“Say you’ll remember me, standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset.”
– Taylor Swift
Paris was a surreal experience, not at all what I had expected. Most of what I was expecting were cliches from movies and things people had warned me about. Instead, I found that the people were welcoming and friendly, even if I couldn’t speak a lick of French. The food was amazing, gimme all the croissants, coffee and duck! Paris felt safe, even though due to recent attacks it is easy to think otherwise.
What made Paris unforgettable was that I spent most of my time outdoors, writing in the gardens, walking the cobblestone streets, biking the grounds of Versailles, and being surrounded by a language that I did not understand. It was almost like being invisible. Parisans could have been talking to me, and I wouldn’t realize it until I heard a repetitive “madame.”
One thing I love is being outside (when it is warm). The second thing I love is rain. My memories of Paris are filled with moments spent outside, in the warmth of the sun, and getting caught in the rain once or twice. It was magical and beautiful.
If you are planning a trip to Paris soon, I would say yes, go visit those museums (even though I didn’t) and go shopping (I did). But also slow down, enjoy the city, chat with a local, sit in the gardens and offer to take photos for other tourists. These are a few of the things I did and things I would recommend doing. A quick shout out to everyone who provided me tips for my trip. You helped me create some beautiful and wonderful memories of a gorgeous city and country.
- Take the Eurostar from London to Paris. It is super quick and superfast! It is a fun experience. Also splurge on the extra comfy seats and if someone you don’t know sits across from you, take out the headphones, and strike up a conversation! I met the nicest girl, who happens to also write stories! Hi Naomi. 🙂
- Take a boat tour of the city. My first night in Paris, I scheduled a boat tour on the Seine, and it was the best introduction to the city. 30 minutes before the tour the sun was out bright, and it didn’t look like a storm was coming, but literally right as we were pulling out the rain began to fall. I would not let the rain keep me from seeing Paris, so eventually I made my way to the dock, stood in the rain and, although soaked, observed Paris. The storm eventually passed and I was greeted with the most beautiful pink and purple sunset. It is probably my favorite memory of my time in Paris. While a few people asked if they could come back the next night, I knew that usually the best sunsets usually come after a storm, so I stayed on. Luckily, I was right, and I was given that gorgeous sunset. I booked a tour with Vedettes du Pont Neuf.
- Take the city bus to explore. My AirBnB hostess was the best! She gave me very clear directions on how to navigate the city. One suggestion was to take Bus 20, which picked me up in front of her home and took me to see Notre Dame, the Jardin Du Luxembourg, the Arc de Triomphe, and more! It was a way better view than the metro.
- Go on a bike tour of Versailles. This was recommended to me by my dentist’s assistant. During a teeth cleaning, right before my trip, she learned that I was going to Paris and highly recommended a bike tour. It was a fantastic idea! On this tour, I was able to meet other US tourists, and have a conversation in English (and without the guilty feeling). Not only did we get to bike the grounds of Versailles together, but we picnicked on the grounds of Versailles together, sharing our wine! Before the tour, the guide takes the group to a market where we could purchase cheese, baguettes, fruit, coffee, and wine! Then, we bike the grounds of the château and eventually find a spot to picnic together. I enjoyed the biking more than seeing the actual château. DO THIS PLEASE!
- Unwind with some wine and (Ladurée) macaroons! This was a suggestion given to me by a friend who has been to Paris multiple times. She raved about the macaroons and I had to give it a shot. They are really, really so good, you need to try it yourself!
- Berthillon Glacier. This high-end ice cream shop was recommended to me by my ABNB hostess. She told me to get there early because there is usually a line out the door. I did. I think I got there before lunch and it was just starting to get busy. Ugh, so good.
- Sit in the Jardins and take it all in. This was my favorite. I sat and wrote. I sat and people watched. I sat and prayed. Paris has some pretty spectacular gardens.
Last but not least, go see the Eiffel tower sparkle! Go early and wait for golden hour. I went in my nice dress and stared at the sunset.
This is how I hope Paris will remember me.
This is how I will remember Paris.