It’s an indescribable feeling, the moment you land in a foreign country, and the moment I touched down in Paris I was overwhelmed with it. The sounds of unknown language, the food for sale, the signs, everything was new and set my excitement ablaze. My older sister (Jessica) and I met at the airport (I had to wait seven hours for her – another story for another day). My previous experience with public transportation was next to none, but I trusted my research and my instincts, and off we went. As we wound through the city, seeing parts of little towns that we would never reach, I was overcome with the beauty of the adventure and what it would be going forward.
We met my younger sister (Laura – who I call Lars) at the hotel. Our room was tiny and only added to the experience. Lars and I took off at once, wanting to explore the immediate area around our hotel, while Jessica rested. We were two giddy American girls, bouncing down the cobblestone streets, talking a mile a minute. We passed a pastry shop and got a loaf of bread because it felt right and laughed at how cliché it was. But we didn’t care and reveled in every second of it. This was one of my favorite moments. Everything about Paris surpassed my expectations and we hadn’t gone but a few blocks from the hotel. It felt perfect in every way.
It was busy, yet stunning, both out front and inside, when we got to Sacre-Coeur. But we were told to climb to the top, and that we’d understand when why when we got there. We found the entrance, got our tickets, and started our way up. It wasn’t long before we realized there was no one else doing this and we knew then that it would be an experience. Laughing filled the stairwell as my older sister yelled at Lars and me for making her come along. We wound up and up and up to the top. The stairwell was hardly shoulders breadth apart, the ceiling was low, and the spiral made it so you were felt you were spinning. After no less than 300 steps, we broke free into the dome overlooking a breathtaking view of Paris, and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. But the real beauty came unexpectedly as we looked over the city. There, written on a stone ledge, I saw one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite Beatles songs, and I knew, in that moment, that this was something I would never forget.
During our three days, we took quick metro rides into the most famous parts of Paris, each one more spectacular than the last. We had a cappuccino or café au lait every morning, along with our chocolate croissants. We wandered through the streets into churches and museums. We saw the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and spent a few hours in the Louvre (I could have spent the whole trip here). I left Paris sure of one thing; wherever you go there exists that feeling, an endless romance and beauty found on every corner and every street. Since this trip, I’ve added more than 15 cities to my list of places visited, but Paris will forever hold a special place in my heart.
I hope you are able to visit Paris and share in the magic too!