• Christian Grotewold

Viva La France!


If you have been following my travels for the past few years, then you know I am completely obsessed with France. France was the first country I visited when I first came to Europe for the first time, almost 3 years ago. And now, it has a special place in my heart... such a place that I have come back every year since my first time. Maybe one year I will actually come during spring or summer.

As soon as I checked into the hotel, I made my way to my first stop, the Eiffel Tower! I highly recommend taking the metro or an Uber to Trocadéro, since it is really the best spot to take pictures with the tower in the background. This time around, I had to wait a little bit since they are doing some construction and there are HUGE cranes right in the middle of the pictures. Luckily, the cranes rotate and if you get the angle just right, then you will get a decent shot.

Once I was satisfy with the hundreds of pictures I took (and had random strangers take of me with my guidance), I made my way to Champs Elysées. Here, I took my time going store to store and appreciating the Parisian fashion. What I particularly liked was that some stores had begun decorating for spring!

The following day was a very special one to me. I went back to Mont Saint Michele! This incredible structure is very close to me because of two things: it looks like Hogwarts and it is dedicated to my Guardian Angel, Saint Michael Archangel! The journey here was a long one, so be prepared to spend an entire day of traveling and sight-seeing. It takes about 4 hours to get there from Paris, so I recommend leaving really early in the morning. The market place that is in the grounds of Mont Saint Michele is absolutely beautiful and it always makes me want to have some food and coffee in every single place I see. It kind of reminds me of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, so even more reason to be obsessed. This time around, the area that was under renovation at the top of the church was fully habilitated and OMG... it literally looked like the Hogwarts gardens where the students hang around! If you are ever in France, this is a definite must.

The next day was dedicated to the arts. I went to the Louvre and let me tell you something... I still have not seen it all! This is my third time at the iconic museum and I have yet to see everything. I always like seeing some of the iconic works of art, and then I make my way through corridors that I know I have not gone through and I always find myself in new areas. This time around, I reached two new favorites of mine: the Greek Courtyard and Napoleon's rooms. Each sculpture and room left me in such awe, the beauty of each object was absolutely remarkable. Next time, I will try to maybe skip my favorite works of art in an attempt to fully see the museum.

This year, I finally did something I promised myself I had to do when in Paris, go to the towers of Notre-Dame. Both times in the past that I have gone, it has been too late and they wouldn't let me up the towers because it was starting to get dark. I recommend going early so you secure a good time slot, and my personal piece of advice: select the 11:50am slot and you will truly experience the song "The Bells of Notre Dame", they will be ringing when you get up there at noon.

A new area I went to, that's located just a few blocks from Notre Dame, was the Hotel de Ville (City Town Hall). This is a BEAUTIFUL building with a carousel right in front of it, so perfect for many many MANY pictures. Seeing structures like these really make me want to move to Paris just to feel like I am royalty 24/7.

I made my way to another one of my favorite places in Paris, Montmartre, and visited the Sacré-Cœur basilica. Honestly, these religious structures always amaze me no matter how many times I see them. After spending some time in the church, I made my way to the artist alley just around the corner and looked for my favorite place to get mulled wine, Chez ma Cousine! We stumbled upon this place the first time I was here and we were drawn in by the conveniently placed mulled wine. Needless to say, I have become loyal to the restaurant.

My last day was dedicated to fashion, in honor of it being the last day of Paris Fashion Week. I made my way to both Printempts and Galeries Lafayette to submerge myself in all of the designer fashion. Walking around both facilities had my wallet's mouth watering, I wanted to get so many things... but I am traveling light so I had to pick only ONE thing. After my fashion adventure, I decided on a Kenzo bag that literally yelled my name. It is a limited edition bag with the lettering being written in Kung Fu style, and the embroidery is a fusion of a tiger and a dragon (remember my first tattoo? It's a ying yang of a tiger and a dragon!)

France is one of my favorite countries, and maybe one day I will move here... who knows! But I do need to brush up on my French before that happens. I had a lovely time, and it was even more special because I got to share it with my mom for her 50th (golden!) birthday! I love you so much, mom! I am excited to see where our next adventure takes us.

Je t'aime Paris, à bientôt.

#Travel #Paris #France #montsaintmichele #Europe

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