My big trip has came & went & if you follow me on social media at all, you know exactly where we went…Paris!
And Morocco, which will be in part 2.
A little background – my dear friend Lindsey & I have taken a trip together ,I believe, every year since 2018 with the exception of 2020 because of Covid. Our trip to Germany for Oktoberfest is one of my all time favorite memories…ever. I documented it earlier in the blog so you can find that here. Last year, our original plan was to spend a week in France – we were going to start in Paris & just venture out to other places such as Bordeaux & Nice. Sadly, during that time is when France was having daily protests about the vaccine passports & we were advised to just stay away. We quickly revamped our plans & spent 5 days in Belgium instead! We didn’t know much about Belgium at all but we ended up loving it & were even saying that we believed Belgium may have been our favorite trip we’ve taken! It was beautiful, the people were so kind, & we never ate a bad meal in Belgium! One day I’ll have to document that trip as well on the blog. But first ,while it’s still fresh on my mind, let’s discuss this year’s trip –
We decided to knock out Paris this year on our way to our main destination. I flew up to Atlanta early on the morning of the 24th via the airline we work for & met up with Lindsey. We sat at one of the airport bars for the world’s most overpriced glass of airport wine ($18! What in the actual hell? I didn’t even want red wine, I asked for rose’ & they were out) & ate Chinese food (the laws of society go out the door at an airport – expensive wine & Chinese food at 10 AM? Sure why not?!) Afterwards, we made our way over to the internationals terminal. We flew this exact same Air France flight last year into Paris with a connecting flight to Brussels & the crew on our flight were so great to us! They upgraded us to business class so we thought maybe we could try our luck a second year in a row & sure enough – we were seated in our economy seats when the lovely flight attendants came back to get us & moved us into neighboring business class pods.
I’m thankful for any seat that can be given to me (as a flight attendant, we fly standby so we get what we get & you better not throw a fit!) but having business class on such a long flight is so nice & was such a relief to be able to have a proper bed so we could be well rested before arriving into Paris.
Travel tip – While I cannot make any promises, always take your flight attendants treats. Candies, $5 Starbucks gift cards, mini hand sanitizers, $1 bills (hotel shuttle tip money!) are all great ideas. I’ve even had someone bring my whole crew full breakfasts from Chick-Fil-A one day! I know personally I will treat you like a queen/king for the duration of the flight. It’s also nice if you’re flying standby to show your gratitude for being let on the flight.
Once we were settled in, the flight attendants passed around champagne & orange juice. The first thing I did when trying to take a picture of Lindsey was accidentally knock over her damn orange juice. Who even let me in business class? I was so embarrassed & made sure to be on my absolute best behavior from there on out! We stayed up until dinner came around – we had lobster with a salad for an appetizer, I had fish for dinner & Lindsey had pasta (we were told those were the only options left & again, as standby – you get what you get!), and we had fruit & cute little cakes for dessert. I had a couple glasses of champagne & hoped that would be enough to knock me out, which it was. I reclined my seat into a bed & passed out for the duration of the flight, only waking because I had gotten overly warm while sleeping & a final time when the flight attendants were serving breakfast.
Last year, passing through Paris customs was absolutely awful! We were crammed into the customs line like cattle & it took quite a while (an hour or more if I’m remembering correctly) to make it through the lines. This year we were out in ,like, 15-20 minutes. We found train directions for our hotel & actually had a lot of success with figuring out the public transportation this year! I feel like we did so well! Lindsey kind of teases me because I am ALL about convenience so if I feel even slightly frustrated that I can’t figure something out, I’m literally the first to pull out my phone & just book an Uber or Lyft. I get that it’s more expensive than riding a $3 train but sometimes I just don’t have the mental capacity to sit & figure that shit out. I just wanna GO.
We made it to our hotel (found on AirBnb) & while we couldn’t check in yet because it was so early, they at least let us use the restrooms to freshen up & to drop our bags. Our hotel was cute! It was called Hotel Joke & it was kinda set up…well, like a joke. There were toys everywhere, fun prints on the walls, and above our beds we had a huge spinning wheel that you could spin that said things like “turn off the lights” or “kiss goodnight”. The train station was about a 5 minute walk away & had 2 very close bus stops. Moulin Rouge was directly across from the train station as well so we got to see that pretty much first thing! We decided to take the bus to the Louvre & get our day started. We asked the front desk receptionist how to buy bus tickets – she could not give us clear directions but she tried telling us that we could do it by phone, which I found, but could not figure out. We waited for 2 buses to come by & Lindsey would step on & ask the driver how do we buy tickets (we could have paid for tickets with euros on the bus, but neither of us converted any of our money to euros because we were only staying in Paris for 1 day) & they could not understand her. They looked at her with total confusion & eventually she would get off the bus, increasingly frustrated & back to me, still standing on the street. After the 3rd bus looked at us like we were 2 idiots, she blurted out “I fucking hate France!” and we decided to figure out another way to buy a bus ticket. We learned that the train tickets also work on buses so that’s what we did – walked to the train station, bought tickets, walked back down the street, & finally caught us a bus! As I said probably 50 times throughout the trip – we were back in the game!
