Just the other weekend I enjoyed an experience that I have been waiting for for quite some time, all in the amazing company of my best friend. Paris, France has been a place that I have heard of in detail from members of my family, appreciated in pictures for years and have even caught glimpses of its enchantment in movies. Yet none of these have been able to depict the beauty and wonder of this amazing city. While at first I will admit that the Charlese de Gaulla airport was anything but appealing, and the outskirts of Paris lack the prestige of it’s city center, Paris still has not ceased to amaze me. I don’t know whether or not it was the surplus of immaculately dressed and handsome men who seemingly appeared out of nowhere offering their assistance whenever we became lost navigating the metro, the french language itself, or the lovely energy that Paris exudes that swept me off my feet. Either way, I’m happy with the overall outcome of our excursions.
On the first day following our arrival, my best friend and I hauled across town to the outer city of Versailles. I’m sure that you can only imagine that this is where the magnificent Palace of Versailles lies. You know the one which Marie Antoinette became famous for when she naively exploited her country to afford her lavish lifestyle, and the enormous estate known as Versailles which is more or less a microcosm of its own. This out of all of the attractions that Paris has to offer, was the one that I wanted most to visit. Oh and did it live up to everything that it is said to be, in fact it exceeded my own expectations to a fault. While it was beautiful to tour the palace and view it’s impeccable paintings, furnishings, decor and overall appearance, I couldn’t help but wonder whether it was all just way too much. Too much to the extent that it was not only excessive, but overwhelming as well. I definitely experienced sensory overload between the scours of people pretending to be photographers, and the amount of beauty that was flooding my perception all at once. Needless to say it was a lot to take in. Marie Antoinette’s gardens and private estate on the far end of the property however, offered a quite sanctuary from the otherwise over-the-top palace. The gardens featured picturesque cottages which were every girl’s ideal of a doll house. A beautiful pond which was occupied by ginormous koi fish and outlined by weeping willow trees was perfectly placed in the center of her private escape. There were flowers growing wildly with abandon all around the area of her estate, which overall gave the presence of feminine perfection.
As if none of this were enough, we spent our second day successfully navigating our way through town and touring the city center. We began at the notorious Arc’ de Triomphe, which if you hadn’t know is the huge arch monument that you always seem to see movies. From here we wandered along the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, which undoubtedly gives Paris its reputation as the fashion capitol of the world. Virtually every semi-upscale to extravagant store that you can imagine is featured along this street in buildings that are adorned with equally as fashionable architecture. It was quite a delight to say the least, and I managed to find a few pieces on sale that I have been adoring from afar for over a year. In fact, stumbling across the perfect pink blazer that I tracked down on pinterest over a year ago ON SALE and with only one left in exactly my size was sort of serendipitous. Needless to say, I was thrilled that t I went shopping in Paris and still managed to be a bargainista. Anyway, following continuing to follow Avenue des Champs-Élysées and eventually strolling over to walk along the Seine River led us to the Louvre and the lovely greens and Champs-Élysées Farris Wheel that are in front of it. Instead of spending hours looking at artwork in the Louvre, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and drink wine while eating my favorite pastry, Pain Chocolat. I was surprised when the adorable french waiter who spoke little to no English, told me that my second glass of wine was on him. Who said the French weren’t accommodating to Americans? The day before another gentlemen gave us free Starbucks as well! As you can imagine I was appreciative. Continuing our day, my best friend and I did something that probably only we would ever do. Back in the U.S. she bought a lock for us to place on the well-known Love Lock Bridge in Paris, which two people who are in love or love one another place a lock on and then proceed to throw the key into the bottom of the Seine River as a symbol of their lasting love. Yeah we definitely felt the need to commiserate our amazing friendship and did so by simultaneously placing our combination lock on the bridge. While the legend is to leave a lock and throw away the key, I think that fact that we had a combination lock instead was the perfect metaphor for describing our friendship. Which in my opinion, is the perfect combination of our individual yet similar attitudes, interests, perspectives and ideals.
Anyway, carrying on from our totally Romie and Michelle moment, we found ourselves at the Buddha Bar, an upscale and amazing oriental restaurant. Typically needing a reservation, we arrived just before the typical time for a Saturday night dinner and so we found ourselves at a table in a quite, low-lit, and intimate setting among a ginormous figure of Buddha. We each had what we consider the best sushi that we have ever had, the kind that makes you realize what the term fresh really means. From there, we found ourselves next door at what I can honestly say was my own personal utopia. The exterior of this adorable tea parlor was embellished with pink, white, an enormous bow. Inside we found ourselves surrounded in an environment that you would only see in a movie. Cupcakes, candy, macaroons, teacups, china, lingerie, whipped cream, frosting, and bursts of brilliant color popping out from the overall pink ambiance of the room evoked the sensation of euphoria on every level, from my perspective that is. My best friend isn’t much of feminine freak like I am, but she was the one who spotted the place as well as the one who faithfully sat and sipped tea with me although it wasn’t quite her thing. Overall, I couldn’t have imagined an even better ending to a perfect night. Well, that is until we walked over to the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower during the day may appear like a lot of whole lot of unimpressive metal to many people during the day, but its at night when the beauty of this masterpiece comes alive. The lights illuminated the structure, and as if that wasn’t enough we just so happened to be in Paris at the Eiffel Tower when the city was celebrating their National Holiday, Steel Day. There was an incredible lights show on display while we stood there in adoration and watched as extra white lights danced across the Eiffel Tower and it’s glowing gold structure. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end an amazing weekend, which was highlighted by serendipity and stunning scenes which you would only otherwise see in a movie. Literally every attraction that I intended to see we stumbled upon my chance, simply by wandering the city and allowing fate to unfold. I’ll call it fate considering that little to none of our trip was planned, and we managed to safely and successfully backpack to and from Paris on our own. With that being said, I recommend that you all see the City of Love just once and allow it to open your eyes to the beauty of this world and the mysteries of life.