Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of visiting the city whose sceneries looked too good to be true in films both animated and real. Through animation/illustration, I’d read about Madeline having fun catholic school adventures and watch Remy (Ratatouille) run by the Seine river or observe a stunning view of the city of lights at night. More realistically yet still completely whimsical, I’d see Amelie help others yet not herself as she plays a solo game of hide and seek in Montmarte while slowly falling for a man full of diverse part-time jobs and no idea that she exists. Oh, and let me not fail to mention Owen Wilson spreading his “wows” all throughout Paris, the city of love, both in eras of the past and present in his quest to complete his next novel.
Finally my personal dream of visiting Paris, France happened and I can’t wait to go back.
It might sound cliche but Paris truly lives up to its reputation of being the city of lights, love and romance. If you really looked, there were lovers intertwined somewhere nearby. By the Seine River, friends and couples alike popped bottles of delicious wine as they watched the sunset. Mothers and au pairs would stroll toward the Eiffel tower to a pop-up park as kids sped in their 2-seater ride-on cars. Tourists would infiltrate Sacre Coure and Notre Dame with their selfie sticks reaching the high heavens to get that perfect group shot. A school marching band blasted their rendition of “Gangsta’s paradise” while dressed in yellow in front of the Latin Quarter’s Pantheon to raise money for cancer research. Anywhere you looked, someone was going somewhere to be a part of something.
Still, I felt a sense of strong individualism (something I admire) within most people I’d observe there. Whether headed alone somewhere or sitting alone drinking a cappuccino, no one seemed particularly sad. Often I’ll do the same and people here in the states freak out thinking I’m sad and/or lonely when really, I just like to hang out with myself! One thing I’d like to point out and refute is that people say Parisians are rude! With my broken beginners French, I’d ask random locals for directions among other things and was often greeted with a smile or quick, respectful response. So please don’t let that scare you from ever visiting somewhere where you don’t speak the same language!
For all my first-generation/POC/immigrant friends, remember someone in your family once had the courage to move to the States and start life all anew where they had NO idea how to speak the language or how they’d completely manage! Traveling truly is humbling and visiting large cities such as this, you often come across people who did the same thing your family members did.
Visiting during Mid-March, we expected warmer climates but still had a better time than most sweaty days endured in Miami. As my families “cultural ambassador”, I created a jam-packed itinerary for the 10 days we were there and hit up almost everything on the list! Count each place as a day while reading besides those added in the bottom with no photographs.
There’s still so much more to be explored, such as the ghoulish catacombs, but that’ll be left for warmer times of course! Scroll down to see various places visited and more on my time in Paris. Hope you use this one day if you ever decide to visit･:*✧
For starters, we HAD to visit the Eiffel Tower! Just wanted to add another picture of here because she’s a beauty. We didn’t end up going up because A. It would be freezing B. The lines were huge C. Some of us weren’t really feeling it D. All of the above. D is the correct answer.
Love at first bite. We didn’t end up visiting the famous Laduree, which is OK since we live close to one here and practically any quality bakery in France will have great ones too! When it comes to food in France, you don’t need to go to their most famous spots and wait a ridiculous amount of time until you’re served. Almost everywhere we’d visit had dank delicacies to be served. The ones pictured above were Passion Fruit & Violet aaand stole my heart. Macarons, I love you. We also walked around Rue Cler, a famous permanent market street, smelling fresh seafood, petting pretty flowers and looking at all sorts of delicious meats/stinky cheese offerings.
Call me a weirdo but I adore nude statues and paintings. Not super explicit ones but stunning ones such as the ones seen above celebrating the shapes, wrinkles and curves of the human body. Jardin du Luxembourg, which is where the French Senate meets, was a nice stroll where we viewed plenty of statues, spring flowers and young kids most likely in their school lunch causing mini commotions all throughout the park.
One of my favorite places we visited was the Latin Quarter which I had no idea was that area until a few days later. It was full of life as a marching band played to benefit cancer research, students waited outside of gorgeous antique buildings I’m assuming waiting for class to begin and people sat in its plentiful restaurants loading on delicious carbs. Right around the corner of the Eglise Saint-Severin Saint-Nicolas pictured above, was a record shop I found my family in (I’m often left behind because I’m taking photographs or lollygagging). I got FIVE classical music records there for TEN euros (AKA one of the best purchases I’ve ever made on a trip ♥). So far I’ve heard two of them and they bring me so much joy. One even includes Hungarian Dance (think I played that back in the day).
Walking where the locals walk is always fun in my opinion so definitely add this to your list if you find yourself in Paris.
We visited Quasimodo’s crib! It was gorgeous both inside and out and free to visit. I could barely see gargoyles there which was honestly one of the main things I wanted to view so I guess I should pack binoculars next time I visit.
In all honesty, I thought the Sacré-Cœur Basilica was a funner visit than Notre Dame. Still, it’s a must to visit both. The basilica was just so majestic shining bright against the blue sky both from the highway view and right underneath where we first parked. Right below, there was a park which I quickly recognized from Amelie when she sends her soon-to-be bae on a mini scavenger hunt. After looking indoors, we went walking around the Moulin Rouge street areas.
Fun fact: This is where most writers, artists and creatives used to hang out in Paris ♥. According to Reddit boards I went on during my trip, they still do but have progressed more toward other neighborhoods such as Montreuil.
Honestly, it’s cool to see from the outside but expensive af to go inside and it’s just another staged show. I say walk around and immerse yourself in things Parisians would actually go to instead such as the cinema. Sure, you won’t understand a thing but it’s still great to experience.
When in the city of love, you must visit the OLDEST STANDING BRIDGE THERE. Just kidding. But it IS the famous bridge where lovers “lock” their love for one another forever. Right around the corner from here, we bought some prints as gifts for family/friends. Down below, as seen from the last picture, there was a walking area where young and old lovers/friends alike were making conversation, drinking wine and waiting for the sun to set for a stunning view.
PS: my parents are cuties.
Originally were going to visit the Musee de l’Orangerie and Musee d’Orsay but decided to visit the world’s largest museum for practically a whole day since it decided to snow. This place was huuuuge. If you’re into vintage, antique things and art history, this place is for YOU. Personally, I’m more into smaller museums that have plenty of variety but this of course was an unforgettable experience.
Venus of Milo
The main reason I’d say this was unforgettable was because of ALL the gorgeous roof art throughout the used-to-be palace. I could stare up all day.
Concerts prepared me for this moment. We had to squeeze through to get to the front and made it to the gorgeous Mona Lisa! She was just as I expected her to be with stunning earth tones and all but honestly, don’t break an arm and leg to view it because you’re still not going to be that up close.
Never in my life did I think I’d see Disney in snow. Growing up in Florida and going to college at UCF, I’ve had my fair share of the mouse and experienced the park through rain, heat, humidity and more blistering heat. It was gorgeous to see it in a different light. Unfortunately, a lot of this park was under construction but we still got to go on some cool rides which were the same if not better as Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
After many days in Paris, this was the first time I saw a lot of European diversity with people speaking proper English and Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese and more. Seeing world-wide kiddos get excited for rides was pretty stinkin’ cute too.
Most days we were there we’d spend walking around the areas mentioned above. Sometimes I’d forget to take photographs or only did with my film camera (which I bought right before trip!). Once I get my film back, I’ll probably post them through here or on my Instagram ♥ On there, you can view my Paris story and see some of the places mentioned both above and below!
Thanks for reading everyone! If you ever find yourself headed to Paris and need some tips, hit me up! Traveling is great and something everyone should strive to do more of in life to see how others live. It’s always a learning experience and in my opinion, very humbling.