Paris. It's so often dreamed of, spoken about fondly by both those who have visited, and those who can do nothing but wish to. It's hard, at least for my un-traveled mind, to realize that it's actually a real place-not just a set in a movie or paintings on a museum wall. I find myself wondering what it will be like to actually be there. To wake up, see the morning sunshine, and think... I am in Paris, I am actually here... what is that like? Surreal? Nerve wracking? Just another day in the life?
I cannot wait to find out, quite honestly.
Preparations for a week in Paris (along with a week in both Denmark + London) have started to be a little more serious now with only 2 months until go time. Two months. I can hardly believe it--this is a trip my friend + I have been looking forward to for now a year and a half, and it's all beginning to be real. Excuse me while I do a quick happy dance. And freak out a little.
Planning could become my full time job. It is rather time consuming and almost overwhelming at times. So much information! So many ideas! I've had great fun so far though, definitely not complaining about the opportunities that lay ahead--only of my own limited knowledge and expertise. Good thing there are well traveled people out there to help me out. And the internet. And pinterest. ;)
With just a week in each city essentially, there is no possible way that we can see + do it all. I don't even want to try. So I've spent some time imagining what my own dream vacation is, and what it would involve. Setting aside the tourist-tip-sites (which are wonderful) and all other outside expectations really helps with narrowing down what I'd like to spend time doing in Paris.
My ideal trip is one that goes past only seeing the normal attractions (though doesn't exclude them entirely) and delves deeper into the Parisian everyday. Going off the map a little, and experiencing a little more than standing in line and paying too much for admission. I'd rather pay too much for a pastry. Or two.
I can see myself strolling almost leisurely through streets hopefully not too crowded, making my way past outdoor markets and happy patisserie shops. Sitting quietly in a park, watching the people go by and hearing foreign conversations (oh, French) float around, journaling of the surroundings-the smells, the people, the colors. Then turning around and doing the same things only with a croissant and mug in hand at a cutesy cafe, while music and scents of sweetness fill the air. Biking across the river seine, taking time to smile at the boats that run underneath and to myself after noticing the excitement the other travelers are experiencing & noticing that same excitement in myself. Browsing through antique shops and more bakeries because I wouldn't want to lose weight from all that walking, y'know. (Lets face it, I'm just excited about the food when it comes to Paris. I only want the food. And I want all of it.) Picnics to be enjoyed slowly, baguettes + cheeses, learning the ways of the subway, photographing the architecture and whatever else surrounds. Watching, looking, finding. Seeing the tried + true attractions; The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Arc de Triomphe, Montmarte, Musee d'Orsey, you know the drill. Kodak moment paradise, for realz, y'all. (Nobody says 'kodak moment' anymore, do they?) I'm excited to get to the top of the Eiffel tower, excited to attend mass at Notre Dame, excited to walk around with artsy folk + tourists (well sorta) through the museums. I look forward to the little moments, and unexpected scenes that will occur. I hope to remember to document those as well as the check-list things.
I've dipped my toes into learning French (I can say four words. Top that.), prepped my wardrobe into looking slightly more European, (black, black and...oh more black.), getting a credit card (terrifying) and starting to get out and walk often to prepare my poor legs to the trauma they'll eventually endure.---I'm still trying to decide if it's worth it to walk up the Eiffel Tower instead of paying for the elevator.... On one hand...bragging rights, on the other hand.... I can barely get up 20 steps without almost dying. Hmm. I mean, you get a break after step number 300 or something. Totally doable right? Also, I've decided that watching the Hunchback of Notre Dame + The Red Balloon count as travel planning. Anybody out there have more recommendations for movies set in France? They're pretty fantastic for...research... ;)
So that's been my spare time lately. Using trip adviser to the max, pinteresting it up (actually not that much because I hate pinterest.) and exploiting the patience + knowledge of every experienced traveler I know. Learning what I can, enjoying it all like you wouldn't believe & counting down the days until it all becomes more than ideas and plans. Today we're at 57.