France 3/48

I decided to spoil myself for my birthday with a weekend in Paris. And with the plane tickets being about $50 round trip, it was pretty easy to justify.

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It started a little rocky since the fog in Krakow was so bad that we had to be bused to a nearby airport. We didn’t arrive in Paris until after 2am and the airport there is an expensive cab ride from the city. It was so late when we got in that they had already turned off the lights on the Eiffel Tower and it was just an eerie black pinnacle against the city of lights.

The weekend was a mystifying whirlwind as we rushed to hit all the highlights. The only place where we got to spend a significant amount of time was our first: the Musee d’Orsay. I’ve wanted to go here for years since it houses some of the best collections of art nouveau and impressionism in the world. While its fame is dwarfed by the Louvre, it contains many impressive (sorry not sorry) works by Van Gogh, Lautrec, Monet, Renoir, Degas and more.

After the museum we walked along the Seine as the sunset. The river is lined with little stands selling vintage books. When we made it to Notre Dame, it was already dark and its iconic facade was illuminated. After marveling for a while, we had dinner at an outdoor cafe. We then went to a few bars and had a few beers because I just can’t pretend to be into wine before heading back to our hotel.

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Our second full day was spent being extra touristy. The weather there was still fall so it was crisp and sunny. We first indulged in some crepes. Then we walked to the Eiffel Tower. Along the way there were many beautiful statues, buildings and monuments that I’ve never heard of before. Paris is funny that way; things that would be the biggest highlights in other cities are second, third or fourth trip sights there.

 

The line to go to top of the Eiffel Tower was too long so we opted to marvel from below. We did climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and got beautiful views of the metropolis. Later we walked back to Notre Dame hoping to get to go inside. But alas, the line was again too long. Instead we walked around the Gothic beauty and to my surprise there was a garden behind it with late roses blooming and a more stunning view than the front.

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I wish we had more time to explore the city. It would be impossible to see everything in three lifetimes. Next time I really want to explore the Montmarte area and go inside the Louvre. And probably the Musee d’Orsay again because I just can’t get enough. I had one final treat to wrap up a great way to start my next quarter century:

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Better than cake

 

Later this month we’re heading to Milan!

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