“I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”
― Ernest Hemingway
If you’re like us you, want to see as much as possible while on a vacation. You want to do it all, see it all, experience it all… Well, that’s kind of hard to do when you’re visiting a city like Paris, especially when you’re jet-lagged. This city is huge! We had a little over 48 hours to spend before our next train and this is how we spent it.
Upon arrival, we went and dropped our packs at our Airbnb. We arrived a few hours before check-in so we meandered around our neighborhood for a few hours. Luckily for us, our neighborhood was a block from the Eiffel Tower! I have seen hundreds of pictures of this beautiful establishment but let me tell you; its beauty is breathtaking, especially at night. After walking the boardwalk next to the Seine river and getting our obligatory selfies it was time to head back to the Airbnb to settle in.
Our Airbnb was so quaint! Located on the top level of a historic building the wood beams were noticeably old, but the loft was modern, historic, and so beautiful. Everything from the appliances, french windows & updated bathroom tied together perfectly. One thing about these old French buildings is that the elevators and stairwells are tiny! Ryan and I barely fit in the elevator of our building. We opted for the stairs a couple of times to avoid feeling claustrophobic.
After we settled in and showered after 20 hours of travel we decided to head out to find the Catacombs.
Every block in our neighborhood had a cafe or restaurant on the corner. Outdoor seating was popular, even in the misty wet weather. We walked through booming city squares filled with people and cars traveling in all directions. Unlike Denver, you can get away with not listening to the walkway signs (most of the time) In Paris, if you’re not paying attention you will get run over!
We were told that you don’t need to go into every museum to see the art that fills this city and they were right. Statues, architecture, and cobblestone roads lead us to the Catacombs and were some of the most beautiful “art” I’ve ever seen.
Children were getting out of school around the time of our walk to the Catacombs. The kids were running around burning off the energy of the day and making their way homes. Remember razor scooters? They are beyond popular here! Adults and children alike used these more modern versions to get from place to place a hair quicker than walking. We saw hundreds of them tied up outside the schools and a few stores dedicated just to these fancy scooters.
We finally made it to the Catacombs! We were lucky enough to only wait in line for 40 or so minutes. Once we got inside we started the descent down. It was noticeably colder once underground. Limestone lined the walkways and pillars kept everything from caving in. The mystery started to set in as we walked farther and farther down the path. After 15 or so minutes of limestone walls, things started to change..and this is when things got creepy.
Bones were now the main materials of the walls. Skulls, Legs, Arms, you name it; these human remains were what built the walls and lead you on your way. These bones were dug up over the centuries and moved to these Catacombs to make way for new development in Paris and we only saw 1.5kilometers of it. Masonries (if that’s the right term) arranged the skulls in different shapes. We saw hearts, circles and what seemed to be faces made out of the skulls. Being surrounded by thousand years old remains resonated with me. Most of these people were victims of the plague. You could tell which ones had shallow graves by the moss that grew on them. These were people, far before my time. My grandparents time. My great grandparents time. I felt a deep sense of respect walking through the Catacombs and gave my gratitude as we finished the journey through the tour. After the 83 steps back up to the city we were blocks away from where we started and I felt as if we just journeyed through time.
After getting our bearings back, we were starving! Time to find some French cuisine. There were so many options it was hard to decide which place to go to. We walked into this friendly little restaurant and were sat a beautiful spot in the front of the all-season porch to enjoy our meal. We had some Rosè with our entrees and reminisced about what we had just experienced.
Once we couldn’t eat anymore, we called an Uber and headed back to our place to get some much-needed rest. We assumed we would be up early the next morning and could get some more sightseeing in…we were wrong.
We slept until about 2pm that afternoon, with no regrets! Since its winter the sun sets much earlier, so by the time we got ready to head out for the night the sun was already setting. Time to enjoy Paris at night!
Ryan had booked us our dinner reservations for the night 6 months ago at the 53 Eiffel Tower Restaurant and while we were making our way there and walked right into our first Christmas Market of the trip! We enjoyed some Mulled Wine and looked at all the goodies surrounding us. There was a skating rink, crepes & everything in between to enjoy. Children visited Santa and young couples tried their best to skate around the rink, falling along the way.
The Eiffel Tower is the definition of romance. You can feel it and you want to be apart of it. While making our way to the top of the tower you could see the love in the square below. We opted to take the elevator to the first floor of the tower and had the most spectacular view while doing so! I will never forget the lights that lined the tower and the love that poured into me during that ride up.
Now for dinner. The BEST dinner. We wined and dined until our heart’s content. We enjoyed local steak and chicken dishes paired with the house red wine. This restaurant was very small and we were lucky enough to have a balcony view! I personally believe it was the best seat in the house, but that could have just been me.
After dinner, we decided to keep going up the tower, only this time taking the stairs. We climbed, and climbed..and then climbed some more before reaching the second stop. The fog was starting to set in as the night grew older. We peered through the telescopes and daydreamed about what it would be like to live in this city, before making the long trek down back to the ground level.
With the romance in the air, we centered ourselves directly under the tower to take a picture. I was swept off my feet when Ryan decided this would be a great place to kiss and he was right. It might have been the most romantic kiss of my life. Actually, it was the most romantic kiss of my life. What can be better? Literally, nothing. Hands Down.
Once leaving the Eiffel Tower area we started our walk back to our Airbnb. Taking in every bit of beauty we possibly could. After just getting out of the tower area we turned around to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling with Christmas lights! It was the most breathtaking thing I’ve ever seen. We basically walked backward the rest of the way home to enjoy the lights. After getting back up to our room we settled in for the night, looking at the Eiffel Tower one last time from our bed. I feel so whole, so content, so happy here. No pictures could compare to the magic we witnessed this night.
Thank you, Paris. I will never forget you…
For more pictures of Paris and the rest of our European Adventure, check out my Europe 2017 album on Facebook!