Saturday, May 16

Jour 1 à Paris: A Trip to Remember

There is something magical about waking up in a foreign city, especially if that city is none other than the breath-taking and romantic Paris. I've spent my first day in Paris, France and I can't even begin to explain the excitement I have for this trip. I can't believe that yesterday I was sitting in an airport in the States and today I woke up here- the mecca of fashion, romance, and the most amazing food in the world. 

This trip isn't just any trip overseas, it happens to be my birthday trip! My mom, my cousin Kelly and I have traveled to France to spend my birthday in a place that I have been obsessed with as long as I can remember. Talk about a dream… I still can't believe I'm here. 

Mom and I rendezvoused with Kelly in Philadelphia on Friday afternoon and we boarded our evening flight to Paris. We spent the time watching movies, reading and attempting to sleep although it doesn’t sound like any of us go much sleep. Due to delays in Philadelphia we were quite late getting into Paris which wouldn’t have been a big concern except the fact that we had a car service picking us up from the airport. Luckily the guy had been tracking our flight and was still there to pick us up. I would definitely recommend reserving a car service for an international trip if you don’t plan on renting a car- it can be about the same cost of a taxi especially if you split the fare and there’s just a peace of mind knowing someone’s waiting for you and will help you to the car.

The driver took us to our apartment but along the way drove us past some of the most iconic landmarks in Paris like the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Elysee. Then we turned a corner and there she was- the Eiffel Tower. It was like a movie really. Suddenly the iconic structure of Paris stood in all her glory for us to see. I’ll never forget that moment.

Our apartment was wiggled back on Rue Casimir in the 7th arrondsiment off of the main Saint-Germain Boulevard. The street was quiet and residential but had a café nestled on either side of the street. The most wonderful part however was a wonderful cathedral- not a church, not a chapel- a full blown cathedral stood outside our apartment. A garden with colorful flowers and a gravel courtyard was proudly displayed in the front and people sat on park benches napping and reading; could it be more idyllic?

Our apartment is amazing. The little guy from VRBO met us at the door and showed us around the space. He pointed out different appliances, instructed us how to start the washing machine and cooktop and a few other housekeeping items before he left us to our little Parisian apartment. The whole apartment is white, cream, grey and beige. The wooden floor is outlined in a chevron pattern and is old and creaky and charming. There are two bedrooms along with large wardrobes and a wonderfully luxurious bathroom. The kitchen and main living area are all in one creating a nice open concept…and the kitchen hides neatly behind cabinet doors and disappears. The ceiling has a wonderful medallion and charming details that just add to the character of this old apartment.

After unpacking a few items and freshening up we realized that we were pretty hungry as we hadn’t ate breakfast or much our ‘dinner’ on the plane last night. We set off for our first adventure in Paris: lunch.

We had no clue where to go so we just walked around until we found a café and stopped in there. My first attempt at French- yikes. Okay it wasn’t that bad but it still makes me a little nervous to speak a foreign language that I really don’t know that well; luckily for me though ‘food’ was my favorite subject to learn to speak! I managed to order us all croque-monsieur’s, sparkling water and salads. The food was okay, definitely not the best thing we’ve ate considering it’s really just a glorified cheese and ham sandwich! Ha. However it was something, and something is better than nothing.

We wandered around the streets of Saint-Germain to look for a bookshop to buy an updated map but didn’t want to get too lost yet since we still weren’t familiar with the area. We found a bookstore, bought a map, stopped into the local corner boulangerie for pastries and then decided to head back to the apartment to regroup and figure out what to do the rest of the afternoon.
Well regrouping ended up being taking a quick hour nap on the couches in the family room; mom and I completely passed out. Luckily we set alarms before we fell asleep and after a short nap to reenergize, we decided to head out to the Eiffel Tower area and maybe grab a drink. Le Tourville is a café mom had been to before, a typical French outdoor café with lots of tables and chairs. We grabbed a table and ordered mojitos…the most amazing mojito I’ve ever had in my life. There I was, sipping a mojito in a sidewalk café in Paris on the most beautiful and sunshiney day. Wow, it was amazing.

After another round of mojitos we walked towards the Eiffel Tower and again, out of nowhere, you come upon her. I get this weird giddy feeling every time, I’m not sure if that view could ever get old. It’s just so magnificent and beautiful and iconic. The park was covered with people walking, running, sitting on park benches, walking their pets and just socializing with friends- so French! I don’t even know how long we walked around the area and enjoyed the views but eventually we had to start making our way back to apartment.
We did stop for dinner and a café across the street from Le Tourville called Le Terrasse 7. The café had red velvet chairs and small bistro tables and really was a pretty atmosphere. After dinner we managed to find our way home and even saw Madame Eiffel sparkle for the first time- ah, so romantic.

I still can’t believe I’m in Paris. As I lay here in bed tonight it’s a surreal feeling to know that I’m going to go to sleep in Paris and wake up in Paris. I’m on absolute cloud nine to be here and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top this birthday.