Je t’aime, Paris!
Ever since I can remember there have been images in my mind of what I thought Paris, France would be like. I never thought I’d ever had the opportunity to visit, but God most like me a lot, I’ve been able to go to Paris twice and another time to a different region of France. How crazy is that?!
Both times I visited Paris, I was with a group doing missions work in Romania and Germany (We always plan to have the last two days of the missions trip reserved for a relaxing or sight seeing time before heading home.) Thank God for good planning and great leaders who knew how to put the trip together.
When we’ve visited, we stayed on the outskirts of Paris and rode the subway to the city. One of the most memorable images on my mind is getting off the tram right in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Speechless is one way to describe my first impression -and that was just looking at the structure from the outside. when we went inside, I could feel tears swell up in my eyes. I had never seen anything so beautiful! The second time around I was able to breathe and take it all in.
My husband and I sat quietly during mass and meditated while listening to the beautiful music and as the french priest officiated the service. What an experience! After a while we moved out to the tourists’ area feeling like we were intruding in these parishioners’ special worship time. Before I knew it I had lost my husband. I figured he’d come back to meet me eventually, so I just decided to take a few pictures, when all of a sudden I focused my lens on a familiar figure making his way through the line of worshipers preparing to partake in the communion; My husband!
I could have died at that moment. My face, I’m sure turned red as a plumb tomato and my hands got sweaty. I tried hard to use telepathy to get him to see me, to no avail. I was mortified to say the least. I’ve always known that Catholics do not allow just anyone (especially not of their faith) to partake in communion. I was so sure we were going to be chastised for intruding in this most holy sacrament…Thankfully we left on our own accord and without making a scene. “What were you thinking?!” Was all I could say. He simply replied; “What? What’d I do?”
Moving on from our “spiritual experience”, we quickly decided we’d had too much excitement on arrival (given this was the first thing we did), so we stopped at a cafe for breakfast. If Notre Dame was a spiritual experience from the moment you get off the tram, Chocolate Chantilly Crepes with a hot Cappuccino is Heaven on earth! I had two crepes and truthfully could have ate 2 more, they were delicious! They made me think of how Krispy Kreme Donuts (hot now) melt in your mouth-these were like that, they almost dissolve in your mouth leaving this amazing creamy chocolate aftertaste. Ah, glorious!
As far as sightseeing, pretty much everything you see in Paris is beautiful. There is so much history around the city and the architecture is exquisite enough to make this one of the most memorable vacations you could ever take. At every block there are beautiful parks, statues, murals, gargoyles, beautiful people, expensive shops, amazing food, and beautiful french language being spoken by locals and tourists alike.
The Arc de Triomphe located in the center of the popular Charles de Gaulle avenue was as grandiose as I had expected; truly a grand monument. The Eiffel Tower was huge and a bit scary for me (I am not a friend of heights), but the view of the city from the tower is amazing and so beautiful, especially at night. I felt like I was in a movie. The Musée du Louvre– I have to say, was one of my favorite stops. I have been to many museums, but I can honestly say, this one tops them all.
For one thing, it was immense. I don’t believe we got to see the whole thing. I saw colors I don’t believe I knew existed before. I felt as though I had been transported to another time and another place. The paintings seem to come alive, so pristine and detailed. I often wonder about people who go to museums and stand around studying a work of art for hours. How ridiculous, right? Well, we didn’t have hours to spend at the Louvre, but I wish we had. I could have stared at each piece for days!
We obviously could not leave without checking out the Mona Lisa, but it was the most crowded room. I was surprised to see ( from a distance) that the Mona Lisa is actually one of the smallest paintings there and yet the most guarded one. You wouldn’t believe how many guards and security perimeters protect Ms. Mona Lisa. She most have been some special lady.
To say that Paris is the city of love, would be an understatement; it oozes with romance and passion, with lovers kissing and fondling each other in every corner, and the language…When a Frenchman speaks, you just feel your heart melting inside! If you are ever fortunate enough to take a stroll around the city and happen to come upon one of it’s many fountains with silver bottoms (many a euro has been dropped there), be sure you are holding someones hand. It makes the experience all the more beautiful and special.
My darling husband and I kissed a lot while in Paris (who wouldn’t?), we also walked a lot and drank way too much coffee. Oh but we loved every moment!