16 May Then and Now: Returning to Paris
When choosing a travel destination, we are faced with the question–do we want to go somewhere new and exciting or return to one of our favorite beloved locales? More often than not we opt for the new destination, but once in awhile, I find a place with a grasp that holds me so tight and I feel as though I need to return. This time, returning to Paris was an obvious choice–I fell in love with the city of lights 5 years ago when I visited on a study abroad J-Term course. I was instantly drawn to everything I encountered, and started planning a return trip before I even left. I spent about two weeks in Paris, but still found myself short on time to visit all the places I wanted to see. There is so much to do in Paris; I don’t know if I will ever have enough time to spend there. It’s fun to return to a place you have visited before as it has such a familiar feel, but each visit is still so unique in its own way.
Here is a look at some of my favorite sights in Paris, i.e. the places I wanted to show Micah and the places I just had to return to. Yes, many of them are “touristy” but I just enjoyed them so much.
The Latin Quarter was home base for me on my study abroad trip; we stayed in a hotel very close to la Sorbonne. I enjoyed the Latin Quarter, but this time around we spent the week in an apartment that was located in Le Marais district. I enjoyed being based in a new location because it gave me a better look at an area we may have not spent much time in otherwise. We still walked over to the Latin Quarter to shop, eat and wander–it was fun taking a trip down memory lane. I’m sure Micah got annoyed with me, as I am a dork and I had to point out everything–“oh, here is the phone booth I would call you from (yes…phone booth with a calling card worked great, haha), and here is the fondue restaurant and greek restaurant we ate at, and the place I bought that red necklace”…and on… and on! I have a weird memory for places I’ve been, and with my excitement, I can get a little carried away!
We had the chance to visit some of my favorite museums again–the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre. I think my favorite museum that I have ever been to is the Musée d’Orsay. I LOVE looking at impressionist art in person, and this museum displays some of the best pieces ever painted. As for the Louvre–I feel if you like art, it’s a place you should really visit. With the sheer amount of pieces on display combined with the beauty of the entire building itself, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular museums in the world. I was able to visit a couple of new museums as well: Rodin Museum and Musée des Arts et Métiers. In 2007, I visited the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, but since Micah wasn’t too interested and I didn’t feel the need to return, we decided to skip it.
Churches and Gardens:
I also made a second stop at three churches: Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle and Sacré Coeur. They are just all so beautiful, and climbing to the top of Notre Dame gives you a great view of the city.
I was disappointed, however, that there was construction going on at both Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle this year–I know when traveling during the offseason it is inevitably something you will run into, but it is still frustrating nonetheless, especially when it comes to the Catacombs! I regretted passing up the chance to visit the Catacombs last time I was in Paris, so it was now at the top of my list and it was also the attraction Micah was looking forward to the most as well. So, when we made it to the door and found the below sign we were unhappy to say the least–apparently many others felt the same way!
Since we weren’t able to go inside the Catacombs, we decided to head back towards the Latin Quarter to do a little shop browsing, and on the way there we hit up the Luxembourg Gardens. I really enjoy the Luxembourg gardens as–it is such a peaceful place to go for a walk right in the city. It would be great to see it in the summer when all the flowers are in full bloom.
And last but not least, the Eiffel Tower. Back in 2007, the Eiffel Tower was the first stop en route to our hotel; we had front of the line passes to the elevator, but not much time to spend at the tower. Now, we were able to spend as much time as we wanted there, and decided to climb the stairs to the first and second level viewing platforms instead of taking the elevator. I also wanted to visit the very top (3rd) level, but there was no convincing Micah to join me due to his fear of heights, especially since I drug him to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto about a month prior. He was done with heights for awhile, so I gave him a break, but next time he might not be so lucky. For some reason, I am always dying to go to the top of everything in sight–I can never get enough of the views.
I am now hoping to visit Paris during the summer so I don’t freeze my butt off when walking around outside, but I am not so sure I am looking forward to the crowds! Winter crowds in Paris are big in and of themselves–I can’t even imagine what it’s like in the summer, but I’m sure it would be worth it!
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