When I think of Paris, I think of the song La vie en rose, of cozy cafes, and reading in the park. I think of delicious food where meals take hours. I think of romance and love.
Paris was amazing, but not quite what I had expected. The sites we saw were magnificent and breathtaking, but I wasn't prepared for the hordes and hordes of tourists, dirty gravel walkways, odorous streets, and the lack of color. One of the things that makes a place beautiful to me is flowers. Paris didn't have many, but there was several green grassy parks, which I loved.
We spent Saturday at the Arc de Triomphe and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Eiffel Tower (which was amazing, but we didn't stay long because the amount of people under and around it was suffocating), and walking up and down Champs-Elysees. The picture above really doesn't do Champs-Elysees justice. It is a very grand boulevard.
One of my very favorite things we did was attend church. The ward building was old with lots of character, but simple inside. It was wonderful to feel the same Spirit in the Paris ward that I feel in the New Kent Branch.
After church we walked to lle de la Cite and saw Notre-Dame. The architecture and detail of every stone was unbelievable. I can't begin to imagine the many hands that worked for countless hours to create such an impressive cathedral.
The Louvre was our next stop. We saw the Mona Lisa which was rather underwhelming, and then wandered around aimlessly trying hard to appreciate art the way we should.
Once we'd had enough physical contact with hundreds of sweaty bodies, we headed outside for fresh air and green grass in the Tuileries Gardens. Although not as colorful as I was hoping, the Tuileries Gardens were a perfect place to relax and people watch.
Later that evening we went on a dinner cruise down the Seine River with our good friends Mike and Amy Livesay. The cruise line we chose was Marina de Paris which provided a relaxing, and romantic evening of good conversation, and gorgeous views of the city lights.
Monday started out slow and was the only day I didn't wake up early to an alarm. After eating breakfast, we met up with Mike, Amy, Brooks, and Shirley and caught a bus that took us the long, roundabout way to Stanz (where you can find wonderful Nutella filled bagels), and to the general location of Hint Hunt. What is Hint Hunt you might be wondering? It's only the #1 rated activity in Paris. Crazy huh? You can read about it on Trip Advisor, but it's basically a one hour game of mystery and suspense. Quite entertaining and amusing. We highly recommend it.
Next stop - Holocaust Memorial. We couldn't go all the way to Paris and not remember those who were taken from their homes, forced to sacrifice so much, and eventually killed during Hilter's reign. What a reverent place to reflect and give thanks.
Pont Des Arts Love Lock Bridge was not far from the Holocaust Memorial and one of the "must sees"on my list, so we headed that way. We bought a lock, wrote our initials on it, and locked it to the bridge symbolizing the locking of our heart to one another. Now, as fun as this was, this made me even more grateful for my temple marriage. Instead of a cheap lock on a bridge, I have an eternal sealing to my favorite person in the entire world. Yah, I'm pretty lucky.
As tired as our legs were by this point, we still had more to see and kept walking. Once we arrived at the Luxembourg Garden and Palace we ate the most amazing Nutella waffle I've ever had (forgot to snap a picture dang it!), and soaked up the colorful view. We found a comfortable place to rest our feet, and sat for an insightful conversation about football, gospel standards, and business. The chairs were metal and hard but felt soft to our tired bodies, the dialogue thought-provocing, and the air was crisp. It was rather perfect.
When our stomachs finally demanded to be fed, we wandered back up the road until we found a cozy Italian restaurant with a large table in front. Time slipped slowly by as we ate and visited. With no little ones to hurry back to, dishes to be washed, and laundry to be folded, we talked late into the evening, and excitedly planned out next couple days.