Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Paris Vacation

Food was not the focus of our trip to Paris. We went to see the iconic landmarks, the art, the city, to stroll along the Seine, to sit outside at cafes, sipping rose and watching people. Sure, we wanted patisserie and boulangerie and fromages and souffle and macarons, but although I did some research to see what "food places" were near our hotel, we didn't plan anything, we didn't make reservations. We just went.
When we travel, we always go with the idea that we might not ever get back to that place so we had better see/do everything we want to see/do and we should take our time and enjoy. Monterey, CA is near the top of my list of absolute favorite places, but it took me 21 years from finishing graduate school to return to Monterey. We have so many places to visit for the first time, and so many places to return to, and not enough free time. So as much as we wish to return to Paris, it will likely be a long time, if ever.
So, this trip. We spent 11 days in Paris + 2 travel days. We took advantage of Delta's non-stop Pittsburgh to Paris flight and while it was still a long flight, at least it was non-stop. Here's what we saw/did on vacation:
Driving Tour
Palais Garnier Opera House
Right Bank Walking Tour
Left Bank Walking Tour 
Latin Quarter, Sorbonne
Walking Food Tour
Église Saint-Eustache
Day Trip: Normandy (Sainte-Mere-EgliseNormandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument, Normandy Airborne MuseumUtah Beach, Normandy Beach)
It seems like a long time, 11 days, 9 of them in Paris, but our days were always full and never rushed. After 11 years together, we have a good idea of how to plan a vacation day to make the most of our time and see what we want to see at our pace and not be rushed and not miss out. Sometimes, we think people just run around, ticking things off a check list on their vacations. If we're going to, say, visit Notre-Dame Cathedral, we want to get the audio-guide and spend 1-2 hours learning about it and appreciating the architecture. And sometimes, allowing an afternoon and evening at the Louvre is a very good idea if it takes you 30 minutes to find the first work of art on your downloaded "wheelchair accessible walking tour of 10 must-see art works" itinerary. True story. That place drove me nuts! I swear we read the directions, in English, and followed them, yet we still got lost. We walked past the room for the Mona Lisa 3 times. So frustrating. We eventually found everything.
And sometimes, even if you must be up early the next day for a scheduled tour, you have to make time to catch the late Paris sunset, standing on a bridge, looking at the Eiffel Tower in the distance, poking up behind buildings.

I really hope we make it back one day. Especially since SP missed out on the Catacombs. He had purchased a ticket online before we left for vacation, but due to strike days, they were closed the day his ticket was good. He tried to go another day, but it was also a strike day. He was sad because he's always wanted to see the Catacombs, so I guess we have to make going back to Paris happen.

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