Audrey Hepburn famously said “Paris is always a good idea” and you know what, she was right. Katie and I both went in thinking there was no way this city could live up to the hype, but it truly did and we had an amazing time there.
Our time in the city was also special because we had some of our closest friends from back home, Kris and Maggie, come out to join us. This not only gave us a taste of home but recharged us being around people we know so well and care so much about. We were beyond fortunate they were willing to take their first big trip away from their twin boys (and our godsons) to spend with us.
The trip to Paris started with a laugh as we made a rookie travel mistake and almost missed our train from London. We assumed trains were like we’d taken in Italy and you just show up 30 minutes before to jump on board. So you can imagine our surprise when we arrive and there is full on, airport-style security check (complete with customs) with massive lines going nowhere in front of us. At that time they had already called our train so we looked like two giant American idiots in a sea of people who could care less about giant American idiots.
Cue us developing two strategies to quickly get us through this problem. First, you just act flustered and emotional so people want to help you. Second, you just keep asking them to help you even when they say no. We’ve learned repetition works wonders when people want you to stop bothering them. This combo worked great as the first guy felt bad for us which got us to the “shorter” security line. At that point the second style had to be implemented since even the short line wasn’t moving fast enough and we had less than 15 minutes. Katie asked if we could be helped and was told no so I asked another guy over and over until he finally walked us to priority business line which only had a few people. From there, nice people let us up to the front and we sprinted to the train with literally one minute to spare. The funniest part though is when the train radioed down to the head French security guard asking if they were good to leave, he announced back over the loud speaker and said, “The last two are the ones with the rucksacks” in the most disgusted French/English we’ve ever heard. About made us pee our pants laughing once onboard. Okay, so from there it was a breeze of a train ride and bam, we were in Paris!
Kris and Maggie found us a great AirBnb apartment in the Le Marais neighborhood. The place was a beautiful two story unit right in the heart of everything. It was charming and cozy and gave us a good home base. Originally we planned to do just four nights but extended it two more nights because we enjoyed the city so much. We spent our days and nights wandering the city and seeing all the sites we could. Each day we covered miles and miles of ground which was a gave us a good chance to catch up plus see everything big and small between.
The food was also such a treat and we tried to sample just about anything and everything. Some of my favorites were the falafels from L’As du Fallafel, crepes from La Droguerie, caramels and crepes from Breizh Café and obviously, every single croissant I could get my little paws on.
In addition to trying to see all we could in Paris, we also took a few day trips while there. First, we went to the Palace of Versailles and toured the massive beautifully manicured gardens and rented bikes to roam around the lake and outermost areas. This was a blast, especially when Maggie’s bike comes along clanking away as she managed to find some mini bottles of champagne and sandwiches for us to have great little picnic.
The second day trip was where Kris rented a car and we all drove out to Normandy to see the D-Day beaches. The day was a little cloudy and at times rainy, but the experience was beyond worth it knowing how much history spanned across those sandy beaches. Seeing the remnants and memorials from a war fought long ago was such a great reminder of just how special the men and women were from that generation (the best generation in my opinion). Gives inspiration to stand up to tyranny and injustice no matter the cost because it is always worth it. Also, at the time it made us extremely sad watching the US election and seeing Trump on the road to the White House and realizing just how far our country has fallen. But that’s for another blog post 🙂
After our days with Kris and Maggie we sadly said goodbye as they headed home via a few days in Iceland and we made our way to Belgium and the Netherlands. For any of you reading who haven’t been to Paris, make time for it because Audrey was right.