The City of Love: Paris, France

June 12, 2016

"Don't rush things.  Anything worth having is worth waiting for."

Flashback:  Growing up with authoritative and conservative parents, who imposed strict curfew hours and never allowed sleepovers (unless it's a school activity, i.e., camping, recollection, etc.), had been a little frustrating for my teenage self.  I was confused as to why they couldn't be as lenient as my classmates' parents, who willingly allow their children to parties, night outs, and out-of-town trips.  I felt deprived of the freedom to enjoy my once youthful life.  Needless to say, among a group, I was always the outcasted one.

It was unfortunate, as what most people would say.  Honestly, at one point in my life, I felt the same way too.  My then teenage self was so immature to understand a parent's rationale for putting up such rules.  Nevertheless, I still obeyed.  I chose to obey, despite failing to understand, because of love.  I love my parents so much, I would not choose to defy and leave them broken hearted just so I can live and enjoy life the way I wanted to.

Fast forward to this day, I have come to realize that it actually pays to be an obedient child.  While it's an obvious fact that I may not have enjoyed my teenage years (because of parental restrictions), I must say that living a happy married life right now is far more than enough to compensate for those exciting "happenings" I've clearly missed out on.  

I have a faithful, responsible, and supportive husband, who perfectly understands how much I lost the opportunity to travel in my younger years.  So, he works hard and tries his best to not only take me to places I've never been before, but to cities I never even imagined I can possibly see in person -- like the City of Love:  Paris, France.  And for that, I will forever be grateful!  (Thank you, Heavenly Father, for blessing me with a husband, who didn't only turn out to be the "man-of-my-dreams," but also, the man who makes all my dreams come true!)

Paris is, without question, a fascinating city that spells nothing less but class and sophistication.  Words are not enough to describe how perfectly beautiful the place is, so allow me to just give you a glimpse of how charming the City of Love looks like through these photos.

La Conciergerie Castle along Seine River

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame's French Gothic design

The church's interior

Hotel de Ville, the City Hall of Paris

A perfect example of a classy Parisian architecture

The impressive facade of Petit Palais, opposite the Grand Palais 

We had 4 days to enjoy the picturesque city, so we opted to buy a Paris pass and a travel pass (unlimited train & bus ride) to make our tour more efficient and budget-friendly.  The pass already includes free entrance to most of the popular attractions, allowing tourists to discover more while saving time and money. #traveltipidtip

Paris, like most European cities, is best explored by foot, so make sure to wear your comfiest pair of shoes when traveling to this touristy place. I was glad my husband and I decided to do this Europe tour while we were still young and able because honestly, it was really really exhausting!  Can you imagine we walked more than 34,000 steps on our first day of tour of the French capital?  No Joke!  I cannot even think how we'd survive that had we chosen to do this tour in our 60s, when all our kids have already graduated college.  I might just end up dying of heart attack getting to the viewing deck of Arc de Triomphe because of too much exhaustion!  Indeed, there's a truth in the saying, "Travel while you're young!"

Champs-Elysees, the world's most beautiful avenue

Arc de Triomphe

The details of Arc de Triomphe

The beautiful view of the city of Paris from the terrace of Arc de Triomphe

Typical Parisian street.  We went here in April, which was supposed to be spring already, but the weather was still pretty much like winter... it was freezingly cold!

The famous Eiffel Tower (shot from Trocadero)

If you were to ask me what I like most about Paris, aside from its elegant architecture, perhaps, my answer would be its low-rise skyline which gave an amazing view of the city's clear blue skies (on a sunny weather).  It's rare to find a dense and advanced metropolis with very few buildings that's more than 6 stories tall, so I was surprised.  Nonetheless, I loved how they were able to keep the capital skyscraper-free, which made their famous Eiffel Tower really stand out from the crowd. 

On the contrary, there were also a few things about this famous tourist destination that I didn't find quite attractive.  First on the list was the everyday protests on the streets.  While I've been pretty much used to seeing rallies in my home country (Philippines), I realized that these kinds of demonstrations can be a bit scary, especially if you're in a foreign land -- maybe because we tend to become paranoid of the commotion that it may possibly cause or we're simply being extra vigilant of our surroundings since we knew that Paris had been a target of terrorist attacks.  

Palais Garnier (Opera House)

Orsay Museum used to be a railway station in the early 1900s

The Orsay Museum today houses several French masterpieces -- paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography -- including those made by the famous artist, Van Gogh 

The Palace of Justice beside Sainte-Chapelle (left)

The facade of Sainte-Chapelle or Holy Chapel

The most famous feature of the royal chapel is its great stained-glass windows

The second and last thing I didn't like about the place was probably the lack of warmth and hospitality among the locals.  The French people seem to have a fast-pace of life -- everyone was always in a rush and looked pretty serious.  Honestly, I really find Parisians  intimidating.  But after thinking about it, I have come to realize that all these misconceptions I have about them was just probably caused by the differences in our culture.  Don't you think?

Anyway, despite the few negative thoughts I have about the City of Lights, I must admit that it is, indeed, still one of the most beautiful cities you'll ever see!  Come and give this romantic place a visit, so you'll personally understand what makes it so magical.  I promise you, it's definitely worth it!

***For more photos, stories, and tips about our adventures in Europe, you may check the following blog posts: 

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