I had one day in Paris. I was determined to see more of the city than the Charles De Gaulle Airport – where I usually spent my layovers. I pinpointed
Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, choreographed the best route to see both, enjoy a Parisian lunch and check out some shopping.
I used the metro from the airport to the main center of Paris – despite it getting a bad write-up in multiple reviews as an “endless” way of getting to Paris – a mere thirty minutes and only $15USD as opposed to a $100USD cab or $50US bus. Definitely recommend that!
I arrived right outside Notre Dame and was immediately smitten with Paris. It is intoxicating – the French language that always annoyed me when tourists
spoke it in NYC seemed so beautiful and romantic in its native locale. The cozy streets, the stylish people, the gorgeous baguettes – Paris had me at
Outside Notre Dame
Notre Dame is iconic and stunning but rather than sightsee, I bought a Diet Coke and cheese/tomato baguette for $12USD (compared to the $4US it would have
cost me in NYC) and sat in a park. My frenzied New York City speed had somehow slowed to that of a romantic, nonplussed Parisian. I had no desire to move, no
desire to rush – how easily Paris had seduced me.
I did eventually move and strolled along the Siene River taking in the sights. The Louvre was stunning, the Grand Palais breathtaking – but after 2.5 miles
of walking, I was anxious to see the Eiffel Tower.
I got slightly sidetracked buying adorable French posters – one about chocolate, one about cats. I treasured these posters and would carry them around like a
newborn child for the rest of my trip to Eastern Europe, back to France and then home to New York City. Imagine my chagrin when I saw the exact same posters at a local
New York City street fair (one block from my apartment) for half the price and a whole lot less trouble.
After the shopping detour, my pace quickened, I was surprisingly anxious to see the Eiffel Tower. I couldn’t believe how much I needed to see it – and why not? Everyone has seen images of her, read about her and heard about her – and here I was, finally going to also! I
let out a gasp – she is magnifique, enormous, gorgeous, much taller and overwhelming that I could have imagined.
The Eiffel Tower
I stood around gawking at her for a while, but a rumble in my gut told me to head back to the airport. Thankfully I listened to that rumble as the metro I
needed to take back (RER C) was out of order for the return trip from this part of the city. I began to walk back. It was far though, I did what any tourist would
do – freak out. I hopped on a bus, the wrong bus. I went on another, also wrong. Say what you wish about New York, but the buses generally go
vertical or horizontal – the ones in Paris seemed to be going circular, sideways and diagnoally. I did finally get back to the airport with about 30 minutes to
spare and felt quite accomplished; I had managed to do in six hours what most take 48 hours to do. However, I was sure of one thing – I would one day get
back to Paris and continue our short-lived affair.