Ah, Paris… je t’aime beaucoup. In May of 2015, I set off on a four month-long backpacking trip with two of my friends to Europe. Fourteen countries and a lot of gelato and sangria later, I got home feeling cultured as shit. For today though, I just want to talk about my first love: Paris.
After our first stop in London, Paris was our (along with our Contiki group’s) next victim. I have always been infatuated with Paris for as long as I can remember, (shoutout to my mom for always buying me everything she saw that had the eiffel tower on it) and I was actually nervous because I was worried that I had my expectations set too high. I couldn’t have been more wrong of course, and I owe this ALL to my Contiki tour guide who literally did the whole group an amazing favour. He had us looking out of the window on the left side of the bus, while telling us some (fake) story about the history or whatever of some building. Then, just as we were turning a corner, he told us to look to our right. And there it was. The freaking Eiffel Tower. The beauty of the darn thing made me lose my breath and made me cry. I fully started to cry, because I had felt so overwhelmingly grateful to be in it’s presence. They pulled the bus over so we could all get out and be the ultimate tourists and take pictures, and I swear it was like I was in a dream. I could just not believe that I was actually there.
We only spent a couple of days in Paris on the tour, so my friends and I naturally had to go back towards the end of our trip. I am so glad, though, that I got to experience my first little taste of this amazing city this way. My Contiki experience is something to rave about another time, but I still can’t help mentioning how grateful I am for it. And anyway, while in our first few days, we shopped, ate macaroons, walked EVERYWHERE, almost died in a cab ride, climbed up the Eiffel Tower (that’s right, no elevator for me folks) and fell in love. I am not exaggerating when I say that I believe Paris was and is my first love. I can’t even begin to describe how at home and comfortable I felt while I was there, along with being excited and nervous, all at the same time.
On a side note, I have a funny little story for you. So, I am three years older than my little sister, and when my grandfather came into my room to tell me that my mom had given birth to her, I was sitting on my floor with a bunch of stuffed animals around me, and simply said: “Papa, leave me alone while i’m in my sanctuary.” While also putting up my hand as to say, ‘go away.’ My mom loves to tell this story because she thinks it’s hilarious that I was only three and that I used the word sanctuary like it was apart of my daily vocabulary. But as you maybe have guessed by now, it was because I was obsessed with The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Oh and if you’re wondering, I didn’t see Esmerelda OR Quasi while I was at the Notre Dame Cathedral and I’m still upset about it.
All in all, I know that Paris will forever hold a piece of my heart, and I know that I will be back someday (soon). So the only way I can really try to describe and explain what this city means to me, is this; You know when you experience those ‘ah-ha’ moments in life where you realize that a recent event or happening has kind of changed you? Or shaped you in a way you didn’t expect/notice? For example, I sometimes feel this way the day after an amazing concert. I’ll be home, reminiscing on what had just happened the night before, and feel as though something is just a little bit different. I believe that we have moments like this all the time, but usually don’t realize when they are happening. When I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time, I experienced this feeling as it was happening. Nothing was delayed, I fell in love and I fell hard.