Continuing along today with the April A-Z Blog Challenge. Our family moved to England when I was just shy of 13 and spent the next 6 years across the pond. This month, I am reflecting on the time I spent overseas during my teens.
P is for Paris
Aside from England where we actually lived, I would say I spent the most time in Paris while I was overseas. We went on more than one trip as a family or with people who came to visit us and I also went on more than one occasion for a swim meet. Typing that out, I always feel like it sounds a bit obnoxious but a trip to Paris when you live in England is more like a trip to a nearby state in the U.S. And aside from the fact that I don't speak a word of French past hello, goodbye, please and thank you, I consider myself very comfortable there.
We took the Eurostar which was fun and I believe the day of our travel was Thanksgiving- our first one living overseas and it was quite the shock to the system having our "Thanksgiving dinner" on the train. I want to say it involved duck pate...a duck is almost a turkey right? That's what we told ourselves anyway. But we were on a train on the way to Paris so you can't complain too much right?
I wish I had a picture of the hotel we stayed in our first trip. The elevator could not fit all 4 of us so we went up in twos and our luggage had to go up by itself because of how small the lift was (and we really didn't have that much stuff I swear!). The room itself, which was said to fit 4 of us, was the tiniest space, one of the beds was actually in a closet. So it definitely made it a bit of an adventure.
We of course made all the touristy stops that trip. The Arch de Triumph, The Louvre, Notre Dame and of course... The Eiffel Tower.
Now I will pause and tell a short side story here about a different trip to Paris I took with our swim team. We were there for a meet but had some sight seeing time. And my coach decided that instead of taking the nice quick elevator ride up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, it would be a great conditioning exercise to RUN up the stairs.
First of all, I don't care to run pretty much anywhere, but definitely not up large flights of stairs and most assuredly not when those stairs are super steep and tall and feel like you may go off the edge at any moment. I do not recommend this method for scaredy cats or most normal people. But if you're looking to climb almost 2,000 stairs at a very brisk pace with a coach shouting motivational quotes down to you while he kicks your butt getting to the top then this activity might be for you. Now I happen to love this swim coach, and you'll hear a bit more about him in a future post about Young Life but this is one memory that always sticks out when I think of Paris, swim team or any large amount of stairs for that matter.
So back to the touristy things...all of it is beautiful and amazing just like you imagine. And also very busy.
The crowd to see the Mona Lisa is absurd and the days I've been there at least it's hard to even get close! We also went over to Montmartre to stroll around and sister and I had our portraits made.
I will say, mine looks EXACTLY like me (when I was that age anyway) and both drawings are framed in my parents home still as a lovely memento from our time there.
One thing I love most of all about Paris is all the delicious food. The tiny cafes on every corner. Just pop in for a quick coffee and some sort of delicious pastry. The delightful little outdoor lunch spots, the fact that every meal includes cheese? I mean what's not to love! AND crepes. Enough said. My favorites would be a crepe fromage to start followed by a crepe sucre as dessert. Cheese and sugar. Simple and delicious and on each trip I would consume as many of them as possible and surely more than is recommended but that didn't stop me. I am actually now the proud owner of a crepe pan...but I have yet to attempt making them. Perhaps this weekend, now that I've got myself thinking about them.
Paris gets a lot of attention as such a famous city. Some would say its "overrated" or too overly "hyped
crowded with tourists and to some extent that may be true. But the other parts that are true? It IS magical. It IS romantic. It IS beautiful. It lovely and delicious and bright and spectacular.