I used to have dreams about Paris as a girl. Until I visited, I couldn’t really imagine what Europe was like – the closest I could get was movies and even then, it was as though something didn’t equate in my head. I couldn’t really imagine the buildings; I couldn’t perceive how tall the Eiffel Tower would be. Dreams about Paris would dot through my dreamscape every so often – one time I dreamt the Eiffel Tower was only as tall as a playground jungle gym.
Then I went to Paris… And like all other romantic hearts was struck by it. I spent some time there when I was 23 and it was just incomprehensible. It felt like a city of such beauty, such antiquity, such a resilience to modernism couldn’t actually exist.
But Paris exists. Last month, I had the opportunity to travel back to Europe for my second time and spend two weeks in The City of Lights.
This time before I left for Paris, I had another peculiar dream about the city. It felt just like the series of dreams I had before. I dreamt that I was wandering the streets by myself, staring at buildings and fountains, dreaming of people who had once lived in all of the buildings I passed. In my dream a group of three people, two men and a woman approached me on rollerblades, dressed like French clowns, but also like… trendy. Instead of face paint they had cool harlequin makeup and custom Missoni patterned skates. WHAT DOES IT MEAN. It means that my brain doesn’t seemingly know what to ever expect from Paris.
I got the chance to go back courtesy of my job. The events team needed volunteers to work the Paris Games Week tradeshow for 8 days. I signed up, because free airfare, and booked a few vacations days at the end and begged my hunny to join me. Michael had never been to Europe before and I felt like it would be the perfect opportunity to explore for a few days. So I worked like crazy my first week there and Michael crashed my hotel room and did some solo exploring.
I feel that I should be honest on here, because it can be very easy to turn photos of travel into a brag, but anyone reading this should know that this trip was a hard one. Our friends keep asking us how Paris was and Michael and I take a deep breath before trying to smile and say “it was really… neat”.
When Michael got into Paris, I was incredibly sick. Something about foreign germs always gets me. I always get sick when I travel to far-off places. Not to mention a convention with long long hours, no days off, a 30 minute break every day and 300k germy little kids wiping their noses on their hands and their hands on our toys and well, of course I got sick. But I was cranky and rapidly developing a very strong sinus infection. I was sleep deprived and stressed and I don’t speak French and had issues getting to a pharmacy and well, thank goodness for Michael because he saved my butt.
If you ever need a doctor in France, it’s actually much easier than you’d expect to get a prescription for antibiotics. Your hotel can call a doctor for 100 euro, who will come to your room and write you a prescription for some strong antibiotics and you can fill them instantly at most pharmacies. Thankfully, Michael coordinated my healing for me, except he spent the second week of the trip somewhat sick himself.
C’est la vie, as the French would say. It was still a beautiful trip overall, but it was one of those ones where you’re just so. damn. thankful. when you land back at your home airport. There’s really no room for complaining when you get to visit a foreign country without paying for airfare. BUT I also want any readers to know that well, some trips are hard. I’ve traveled a lot and sometimes you have these amazing adventurous beautiful trips, sometimes they’re emotional, sometimes they’re physically hard, sometimes they’re lonely, sometimes the language barrier is so infuriating. I’ve experienced all different kinds of trips and this one just falls into the spectrum like the rest. I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.
Anyway, stay tuned for more posts coming soon with all my tips for Paris sights/foods/drinks and also a little insight into my planning process for trips!
See more of my Paris travel posts.