I suppose I can testify to it now that everything you have heard about Paris is true. The tower stands tall, the cigarettes are thin, and the art outshines all others.
To truly appreciate the vastness of the tower you must go to her summit. The world opens up and runs for miles as you glide above the sounds of the city. The perfect way to follow this view is to then descend and look back up, preferably at sunset with good friends and gelato, and just in time to watch her sparkle at the top of the hour.
Notre Dam is a religious experience like none other. Free entrance means you see people from all walks of life together, some there to partake in the services that go on throughout the day, some to take pictures, some to light a candle for hope or for remembrance. The hidden gem of this place is the gardens behind it, full of roses and the laughter of children running around the playground and massive bells that once sung from the peaks of her two towers.
A blissful moment that I would highly recommend is to find yourself a baguette with some Camembert and lounge along the Sienne river banks. You will see locals out for a jog and tourists riding along a cruise. All in all a people-watching masterpiece.
To tell you the truth, I did not love all the museums we visited. With the purchase of the Paris Museum Pass we simply ducked in and out of several locations, causing our heads to spin and our feet to ache. Besides the Louvre, which is a given for anyone wishing to lose themselves in culture, the Musee d’Orsay is a must. If their massive collection of impressionist pieces doesn’t entice you, the building itself will (and you can also say hello to Vincent for me).
While shopping in the city of lights may seem daunting due to the sheer volume of designer brands that call this city home, there are also many charming boutiques at a reasonable with enough price point. One such as this is La Super Marquette. The owner is a young woman who ensures that all the items she sells are made in France. From vintage silk scarves to whimsical socks, this shop will make you smile (and probably take something home).
So while some my say the French are rude, I say no more so than any other European country I have encountered. Simply be kind, start with a smile, and remember that we are all the same, just people that are moving through this crazy life.
Ah Paris, how I cannot wait to see you again.