Now that I’ve been back home from my second trip to Paris for nearly a month I can sit back and think about the lessons I learned from my Paris trip. There were a few things I was concerned about before I left for Paris. Mainly, will it live up to the expectations that I had? I built Paris up in my mind so much that I was worried that it would not be the magical place I remembered from the first time around. Since this was the first time I planned the whole trip on my own I was worried that it would be so stressful that if something went wrong it would sour my whole image of the city I love so much. So much was riding on this trip, a whole lot of money spent, my trip planning confidence, and hoping that my travel companion would have a great time too.
The first time I went to Paris I just sat back and relaxed and let someone else take care of the details. Although I did tons of research that first time, this time all those hours spent on research were invaluable. It was all me doing the booking, planning, and researching. I loved every minute of it and found out that I really enjoyed doing it. I had found my sweet spot! Every time I would even talk to someone about the planning process I got excited! For some people planning a trip to Paris would be a monumental and stressful task. For me, it was exhilarating and gave me something to focus on once I left the emotions of my job ending behind.
Most of the trip went off without a hitch except the fact that I overlooked Versailles being closed on Mondays. We did get a little disorientated a couple of times using the RER. We may have missed seeing Versailles but the rest went pretty smooth considering we are in a different country, had no knowledge of the language except for basic phrases, and it was the first time staying in an apartment. We managed using the metro, and bus lines easily and with the help of the Sidekix app on my phone, we were able to walk everywhere with ease.
As far as Paris living up to the expectations again, I would say a big yes!! Yes, Paris did not disappoint me once again. Honestly from the moment we rode into the city I felt at home. I don’t think I will ever be able to fully describe the feeling and I think only those that have a passion for Paris will ever understand. Around every corner was a feast for the scenes. The police sirens, the street musicians, the sound of your heels hitting the cobblestones, the pop of the wine cork, the beauty of the architecture, the Eiffel Tower twinkling every hour, the smell of the crepe stands, all these sights, smells, and sounds make up Paris.
The one sound that will forever be a part of me is the sound of the rain hitting the metal roof when we had the windows open in our apartment on Rue du Dragon. Our cute apartment just faced a courtyard and we had no street view, but I will never forget that sound and the windows facing other windows of Paris residents. I took in that view, and the scent in the air the last night as I lay in my comfy bed looking out the open window so I could keep it in my mind until my next visit.
In the end once again the reality of the city I love lived up to my expectations. Even more so this time. The other lesson I learned was more about myself. I proved that I could plan out a whole trip on my own. It gave me incredible confidence and now I know I could fulfill my ultimate goal of going to Paris on my own. I also learned that I love the process of planning a trip. The research, looking at maps, and doing the booking puts me in my happy place as much as writing does. Perhaps in my future is taking groups of first time Paris visitors who are nervous to go on their own like myself to live out their dream!