Europe Week Twelve: Paris
Paris! The place of love and dreams and fashion and everything beautiful. I flew into France from Austria on a Wednesday night and met up with my friend Mia, who took me out to Asian food (oh how much I missed that in Europe) and planned out a full first-time tourist schedule for my three days of stay in the magical City of Lights.
The next morning we navigated a series of buses and trains and arrived in the heart of Paris. Starting at Pont Alexandre III, we wandered through the peaceful Tuileries Garden, took pictures on Pont Neuf, obsessed over giant clocks at Musee d'Orsay, dined at the underground McDonald's at Carrousel, ran through the Louvre in the last hour before it closed (hurray for free student admission), walked along Champs-Elysees, enjoyed macarons at Laduree, climbed up to the Arc de Triomphe, and caught the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night. On Friday morning (of the tragic 13th of November), we lived our Taylor Swift dreams on Ile Saint-Louis, gawked at the Notre Dame, bought berets and everything Eiffel Tower at souvenir shops, and dined fancy and French at a brasserie.
That Friday afternoon Mia and I went our separate ways as she headed home and I took the train out of the city to visit my Aunt's family in gorgeous Triel-sur-seine. After meeting my French uncle and 4-year-old cousin, I enjoyed a home-cooked meal and my aunt invited me to stay over for the night; it was too late to be heading back to the city. And it's in moments like these I thank the heavens for blessing me with fortunate circumstances, as I laid in bed all night on my phone reading every news article detailing the horrible things happening in the city. My heart will always go out to those who lost their innocent lives or a loved ones in the wake of the tragedies that struck Paris that night. (Read my thoughts here.)
The next two days, I stayed with my aunt and took peaceful walks around the quaint commune, catching sight of swans swimming down the Seine as my cousin Augustin collected leaves and made gifts for me out of Play-Doh. On Sunday I safely made it back to Paris to grab my stuff at Mia's and flew back to home sweet Rome.
It was magical trip. Despite not getting to finish my ambitious sightseeing city tour, I was fortunate enough to see as much as I did in Paris and be in the right place at the right time to avoid the catastrophe. The attacks certainly shed light on something so much bigger than myself and jolted me out of my self-centered frame of mind. Paris is so much more than pretty postcards and a pointy tower. It's history, culture, architecture, a united people with so much love for their city.
Last but not least, shoutout to Mia for housing me and cooking for me and showing me around and taking a gazillion pictures of me, and dealing with my feeble yet relentless attempts to speak French (or at least read it). Hope you're doing well over there and enjoy your amazing year in Paris.
Au revoir, Paris. À la prochaine!
(Yeah, I Googled that.)