Hey everyone! We are back from our amazing week-long 30th anniversary trip to Paris and I thought I’d hop on today with some initial thoughts of the city. Over the next few days I’ll also be sharing some tips as well as photos from this awesome place.

The Magic of Paris

I have to say the word of the trip is: awe.

Everywhere I turned, every building I walked into, all the glorious food…I was in awe.

How can one have any other opinion?

Really.

I never take for granted where I live. I see the same things every day and I’m always amazed. And then when you get to experience a whole other country and culture, you can’t help but feel the same thing. What an amazing place to get to be a part of for just a brief moment in time. The history and architecture alone floors me. How awesome would it be to get to be a part of that for your life or a long period of time even?

There is so much beauty and places to explore here! Our tired feet is proof of that. ;) But it’s totally worth it! They say to truly experience Paris that you need to walk it. I say amen to that. Even though it can result in an exhausting day, I wouldn’t have traded our walks for anything! Our first full day there we walked to the Louvre (didn’t go in), through the gardens, over to Rue Cler, to the Eiffel Tower…and long story short, on to the Bir-Hakeim bridge (aka, Inception bridge ;) ) and metro…which were both amazing! See? There is even beauty in the metro! (I shared a pic of it on Instagram and will share it again here on the blog soon.)

We were sure tired, but boy, what we saw was breathtaking. You just want to soak in every nook and cranny of this awesome city. (How many times will I be saying awesome or amazing in this post? haha)

We also did not experience the ‘rudeness’ that one hear’s about French people. In fact, it was just the opposite. Everyone was so friendly and helpful–even in the service industry (which is what we’d heard was bad). Everyone was lovely. And only twice did we have a language issue, but both moments were quickly helped by others who could speak both English and French.

There is still more that I’d love to see and experience, but it’ll have to just wait for another trip someday. :)

The Reality of Paris

With all that wonderfulness and awe comes the reality of Paris that it is, in fact, a big city and all that comes with that. It’s hard to see that reality when you look at the ‘pretty pictures.’ :) There’s the crowds, traffic, graffiti, garbage, broken bottles, urine, and downright disrespect of religious buildings.

I was shocked to see so much garbage in certain places. But the worst was people leaving their garbage in places like a little ‘shelf’ in the building structure–behind an iron fence–at Saint Chapelle. It really bothered me to see–or smell (human urine by Sacre Coeur)–the nastiness especially around these religious places. I am not Catholic, but I have a huge respect for any religious building or place. One should be mindful of where they are and be respectful. I was greatly saddened and bothered by people’s disrespect not only for common decency in general, but for their disrespect of religious places.

Not cool people. Not cool.

And it’s not like garbage bins aren’t everywhere either…which I also think is the source of some of the garbage problem. While the garbage bins are ‘pretty’ with their metal strips making a vase-like garbage bin, the openness of it all allows birds and such to peck at the green plastic to get at the garbage within, spilling it out all over the place. Not sure why they’ve opted for this method. I think a change to solid containers would reduce the amount of garbage greatly.

ETA: Someone mentioned the reason for the open style garbage cans was because of some bombings that had happened using garbage cans. The open style is a safety issue. Makes sense then. Now if they could just make it so the birds couldn’t get to it. ;)

There are also ‘homeless’ people hanging out on the streets. I’m sure some are homeless and some aren’t–just trying to make a buck. For example, we were eating at a cafe and I could see a ‘homeless’ man sleeping on the side of a building. A few minutes later I look over and he has his cell phone out talking. Hmm… You get that kind of stuff in many cities…even here in little old Utah. Some are truly in need and some are scamming.

Speaking of scamming, we didn’t have any run-ins with thievery, however, we did run into a couple of the scammers. We’d heard about the guys that try to tie something on your wrist. Dan deflected a guy that approached him. And then there was a man who ‘picked up a gold ring’ in front of us and said ‘Oooh. Gold. Yours?’ I had watched him lower his hand to the ground where there was nothing and suddenly it was in his hand. As he kept trying to convince Dan it was his or that we should ‘claim’ that it was ours since it was gold. I just kept saying, ‘no, no, no’ and pulled Dan away. We’d heard about this scam too.

When all is said and done.

In the end, that small bit of negative is outweighed by the awesomeness of the positive. I guess it just makes you truly appreciate all that’s good even more, right? I think the reason why I shared the negative bits is so that you don’t go to Paris expecting complete magic. While it truly is a magical place, there are always a ‘dragon’ or two like most fairytales. :)