Paris is but a dream. Its breathtaking beauty has been lamented about for centuries in novels and poems, songs and operas. Painters, photographers and artists alike have attempted to capture the essence of her charm, some with great success, but there is nothing quite like standing in her streets first hand.
Even the people of Paris have a certain beauty to them; a striking, yet nonchalant aura that made me wonder how on earth everything in a city could be so gorgeous.
There is, of course, the dirt and grime that the city’s 2 million residents track through the city and the frustrations of the confusing metro that no matter how much we studied we ended up lost at least once a day.
But the architecture, the history, the culture and my god the pastries! of Paris more than made up for all the spots of dirt.
I had two rules during my six days in Paris: 1.) every meal must include dessert . Because, hell, I’m in Paris! And have long adored French pastries. I accomplished this with vigor and excellence.
And 2.) no museums. We stayed in an apartment across the street from the Jardin du Palais Royal (Royal Palace Gardens), upon which a quick stroll would drop us directly in front of the Louvre—only one of the most famous museums in the world. But I vowed not to step foot in it.
Why? Call me crazy, but in the few short days I had in Paris, I thought I would learn more of French history, gather more of French culture and soak up more of Paris by wandering her streets than by wandering her museums. So yes, I went to Paris and didn’t see the Mona Lisa. And I don’t regret it even a little.
Instead I checked off a bucket list of items far more important: seeing the opera in one of the most beautiful buildings in the world: the Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera House. Its grand staircase, designed for people-watching, was so breathtaking. And while I was ridiculously overdressed (who knew Parisians wore leggings to the opera?!), I loved every minute of it.
And I toured the Catacombs, something I’d dreamed of seeing since I was little. (Apparently I was a bit morbid as a child!) We marveled at the rows and rows of skulls and bones, taken from nearby cemeteries in the late 1700s.
But mostly we enjoyed delicious, delicious food. Some of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever eaten. Octopus that was unlike any I’ve ever had, macarons that put every other one I’ve ever had to shame, and snails—I never imagined something so ugly could taste so wonderful.
We ended our time in Paris while watching its most famous icon glow against the setting sun, then finally twinkle as night fell. It was surreal to think I’d made to Paris and heartbreaking that our 15 day trip to Spain and France was nearly over. On the final day of our trip, we took a day trip to the Champagne region before heading back to Salt Lake City, forever to be mesmerized by our adventures.