Paris is a Magical Place.

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Bonjour!

For Thanksgiving break the whole gang (including Zach!) set off for Paris! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect of Paris. It always seemed like such a cliche city to me. Everyone is obsessed with the Eiffel Tower and what not. Plus I heard that French people are super rude and the subway is crazy complicated. And for some reason I always had this preconception that French culture was snooty and uptight… I officially eat my words. I feel blasphemous admitting this but… Paris is now my FAVORITE city in the world. I love Rome with all my heart… but there is just something about Paris I could never explain. You just have to SEE it.

For some reason I didn’t believe the Eiffel Tower actually existed in real life… like the Loch Ness Monster or Sasquatch.

Getting to Paris, however, was much less magical. Remember how I said that anything involving Zach and I getting up early usually fails? Guess who decided to wait to pack for Paris until the morning we left… yep, THIS GIRL. I got a very pleasant wake up call from Cecily at 6:23 AM, we were supposed to leave for the airport at 6:30 AM… and I was in my pajamas. PANIC! After some serious scrambling Zach and I came running down the stairs 17 minutes late… not too bad right? We made it to our flight in plenty of time!

Zach and I stayed in an adorable hotel in the St. Germaine region of Paris, and our friends stayed in a hostel 20 minutes north of us in the Montmartre region a.k.a the red light district. We all loved where we stayed for different reasons. Zach and I loved the Hotel Lindburgh, I would highly recommend it. The staff was so incredibly nice, especially Manuela. The rooms were adorable and we were a 20 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It was a perfect location surrounded by adorable restaurants and lots of window shopping. On the other hand, where my room mates stayed was definitely more exciting! The streets in Montmartre are home to the famous Moulin Rouge and miles of crazy sex shops and bars.

So cool to see this real life!

On our first night in Paris we made a bee line for the most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower! But more importantly, Zach and I had a life altering moment on our way there… we had our first french baguette. We just strolled down the street hand in hand passing back and forth a foot long baguette and taking bites. It was wonderful! Fully satisfied with yummy french carbs we were ready to take on the tower!

Imagine this walk with a giant hunk of bread.

Beautiful ladies in the most beautiful city! (Jaleh, Amanda, Danielle, Cecily)

We clearly found the most handsome guys to come with us. (Kenny, James, Zach)

We waited in line and took the elevator to the top! You do have the option of walking to the top… but it’s windy and unpleasant. Just take the elevator. Things I was not expecting on my way up the eiffel tower: a bar. Yep… I guess some people probably need a drink to handle the heights. But I would not want to be drunk on top of the Eiffel Tower, I want to always remember this view!

Imagine angels singing.

Happy happy girl right there!

Not only did we get to watch the sun set on the way up the tower, but while we were on the top it lit up! It was such a dream come true! Also, every hour after 5 PM the tower literally twinkles for 3 minutes. This became our mission for the night: to get a picture of the sparkly Eiffel Tower. Because the window of opportunity was so narrow it took us a few days and a few attempts but it was totally worth it! After missing our first chance to get a sparkly picture we headed out to find out first Parisian dinner/ our Thanksgiving meal since we were all missing Thanksgiving with our families for this.

French onion soup, creme brulee, and good friends. The best un- American way to celebrate and American holiday!

Our second day in Paris was action packed! And for once Zach and I actually got up early and got to the Louvre at 8:30 AM! Funny story… The Louvre doesn’t open until 9AM. Oh the irony. We could have used the extra sleep too because the Louvre is MONSTROUS!

World’s most over rated painting.

ART OVERLOAD

Another piece of advice for Paris: wear comfortable shoes. I know I’ve said this in the past, and I really should have taken my own advice. I was dying! We walked SOOOOOO many miles! After the Louvre we walked to Notre Dame with a few pit stops on the way.

We happened to stumble on the one place I really wanted to find but couldn’t remember the name, it’s Sennelier! It the paint shop where so many famous painters like Van Gogh once bought their paints. I nerded out so hard with James we looked like a couple 13 year olds at a Twilight premiere… over paint. I bought a cute little hand made sketch book 🙂

Yay new friends!

Then we stumbled upon what I can only described as Love Bridge. I looked it up and I can’t find an official name for this place (I didn’t really look that hard) but in true Parisian style, it’s magical. The entire length of this bridge is COVERED in any kind of lock imaginable with the names of couples who pledged their eternal love by throwing the key in the Seine. I even saw a few fuzzy handcuffs! I was speechless when we saw this, I just couldn’t believe that every single one of these locks represented a story. Zach and I didn’t put a lock on the bridge, we just never found time. But we have the ORIGINAL love lock bridge (ponte Vecchio) In Rome so maybe I’ll stop by there!

Then we finally made it to Notre Dame!

It was beautiful! Not as big as I’d imagined, but the stained glass windows are stunning. And it’s free! Which is always a win to a broke college student!

That night we decided to eat where the gang was staying in Montmartre. It was so exciting to see all the flashing lights, sex shops, and bars! And we found the most adorable little place for dinner with some real authentic French food. It was a nice break from pizza, pasta, and panini.

On our last full day in Paris we started off with what is now one of my favorite museums of all time! The Impressionist Museum. Musee D’Orsay. It was amazing! There were rooms and rooms of really big names like Van Gogh, Renoir, Cassat and lots that I hadn’t known but was happy to learn! Zach is not much of an artsy fellow but he said he definitely likes Van Gogh 🙂 I think he was in an especially good mood that day because we stopped at 2 bakeries on the walk there… We have no shame. I had the best muffin of my life!

After the museum we trekked up the Champs Elysees (a main street) to the Arch di Triomph which was MUCH farther than it looked. But for the most part I didn’t mind the walk. All along the Seine river there were book and antique venders set up selling everything under the sun. I felt like I was walking in a dream, Paris is everything I ever loved all in one city, and I was so incredibly jealous of every Parisian I passed. It was so beautiful. Eventually we came upon a giant Christmas market!

Clearly, Paris goes hard on Christmas. It was miles of this, and we loved it!

And we saw the Arch!

And that was it, we had reached our last night in Paris. Zach and I wanted to have a romantic night of just us, so we said good bye to the group and walked back through the Christmas market to go find somewhere to eat. But then we realized we kept stopping every couple of minutes to try some Bratwursts, waffles, onion soup, hot wine, and hot chocolate… This date night fit us much better than what he had planned. We made a night of drinking hot wine, checking out hand made ceramics and ornaments, and just enjoying eachother’s company and being thankful for where we were, who we were with, and how we got there.

It was really hard to say good bye to Zach the next morning, but it was also oddly comforting. I know I’ll be home in 2 weeks and he’ll be there at the gate to pick me up with a big smile and a bigger hug. We made it.

P.S- We DID finally get our sparkly Eiffel Tower picture!

I know I’ll be back to Paris some day.

But for now all there is in my foreseeable are finals.

Wish us all luck!

Lot of love,

Jen

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