mission accomplished. We enjoyed yummy macaroons of all flavors at the original Laduree, inhaled the most yummy crepes at Le Petit Josselin, and talked nonstop about the hot chocolate and dessert we experienced at Angelina. Yes, experienced. Food in France is an experience and I only want to eat there ever. Angelina was our favorite of the three. The dessert we had might have been the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I will dream about it from now on.
3. The museums and historical building in Paris definitely have a spot on my list – the imposing towers of Notre Dame, the magnificence of Versailles, the eerie macabre of the Catacombs, commemorations like the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde, and the timeless art held in the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay. Each one so singular and important to France’s history. Versailles was so interesting to me because most of the decor in the rooms was not original. They were replicas or pieces from that time, but not belonging to the royal family. This was so different than England where every piece has been painstakingly saved for centuries, but, of course, France’s history and monarchy took a much different turn than England. The French Revolution saw the upheaval of their monarchy and with it most of the items belonging to the royal family which would be priceless today. I was so fascinated by this! It was also pretty amazing to see the works of artists like Monet, van Gogh, Dali, and da Vinci. It was like an other worldly experience. I feel like this trip just rejuvenated my interest in history and art.
4. We had a ton of great recommendations from friends, but my favorite would have to be Le Refuge des Fondus. This tiny restaurant was just down the street from our flat in Montmarte. We were some of the first to arrive for their 7:00 PM opening. After hanging up our coats I was asked to step up on a chair so I could step over the table to the bench! Thank goodness I had been warned ahead of time. They seated us right next to the only other people in the restaurant so the four of us decided we should introduce ourselves if we were going to be having dinner together. They were a lovely couple visiting from London, and we all hit it off! We had an amazing time cooking our own steak and potatoes in the hot oil and drinking wine out of glass baby bottles (yes, baby bottles of wine!). The food was delicious and the company was even better. After dinner, we signed our names on some money to be put on the wall with all the others hanging in the restaurant. Then the four of us decided to set off in search of the Moulin Rouge. Once we found it we took a few photos in front and laughed at how absurdly expensive it was to get in. Then we jammed out to a band playing 90’s american rock at a bar next door. We finished the night with some hot chocolate and exchanging info so that we might see them again some day. It was so fun to make friends in a new place! You just never know where you will meet some awesome people. I can’t wait to go back to Le Refuge des Fondus!
5. The Eiffel Tower is spectacular. We debated going up into it, but what we really wanted to see from a great height was the Eiffel Tower. We ended up across the city at the top of Montparnasse Tower – the tallest building in Paris. The top floor is 500 meters above the streets below with a fabulous panoramic view, and wow… Paris really is the city of lights. We drank champagne and watched the Eiffel Tower as is began to sparkle. It was stunning! Magical really. Of course, it helps when you have someone special to share it with. That moment will stay locked away in my heart for years to come.
What an adventure it was! Overall, Paris ended up being so relaxing, so romantic. Everything about it made my heart sing. It’s taken me so long to write about our trip because that really means it’s over. For the last month I feel like I’ve still been gone. I suppose it’s time to get back to real life… and to planning our next trip. There is so much of this world I can’t wait to explore.