I’ve struggled to get myself to sort through all 1,362 photos I took during our Euro trip. It is almost as if I’ve forced myself to absorb what is happening in the current moment to forget the dream of a vacation my mom and I experienced last month.
Then, I tell myself to stop being ridiculous and remind myself of a favorite quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” Yes, heck yes. This 15-day, once-in-a-lifetime, mother-daughter trip to Europe happened, and it was freaking incredible. I don’t possess the photography skills I so desire, but I have evidence on my camera of this spectacular time to help reminisce on those memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Paris – our first destination. I wrote about the quaint rental where we stayed here. It was simply a place to rest and recuperate for us as we were go-go-go. When in Paris for only 4 nights, you do what you can do.
We arrived on Sunday, and as exhausted as we were, we did not nap – this trick worked well – and pushed through without resting our eyes. We grabbed our cameras and scarfs and sauntered around our neighborhood. We stumbled upon a lovely park, with fountains, statues, square trees, cuddling couples, pincers, playful children. This was Sunday in Paris. Later, we realized it was Place de Vosges – “the oldest planned square in Paris and one of the finest in the city.”
We ate a relaxed dinner al fresco at one of the cafes in Place Sainte Catherine (creamy mushroom pasta and a salad with cheesy toast) before we crashed into bed. We needed as much shut-eye possible as we had scheduled a bike tour around the city with Fat Tire Tours.
coffee cappuccinos and croissants. We walked into a Paul’s within walking distance of our apartment and metro station — only later to find out that Paul’s is the “Starbucks of France.” (fooled us American tourists).
Can’t say enough good things about our excursion with Fat Tire Tours; we literally told every other tourist we talked to about our guided pedaling through Paris. Our tiny, Irish guide – Emer – had a red head full of Parisian history to share with us as we cycled through the Paris streets for the greater part of the morning/afternoon. Helmet-less, we bravely “dominated” the chaotic traffic between our stops at attraction such as Les Invalides, Tuileries Garden (where we stopped for lunch), The Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Eiffel Tower, and more. It felt so good to move after all that traveling the day before. We planned the tour for Monday so that we could revisit sites we enjoyed later during our stay; but, the history lesson, we received was the icing on the cake – enriching our experience in Paris that much more.
Lunch in Tuileries Gardens
Quick stop in front of the Louvre, where we were given a brief lesson in the Parisian’s fascination with architectural symmetry
Dome des Invalides, where the tomb of Napoleon remains today
Following the tour, we wandered the streets of the surrounding arrondissements and headed back towards the Eiffel Tower for those photos all tourists must have. We did not picnic near the Tour Eiffel, nor did we go to the top per our bucket list but we got the gist of its splendor.
If only I had my running shoes!
Once we’d had enough of the Eiffel Tower (can you ever have enough!?), we hopped on the metro back to our studio to freshen up. Then we headed back out and walked to Chez Marianne (Le Marais) for a Meditteranean dinner — falafel plates of sorts.
We had room for dessert, and so sauntered – in the dark – down Rue de Rivoli, across the River Seine, to the larger of the two Parisian islands in search of Berthillon ice cream. Not far into our hunt, we came across an open window selling the highly recommended ice cream. Single scoops in a cone for us both. It was the first of many ice cream/gelato indulgences during our travels.
And that is how Mom and I spent our first day in Paris (September 21, 2015).
More to come…