Bonjour, Paris!

16 Feb

As promised, I’m back for Part 2 of our fabulous Parisian Getaway this past weekend. Hope you enjoyed the Disneyland pictures yesterday 🙂

But before I get into Paris, I wanted to rewind to Valentine’s Day for just a second and share with you a few pictures Neve and I had made to celebrate the occasion. Our good friend, Rachel, who we met during our first week in the hotel back in August, happens to be a photographer and a fellow creative, so when she invited us over to create some fun Valentine shenanigans, we jumped at the chance. Our neighbors, and dear friends, Abigail and Amalie- who were also in the same hotel (small world!)- joined in, too! What a fun morning us ladies had!

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OK, now on to Paris! Like I said yesterday, it was a whirlwind trip and we covered alot of ground, but it was SO good. The best part for me was that John surprised us with it for Valentine’s Day and took care of all the arrangements, so Neve and I were just along for the adventure. (How did we luck up with this guy?!)

Bright and early Friday morning, we hopped a train direct to Paris- totally one of the best things about living in Europe is how relatively close you are to so many cities and the convenience of taking the train to them! We made it there in time for lunch! Not too shabby.

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I’m not going to get into too much of the history for this one because I’ve already done two posts on the city over the years. If you’re interested, just search the site and it’ll take you right to them :). So here it is in a nutshell:

Paris is the capital and most populous (12 million people!) city in France. It was founded in the 3rd century BC and grew steadily in size and importance over the centuries to come. By the 12th century, it was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading center and home to one of the first universities in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the center stage for the French Revolution, and became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today.

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The Paris subway system opened in 1900. Today, it services 4.5 million passengers daily.

One of the five wealthiest regions on the continent, Paris is the home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa and Nike, to name a couple. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). With nearly 25 million visitors annually, Paris is among the world’s top tourist destinations.

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Ten years ago, we won a radio contest and put the money towards our first European vacation. This was our first European hotel. We were babies and completely feeling our way in the dark, but so mesmerized. Who would’ve known that trip was planting the seed for a wonderfully adventurous life to come! *Sam, remember that we then took the train to come see you guys in Strasbourg!?

As cliche as it sounds, our absolute favorite thing about Paris is how it looks at night. It totally earns its reputation as The City of Lights. Every surface, every garden, every nook, every bend in the river is so perfectly and artistically lighted. Some glow, some twinkle…And when you put it all together, it’s just perfect.

The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums and the most visited. It houses more than 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century in nearly 700,000 square feet. Originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century and then used as a residence in the 1600s, it wasn’t until the French Revolution that the Louvre was declared a museum.

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The famous glass pyramid is surrounded by water, so when standing next to it, the reflection creates a perfect cube.

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The best sight at night? You guessed it…The Eiffel Tower. And I’ve felt that way since my first visit to the City of Lights in 2006. I’m definitely not one to be ‘moved’ often, but when I am, it’s a magical thing. Watching the Eiffel Tower glitter and twinkle (it does this for 10 minutes each hour after dark), especially if I’m lucky enough to be really close to it, is one of the most moving sights for me. I find it breathtaking. I actually remember the moment I realized how special it was- my mom and I were on a Girly Trip to the city in 2010 and we took an evening boat tour that finished at the base of the Eiffel Tower just as its light started dancing. It was such a wonderful moment for both of us and one that makes me smile just writing about it. Unfortunately, no picture can do it justice, but here’s an idea…

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The Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Constructed in 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, it is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world. The tower is 1,063 feet tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. Its base is square, 410 feet on each side During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Due to the addition of the aerial at the top of the tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 17 feet.

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And none of this is to say that it’s not still a gorgeous city during the day either! The buildings are beautiful, the Seine River winding throughout with bridges arching perfectly as far as the eye can see…After sleeping in Sunday morning (we earned it with our 12 hour Disney day on Saturday!), we decided to take a boat ride around the city. We often love sightseeing this way, especially with Neve. Boat tours give you the transportation and the information you want, while still allowing you to be outdoors and moving around. You can also cover alot of area in just an hour (definitely wouldn’t be possible if you were fighting traffic!)

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The Seine is a 482 mile long river that cuts right though the heart of Paris, flowing from the northwest corner of the country. There are 37 bridges crossing it just in the city alone.

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You can’t tell, but that’s a see through barrier on the bridge that is just covered in padlocks. Locks of Love- we have one on there somewhere from 10 years ago ❤

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Pictures don’t do the Louvre justice, especially in size. It is MASSIVE. Look closely to the left of the white container and you’ll see a big tour bus. That puts it in perspective a bit. And there are 3+ wings just like this. WOW.

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Notre Dame Cathedral is a historic Catholic cathedral widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. It was built in 12th century and was completely restored after the Revolution.

We didn’t go inside this time, so you’ll just have to take my word that it’s a beautiful cathedral- definitely a rival for the ones you see in Rome. And the most beautiful stained glass window…

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Can you guess where our boat ride ended? Yep, the place Neve had been waiting to visit all day. Standing below it, she just gazed up and said, ‘Mommy, it’s soooo pretty.’ ❤

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And with that, we grabbed some lunch and made our way back to the train station to start our trek home. Hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend and spent it with those you love the most ❤

Au revoir!

3 Responses to “Bonjour, Paris!”

  1. Georgia February 17, 2016 at 5:07 AM #

    Thanks for all the great pictures

  2. Robin February 16, 2016 at 6:57 PM #

    That girly trip to Paris will always be one of my favorite memories. Hope to make many more.

  3. Eleanor February 16, 2016 at 2:49 PM #

    I feel like I was there with you all weekend. Great Blogs!

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