Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An American, Canadian, & Two Danes in Paris

Prior to this past weekend's trip my opinion of Paris was "meh" and I can tell you why. I had been twice before with tour groups. First when I was 12 traveling with my cello in hand with the Orange County Junior Orchestra. I was 1 of about 50 musicians. The second time was exactly 10 years ago with my art history study abroad group in college. I was 1 of 30 girls. Traveling via tour bus going from point to point is just not conducive to a thrilling, authentic experience I've deduced. Wandering through streets and picking up fromage from the Fromagerie with your husband and two friends is. Paris this time was AMAZING. We apartment swapped with Jordan of Oh Happy Day, and its location is literally around the corner from the Eiffel Tower. You can sit on the sofa and see the tower sparkle at night. She provided us with a wonderful itinerary with a list of "the best" of everything: restaurants, craft stores, art stores, etc. Bliss! We followed the itinerary pretty closely while still providing enough time to wander and get lost on our own.
Copenhagen seems like a small town compared with the grandeur Paris. I was impressed with how each neighborhood was almost equally interesting as the next. They each had their balance of restaurants, shops, sites, and smells. We especially loved staying in an apartment versus a hotel room (and Jordan's sure ain't bad!). Our experience felt more authentic and we felt like we were better equipped if we wanted to bring back fromage and pain and just gorge. Besides the freezing cold, the trip was pretty flawless. I'd love to go back to fully experience life on a day to day basis. Perhaps a year in Paris is in order? Perhaps we would be a bit more elegant according to Balzac?

17 comments:

Kel said...

agreed. wandering is really the only way to explore and get the "flavor" of any destination.

love the shot of ya'll walking by the Eiffel tower.

Teresa said...

You just became my best friend.
Well, not really you, but the previous you.

My first time in Paris got a meh rate also and I've felt weird about it for years because no one seemed to understand me. Though agreeing with my points for the meh classification they shoook their heads in desbelieve.

Second time was completely different and I bet they're sorry Paris didn't meh.

One has to get lost but still checking some points in able to see what other saw and new ones where we conquer it by ourselves. Praise for the digital pics also...

Your pictures are Posters of a Collection "Me and Paris".

Lovely!

joolee said...

your group went by tour bus?? no wonder you didn't like it. Paris was probably my FAVORITE stop of our study abroad because we stayed there the longest, about 2 weeks and we went everywhere by "wandering." :) NOT by bus. it's such a beautiful city...(sigh). maybe one day i'll go back...

The Linthorsts said...

Wait a second Brit, you mean playing "who am I" at the Pompidou wasn't your favorite part of our study abroad?? Or walking into H&M and rekindling your love for George Michael?

Sarah Wilks said...

I felt the same way about Paris the first time I visited. "Meh," definitely. We just went to the touristy places and didn't really figure the city out, and I think we were rushing to fit everything in, so we didn't really enjoy it. But the second time, we went with two Paris experts, and since then we've learned to love the city and all of its nooks and crannies. I think a year in Paris sounds like a great idea! I want to go!

onyx feather said...

Sounds amazing Britt! So incredibly jealous! I want to see more pictures!

kurt said...

i love paris, but i also so in love with copenhagen. i was there for my first time in august. i swooned at the ny carlsberg glyptotek. i felt so at home. i was asked for directions 3 times! the rundetaarn might not be as lithe as the eiffel tower but the views are magnificent!

Amanda Jane Jones said...

oh man...this looks so lovely! glad you had fun. :)

Igor Josifovic said...

Paris is my favorite city and luckily I've left my heart there so I keep going back to my partner there.

Miss B. said...

@Teresa, sounds like we had similar experiences the first time around. I have to say now though that Paris might be one of my favorite cities. Thanks for your comment!

Miss B. said...

@joolee, no, we didn't go by bus. We did that with the 50 musicians trip, but it still felt like we were being hearded for some reason. I think it's because we stayed in a bad part of town and I didn't feel like we could wander. I think where you stay has a lot to do with your experience.

Miss B. said...

@Linhorsts...

HA! You better believe we played this game! We played Headless Nike of Samothrace and armless Venus de Milo. They didn't quite seem to catch onto the game like we did though.

As for George Michael...my love has been rekindled ever since....

I did love our study tour and miss all of you dearly!

Miss B. said...

@Kurt, wow! good for you! I'm so glad you loved Copenhagen. Perhaps I still need to get to that point...

Miss B. said...

@Igor, that was smart...find someone in Paris to give you a reason to go back. Brilliant!

mdcano said...

can you post or send us this "wonderful itinerary with a list of 'the best' of everything" ??

Miss B. said...

oooo, perhaps I'll share some highlights....stay tuned!

Alicia said...

You wouldn't happen to be willing to share that list of "the best of" everything to see in Paris, would you? :) My fiance and I are planning on traveling to Paris for our honeymoon in the winter and it would be great to have a better plan than what I can remember from when I was there. I went there before college with a choir and band and fell in love with Paris. From the sounds of your trip, it sounds amazing to go to in the winter as well, and I think it looks rather romantic especially with the snow. :]