Paris Est Fantastique
Aaaah Paris! There I was at the Charles de Gaulle airport standing around in the baggage claim area waiting on my luggage; feeling extremely exhausted from staying up the night before, last minute packing and only getting two hours of sleep. Despite my exhaustion, I was overly excited to finally be in Paris. I had my camera out and was vlogging as we waited for our luggage. I could tell my wife and kids were getting annoyed at me, but I wanted to film as much as I could! After all, it's all about capturing memories, you know! Our Christmas break was about two weeks long so we decided to include another city to take advantage of being in Europe, so we also visited Brussels. I'm a huge football (soccer) fan, so I wanted to catch a European football match while over there, however France's Ligue 1 was off during this time. The only league that had games during the break was the Belgium Jupiler League, so it worked out perfectly. Aside from visiting Brussels, we planned a day trip to Bruges as well. More on this later on…
Why Paris? Well, my wife and I decided we wanted to spend the Christmas holiday in Europe. We wanted to experience something different from our usual Christmas in Florida or Panama (which is where we usually spend our vacation time) so we decided to visit Paris. I'd always wanted to go there and I figured it would be nice to visit, even though it would be during Paris' low tourist and cold season. When I began to plan our trip, I constantly came across blogs, articles and comments that said visiting Paris in December was not a good time to go because it would be cold, wet, and gloomy. Well, it was cold and at times gloomy, but it was not excruciatingly cold to the point that you couldn't be outside. We were able to walk around the city just fine. Nothing a few layers of clothes and coats couldn't handle! Of the five days we were there, it only rained one day and we spent most of that day inside the Musée du Louvre, so it worked out for us.
So let's forget about the weather for a minute, after all it turned out to be a great time to be in Paris. La Ville Lumière (The City of Light) as Paris is known, was decorated for the holidays and felt very festive. The Avenue des Champs Elysées was adorned with thousands of Christmas lights, which gave Paris a magical feel. It wasn’t only at the Champs Elysées it was all over. Streets, restaurants, apartments and stores among other types of buildings were decorated and lit up with Christmas lights making our walk through Paris that much more pleasant at night. Everything was lit up!
The weather wasn’t the only bad thing I had read or heard about before going to Paris; the locals seem to have a bad reputation. Contrary to popular belief, the locals were very nice and polite. Every time I went to a restaurant the waiters were very nice, courteous and very professional. Most of them spoke more than one language. I found myself communicating more in Spanish than English however.
Speaking of restaurants, the food in Paris was amazing. The French Cuisine is very popular and rightfully so. It’s so diverse that you really won’t have any problem selecting something to eat at a local restaurant, especially if you’re a picky eater like me.
I’m not a wine expert or even an oenophile, but I tried several wines that I thoroughly enjoyed. Oh and how can I forget about the cheese? If you like cheese, you’ll love Paris (France for that matter)! France is cheese heaven! I was told by one of the waiters that there are over 350 cheeses in France. If you love cheese this is the place for you, too bad I don’t like cheese. There is definitely plenty of wine and cheese pairings to be had in Paris!
One of the reasons why Paris blew me away was because of the Parisian lifestyle. Everyone seems to be so laid back and enjoying life. Since it was cold during this visit we really didn’t get to experience the whole “café culture”, but even then you could see how everyone gets out and enjoys this beautiful city. During the day you’d see everyone out shopping, running errands, just strolling through their city. People romancing in the parks! You could feel the love in the air! The whole Parisian vibe was awesome!
Paris has a lot of artistic and architectural masterpieces. It has so much history and culture, yet it is a modern and dynamic city. I was fascinated with the Eiffel Tower. Don't ask me why, I just was! I really wish I would have stayed longer, but as I mentioned earlier I wanted to take advantage of this trip and squeeze in another destination. Although I was able to watch the Anderlecht vs. Waterlo match in Brussels, looking back I think I cheated myself from exploring Paris in depth. I should have stayed the entire time in Paris, because five days just wasn’t enough (we were really there four days if I count the travel time). By the time we ended up in Brussels we were too tired to make that day trip to Bruges I mentioned previously.
Every morning we’d leave the apartment around 9 a.m. and we wouldn’t get back until 9-10 p.m. Walking around all day, jumping on and off the metro, standing in lines with the kids can wear you down. If I had to do all over again, I’d stay my entire time in Paris. The good thing about this is that I now have a good reason to go back, but next time I’ll go when it warms up. Paris is everything you hear about and more!
Paris is fantastic!
Check out a few views of Paris: