The City of Lights

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They say that when good Americans die they go to Paris.

-Oscar Wilde

It’s true; the sparkling city lights help Paris come alive at night. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had a fascination about visiting Paris. With Paris being the home to my favorite movie, Moulin Rouge, and musical, Phantom of the Opera, it only made sense. Carrie’s obsession with Paris on Sex and the City even helped fuel my desire to visit the famous city. This is why I knew Paris was a must stop on my last and final trip around Europe with my favorites in Albecpeta.

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As we landed into Paris Thursday night, we could see the Eiffel tower gleaming in the distance. It’s easy to say this was definitely a great start to the trip. We were a little nervous about running into some stereotypical snobby people while in Paris, but everyone was beautifully friendly. During our long trek of dragging our luggage to our hostel from the train station, we ran into many friendly faces helping us while “lost in Paris”. We finally met one older gentleman who pointed us into the right direction. He had lived in the area all his life, and explained to us some history about Paris. Boulevards always have trees, and since Paris wasn’t bombed during WWII, he feels like living in Paris is like living in a beautiful antique museum. With a friend from Alabama, he appreciated and poked fun at my southern roots. He also shared his excitement about Obama winning the election, which was a common theme when running into locals around the city. Maybe that’s why everyone was so nice to us Americans?

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Our new friend suggested a great restaurant recommendation called the Chartier, which is located in a beautiful historic building. He had been eating there for 20 years and promised it would be a great reasonable French meal. He was right! We dined on wine, steak, and cheese for around ten Euros a person during our last night in Paris. Luckily we missed the line wrapping around the outside of the restaurant waiting to be sat.

With our hostel being a five minute walk from the Moulin Rouge, I knew I was in the right place. The four of us in Albecpeta celebrated our first night with an adorable picnic consisting of wine, cheese, and grapes on our hostel floor.

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Our days were filled with visiting the Latin Quarter, Notre Dam, famous book stores, the opera house, strolling along the Sine river, exploring Montmartre, and other must do touristy things. My favorite moments were really embracing the Parisian atmosphere and relaxing at outside cafes with coffee and creeps. Nothing like some Albecpeta bonding while cafe hopping (and eating) in Paris! Thanks to Alana’s French speaking techniques traveling throughout the city was like a breeze.

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One of my favorite moments of the trip was Alana and Pete’s adorable attempt to plan a “surprise date” for Pete and I. Aren’t I so lucky to have such great friends? Though pretty obvious the whole time (Hey Pete, your on Facebook right? cue winky face), the thought was pretty spectacular. I guess it’s just something you have to do in the most romantic city in the world, right? Once we parted ways, Pete took me to this delicious hidden restaurant by the Royal Gardens. We shared wine that was agreed upon by both of us to be some of the best wine we’ve ever had…. Chevalier de Malle Graves Bordeaux 2008 if you need any wine suggestions. At the end of the night Pete decided to surprise Alana with flowers for helping him out with all of the planning. Major brownie points.

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We ended off the romantic night with the rest of Albecpeta by visiting the Eiffel tower. I always thought it would be cool, but I had no idea how breathtaking it would actually be. First off, it’s HUGE. Secondly, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I’m so glad we got to see it at night, and every hour it even sparkles. Alana and I screamed like little girls the first time we saw it. All of us ventured to the very top to see the city from high above. I even got to fit in with Alana’s flowers with a few last minute roses from Pete at the tower. Some might say it’s because I’m a jealous brat, I just call myself lucky 🙂

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Another amazing thing I did in Paris was visiting the apartment my Dad’s grandmother lived in during her travel from Russia to Baltimore. My Aunt Becky also lived there, which was the person I was named after. It was really touching to be able to see that part of my family’s history. I really wish my parents were there to share it with me!

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Although Paris was just the beginning to an amazing week of adventures, we made some great memories that I’ll never forget. My time in Paris exceeded all of my expectations!

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