It's been twelve days since I touched down at JFK, but the feeling of being in Europe hasn't left me quite yet. Memories of narrow streets, gothic architecture, fresh produce and Italian men float in and out of my head and cause me to long for a place that I barely even know. From the moment I arrived in Paris I knew why my parents never encouraged me to travel abroad. Had I gone here when I was 19 years old, I probably never would have returned.
As some of you may know, this was my first trip to Europe and only my third trip out of the United States. A few months before I lost my job, my mom and I had planned a ten day trip to Paris, Florence and Rome. What started out as a low key, quick trip to Europe soon became something completely different- it became a quest for freedom. Freedom from our lives at home, freedom from what we've held as true, and freedom from ourselves. This trip not only brought out an entirely different side of who each of us is separately, but who we are when we're together.
FIRST STOP: PARIS!
The first day I woke up in Paris felt like I was waking up in someone else's bed, in someone else's life. We stayed at the Castille, a beautiful boutique hotel located in the 1st arrondissment conveniently next to the main Chanel store (multiple stories. multiple knees buckling) and the Jardin de Tulleries. Every morning we had a breakfast that would have made even Marie Antoinette blush, the homemade jams and 'scrumbled' eggs still haunting my dreams. Every day was an adventure to see something I have seen a million times before, but in the flesh, everything looked entirely different. We hit up all the usual suspects- The Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. To call the Eiffel Tower "Paris' Empire State Building", is kind of an insult, but that's exactly how it felt. Here is an image you've seen over and over again throughout your life, but when you see it in person it is just so exceptional. You walk down random streets and just when you think you've gotten used to it and the image has diminished, it reveals itself from an entirely different angle.
Inbetween our visits to museums and landmarks, we ate some incredible food and did a lot of shopping. Being that I'm a vegetarian, I consumed an inappropriate amount of eggs, cheese, and bread. In related news, I think I went through 4 rolls of TUMS during our four days in Paris. You may think that I'm complaining, but no one forced me to eat a wheel of brie every morning, or at lunch and dinner for that matter. The best things I ate were: the french onion soup at Cafe de Flore, the hot chocolate at Angelina, and the tomato & ricotta crepe at the little cafe on our street.
As for shopping, I bought most of my goodies in Paris. One of our first stops was at Galeries Lafayette where I discovered an amazing brand called By Zoe. Unfortunately, you cannot buy the brand online so I made sure to stock up on a bunch of key items to hold me over until my next trip. I continued to do damage at Zapa and Sonia Rykiel and the polished off my debt with a little trip to my favorite lingerie store, Fifi Chachnil.
Overall, Paris was a breathtaking experience. As cheesy as it sounds, from the architecture, to the clothes and the people, it was all I ever hoped it would be. Here are some of my favorite pics from the first stop on our trip:
TO BE CONTINUED...