I saved the best for last: France....well half of it anyway. I decided I couldn't contain France to a single blog post because I have WAY too many pics (since I spent twice as much time here as anywhere else.) I could probably just write a billion words and it wouldn't be enough to declare my love for the city of Paris and the special place it owns in my heart. Five years ago when I lived here, I never truly appreciated it the way I should have...until I was home and couldn't get back. That regret and longing to go back has been with me since December of 2010, and by going back I finally righted the wrongs of the past. Paris is my happy place and it always will be. It's where I feel the most alive and where I know that whatever the future holds, everything will be okay and I'll be happy. Eventually anyway. But while I happen to be there, nothing exists except me and this city; it makes my spirits as light as the clouds in the sky. The second the plane landed in France, I was completely overwhelmed with happiness to be there once more. Coming back I had a variety of different days on the schedule. With my mom, she only had one day in Paris so we had to hit ALL of the big stuff....and miraculously we did! After she left, I had a day to myself to explore all of the secret spots the city had to offer that I never knew of five years ago. Then when my sister Laurie and I were together we had 3 days to revisit some of my favorite smaller spots, as well as seeing some of the things I never got to do last time. I only have the energy to cover the first two days at the moment, so if you don't get your France fix after this post do not fear! I'll have the conclusion soon! But let's get started with my first two days!
The first place I opted to take my mother in Paris (after a HELLISH cab ride) was the Notre Dame.
I think it is probably my favorite of the big landmarks in Paris, though how can I really say? They all have their place in my heart. But this one takes my breath away every time I look at it.
It does my soul good and I consider myself extremely lucky to have gone to school every day for a few precious months just a few blocks away from this beauty.
Next up came the Louvre, because the Mona Lisa was my mom's MUST SEE.
But I preferred these paintings of Elizabeth and Darcy... haha just kidding that's probably not what they were INTENDED to be, but I'm gonna pretend it is anyway.
After the Louvre and the Tuileries, we ate at one of the most decadently delicious places in Paris: Angelina. Of course, I had the hot chocolate and almost died and went to heaven.
This is the face of a truly happy girl. And not just because of Angelina.
Since my mom only had a limited time, I thought a boat ride on the Seine would be a great way to see much of the beauty of the city.
And it doesn't hurt the tour sails past some of the most important landmarks.
Hello, again Notre Dame. Good to see you again so soon.
I just love all the different bridges of the Seine.
Speaking of bridges, we also got to see some of the cool lock bridges before the city removed the locks.
Then we hit up the Champs Elysee's and stopped by the macaron shoppe, La Duree.
Naturally, we followed the popular street to the famous round-about where the Arc de Triomphe stands.
It really is a beaut.
It's even prettier when you can see a sunset shining through it.
For her single day in Paris, we saved the biggest sight for last.
There is something so incredible about the Eiffel Tower.
We stayed until she got to see it light up and sparkle...one of my favorite things to see in Paris.
The next morning, after a healthy breakfast in my hotel, I started my second day in Paris all on my own.
I did the small things I wanted to do... like simply admire the rooftops.
Or search for AGES with my poor navigational skills to find this secret garden.
Also known as le Jardin de la Vallee Suisse. This secluded paradise was totally worth it.
Next I went on the hunt for another hidden gem: an umbrella shop in a covered passageway.
This particular little side street felt like walking into a magical wardrobe almost.
And sure enough, there was a yellow umbrella hanging above the shop.
I found this little shopping passage to be incredibly charming. A true gem of Paris.
Speaking of Parisian gems, I also found this wonderful vintage toy store. Laurie was pretty glad I found it too!
But the real fun of my day alone was just being able to visit my old stomping grounds and eat at my old familiars. The fountain by the Pompidou was always one of my favorite spots in the city and simply being able to eat lunch there again was one of the only things I wanted to do. I thought about the famous quote from Casablanca, and no matter what happens in my life... *I* will always have Paris.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Until then... if you'd like to catch up on my previous adventures you can find them all below.