When I quit Starbucks last month, I rejoiced at the fact that I wouldn’t have to set my alarm for 3am anymore. Somehow, only a few weeks later, I found myself using the same alarm. I suppose though, since it was to get ready for our day trip to PARIS, I could make a small exception.
Mom and I were out of the hotel by 4:30am (sorry gramma and gramps!) and sitting on the Eurostar by 6:30, ready to go. While we did end up sleeping for most of the way, the Chunnel is a super cool way to travel between London and Paris. Essentially, it was a lot of black… But we did get the chance to see some of the French countryside.
I have a bit of a strange relationship with the city of Paris. I am totally in love with the Eiffel Tower and other architecture throughout. My entire room is decorated with Paris ornaments, and I can’t pass a Paris paraphernalia without snatching it up.
The first time I was in Paris, it was at the end of my first trip to Europe, and it was the freest I’ve ever felt. My friends and I were teenagers, staying alone, navigating the metro system, going out at night, all in the romance of Paris. It’s hard to not fall in love.
The second time I went to Paris, I was with my grandma. It was at the end of a total whirlwind tour of Western Europe. We were exhausted. We were staying in the outskirts, it was dirty and dusty, and I couldn’t remember what the appeal had been. I left, in a way, disappointed. So the past 4 years since that last trip, I’ve tried to remember what it is that I loved so much, exactly. Was it just the IDEA, or was it the city itself?
Mom and I stepped out of the train station, got our first sight of the cute white buildings outside, cool breeze blowing through our hair… And it all rushed back. I was so happy to be back.
That day we climbed the Eiffel Tower and got the entire panorama of the city, another thing I had done the first trip, and not the second time. Mom and I took photos and took turns spotting different monuments from what feels like the top of the world. We then has crepes at the bottom, by the carousel, and people watched. I’ve wanted to go to Paris with my mom for nearly a decade, and that wish finally came true.
We spent the rest of the day hopping on and off a bus, passing by Notre Dame and the Louvre, wandering through flower shops, having pizza at the bottom of Mont Marte… It was pretty close to a perfect day.
Mom said she likes Paris, but isn’t sure she’s come back. And in a way, I understand. It is SO busy there. It is dirtier than they make you believe. French music doesn’t play on the streets unless it’s on your iPod, and tourists (like us) ruin the authenticity of the city. I could never live here.
But as we took the train away, and I got my final glimpses of my complicated love, I found myself already excited about the next time that I’d be in Paris, 7 weeks from that day. As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea.” And I think that the reason I always come back, is the magic of the city: the history of the romantics and the architects and the royalty and the lovers who have painted the town with a sparkle. A sparkle that surpasses simply what it looks and feels like today.
What do you think? Is Paris overrated? Or is it as beautiful as everyone always says?