I fall somewhere in between being a homebody and travel lover. I love my home but boy do I love to be miles and miles away, breathing new air, taking in new smells, new sounds, new people, new architecture. Home is where I’m safe, where I’m able to workshop ideas, create, log some serious working hours. Travel is when I experience magic, I dream, I fall in love, I see differently, it’s uncomfortable and in the very best way.
Michael and I were both in our undergrad. Michael grew up traveling with his family but I had never been out of the country. We both talked about the importance of traveling together and traveling with our “future families” while we were dating. It was something we both found value in. So when we found really, really affordable tickets to Paris, we couldn’t resist. We purchased the tickets in February and the trip fell over Christmas, so we had almost an entire year of planning and built up excitement. As we got really close to leaving, it didn’t even feel real. I couldn’t believe we were actually going to Paris.
This is my beautiful Auntie Alexia. She was a ballerina and world traveler and was always ahead of the trends, she was independent, stunning, dedicated, hardworking, and most of all, Paris was her favorite. She lost her life after battling breast cancer. But I keep pictures of her close (taped up next to my bed, to be specific) and remind myself often of why I look up to her so much. Part of me wishes so hard for just one opportunity to travel with her, but when Michael and I went to Paris, I felt her close.
She is my continuing inspiration for following my dreams pursing the arts and traveling to new places. I don’t know how to accurately depict just how often she traveled, but I really do believe she was out in the world way more often than she was ever home. The world was home to her. She was never comfortable (lol, anyone who has ever taking a ballet class knows that ballet is the opposite of comfortable).
Arriving In Paris
We landed in the morning on December 23rd. I’ll spare you the details on our treacherous trip from the airport to the airbnb but Michael and I were happy to be alive. We stayed awake as long as we could that first day to try and get acclimated to the time change. That first evening we wandered the streets close to our place, went searching for bread, and we quickly found out that our apartment was across from a Burlesque so we were able to enjoy the lights and music from across the courtyard.
Notre Dame Neighbors
We stayed so close to the Notre Dame. We walked by it every morning and every evening. I’m so grateful for those walks, especially now. Christmas Eve was relaxing, we wandered again. Exploring the streets close to our apartment. We took a nap and then headed to the Notre Dame for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. Michael had never been to a Catholic Mass before and neither of us had ever experienced mass in the Notre Dame. It was magical, truly magical. I can still remember the smell of the oil, the sound of the choir, where we sat.
Crepes were important. But I’ll be honest, they aren’t my first choice. Neither are macarons. I also don’t love Nutella (covers face and hides forever). I much prefer really good bread and butter, but when in Paris! More roaming. We also found the BEST boulangerie that had the most amazing salami and butter baguette sandwiches that I still dream about.
Our Paris Treats
Michael surprised me with a tea time at a beautiful hotel, The Peninsula Paris, with a pastry tasting. That was amazing. We went to Angelina for french onion soup and the hot chocolate. Went to Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, among a few other tourist attractions. All were incredible.
One of the highlights from the trip was when we headed out of Paris to the most amazing antique shops. There were all of these lockers, for lack of a better word, with the most amazing furniture, paintings, collectables. I specifically remember one filled with these beautiful, oil paintings. There was a painting with little rabbits in a field. There was something so special about it. The cost of the painting was more than what we spent on our entire trip and I had no idea how I would even get it home, so I didn’t buy it. But, almost 3 years later, I still think about that painting and how I wish I could hang it in my nursery one day. So, don’t make the same mistake I did and if you find art you connect with, don’t let it go.
Our Journey Concludes
As an overview, we walked. I think we calculated that we averaged 18 miles a day. We found a burger place that I think about all the damn time, Le Russia Burger Joint. The best fries. Seriously, we went to Paris and found American food haha. We ate our way around the city looking for the best baguettes and croissants. Walked miles as we wandered back streets, tried to find hidden, local gems, froze our asses off (I’m telling you, I’ve never been so cold before). We tried to find meaningful souvenirs to bring back and collected a few beautiful baby items. At every chance, we drank lots of Coca Lite- the European Diet Coke that is far superior to diet coke- and European Twix and Kit Kats. We discovered that the french Caesar salad is not the same as the American one.
We tried to speak as much French as we possibly could. Really challenged ourselves, and mostly failed. And most of all, we dreamed. We enjoyed the trip we were on, but also used it to help us think outside of the box, to propel us to be able to take more trips, dreamt of traveling with our future babies. I’m sure I’m leaving out pieces that I’m not meaning to. But I hope one day, I can come back to this, and be reminded of the sweet memories we made.
Thank you for coming on this little vacation with me! And I hope to go on many more together!
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