We Will Always Have Paris.
This elegant town has completely swept me off my feet. Surprised me with her rosy charms. Beckoned me with her delicious cwah-sohn, Bordeaux and macaroons. Teased me with her tales of fallen kingdoms and juicy jewels. She won me over almost instantly. It must be all that stained glass. I can't believe how good it felt to fall in love with dainty Paris. You always hear that this town is so ooh-la-la and frou-frou and chic, but ugh, I am generally skeptical of such places. I figured Paris would be dirty, cheesy and touristy, riding on the hype of a romantic apparition from looong ago. You could say my expectation barometer was set sort of low.
I wasn't just wrong. I need to be slapped.
Because Paris. Is. Exceptional.
|// Notre Dame. Minus Quasimodo. //|
|// Notre Dame. And Joan of Arc. //|
This place still feels like a village. Strolling through the picturesque district of Montmarte (where we stayed for 3 nights), there are countless shops and cafes spilling out onto the sidewalk in bustling brilliance. These fine establishments create a makeshift office for a whole host of artists and writers, supplying them with a place to work at the mere price of a caffeinated (and sometimes spiked) beverage. You can tell these creative nomads by the beret, the poised pen, the faraway pondering expression and the third miniature cup and saucer of espresso with it's equally precious little spoon. Chanel-red lipstick, cigarette smoke and unshaven beards, these are the tell-tale signs of culture created long ago. Nameless cafes boast their role as the creative breeding ground for the likes of Picasso, Hemingway, Van Gogh, Monet, Dali... the list goes on and on. The crispy wonder is magnetic in this chilly village air. You can feel it, almost breathing. There are still stories to be told, beauty to be eloquently captured, light to be sparked. Paris is inviting, welcoming you into its odd family of bohemian 1920's-era addicts. There is no application, no entry fee, no need to apply. Just arrive. There is truly enough inspiration (and espresso) for us all.
|// The Seine. Cue this jam. Because I had it stuck in my head during the entire Paris trip. Ridiculous, I know. //|
|// The works of Leonardo da Vinci. I have no idea why I was allowed to photograph these masterpieces, but I was. Thank you, dear Louvre. //|
|// The insane crowd surrounding a serene, sarcastic Mona Lisa. //|
|// Cheese and wine at noon at the Moulin de la Galette. Yes. //|
Our Meandering Route.
Over the course of three days we wandered along the Seine, exploring Notre Dame, the Sainte-Chapelle, and la Conciergerie (where the guillotine had it's way.) One quick, craaaazy story about the Notre Dame: Back when Rome was in power and Christians were being persecuted, Saint Denis was beheaded as a warning to others who were forsaking the Roman gods. Immediately following his beheading, Saint Denis picked up his head (say WHAT?), tucked it under his arm and headed north, preaching the gospel along the way, pausing only to wash his head off in a fountain, and continuing until he found a place where he finally laid himself to rest. Seriously. That's how the story goes. The Parisians were so impressed by this miracle that Christianity continued to gain ground (despite being under Rome's annoying thumb) and eventually the pagan temple was replaced by the church, Notre Dame. I am not kidding. You can see St. Denis in this lineup of Saint statues on the entryway to the church.
|// I bet you can guess which one is Denis. //|
|// We got locked to the bridge! //|
Pont Neuf: A Parisian Thing from Kristen Hale on Vimeo.
|// Locking my love to the Pont de l'Archevêché. Just like the Kardashians. //|
|// Two keys. We both threw one in. A crowd of school children standing nearby cheered us on. Seriously.//|
Oh so Bon.
We delighted in crepes in the Latin Quarter, nibbled on wine and cheese in St. Germain and noshed on macaroons along the Champs-Elysees. Stevie liked to say, “We chomp on the Champs.” Actually he rapped it. Sort of loudly. We gave Paris a true impression of 'Mericanism. We visited the Deportation Memorial, the Place Dauphine, and locked our love to the Pont de l'Archevêché. We toured the Louvre, strolled through the Tuileries Gardens, marveled at Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe and enjoyed a final French meal with 15 of Stevie's newly-graduated classmates who all just happened to be in Paris at the same time. Of course.
|// Pont Alexandre III. This bridge is as gold as it gets. //|
|// From Left to Right: The Louvre // Something awesomely french // Eiffel Tower // Notre Dame exterior // Venus de Milo // Our view from Montmarte // An extremely french door // Arc de Triomphe // Notre Dame interior //|
|// Lots of love in front of Notre Dame //|
Am I missing something? Yes, the Eiffel Tower. We left our dinner party in a mad rush, begging our taxi driver to get us to the Trocadero district before midnight so that we could see the Tower sparkle before the lights went out. And we made it! And then made out. Because that's what you do in Paris at the Eiffel Tower at midnight. Yes, we are completely cheesy in Paris. Okay this town has totally gotten to me.
|// The Eiffel Tower along the Seine. This is as Parisian as it gets. //|
Can you sense our enthusiasm? Paris, I'm coming back for you. And your 5-story Louis Vuitton flagship store. In this case, parting is incredibly sweet sorrow.