Priming for Paris

After guzzling pilsner in Prague, ingesting an obscene amount of, well, everything in Italy, and celebrating a multi-cultural Thanksgiving in Barcelona, I will reach the pinnacle of my Go with Oh journey in Paris.

Ahhhh…Paris…Doesn’t the name alone just make you smile? I’ve wanted to visit the City of Light for the better part of my life. Actually, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to go to Paris. I’m still not sure how one of the world’s most popular destinations has alluded me for this long. No matter. I’m about to rectify this travesty.

I specifically chose Paris as my last destination. Of course one could say, “Oh, you’re saving the best for last, right?” Well, since I’ve never actually been, I’m not sure that it is the best. I can’t be certain that Paris is as wonderful as I’ve built it up to be in my mind.

No, I chose Paris to be last because I’m dying to see the city adorned for Christmas. I want to see the store windows and the glorious Parisian hotel lobbies just as much as I want to see Notre Dame. I know it may seem silly, but I love Christmas. There are four cities that I’ve always wanted to visit during the holiday season: New York, London, Paris, and Rome. I’ve done Rome, and I’m going to get to mark London and Paris off my list with this trip. The thought makes me beyond excited.

I’m not going to spend all ten days roaming various Paris hotels, streets, and storefronts looking at Christmas decorations. I’ll also experience all the standard stuff. My travel partner-in-crime, Lola, has done Paris on numerous occasions, but she’s more than happy to do all the typical tourist stops with me again. Now, she may be in Marie Antoinette costume and bombed on Champagne, but you take the good with the crazy with her.

The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, a cruise on the Seine, Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and a train to Versailles are all high on my priority list. However, I’m not excited about doing any one thing more than the other. More than anything, I want to simply experience the city, and I don’t think that standing in line to see the Mona Lisa with a family from Lincoln, Nebraska will give me that.

I want to walk the streets and stumble upon little cafes tucked into secret alleyways. Scouring the antique markets for a buried treasure to take home is what really excites me. I’m going to retrace the steps of literary giants like Hemingway and drink martinis in his old haunts. Walking into the flagship stores of the most famous fashion houses in the world will set my heart aflutter. Tasting and learning about the best wines and Champagnes will be both tasty and educational. Yeah, all that tourist stuff that makes Paris a popular destination will be done, but waiting with Parisians for the best pain au chocolat and macaroons in the city is what will get me going.

It’s not just my gluttonous nature that will be satisfied. I’m going to experience the seedy Paris, not just the parts that tourists see. I want to get inside of the city and find out what it’s truly like instead of simply what the postcards show.

I’m sure that I’ll buy souvenirs, although the ultimate token of not only the Parisian leg, but of the entire trip, will be the memories I take with me. The silly photos and videos that will no doubt be taken with Lola will serve as reminders of my time in Paris. Rereading the words I’ll write will instantly take me back to the sights, sounds, emotions, and tastes of the City of Light.

My wish is to not only have a grand time with my very good friend, but I want to also squeeze every bit of joy, culture, history, and possibilities out of this trip. What I expect of myself is to live in the moment. Perhaps this journey is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I sure hope not. I expect grand things from here on out; this is simply the beginning. Perhaps the most exciting and scary part is that I have no idea what lies ahead, and that’s perfectly ok.

Like Sinatra sang, that’s life!

All of these wonderful photos are by my friends, Graham and Becky, the husband and wife behind Global Grasshopper. Check out their fantastic site.

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26 Comments
  • Natalie @ In Natalie's Shoes
    October 28, 2012

    How lovely! I can’t wait to read about your adventures this Christmas, as I’ll be in Paris next year for the holiday! Obvi I’ll be taking some serious notes. Really looking forward to any food and booze recommendations you ladies will have!

    • Leah Travels
      October 28, 2012

      How exciting for you. I’ll make sure and get some good stuff for your trip next year.

  • Anita Mac
    October 28, 2012

    Sounds brilliant Leah! I am so excited for both of you and can’t wait to hear about your trip! I am off to Paris in the morning – 30 hours is all I have and I can’t wait to make the most of it! I plan on cramming in as much as I can…but may get sidetracked by little cafes, hidden corners of Monmartre….who knows!

    Christmas in Paris….how wonderful! You will have to add Christmas in Prague to your list of places for the future…I know you have just been but it is so magnificent at Christmas time!

    Have a great time ladies!

    • Leah Travels
      October 28, 2012

      Only 30 hours in Paris? What a travesty! I once did 24 hours in Tokyo and that only left me wanting so much more. Have fun and safe travels. 🙂

  • lola dimarco
    October 28, 2012

    the photos are lovely Global Grasshopper! i CANNOT wait to get back to Paris. so thrilled to be there with you on your virgin visit. Paris is one place i don’t mind repeating anything. it is all so lovely.

    • Leah Travels
      October 28, 2012

      Aren’t the pictures fantastic, Lauren? I only hope that I can capture Paris in an equally brilliant light. 🙂

  • Graham GlobalGrasshopper
    October 28, 2012

    Not long to go now! You and Lola will have an amazing time I’m sure. Thanks for featuring my photos too 🙂 Becky and I had a great weekend wandering around Paris, not seeing the obvious sights, and just enjoying getting lost…

    • Leah Travels
      October 28, 2012

      Thanks so much for allowing me to use your fabulous photos, Graham. I’m sure you an Becky did have an excellent time. Please pass along any and all tips you may have.

  • @mrsoaroundworld
    October 28, 2012

    I love Paris and I am sure you and Lola will adore it. My best advice? Just get lots around the town and enjoy. There is something magical about this place. Except the Parisians.. but even those are getting way nicer!

    • Leah Travels
      October 28, 2012

      Oh, come now…are you going to perpetuate the stereotype of Parisians, Mrs. O? I do hope that it’s not a true stereotype!

  • D.J. - The World of Deej
    October 29, 2012

    No place quite like Paris. When you visit Notre Dame, take a short walk over to Saint Chapelle and go up the stairs. The most incredible stained glass you’ll ever see…like, jaw hit the floor kind of stuff…

    • Leah Travels
      October 29, 2012

      DJ, you’re going to have to tweet me with that when I’m in Paris. You could win yourself something. 🙂 Great tip…I love stained glass.

  • Allison GoWithOh
    October 29, 2012

    Especially with Lola´s Parisian expertise, I guarantee you will not be disappointed when you make it to the French capital! Paris is an incredible city; I cannot even imagine it at Christmas time! Though I’m sure we will be sad to see you girls leave Barcelona, I entrust you’ll have an amazing time and I am so excited for the two of you! Don’t forget your pink berets at home, and remember to save some bubbly for me!

    • Leah Travels
      October 29, 2012

      I can’t promise that there will be any Champagne left once Lola leaves Paris. I’ll see what I can do though. I’m sure I’ll be sad to leave Spain (once again), but I’ll simply fall into the loving arms of Paris. There’s worse places to land. 🙂

  • Kieu
    October 29, 2012

    Ah, Paris. Really does bring a smile to my face. And to see Paris during the holidays.. that’s just spectacular! I’ve only been during Spring and Summer and would love to see the city of light “light” up in Christmas lights. The markets should be amazing as well. Can’t help but be a little bit jealous. We won’t be too far away though, lol. What a great way to end your GWO trip!

    • Leah Travels
      October 29, 2012

      Exactly! I wanted to see the City of Light even brighter. You won’t’ be too far away? Where will you be during this time?

  • The World Wanderer
    October 29, 2012

    Oh, Paris! Even the name gets me excited! 🙂 I’m sure it’ll be simply fabulous for the holidays. Cannot wait to read all about it.

    • Leah Travels
      October 29, 2012

      I’m sure I’ll be freezing my arse off, but at least I’ll get to look at pretty lights and decorations. I’m easily pleased. 🙂

  • Pola (@jettingaround)
    October 29, 2012

    OK I might be getting heart attacks every time you post something about Paris, just so you know… I’ve been there twice in December and let me tell you – it looks FABULOUS that time of year!!! Especially Galleries Lafayette. LOVE love love that city. 🙂 Enjoy!

    • Leah Travels
      October 29, 2012

      I’m fully aware of your love affair with Paris. I only hope that I can capture it as beautifully as you do. The Galleries Lafayette is already on my list of places to see.

  • the lazy travelers
    October 29, 2012

    sigh. paris for the first time is like nothing else. and clearly we approve of your very lazy travelers-esque approach to exploring the city. it’s the best way!

    • Leah Travels
      October 29, 2012

      You two lazy gals are really rubbing off on me. Next thing I know I’ll be sporting a bow and a headband.

  • Traveling Ted
    November 2, 2012

    I actually did not like Paris when I first visited it, but the more time I spent there, the more it grew on me. I was a rebellious college student at the time, and I think I wanted to not like it because everyone else loved it. After a couple weeks though I was hooked, and although it has been a long time since I have been, I would love to return soon. You will have an awesome time.

    • Leah Travels
      November 4, 2012

      Oh, I can see the rebellious college student in you. I’m glad you finally gave it a chance. I think I’ll have the opposite reaction. I’m afraid I’ll fall in love instantly.

  • Female Wanderer
    November 26, 2012

    Hi,
    I am 24, female. I will be traveling to Paris alone for the first time from 21st December 2012- 26th December 2012. I am seeking for a traveling companion to tour Paris. After reading your post, I am so excited to see those places in person! Let’s go together? (:

    • Leah Travels
      November 27, 2012

      I will be gone at that point, but I hope you have a wonderful time.

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