For me, 2013 will be highlighted by memories of one amazing event. Because of the generosity of an wonderful friend, I was able to accompany my husband on a business trip to Paris. As my friends and family know, I am cursed when it comes to traveling. However, this trip (my first to Europe), went of without a hitch.
Not being savvy with such significant jet lag, my body, and more importantly, my tummy, were all out of whack. I learned later that I likely didn’t hydrate or eat properly to stave off the effects of an eight hour time difference. My first night and full day in Paris were wasted as I recovered in our hotel room and I pecked on fruit and bread, anything else sounded none too appetizing. Lesson here is to plan accordingly. Next time, I will pack more protein rich foods on the plane and skip the celebratory glass of wine for water. Sleep is also your friend on these long flights. I kept telling this fact to my brain but it kept reminding me that we were flying over open ocean, and there wasn’t any way in hell it was going to let me sleep. Maybe an all-niter the day before is the answer there. Otherwise, it’s Prince Valium for me.
Once I had caught up on sleep and was feeling well enough to venture out, I put on my walking boots and headed up the block to the nearest Metro station. The Paris Metro is a dream to use and I found it to be safe, clean, and tourist friendly. Also, I had an app for that which always helps. I was easily able to get to every attraction with only one change of trains. Piece of cake!
I stepped off of the Metro and emerged onto the street. After walking a few blocks, I found myself crossing the Pont de la Concorde. Looking to the left, I caught my first real glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The River Seine was flowing under my feet, and I felt like a citizen of the world!
On the other side of the Pont de la Concorde, I found the Place de la Concorde, the Obelisk Napoleon took from Egypt, and one of the Place de la Concorde Fountains
I wandered up the street along the Seine with my Lonely Planet; Pocket Paris guidebook and map in hand and my eyes taking in every site they could. It was cool for September, and the breeze smelled like rain and croissants. The streets were crowded with pedestrians. I felt like a kid at Christmas. My vintage Italian leather boots were taking me closer to a place I had dreamed of since I started commandeering my stepmother’s Vogue magazines in the early 1990s. With a mixture of awed excitement and intimidated fear, I was strolling through the fashion capitol of the world.
That night after my husband was finished with his work day, I took him to see everything I had discovered. I donned my tennis shoes (thanks, giant blister) and we headed out. We strolled, and ate a wonderful meal, and braved Parisian traffic. We even found Laudree!
First day in Paris = FTW magic that made me want to move there. On the way back to my hotel, I got caught in the rain. Smartly dressed women in heels dashed by, their umbrellas shielding them from the fall storm. I ducked under the Pont Alexandre III Bridge to wait out the rain. A few locals were there too, trying to stay dry. I couldn’t help but think about all the people who had done this over the decades since the bridge opened in 1900. The moment was perfectly romantic, and so picturesque it was almost cliche. Somehow, it was reassuring to discover that something so cliche could actually be real. And beautiful. You think it only exists in a movie, but no, you can experience it yourself.
I leave you with the sound of the rain sprinkling the Seine in the shadow of the Pont Alexandre III Bridge. Au revoir until part Deux!