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(mattnnat) Europe – Paris

post by matt

Dear Paris,

You were cold and wet and snowy. It wasn’t the trip I had imagined but I loved it anyways. You see people always comment on how romantic winter in Paris is, or must be. And now, having experienced this I must admit I’m not convinced. I think we may have missed a little of the magic that comes with the trees being green, the sun shining on the Eiffel Tower and all of those outdoor cafes bristling with people catching up over coffee and croissants.

But now it just sounds like I’m complaining, when really I truly enjoyed our two and half days in your romantic city. It was filled with croissants, macarons, visiting your incredible monuments and towers, walking for miles with snow gently falling (ok maybe it was actually falling with great force directly in our eyes preventing us from really looking around), and drooling over all those shops…..

We arrived on the train, got settled into our accommodation and then dove straight into the sight seeing. We went to the Opera House first and after walking around we found a mall of course (Matt is never surprised at my knack for finding shopping, especially the type that is out of my price range, don’t worry I have a lot of self control). Thankfully for Matt the mall I happened to find was Galeries Lafayette and it was stunning inside!

Then it was off to the Arc de Triomphe. We decided to climb to the top even though we knew the view would be limited with the weather. We wound up the spiraling staircase that would have made us dizzy if we didn’t have to stop so much to catch our breath! Needless to say I’m pretty sure we’ll be in much better shape after this trip ;)

And although your gloomy skies wanted to hide this from us, we were grateful for this little view we got.

After winding our way back down to street level we made our way to the Eiffel Tower itself. And I have to admit the light snowfall made it pretty spectacular. Not only that but we found the first signs of spring.

It was already dusk so we decided to wait it out until we could get some night shots. While we danced around at the top of the Trocadero to keep warm we saw the moment they turned the lights on. It was misty and glowing and perfect.

I must say Paris, you’re pretty great with your lights!

Day two, we woke to another dreary day. So we decided to explore one of your most famous museums, The Louvre. Knowing we didn’t have a lot of time we decided on a few of the greats to see and stuck to that plan. When we first arrived we decided to walk around outside and get some pictures before it got any busier.

The is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.

Here of course we found the ever growing tribe of iPad photographers….

The Louvre is just massive! It’s pretty amazing to see the old architecture and the new design meld together seamlessly. Some may disagree with me on this, but I think it’s beautiful.

This is the first thing you see as you go inside, well if you look up that is. I have this problem of being too excited to see the next thing, sometimes I forget to look at what’s right in front of me. Thankfully I have a Matt, who caught this before we moved on.

These were some of our favorite pieces of art. The Great Sphinx of Tanis and of course the Mona Lisa, which we got a great view of since it wasn’t overly busy the day we were there.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

Everywhere you look is covered in art.

After enjoying some delicious quiche for a late lunch it was time to continue our adventure. We walked from The Louvre over to Notre Dame, which was quite pleasant as we crossed the Pont des Arts (bridge). It is famous for it’s love locks, which I know are quite controversial for you as a city, but it’s quite a sight to be seen!

We wanted to get a pic of the two of us, which is always quite challenging with the SLR, but I think we managed ;)

We were too late to see Notre Dame inside, so we decided to wait again until it was dark to get some photos. In the meantime we helped ourselves to one of your fabulous crepes. When we were finished eating it once again started to snow making everything spectacular!

The funny thing is that incredible snowfall just stopped once we got back to the front of Notre Dame.

Since the wet snow had stopped I convinced Matt and his very sore feet from a day full of walking that we should go back to The Louvre for some night shots there. I’m pretty glad he indulged me in the idea, these are some of my favorite pictures we got while we were in Paris.

Day 3 we woke up to snow and yet another dreary day to send us off to the area of Montmartre. Our first stop was to see Basilica of the Sacré Coeur. It stands majestically on a hill, over looking the rest of the city.

I wanted to wait until these steps were clear to get the perfect shot. They are so charming, and just one street over from the Basilica.

We wandered through the streets of Montmartre and found ourselves in Place du Tertre, where art happens everyday. From caricaturists to chalk drawings to beautiful oil paintings of your city, it’s enjoyable just to walk around and watch things happen.

Continuing on our way we weaved down through Montmartre on our way to the Metro for one last look at the Eiffel Tower and to get a peak inside Notre Dame. We found the love wall on our way, which has ‘I Love You’ written in over 300 languages!! Oh Paris, it’s clever.

Once again, to amuse me Matt walked with me to the other side of the Eiffel Tower just so I could get these last two pictures of it. Thanks so much for having a peace memorial strategically placed for my picture taking needs :) Although I do think it a bit ironic most of the glass was shattered on the memorial…..

We did go inside Notre Dame, but rather than snapping pictures, we just wandered around and took it all in. We did however snap a couple shots of the massive doors and intricate exterior.

I wasn’t going to leave before one last stop, but on the way there you surprised me with this, an outdoor skating rink that I would have loved to enjoy if I wasn’t so set on making it to our next destination!

Macarons!! Yes, I do love my desserts and I was so looking forward to having these little morsels of goodness :) Laduree did not disappoint, they were delicious. Matt had a mini chocolate and a mini caramel, while I went for the big pink one with the raspberries (in the top left pic).

I thought our time ended on a perfect note until you sweetened the goodbye. We arrived back at our airbnb home to find we had a lovely meal prepared by our hosts complete with a 15 year old bottle of homemade wine they chose to share with us. What a sendoff!

And so Paris, here’s to the first time we met! I hope to meet again one day when it’s warmer and the sun is shining and perhaps when I can afford a little treat from one of those fancy shops I passed by each day.

Until next time,

Nat xo

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