As you might have guessed if you read this blog, I don’t usually fall in love at first sight with big cities (Brussels, Barcelona, for example). Chicago and London are two of my favorite places in the world, but I love them partly because they are familiar and comfortable. I know them, and even as I try to visit new sites within them, I also have my favorite places, restaurants, shops, and streets.
When we first visited Paris in 2011, I wasn’t prepared to love it. I thought it was a “must see” place, I’d see the big sites, and I would check it off my list. And then on the first, rainy February night, the Eiffel Tower got all sparkly on me, and I was completely taken with this city. This trip has been no different.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon, and after a quick trip to the store and dinner in our apartment, we headed to (where else?) the Eiffel Tower. And things were all sparkly again.
Jane Anne and I hung out on the second level while Bill and Molly went all the way to the top. From both vantage points, it was a gorgeous view of the City of Lights.
Sunday morning we started our first full day in the city. (And as it turns out, most of the city’s attractions are free on the first Sunday of the month!) As we planned this trip, we tried to mix new experiences and some of our favorites from before. Molly doesn’t remember much of the last trip, so she’s wanted to make sure to re-see some of Paris’ highlights, too. We started our day, just a few blocks from our apartment, climbing all 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Of course, we’d seen the Arc last time, but we hadn’t visited it. The girls had researched all about it and filled us in on plenty of fun information.
From there, we walked to the Louvre (also free), taking in the Champs-Élysées, sampling macaroons, reenacting beheadings at Place de la Concorde (site of many French Revolution executions), strolling through the Jardin des Tuileries, and sampling crêpes, before making it to the Louvre.
The Louvre is huge. HUGE. And as much as my people love art museums, there are only so many pieces of art you can take in before getting some museum fatigue. So we opted for the highlights tour. On our last trip there, we’d missed “Venus de Milo,” so we started with her lovely form and worked our way through centuries of art (including Mona, of course) to “Liberty Leading the People,” a piece Jane Anne really wanted to see.
Meanwhile, Molly had her own highlights (lowlights?) tour. She had my camera for much of the visit, and there are lots of and lots of pictures like this. The Louvre has lots to offer in this department.
It was a perfect first day in Paris. We walked back to the apartment for dinner, tired, but still so in love with this city.