Living a Parisian Dream: Part I

Paris. The City of Lights. The City of Love. Whatever name one might refer to this city, I think we can all agree on one thing: it sure is a magical place.

What is it about this city that makes you feel as if you’ve somehow escaped the ordinary and have been transported to a beautiful dream? I could never pinpoint the exact reason, but there was something about this city that made me feel different. More relaxed. More at ease. More open. Maybe it was the intimacy of the city. Or the communal feel I’d sense as I strolled down the streets. I don’t know exactly. All I know is I fell in love with this city. With the people. With the food. With the culture. With the architectural icons. Completely and utterly head-over-heels in love. And thanks to the warm embrace this city greeted us with as we arrived, our time in Paris was truly one of the best weeks of my entire life.

I’m so excited to share more of our visit to this incredible city. But be warned, there are A LOT of photos. Like a ton. So, just like with Berlin and Amsterdam, I’ve decided to break up this Paris summary into several posts. And, I’ll also be sharing a mini film Derek created of our time here. I’ve been wanting to post this video for quite some time now, so I’m really excited to finally share it. Be on the lookout for that in the coming week! But for now, it’s time to get scrolling. Round one, here we go…

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Of course, when you’re in Paris you’ve got to make it up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We wasted no time checking that off our bucket list, as that was the first thing we did. It was a bit rainy while standing in line, but thankfully, by the time we made it up to the very top, Mother Nature had cleared the skies of any form of precipitation.

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As we stood atop the Iron Lady’s shoulders, we took in the most beautiful views. The thin layer of haze left from the morning rain gave the city an even more mystical feel.

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So get this — the city was experiencing some serious flooding while we were there. You could tell even the locals were shocked at the high level of the river water.

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All the sidewalks along the river were completely hidden by the murky water. It really was so crazy to see.

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Good thing we didn’t have a river cruise planned, as all tours were halted because of the flooding. The water was so high the boats couldn’t even pass through under the bridges.

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We quickly found out Paris is a treasure chest full of inspiration. Big or small, there were new things to discover around every corner. No matter which direction our feet lead us, we constantly had to remind each other to look up, as there was so much to see and absorb.

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Ah, and the walkups. Because so many of the buildings are hundreds of years old, very few of them have elevators. Which, for me, was a blessing in disguise since I always had an excuse to eat that extra croissant without feeling the heavy weight of guilt!

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But, once we made it up the five flights of winding stairs, it was all worth it once we were inside our apartment. This teeny-tiny Airbnb was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. We called it our little toaster. The ceilings were low. (Derek seriously had to bend down to maneuver around!) We were cramped. Yet, somehow the coziness of this studio made us oblivious to the lack of space.

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I was fascinated by so much in this city, but in particular with the sidewalk cafe scene. Rows of tiny tables facing the streets, occupied by lively crowds of chatter and laughter. It was very much quintessential Paris.

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Ah, and all the bakeries. Why did everything taste so fresh and so much better here!? Baguettes. Croissants. Scones. More baguettes. You name the carb and I can guarantee I stuffed my fast with it at least once.

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Oh, and the crepe shops. Don’t even get me started on these gateways to heaven. Sweet, savory, whatever your taste-buds desire, these artisans could make you a crepe out of it. And there would be no doubt that it would be absolutely delicious.

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Of all the flavors Paris has to savor, for me, nothing was as sweet as discovering a hidden courtyard. Fortunately, this thrill of discovery laid all over these city streets. Even though thousands of feet had most likely stepped where we’d just landed, at this moment, we couldn’t help to feel as if we were the first to uncover these hidden treasures.

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One of my favorite moments during our time in Paris was seeing the Louvre lit up at night. We decided to head to the museum straight after dinner to try and see if we could catch the sunset.

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Our fast pace paid off, as we arrived right when sky was lit with the last rays of sun and the most beautiful shade of orange lined the horizon.

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Apparently, just because the sun sets there is still about a good hour before the sky turns total darkness. We hadn’t received this memo, so we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Until finally we started to get a bit goofy and delusional…

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After some long chats and giggles, darkness finally spread through the sky and one by one, the pyramids started lighting up.

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The way the gold lighting illuminated the glass pyramids  was just stunning.

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Looking back, I couldn’t have imagined a more romantic setting. The soaring pyramids. The stone courtyard. The reflections on the fountains’ waters. It was all beautiful.

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The next morning we woke up to explore some of the amazing flower markets lining the streets. Every time we stumbled across one, a smile would immediately take over my face. From the freshest smells to the brightest colors, I simply can never get enough of these markets.

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Ah, and the bright doors. So many graced the streets of Paris and I absolutely loved it. How can you not smile when you walk past a colorful door!? If you ask me, I think colored doors should be mandatory. The brighter, the better.

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And while we’re in the process of creating new rules, let’s also add that at least one building should be painted a colorful shade on each street. If this were to happen, I believe the world would be a bit happier. Especially considering how happy I was when stumbling upon this pink cutie below…

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One morning, we gave ourselves an early wake-up call to head down to Notre Dame. Thankfully, our Airbnb was in a rather central location and this was only a five-minute walk. While the early rising wasn’t the greatest, seeing the cathedral being illuminated by the morning light was just gorgeous.

Both Derek and I were really excited to explore this particular Notre Dame since we had just visited the one in Reims. As expected, it was just as magnificent. We stood outside for quite some time simply admiring the detailed facade.

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As soon as we entered the threshold of inside the cathedral, we instantly became awestruck.  We were lost for words with the beauty this cathedral bestowed. What an incredible place to worship. I couldn’t help but feel so blessed as I walked slowly around the inside perimeter, embracing every aspect of this grand masterpiece.

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And, there you have it. Our first few days in Paris were packed to the brim with walking, exploring, and discovering. Oh, and of course, eating. I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos, as I can’t wait to share the rest of the posts with you very soon!

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If you’re interested in reading more about our time in Europe, be sure to click here!

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