Paris. The City of Love. The City of Light.
I think every little girl has some sort of romantic idea about Paris. I know I did.
The reality of Paris, though, can be a bit different.
Paris is big. Paris is crowded. Paris can, at times, be a bit smelly and standoffish.
But, even though I didn't fall head over heels for the city, I actually was pleasantly surprised by Paris.
Yes, Paris is big. But the Metro makes it easy to get around (just don't inhale too deeply).
Yes, Paris is crowded, but there are parts of the city you can retreat to in order to to escape the crowds.
Yes, Parisians can look down their noses at you if you don't speak French, but, really, who cares? Get over it and enjoy the Paris experience. You can get around fine without speaking any language at all.
I went into Paris knowing all the stereotypes and having heard all the warnings. But I was determined to not let any of them influence how I saw and experienced Paris for the first time. This was MY trip, after all.
And, because it was my trip, I actually didn't end up doing a lot of the most touristy things in Paris.
- I didn't see the Mona Lisa.
- I didn't go inside Notre Dame.
- I didn't visit the catacombs.
- I didn't go to a show at the Moulin Rouge.
- I didn't even go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Instead, I skipped the lines (and hefty prices) and did only what I was interested in.
- I SAW all the famous monuments, just from the outside.
- I did multiple walking tours around different Parisian neighborhoods.
- I took an evening cruise on the Seine.
- I wandered through Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
- I saw Paris from the top of the Montparnasse Tower.
- A ate at the “Amelie” cafe.
Here's a glimpse into MY Paris:
I saw everything famous from the outside:
I watched the sun set at the Louvre instead of waiting in a line to get inside:
I wandered the pretty streets of Montmartre:
I went looking for love:
I strolled through gardens:
I tread quietly over graves:
I saw Paris from above:
I took a sunset cruise on the Seine:
And, yes, I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, too (I had to!):
It's true that my trip to Paris was a little less touristy than it could have been. But it was perfect for ME — and it leaves a lot to be done next time!
Which of these things would you do/not do in Paris?
Also, big thanks to GoWithOh for fixing me up with a cute Paris apartment for my stay in the city!