Paired with La Vie en Rose, and Moulin Rouge
Everyone dreams of the city of lights: a place to find romance, baguettes, and stripes. These dreams weren’t lost on me, but seeing a long time friend, Becca, and hopefully testing out my French skills, were added to the list. After midterms, which were the easiest tests I’ve taken thus far in my college career, I was excited to have a full two weeks off for adventuring with family and friends from around the globe.
I met Becca at freshman orientation in Chicago, though we didn’t become close until a month later she’s been someone I know will be in my life forever. Experiencing Paris with her and my minor French was dazzling.
(I made sure to wear my stripes)
Day one I rushed out of class to catch my plane, and once checking in to our Airbnb, bought some bread and cheese awaiting Becca’s arrival. On Friday we decided to get all of the touristy things out of the way. We waltzed through Luxembourg gardens, and saw the somewhat disappointing Statue of Liberty posted there. Saw Notre Dame, and the Louvre. Which is by far the most beautiful museum I have ever seen, each room was decorated to correspond with it’s displayed art, and it was massive. Mona Lisa was a two second pit stop and she was, as small as everyone says. We continued looping through the sights marveling at the Arc de Triomphe and eventually landing on top of the Eiffel tower with a beer in hand watching the sunset.
Admiring the purple vista and talking with Becca made me realize that this is true vacation. It’s necessary to let ourselves rest and just be. Sometimes, we’re are so focused on whatever drives us in our careers, callings, and relationships that we never look up to enjoy the sunset. I may get to travel the world for work one day, but writing articles about the lack of resources and unnoticed corners of the world won’t be easy, it won’t be a vacation, and hopefully, it will be filling in some way; make a difference, but this vacation is something I must take advantage of now so I can push myself in the future after a time of rest.
On Saturday we went to Belleville, a place recommended by Becca’s friend said to be his “spiritual home.” The diversity, passion, and love in this small neighborhood of Paris was amazing. The place was quaint with families and great food, but one of my favorite moments of the entire trip was sitting on the steps, in a park, watching a group of locals dance, rap, sing, and play together, young and old.
We stopped by the infamous Montmartre, home to movies like Amelie, Moulin Rouge, and Midnight in Paris. At night the Moulin Rouge lights up with her windmill spinning making me think back to Ewen McGregor singing with Nicole Kidman in a whirlwind of oddities. The café right around the corner is Amelie’s workplace, now outfitted with movie memorabilia. And of course, Sacrè Coeur sits on top of the hill right past a square full of local artists painting the people and landscapes, living the bohemian life Montmartre is known for.
(this guy fell asleep at the easel)
By Sunday night, after eating an entire baguette for almost every meal, and consuming my weight in good cheese and wine, we sat down for the official Parisian meal; snails. The classic escargot dish came cooked in spices, white wine, and butter and tasted sort of similar to muscles (we also got a cheese plate, because I just can’t get enough).
My memory escapes me a little since I’m writing this after another adventure, due to some computer problems, but Paris was just rosy. There are problems, like any city, but to see a place so genuinely integrated with diversity, passionate about the artwork on the street and in museums, and loving towards their fellow Frenchmen (not Americans, but they were ok with us since I spoke French) was beautiful. Speaking French also heightened the entire experience and made me oddly more confident with my Italian when coming back, even though it’s still quite awful.
I know I say I’ll live in one of these places someday, and after my travels I think I could really live anywhere, but I will live in Paris by the time I’m 30, or retire there with the oceans in the south, and country in the west, I’d be surrounded by nature in the midst of a buzzing city.
Other highlights: Lovelock bridge, lots of street art findings, plenty of coffee. Paris, Je t’aime.
Ciao/ Au Revoir,
Bri, the barefoot traveler.