We are somewhere 30,000 feet over the French countryside and La Vie en Rose is playing on my iPod. For me, this is a moment I have waited for my whole life... Paris. Just the word evokes a magical picture in my mind of palaces, painters and baguettes. Now I, a 15-year-old from Cleveland, am flying straight into my fantasy land.
My family likes to take big summer vacations every few years. In the past we have done London and Seville, but this is different. This is Paris. When we arrive at Charles de Gaulle, we promptly take a taxi to our hotel. While I pleaded for a traditional Parisian hotel, we are staying at a Holiday Inn, because my dad felt it would be easier for us, Americans, to stay at an 'American' hotel.
On the way to the hotel, I was surprised by how much Paris did not look as I expected it to. The top half of the buildings looked just as I pictured them: ornate detailing and balconies overflowing with potted flowers. The ground levels, on the other hand, looked like we were in New York City. Neon signs and blinking lights were everywhere. It was not until we had unpacked and taken the Metro to the crème de la crème of Paris that I started to feel like it was real. I was really there, in the City of Lights, and it was magical.
We saw everything American tourists in Paris are supposed to see; The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, The Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees. We ate as many pastries in as many bistros as we could find. (In case there was any doubt, they are every bit as delicious as they look). We even took a train to the palace of Versailles, which is one of the most stunning places in the entire world.
My parents and I spent the week mingling with Parisians while trying to appear as Parisian as possible. We ate baguettes, strolled along the Seine, and attempted to appear as if we knew any French at all. Without a doubt, It was one of the best weeks of my life. As much as I experienced on my trip overseas, I know that I only scratched the surface. When I left Paris, I knew in my heart that it would not be the last time I saw it. One way or another, I would be back, because no one is ever finished with Paris.
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