Inside the Fashion exhibit
My Dream Trip: Paris
Every day that I was there, we always had the schedule filled, but the first day was probably the busiest. After we went to the Arc de Triomphe, we walked around and even went shopping for a little bit. The best part was being able to make it to Laudree, a famous macaroon shop. The desert was delicious, but I decided to take my macaroons to go and have a chocolate cake instead. We also ended up taking a boat ride down the Seine and enjoyed seeing all the parts of Paris lit up.
The Cartier store lit up for Christmas
The Tower of Bastille
In the gardens with my mom
The gates of Versailles
The macaroons I purchased and the collectible box they came in (My favorites were the Marie Antoinette and Chocolate flavors).
The winding stairs up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
An adorable keepsake bag I got at Laudree.
Even the flooring in the Louvre was beautiful!
The center of Paris!
Paris in the rain
The next day was dedicated entirely to Versailles. We took the RER after having breakfast at a cute little cafe and spent the rest of the day there. It was enormously elaborate and beautiful. The gold detailing was everywhere. I was truly astonished at how much work went into building the palace. I hope the photos below can describe what I can't say with words.
On top of the Eiffel Tower
Ever since I was around five years old and started reading the books about Madeline, a young French girl going on adventures through Paris, I immediately knew I had to go there someday. I started saving money and dedicated my free time to looking up perfect destinations around the city. Finally, in July of 2015, I purchased my tickets and planned on traveling with my mom and a few of my aunts.
The delicous food served at Jules Verne!
Through my adventures in Paris, I felt like I learned so much about the fashion, culture, food, and maybe even a little bit of the language! I always noticed what the other young women were wearing and continue to think about it everyday as I get dressed. I noted how the French carried themselves and how they acted in public. I noted the popular trends and realized how different they were from America (oxfords, chunky scarfs, and felt hats were the biggest trends). Each day was a learning experience and I feel so blessed to have been able to go. The best thing I learned while over though, was that I knew I would be coming back.
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A mirror selfie in the hall of mirrors!
Van Gogh and Monet paintings
The view across from my hotel room.
Standing underneath the Arc de Triomphe.
The last day we were there was for the main event- the Eiffel Tower! Before we went there though, we actually ended up going by the Notre Dame again to get some better pictures (and then we went again at night to go by Shakespeare and Company!). Since I had always dreamed about eating lunch in the Eiffel Tower, when I heard about Jules Verne, the restaurant on the second level, I knew we had to go. After we ate, when I was standing on the top level of the Eiffel Tower, looking out onto the city, I knew then that it was no longer a dream and that I really was in Paris! I knew that if I could make it here, I could accomplish any dream and do anything I wanted. Paris truly is the city of light.
The outfit I wore walking around in Montmarte
The next day seemed to move slower than the others, like a still moment in time. The weather was very cold and rainy, but it made for beautiful photos and memories and I recommend that everyone see Paris in the rain if possible. We walked through the streets and made it to the Picasso museum. Photos weren't allowed, but you can check out the website here. We searched the streets and walked into a beautiful little restaurant for pasta and bread. I really enjoyed the food, but this was probably one of my favorite meals because I got to look out the window and watch as the raindrops fell and Parisian life continued around me. It felt like a movie. Later we stopped by a fashion museum and viewed the wardrobe of a French Countess. The rain was finally letting up in the evening, so went back to Champs-Elysees for a drink from Starbucks (we were constantly coming back to it because the coffee was delicious and it was so beautiful to look out into the street and see the Christmas lights) and climb to the Arc de Triomphe to see the street lit up at night.
November is already a low tourist point in the year for Paris, but going on a weekday and starting early in the morning really helped me to be able to see most of the museum, especially the Mona Lisa, without huge crowds in my way.
The next day was quite an event. We spent the majority of the day at the Louvre, and I was so excited to see the Mona Lisa. Of course the museum was huge and we weren't able to see all of it, but being able to stand in the middle of it all, absorbing all the history and artwork was absolutely astonishing. In all the art museums I've been to, there is nothing like being in the Louvre. Its overwhelmingly beautiful and indescribable. Hopefully the photos I have below can capture even a small fraction of what it's like to be there.
If I were to describe my trip in one word it would simply be "surreal". From the moment I got off the plane to being at the top of the Eiffel Tower, I still couldn't believe that I was living my dream. Every second I was there was a special moment in time that I will never forget. I can't pick a favorite thing that I did, mainly because each time I try I end up remembering something else, but the most remarkable moment would probably be the first hour I was there. I remember stepping out of the metro and onto the Champs-Elysees, looking directly at the Arc de Triomphe. We climbed the winding stairs to the top and looked out into the city. I was completely aghast at the beauty of it. I turned around and continued walking when I finally noticed the Eiffel Tower. Of course I had seen pictures and, in truth, spent the better half of the year studying travel tips on Pinterest, nothing could prepare me for the real thing. First of all, it was a lot more dramatic than I thought it would be. The Parisian skyline is something that is not justified by any movie, photo, description, or anything else. I was in absolute awe and still am when I think back.
We started off the next day by going to the Sacre Couer and walking around Montmarte. It was a beautiful and quaint little area of Paris that should definitely be seen if you have the time. The only warning that I would give is that there are a lot of vendors in the area that try to get tourists to buy expensive items that aren't worth it. Afterwords, we went to the Musee d'Orsay and viewed all the impressionist artwork. Although I enjoyed the Louvre, Paris impressionism is my favorite type of artwork and being able to see all the beautiful work by Van Gogh and Monet was a dream come true. I loved seeing them in person because the colors were much more vibrant and the texture of the paintings was visible. We also ended up eating at the cafe there and the quiche was delicious. Later we ended up stopping by the Sainte Chappelle. It was amazing to see how elaborate the stained glass was. The Notre Dame was next (yes, three churches in one day!) and even if you don't practice the Catholic faith, I do recommend that you sit in on a mass in order to get the full experience. We weren't able to climb to the top because of the weather, but we come back a few days later to get some amazing pictures.
After we went to the Louvre, we came back to the hotel to change and go out for dinner and then a show at none other than- The Moulin Rouge! We chose not to eat there because it added a large expense to the trip, but we did end up eating at a lovely Parisian restaurant directly across from it. The meal was meat, cheese, and bread- exactly what I had imagined Paris meals would be like. As for the show, it was absolutely spectacular! Some parts might not be considered appropriate for younger children, but it was still a unique experience. There is no where else in Paris, or the world, where you can see anything like it. And, if you're a big fan of the movie, its a must-see. I wasn't allowed to take photos of the performance area, but I did get a few of the building and the entrance.