I had always heard of Paris as called the City of Love, or Romance, and have heard it said to be a very romantic place. None of those thoughts came to my mind as a strolled through the roadways. Six months earlier, I never in my craziest thoughts expected to have a passport, or leave the U.S. but there I was.
My sister had moved to Denmark a few months before, and I had made the decision to take money that I had saved for a wedding that now, wasn’t going to happen, and visit her. As flights were booked, I thought, hmm, a two day detour could work…with the only thing I wanted to do is sit in front of the Eiffel tower with coffee and a croissant.
I had carefully planned everything out. Left my sister in Hamburg, Germany as I took the short flight to Paris. Had my offline map downloaded, a booking at the 3 Ducks Hostel, and a plan for getting there on the metro.
Now let me tell you, I am not brave, hated being alone, hated being out of my comfort zone, hated feeling alone, but as I found my way off the S train and to my metro stop and came out along the streets of Paris, I never felt less alone in my life.
I rounded the streets, taking in the sights of the enchanting buildings lined the roadway and found my Hostel. A cozy little place were you entered a little pub. checked in and rounded the spiral staircase to my shared room. I immediately changed my outfit, as it was a sweltering 85 degrees that afternoon, locked up my backpack and left in search of my destination, the iconic Eiffel Tower.
As I rounded the streets, about 10 minutes away, there it was peaking from behind the buildings. The streets had been relatively quiet but as I approached there were vendors, sprawled out on the ground with toys and trinkets, Eiffel towel figurines of different types and sizes, all working to beat the others prices. As you stepped through the paths, and crossed the road there were loud murmurings of guides, shouting out the reminder “Watch for pickpockets” “hold belongs tight”, as everyone bustled very close through the crosswalks to get a better view.
At this point, I had completely forgot of the thought to take a selfie with a coffee and a croissant. I just took in the magic of these place I never imagined seeing in real life. A movie time visionary. I wondered pass the carousel, down some steps to the walkway on the Seine and took in what I do believe is my favorite visual memory, seeing artistry on the steps while looking up at the carousel and tower in the background. As the night sky began, things began to light up, music came on and I saw “the City of Lights” in all its splendor. So I sat, quietly, by myself, taking in the beauty and eating a panini.
I love that you’ve created this post as a story, it really helps me get to know you as both a person and writer! Thanks for including the bit about how you really felt (scared, alone, etc) while first walking around Paris. It’s important that we as travelers tell a story that is complete and doesn’t always just show the best of everything; it gives others the courage to push forward on their own trips! As I just visited Paris for the first time last summer, I LOVED your description of seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, you’ve summed it up perfectly!