In August I got to experience Paris for 10 days, and it was the most magical trip of my life. This post will not be a travel guide to Paris by any means, but a few highlights of my trip. Moments that were magic to me. I feel those memories getting further away all the time so I wanted to share a few that still feel tangible.
Marie (my gorgeous Parisian longtime friend) & I had picnics in some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We’d throw baguette sandwiches, chips and cake all in our back packs and set off for the day. We had a picnic inside the Versailles gardens. We had a picnic with sweet friends under the Eiffel Tower. We had a picnic by the Seine river. Had I ever had a real picnic before this trip? I don’t know. But it was fun.
On my second day in Paris it rained off and on all day. That evening there was a gorgeous rainbow spread across Gallerie Lafayette. Paris in the rain is as beautiful as you’d imagine.
Cafe creme please. Y’all the coffee is so good. That’s all I can say about it.
Marie’s grandparents live in Normandy by the sea. We drove a couple hours north from Paris to spend the night with them. On the drive up I kept thinking, ‘oh my grandpa Ralph would love this place.’ My grandpa died of cancer in 2014. He had loved gardening and countrysides, so all of the quaint, picture-perfect villages we drove past reminded me of him. He would have loved everything about Normandy: Marie’s sweet grandparents, the food we ate, and the rich history making up this place. He would have loved the home I stayed in, the countryside walk I took, the beach we visited, and the radishes from the garden. I felt very connected to him in a way I hadn’t in a long time. It was sweet to be reminded of the things he so loved and the qualities that made him him. Having Ralph Mack as my papaw was a true blessing, and I loved thinking of him on this trip.
Notre Dame is fascinating. Marie’s mother, Valerie, gave me full history lessons that I soaked up. Point zero is out front and there is an English book shop, Shakespeare & Co, nearby that I visited twice because I loved it so much. That entire day made me feel like I was living in my favorite book from high school, plus we ate crepes at a cafe next door to the church. I don’t know if y’all know, but I love crepes.
Speaking of crepes, Paris is crepe heaven. There are creperies on basically every street. One night Valerie made them at home, so we covered them in Nutella and watched La La Land in French. Dreams.
Versailles is rich in history and stunning. We waited hours to get in but wow it was worth it. If anyone knows of any documentaries about Versailles, send them my way! I have been dying to learn more about it.
Marie, her mom and I took a boat ride through the city. It was the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower lit up, and the only words I could find were wow, beautiful and blessings. The next day Marie and I were talking about all of it and were trying to explain the feeling. She couldn’t come up with the word while I tried explaining to her that it made me feel nostalgic. Google translate came through to translate what she was trying to say to me, nostalgia. Funny how experiences can mark you the same. A perfect nostalgic moment in time.
When we walked home from the Arc de Triomphe, I stopped and bought Valerie flowers from a corner shop. We were listening to Paris by Ben Rector, and dancing in the street. I saw a French man walking home from work carrying a baguette. It’s the little things.
Something that always surprises me when I am with Marie is how similar we are. She grew up riding a bike in the streets of Paris while I rode a bike in a suburb of Atlanta. Almost everything in our lives is different, yet we are so similar. It’s a miracle our lives ever intersected at all, but we can relate to each other on so many levels. We talk about boys and friends and school and big life decisions. The things we face are so similar. Life is funny like that sometimes. I’m so thankful to know her and be her friend.
I felt the presence of God with me so strongly on this trip. I really tried to stay in tune with him and in his word everyday. His presence makes the world feel small and a foreign place feel home-y. He meets me in the Paris Starbucks just like he does in the Niles Ohio Starbucks. He’s cool like that. I wrote in my journal on August 17th, “Today on the bus back from Notre Dame I had the most overwhelming feeling. Like joy and peace wrapped into one. Little me in a magical city with the God of the universe surrounding me. He is still God no matter where I go.”
I hope this makes you want to experience Paris. It is a dream. Everything I had hoped it would be, plus a little extra.
All the kisses and love to my French family for taking such good care of me and showing me the very best of Paris. I’ll hold this time so dear to my heart forever. je t’aime.