We did not get to go into the Louvre but I know I’ll be back another time. The lines were terribly long & we didn’t purchase advance tickets so we just walked around and snapped pictures & walked through the neighboring gardens. As we were walking around, I spotted the tip of the Eiffel Tower & got way more excited than I realized I would! As we were walking though, I started to hurt. I have bad hips (no really, I have the scars to prove it) & it’s no secret that I’ve gained an astronomical amount of weight which isn’t easy on these old hips so I hurt quite a bit. I wanted to stop at a cafe’ so I could rest up & drink some water but finding a cafe’ that seemed pretty good proved difficult. They were all super cute but nothing seemed appealing on the menus so I just bought a couple bottles of water before sitting down at one & deciding to split a pizza. I went ahead & had my glass of rose’ I’d wanted earlier while Lindsey had her cappuccino that she’d been wanting all day as well! We decided to go back to the hotel as it was now late enough that we could check in, properly shower & get ready, & for me to take some Aleve. While Lindsey showered, I fell asleep. She let me sleep for about an hour & a half. I don’t typically nap on trips but I guess I was just wiped out. After my nap & a shower though, I was like a whole new person!
I was clean, had on a much cuter (& fresh) outfit, different shoes, & was 2 Aleve deep so I was ready to roll. Sometimes I feel like I’m officially old because I just can’t do the things I used to be able to do. It’s a scary feeling. I say it a lot but I have got to get my fucking self together. We made our way over to Notre Dame, strolled the Seine River, stopped at another cafe’ for fresh pressed juice & I ordered a lackluster pastry, made our way over to Saint Chapelle, stopped at another cafe’ for a glass of wine for Lindsey & a cocktail for me, made our way to the Arc du Triomph, walked forever trying to find a bathroom for Lindsey, & then made our way towards the highlight of our day in Paris…the Eiffel Tower. It was still relatively light out when we strolled up on the Eiffel Tower & we knew we wanted to see it more at night when it’s all lit up. We stopped at a restaurant that we could sit across from it & wait. As we were walking to the restaurant, Lindsey told me “I never thought I’d see the Eiffel Tower” and I said “oh no girl I knew we’d make it here one day!” and she replied “no not like that…I meant like as a kid I never thought I’d see this!”
Yeah. Tell me about it.
The little girl living in a single wide trailer in North Carolina using our neighbor’s electricity (don’t worry, he knew) & having to shower at other people’s houses certainly never saw this coming.
I know it’s touristy. It’s one of the biggest tourist spots in the world even. But seeing the Eiffel Tower is truly something. We ordered drinks at the restaurant (I don’t know it’s name) & waited for it to light up – it came in stages. First they light it up a lovely golden color. Then at the top of the hour, every hour it begins to glitter. They only let it sparkle for about 5 minutes (I started timing it) but the first time that the light show started up, I truly was in awe. I’m not sure when it was but Lindsey said something along the lines of “it really is romantic isn’t it?” & I had to agree – it is. It is everything you see on movies & TV. I cannot wait to take Clinton back. I want to do it up super cheesy & pack a picnic of charcuterie & wine or champagne & have a little romantic lunch in front of the tower. Shit, I would’ve done that with Lindsey if either one of us had thought of something like that! But I digress, yes, it is very romantic.
We ordered our dinner & it was pushing 10 PM but was still quite light out & absolutely beautiful. I ordered a beef dish that was really very good & a Cosmopolitan (I was having a Carrie Bradshaw in Paris moment) & Lindsey ordered “ravioli” that was definitely just a plate of pierogis & a plate of escargot for us to split. I’ve had escargot before, it doesn’t bother me that they are snails. The escargot I have had before were delicious! Karren ordered them during my birthday dinner at Chart House in Jacksonville one year & they were *chef’s kiss* – these escargot in Paris were not it for me, sadly. Mostly because they had a lot of pesto on them & while I like pesto, I don’t love it. They were just very earthy tasting & I managed to get one down, spit one in a napkin, and couldn’t get my last one to come out of the shell, which was a relief to my taste buds. You can take the girl out of the trailer but you can’t take the trailer out of the girl.
We did a *cheers* with our drinks & just stared at the tower for a while. Life is wild. A lot of times during my travels, I have often wondered “how did I get here?”. That was one of those moments. And it wouldn’t be the last of the evening.
After dinner we walked across the “Love Lock Bridge” (I am also not sure if that’s what it’s really called) & over to the Tower for an up close look. We didn’t get very many quality pictures of us with the tower because it was bright, outside was dark, & we just weren’t showing up very well. Once we finally made it there, we noticed people going up into the tower. Look, this is totally up my alley – but Lindsey is afraid of heights. I really didn’t expect her to be up for it but she was! We asked a lady how much & she told us it was 27 euro to go to the very top but it closes at midnight so we had to hurry. By the time we’d got to the main ticket counter the gentleman told us they’d just closed the top viewing deck but we could still go up to the 2nd floor for 18 euro. We still wanted to so up we went! We got in the large elevator with about 10 others & the employee pushed the button that would get us moving. We slowly started to creak upwards. We actually stopped at one point & I thought that was the 2nd level but oh no, it was much higher! Lindsey held on like her life depended on it but she did great! Everything was closed in so believe me, we couldn’t have went anywhere!
The views ,even in the dark, were spectacular. Then it struck midnight & while we were inside the Eiffel Tower, the light show started. This was it – this was the moment I mentioned earlier that wasn’t the last time I wondered “how did I get here?”
Then it was time to go. We had to get back to our room to get some sleep because we were leaving for our next destination in the afternoon. We walked to the nearest train station & realized it was closed down. Once again, we had no euros to purchase a bus ticket & had no other options so with it being so late – convenience won! We took an Uber ,who was very nice to us, back to the hotel.
We will resume the trip very soon…
Cover photo is of the queen, Lucille Ball in the episode of “I Love Lucy” – “Paris at Last”