If you were to visit one of the most famous cities in the world for only twelve hours, you would probably try to plan every minute of the trip so you didn’t miss a thing. Well, I got the chance to visit Paris for just one day; in fact, it wasn’t even an entire day. Although a lot of people may argue that this is not enough time to see anything of the city, in my opinion, its’ all about the mindset you have when taking a trip. By no means do I want to convince you that you can actually visit all the famous places, do thing typical for Paris or try some authentic French cuisine, but at least you can experience the city like it were an average day. And not just Paris, you can also try Barcelona or Amsterdam.
It’s funny how I even remember the exact date we decided to go to Paris, June 2nd. The weather couldn’t have been better and it was exactly how I imagined it to be Paris on a warm and breezy spring day. Obviously, I had read a lot about Paris and seen innumerous photos and TV shows promoting the so-called ‘city of love’ or ‘city of lights’. Well, I can say that I haven’t been disappointed at any time of that day by Paris.
When we got there, we parked the car just outside the city center and decided that our main means of transportation would be the metro. After all, Paris is known to have one of the most thought through underground metro systems in the entire world, following New York. You simply buy a ticket that doesn’t cost you more than a couple of euros and you’re able to use it the entire day, getting you from point A to point B. And I can recommend doing the exact same thing since you won’t get to see anything of the city if you decide to take the car. The traffic jam, as in almost every big city, will drive you completely crazy and perhaps ruin your entire day. Not to mention the parking costs you will have.
Deciding on breakfast was perhaps the easiest decision of the day. I mean you’re standing in the middle of Paris, surrounded by bakeries also known as ‘boulangeries’, on every corner. The most natural choice would therefore be to try some pastries, if not the mother of all pastries, the croissant. Now, you have probably eaten an uncountable number of croissants throughout your life, but I can guarantee you that it’s nothing compared to the ones they make in Paris. It was truly love at first bite.
After you finally realize that you are actually in Paris, you can start to figure out what you’d like to see first. Obviously, the list of things to visit in Paris is way too long to even begin with, but some ‘iconic trademarks’ for Paris would have to be the Eiffel tower, Champs Elysees, Louvre, river Seine, and Notre Dame. It may be impossible to believe but I got to visit them all in one day. I can’t lie to you, at the end of the day I was completely worn out and all I wanted to do was lay down. One particular thing I can remember very well is the walk from the museum Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, which in my opinion seemed to last forever. Finally, when the moment was there and I saw this colossal ‘monument’ I couldn’t believe that I was really there. I decided to lie down in the grass and just watch the Eiffel tower in front of me. Up until this very day whenever I close my eyes, I can precisely recall the feeling, weather, and smell at that point.
It would be an understatement so say that the architecture in Paris is great. Some of the most beautiful and in my opinion fascinating buildings I have ever seen were indeed in Paris. From the Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame, it would be impossible to decide by which one I was the most impressed. There are so many details and things to be analyzed that you would probably need an entire day for just one building. Nevertheless, we got to see them and I tried as hard as possible to make a photographic memory of the buildings in my head so I would remember it forever. Also, art related, and probably my most favorite thing we did on that very day, visiting museum Louvre. I have always been very interested in art, and therefore took every possible art and art history class I could in high school. I had learned about all the great painters and their masterpieces, and obviously the painting of all paintings, the ‘Mona Lisa’. I had always dreamt of seeing it, but honestly I never thought that I would one day be able to see it myself. The moment I entered the hall where the Mona Lisa was hanging I didn’t even know it was exactly there. But as soon as I saw a huge crowd of people all trying to get in front and staring at one spot, I knew there was something there that I needed to see myself. So I made my way through the mass and when finally almost got in the front I saw what the hype was about. Hanging there peacefully, protected by glass and surrounded by 4 guards, I saw the Mona Lisa. A lot of people will tell you that the experience was rather disappointing since they expected the painting to be bigger, but I can only say that at that moment I was one of the luckiest people in that space.
On our way back, deciding again where to eat of course, we walked along the Seine with the sun slowly lowering towards the horizon. The Pont des Arts, the bridge crossing the Seine, was also something that I will remember. It is not your usual bridge that you might know from your own town or city. Instead, the bridge is covered with locks of people who have decided to leave something there and actually ‘lock’ their love on the bridge. I have seen so many different locks with initials on them, and to know that those are all from people who love or loved each other is truly fascinating.
When I got in the car on our way back home, I couldn’t really think about the experiences from the whole day because I was way too tired. But the next day, when I woke up, strangely it felt like it was all a dream and I wished that I could relive it just once more. That’s perhaps where the magic lies in visiting a place just for one day.