The City of Love

Bonjour!

This past weekend was amazing… I finally was able to visit Paris, a.k.a. the city of fashion, romance, berets and baguettes.

The trip coincided with my half-birthday, and I never imagined that I would actually celebrate a half-birthday in such a grandiose way. (It’s also necessary to mention that half-birthdays are a big deal for my sister, Lauren. She just celebrated her 10.5 birthday.)

In the beginning of high school, I went through a phase where I was obsessed with fashion. I made my mom buy me sketchbooks, texts about designers… even a sewing table (no, I still don’t really know how to sew, although I did make a shirt with my Grandma Kathy once). Frequent reruns of The Devil Wears Prada also encouraged my infatuation. I love beautiful things, and fashion is simply art that you can wear.

After having been to Paris, I can report back that I drooled eyeing all the women stroll down the city’s streets. I tried to fit in. In fact, I even brought a beret and invested in a new (mainly warm) jacket:

josie1

But to look so amazingly stylish, in such an effortless way… I’ll need to work on it, as well as find a job to pay for it…

Besides fashion, Paris is known for its sense of romance, art, love and beauty. I can only show this with pictures:

The Louvre Museum

Another movie, “The Da Vinci Code,” inspired my eagerness to go to this museum. It was a little different than what I expected, but I enjoyed taking a selfie with the most famous painting in the world, the “Mona Lisa”:

josie1_resized

josie2
he art here is surrounded by detailed illustrations. Many of the ceilings and walls are decorated.
josie3
There are lots of marble sculptures at the Louvre.

josie4

josie5

josie6

josie7

josie8

josie9

josie10

I definitely recommend stopping by here if you ever visit—make sure to give yourself a few hours to see everything though!

Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

My friends and I thought the best way to be/look like a tourist would be to take the Hop-On Hop-Off bus throughout Paris. It’s super easy because it drops you off at most of the major attractions, and a bus comes every 15 minutes so you can “hop” back on. It was perfect in the cold weather, and you’re offered headphones to wear on the bus so you can learn some history while driving by places. Here are the major sites we went to:

josie1
The view from the top of Notre Dame! We climbed all the way to the top… it’s definitely a cardio exercise!
josie2
The gargoyles seem so real.
josie3
Paris from above

josie4

josie5
The Seine River—I can see why there are so many writers and philosophers from this city!
josie6
On the top of the Hop-On Hop-Off bus!
josie7
The “Devil Wears Prada” fountain
josie8
Arc de Triumph
josie9
The shopping district—this is inside the Louis Vuitton store. Many customers were being served champagne while trying on shoes! I thought this architecture was unique because it’s really only a half-circle (the mirror adds the other half).
josie10
A gorgeous night to drive through Paris.
josie11
One of my favorite places, the Eiffel Tower!
josie12
Flashing the UW-Madison “dub.”

josie13

josie14

 

The Love Lock Bridge

One of the most well known places de amor is the love lock bridge. People come here to leave a lock with a small inscription, usually the names of friends or lovers, and then throw the key to the lock into the Seine River.

josie1

As you can see, it truly glimmers with passion for the rest of the world to see. It’s interesting to see a place full of love manifested this way. To me, this bridge is powerful—thousands of feelings are simply hanging off of it. And the beauty of it is that it’s a big time capsule. Although many couples who left their affection for each other there may no longer be together, it’s a reminder that that feeling was real at one point. Love for one another is what sets humans apart, and this site is a beautiful representation of human nature.

josie1
My roommate and I on the love lock bridge 🙂

Notre Dame

Notre Dame is my favorite church in Europe thus far. It’s unique (see photos), and much more practical in comparison to Spanish churches because there is seating for hundreds and hundreds of people to attend the services. It was interesting too because while Whitney and I toured the church, there was a service going on. The organ and the Lord’s Prayer really made it more authentic and took me back to my childhood Sunday mornings in church!

josie1
The stained glass inside was beautiful.

josie2

josie3

French Cuisine

So, France is known as the country of macaroons, coffee, baguettes and fromage (cheese). The first night, my friends and I went to a famous fondue place. It was super fun, and they served us wine in baby bottles…

josie1

josie2

josie3

The wait for a table was kind of long, but it was worth it!

I also got to enjoy some banana-nutella crêpes, macaroons and café:

josie1
Yes, I know this is at a McDonald’s… We thought it was funny they sold them there! I promise I bought another (more authentic) macaroon later 🙂
josie2
Mocha
josie3
A café, a beret…am I French yet?
josie4
Not French, but from a little Greek place.
josie5
Banana-nutella crepes… so amazing.
josie6
Crème brûlée 🙂

We also did some research and realized there was a Chipotle in Paris… It’s definitely not a French cultural experience, but sometimes you miss American food!

josie1

On my last day in Paris, Whitney and I explored the city by foot. We discovered a bunch of little things—for example, a bird market, the park by the Louvre and a small café. I’ve never seen a more picturesque sky:

josie1

josie2

Paris is my first European city outside of Spain, and I feel incredibly lucky to have finally visited this gorgeous, romantic place. After my visit, I now know how to navigate a metro and say simple French phrases (merci), and have inspiration for my future shopping trips (I’ve been taking advantage of the month of sales in Spain). Thanks Mom, Dad and Mike, for giving me the opportunity to have all these adventures!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *