Parisian Plans: I’m Gonna Love You Yet

by farrah on March 15, 2015 · 14 comments

As of late I’ve been preoccupied with our trip to Paris next month. I use the word ‘preoccupied’ because I’m wanting so badly to fall in love with a city that seems to have everyone else’s heart. To be in as fortunate a position as we are (we live 4 hours by train away) you’d think I could go there on a weekend whim. Instead I think of a thousand different places I’d rather go. Spoiled much? I sure am starting to sound like it.

Love Locks ParisMy dudes by the love locks.

The trip

So here’s the gist: My mother in law and my husband’s uncles are flying over the week before the race. They are going straight to Paris and we’ve rented an Airbnb apartment (our first Airbnb experience) for us all to stay in for the weekend. We will catch up with them the Friday before the race and tool around. We have the apartment booked through the Monday after the race, but my husband has to return to the NL with the boys for work and school the next day. Since my MIL will be in the car, one of us has to take the train back (not enough room). Enter- me and one day in Paris.

I have the entire Monday to myself. I am going to wake up and set off in the city I’m trying to love. This will be my third trip there (fourth time actually in the city for longer than a drive-through) but my first time by myself.

Notre DameUs: 2002 & 2013

The first time was back in 2002 when my boyfriend (now husband) surprised me with a whirlwind trip for Valentine’s Day. It was my first time overseas- and I had heard nothing but magical things about Paris. It started off rather funny/awful: We took a shuttle from the airport to our hotel with about 8 others. One lady was suffering motion sickness. As in the worst case of motion sickness I can possibly imagine. For the entire shuttle ride to our hotel (a little over an hour) she retched, gagged, choked and moaned. In between my gasps of “Look at that!” were sounds no human should have to make in front of strangers.

But that trip was amazing for reasons other than it being Paris. One of my best memories is of our arrival- we were starving and strolled to a shop and bought a baguette and some goat cheese. We took it back to our hotel, ate, and promptly fell asleep. We had about 48 hours in Paris and just burned 10 sleeping the afternoon away.

But it was funny- and we knew we’d go back. It was a trip where I knew I was in love with my husband, so that made it the best.

Eiffel TowerOne of my favorite photos of the boys to date (2013).

Our second trip was with the boys in the summer of 2013. I wrote all about it here, including how it is kind of a bruised memory. I shouldn’t give others the power to ruin things for me, but I do, and tourists with no care or concern for others really bugs.

The most recent time we were going to stop in Paris was last summer en route to Dordogne. We had a few hours to burn so I thought we’d stop at the Jardin des Tuileries to let the boys burn off some steam during the 10 hour drive. We successfully navigated through the city traffic, but the boys were totally uninterested in the garden. Based on my prior experiences, I too wasn’t over-eager to go, and didn’t want to find myself in a situation where I forced us to do something ‘because it should be magical’. So, we said screw it and just kept driving. Who does that? We do.

And so here we are on the cusp of our third real trip to the City of Light. I want so badly to love it. I want to feel about it like so many other people do too. I want to appreciate it and adore the fact that I’m just a €70 train away. I want.

My plan

Notre DameSide shot of Notre Dame. Looking forward to going inside.

Thus far I’ve asked my FB blog page and Twitter what would you do if you had a day by yourself in Paris? I’ve gotten some great suggestions- and I don’t want to overplan it- since you know what happens when we do that. For now, I’ve booked a tour of Notre Dame (with a walk up the towers- stairs! omg) and foresee a lunch at a cafe with cheese and wine. And sitting doing nothing.

I’ve never been to the Louvre, so I think when again will I have an opportunity to go by myself? Probably never. So maybe that.

And since we’re talking peak springtime, I really should walk along the Seine amongst the young lovers and flowers on its’ banks. That’s what people who like Paris do, right? All that and make it back to my train by 7pm.

Is that enough time to fall in love?

Note: I think the most privileged and oblivious part of my post is neglecting to mention how utterly insanely awesome it is for my husband to be running a marathon. Twenty-six miles is no joke and he’s been training for months. Maybe I should be more in awe of that, instead of my lack of loving a city.

