A Life Engaged

Back In The Western World: Paris

It was another long journey across the world to Europe, but we were ready for some western luxuries that we didn’t have in Thailand. Waking up to sweet songbirds was a welcomed change from rooster crows and frog croaks. There is also the often taken for granted comfort of sitting on a toilet instead of giving your thighs a workout over a hole. Oh and our favorite western luxury, the cheese! 

First stop – Paris! We woke up early our first day and took a stroll through the Latin Quarter passing the Pantheon and reminiscing of our previous trips to Europe. It was a beautiful, quiet morning as the city was still waking up. Multiple families were biking to work and school together across cobblestone and we immediately got the Parisian feeling. We hopped the metro to an apartment we had found on AirBNB. It was very roomy and perfect for our stay. We threw in a load of laundry and anxiously unpacked our bags, excited to have our own space to spread out and enjoy Paris in the days ahead.

Classic Parisian Stroll - Baguette Required

Classic Parisian stroll – baguette required

Our first stop was obviously the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. We stopped at a shop for a sandwich, sliced apples and an Orangina and headed over to the park. We enjoyed our lunch with the spectacular view.

Hanging out by the Seine River

Hanging out by the Seine River

Next, we headed out in search for the Champs-Élysées and happened upon a fantastic market full of amazing food, wine, cheese, and charcuterie tents, just to name a few. We enjoyed comparing how different this market was from the Asian markets we were so recently used to passing through. Wine tasting? Yes please! Although that wasn’t the wisest decision as a not so friendly reminder of Thai vodka still lingered in our bellies.

One of the many vendors at the Champs-Élysées market

One of the many vendors at the Champs-Élysées market

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

We wandered around Le Petit Palais, exploring the impressive artwork. The museum personnel continued to question Dan about the wine glass he carried out of the market from our tasting. The wine glass was free and he just couldn’t bring himself to part with a free wine glass so we had to endure multiple questionings by museum security guards.

The following day, we went to the Musée de I’Armée where we checked out arms and armor from the 1500-1700s. We were very impressed and intrigued by the different types of armor and designs. Next, we headed to the wing of World War I and II followed by the Paroisse Saint-Paul Saint-Louis. We said a quick prayer and admired the architecture. Last, we headed to Les Invalides, otherwise known as Napoleon’s Tomb, which was remarkable. We joked about how it was such a big tomb for such a small person.

Dan in front of the Musée de I’Armée

Dan in front of the Musée de I’Armée

Napoleon's Tomb

Napoleon’s Tomb

Afterwards, we strolled through the Luxembourg Gardens and listened to a band play various songs from Grease. The Parisians licking ice creams inspired us so we found a little Italian café called Arlecchino and shared a delicious banana split and an espresso at 6pm. We giggled as the Italian owner told us in a French accent that banana splits are aphrodisiacs.

We made our way back to our Parisian flat, stopping for a baguette and some cherries. The sun does not set in Paris until about 10:00pm, which had really be throwing us off. We prepared a dinner of meat and cheese at the apartment and did not sit down to eat until 11:30.

The following morning presented itself with a little hiccup. As Dan hopped in the shower, Jess headed to the kitchen to surprise him with an omelet for breakfast. That ended quickly when she opened the cabinet and was bombarded with dishes as they came tumbling down on her. A glass baking dish and drinking glass shattered all over the floor and the sink. Dan yelled out to see if Jess was ok, but was secretly making sure a scene from Psycho didn’t unfold as he finished his shower.

We made it to the Louvre grounds and ordered strawberry crêpe for breakfast, which was 100 times worse than the crepe we had in Thailand. Imagine that. That’s the last time we buy a cliché dish so close to a tourist area.

Touristy Shot @ The Louvre

Touristy Shot @ The Louvre

The Louvre was great. We saw all the big sites as well as a few unexpected wings we enjoyed like Easter Island. We spent a few hours exploring and taking in the beauty of all the amazing artwork.

Egyptian Sphinx at The Louvre

Egyptian Sphinx at The Louvre

Goofing around at The Louvre

Goofing around at The Louvre

Starved for lunch, we had a much anticipated croquet monsieur, which Dan had been talking about since the beginning of the trip. We then made our way to Notre-Dame Cathedral, where we were able to stay for part of Mass, which was very cool to witness. After Mass, we headed to a café for a couple of espressos before retiring back to our flat. We watched the sunset on the porch over shared wine and cherries. It was a beautiful evening.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Once our stomachs started rumbling, we went out for a warm meal near the Eiffel Tower and met up with Jessie’s former coworker and her husband for drinks. We enjoyed visiting with old friends halfway across the world. We exchanged travel stories and caught up until wee hours of the night when we were forced to leave the bar and hail a cab home.