Paris, I Louvre You.
So as it turns out, having a full time job, a social life of any kind AND being a blogger is a serious commitment. And if I'm being completely honest, committing to anything other than wine and flights on the reg is not my strong suit. I will say I've been busy investing in some once in a lifetime experiences since my first blog post and I am so excited to be back to share them with ya'll! Speaking of flights on the reg ...
Have you ever had a random thought pop into your head? The kind that won’t leave until you satisfy it? Well, my random thoughts consist of international travel. One Wednesday, I found Paris on my mind. About 20 minutes later, a confirmation email hit my inbox, “Thanks! Your reservation is booked and confirmed” with a one-way ticket to France attached. For a slight second, I found myself questioning my purchase, but then I asked myself, WWCD (What Would Charlene Do)? She’d say, “live your best life, girl”. So, that’s exactly what I did.
The day came for JAX>CDG and there I was rushing down the travelator (Google it, it's the proper noun for the moving walkway), overweight suitcase dragging behind me, and minutes to spare to make my flight. Packing suitcases weighing in at a whopping 53 lbs, reserving middle seats on 10+ hour flights, and booking hotels rated “5 star” by Google’s definition would pretty much make for an experienced traveler, right? Oh wait …yeah, that’s me. Luckily, I was not in this alone. One of my gal pals, Leslie, was along for the ride and what a ride it was ...
After pretty much zero sleep (boy will those middle seats will get you) and some serious butterflies, the tires hit the tarmac and I knew it was finally the start to a trip Leslie & I had anticipated for months! After a car service pick up (travel tip 101 : travel with someone who knows what they are doing) and a few questionable roads later, we arrived in the heart of Paris, a district called Le Marais. Bonjour, we were in Paris! Le Marais was exactly what we were looking for: central to all things Paris, but tucked away just far enough to radiate the real Parisian feel. Our Airbnb was awesome as well, which I highly recommend vs. a traditional hotel stay if you are thinking about visiting Paris!
After getting to know our way around Le Marais we decided to treat ourselves to a delicious dinner, sushi, of course. Located inside the Le Royal Monceau Hotel, Matsuhisa, better known to Americans as Nobu. We were sushi stuffed, but decided there was no chance our first night in Paris was ending at Matsuhisa; so the night continued at one of the hottest nightclubs in Paris, L’Arc. Ever heard of Harden, Mellow or Crews? Yeah, me neither, but they were sitting right next to us in L’Arc. Turns out they are in the NBA and pretty decent basketball players; I guess? The best part about this place wasn’t just the VIP experience, but the incredible view. It wasn’t until about halfway through the evening that I realized the roof was actually open air! Not too many clubs where you can enjoy that type of scenic view.
I’d be lying if I said my head hit the pillow before the sun came up (sorry mom, love you!), but that didn’t make for a slow start to day two. With little to no sleep and a lot of espresso, and I’m not talking about that skinny latte they serve at Starbucks, we were off to the place most people dream of seeing. Crowded and full of life, The Eiffel Tower was everything you would expect & so much more (especially lit up at night). The only regret to be had was that we didn’t pack macaroons and wine!
Still in awe of seeing a world famous icon, we ventured off to our next stop: Notre Dame. Unfortunately, we did not catch Quasimodo swinging from the gargoyles, but we did catch a very talented violinist crushing some Ed Sheeran tunes. He pulled quite the crowd and it really had me thinking back to the States. In that very moment, time stood still and it was so nice to just be present. How often is it that we pause in the midst of our busy days to listen to live music on a sidewalk?
Being serenaded all afternoon sure did work up our appetites. We were really excited to try a restaurant recommendation from a local Parisian called Kong, a spot that overlooks the 1st Arrondissement, but way more importantly, Louis Vuitton HQ. Talk about #winning! I fell in love with the ambiance, as the entire dining area was surrounded by glass windows. Not only were the views amazing at sunset, the food was the bomb.com. We shared quite a few Asian dishes, but the dim sum and duck spring rolls were delish. Kong may be one of the best dining experiences I have ever had!
As bittersweet as it was, our time in the city of love was coming to an end. The next morning we woke wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. We really wanted to channel our inner Leonardo da Vinci, so we made our way to The Louvre. I have to say I was pretty overwhelmed by the size of the museum; you really need more than a full day to take it all in. On the other hand, I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed by the size of the Mona Lisa; she’s pretty, but she sure is small. But on a serious note, here’s some words for the wise: buy your ticket in advance, show up early to avoid long lines, leave your sweaters at home (apparently art is best kept in a 90 degree environment), and wear comfy shoes.
That night as I laid in bed, I found myself replaying the last 3 days of my life spent in such an amazing city, one that most people dream of visiting. As I reflected on all the beauty and the culture we were able to see and experience, I couldn’t help but feel extremely blessed and fortunate to be able to make these kinds of memories. Paris, as you do for so many, you will always hold a special place in my heart. Semisonic said it best, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. With that being said, Roma, I'm coming for you ...
Matsuhisa | https://www.leroyalmonceau.com/en/restaurants/matsuhisa-paris/
Kong | http://www.kong.fr/_en
L'Arc | http://larc-paris.com/en/