A few months ago, back when we were looking up flights to come to Austria, I curiously checked to see how much it would cost for me to fly from Vienna to Paris to see some good friends of ours who live there. It's not a secret that once you're in Europe, flights between major cities can be dirt cheap, so I figured, "Hey, I can dream, right?"
As it would turn out, I found a flight that I like to refer to as "destiny." A round-trip ticket to Paris from Vienna for less than $100!!!
Since my birthday was coming up, Christian and I agreed that this would be a great treat for me to be able to fly to Paris for a few days to see our friends, using our own money, as not only a birthday gift, but also Christian's sweet way of saying "thank you" for walking through six years of studies with him.
Paris was... just... wow. I will admit that I thought that most people that I knew who had gone to Paris were romanticizing it just a little too much, but I also love the history that Paris holds of all these wonderful artists who have found inspiration there.
Immediately after I got there, I took a few different trains to this one cafe where one of my friends happened to be competing in a barista competition. It was so fun to watch her do her thing and to meet so many interesting people from Parisian cafes all over the city. As it would happen, I was dressed identically (I mean, IDENTICALLY (same hair, same socks, same everything)) as an Australian girl who was also competing. Don't worry, we got a picture together. It was lightly raining and the air smelled like wet concrete mixed with ground coffee beans. It was perfect. And things only got better from there.
You guys, Paris blew me away. It took all of five minutes for me to fall in love with that city.
Of course, it rained almost the whole time I was there, but I decided it's true: Paris is the most beautiful in the rain. My trip was filled with the most walking and rain-soaked bicycle riding and I wouldn't trade a second of it. The first time I saw Notre Dame was at night, all lit up and beautiful against the sky. The first time I saw the Eiffel Tower was when I cycled around a corner and it was staring all huge and beautiful right at me. It made me catch my breath. I got a coffee at Shakespeare and Company and bought myself a copy of The Little Prince (one of my favorites). My friends also showed me their favorite bookshop that was only a few blocks away from S&Co. It was a tiny hole in the wall bookstore with old books and new. It had that musty smell-- a combination of yellowed book pages and three-hundred year old cellars. It was there that I found used copies of my first Hemingway and Fitzgerald. It was so tightly packed that I could barely walk through without knocking high piles of free standing books all over the floor.
I also discovered a new favorite cafe. An adorable place with lots of natural light, exposed brick, robin's egg blue tables with fresh wildflowers and a neon pink sign. I can't even handle how much I loved this cafe.
I was able to eat my first eclair on the steps of the trocadero. I was able to eat pain au chocolat on the steps of Sacre Coeur, overlooking the city.
Basically, this was the best birthday/thank you gift Christian could have given me. Thanks, love.
Here are some photos of this incredible place, friends! I hope they will inspire you to go, yourself!