So question: Are you a Paris lover? Is there a city you aren’t crazy about that everyone else seems to love? And.. what would you do with one day in Paris?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Phoebe @ Lou Messugo March 15, 2015 at 10:52 am

I think you need to let go of your expectations and go with the flow, perhaps it’s the pressure to love the world’s most romantic city that’s causing the disappointment. Personally I wouldn’t go to the Louvre with only one day to explore, I would just walk and walk and sit and watch. I’d walk from Notre Dame around the île St. Louis across through Palais Royale and on into the Marais and Place des Vosges. Alternatively I’d wander through the little back streets of the 5th arr. (not Bld St. Michel) making for Luxembourg gardens and treat yourself to something from Pierre Hermé in rue Bonaparte, 6th arr. or check out the area around Canal St. Martin. I hope you have a lovely day whatever you decide to do. (Speaking from 10 years living in Paris experience).


2 farrah March 15, 2015 at 11:04 am

I think you’re totally right. Sometimes that pressure of being an expat and knowing this is our one shot here (for us, it is) that pressure to SEE IT ALL fills me with anxiety at times. So many places, so many things. And I think I feel sort of let down that the one place I was sure I’d love- I don’t.

Great tips- thanks Phoebe! I do wander well 🙂


3 Elizabeth March 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

I have only been once and it was last Spring. The gardens at the Louvre are beautiful in the Spring!


4 farrah March 16, 2015 at 10:58 am

You are the garden expert!!! 🙂


5 Robin March 15, 2015 at 1:37 pm

I love this piece and get it. I used to live in Paris, and I have returned three times since, and the city and I have such a complicated relationship. I am just not at peace in Paris. I don’t feel that way in any other city. I don’t know if it is the collective pressure to love it that sets it up for ambivalence, but I also feel that those who live there are more unhappy than other major cities.


6 farrah March 16, 2015 at 11:01 am

Thanks Robin- and that’s a perfect way to put it- being that collective pressure. Maybe it’s also the size I find intimidating and the overall chill I feel by being an American. At least that was the case in 2002 when we were having that ‘French fry’ war and things were definitely a bit strained. I carry over to that.

But I think what you’ve said is pretty accurate.


7 Ellen March 15, 2015 at 6:19 pm

My tip is the area around Le sacre Coeur and Montmartre. This quartier is much softer and more accessable than the hard and businesslike surroundings of the Louvre. Groetjes van Ellen


8 farrah March 16, 2015 at 11:02 am

Great one- I haven’t ben to Montmarte and Sacre Coeur is a building I studied in my medieval art history elective all those years ago. I loved that class. As usual, your advice is terrific.


9 Julia March 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm

i would love to go to Paris, I hope you enjoy it even if you don’t fall in love with it.


10 farrah March 19, 2015 at 8:10 am

The fact that I will have an entire day to myself will make it worthwhile! I haven’t had a day solo traveling in a long time!


11 Nearly Irish March 16, 2015 at 7:45 pm

I’m not a big fan of Paris, but you have to admit it’s a beautiful city. If you only have one day, I’d say maybe go up to Montmartre and the Sacre-Coeur? . I don’t think one day is enough to visit the Louvre unless you have an exact idea of what you want to see (because you won’t be able to see everything). Try not think about the past experiences you had and just go with the flow, you might have a great time 🙂


12 farrah March 19, 2015 at 8:11 am

It is- really and truly! I do believe that I am going to make that my day trip- I have yet to see Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. So many people have suggested it, and I think it sounds like the perfect place to explore.


13 Anna March 18, 2015 at 11:36 am

Oh yes, I am a fan. All of the stereotypical emotions of the city I am happy to spout. One tip may be to consider going to Musee d’Orsay. Much smaller, approachable, fantastic pieces of work … and housed in a gorgeously repurposed train station just down the river from the Louvre! (ps- I think Phoebe’s above suggestions are brilliant!)


14 farrah March 19, 2015 at 8:12 am

My (then boyfriend) husband and I did the d’Orsay. It’s so funny to think about now. I was still in a fog of ‘am I really here?’ and the whole thing was completely surreal!


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