On our last full day of the trip (we left the following morning mid-day), we got up for the sun rise and wandered around the Ile St. Louis, taking in the early morning quiet before any one was up and about. We wandered along the quays of the Seine, took in the views of the morning clouds over the city and watched as the restaurants and cafes began setting up for their morning routines. We watched as the garbage collectors stopped for espressos (only in Europe) and watched locals taking their dogs out for morning walks. It’s moments like this while traveling that are my favorite, seeing the city how it should be seen, with no tourist crowds, no worrying about getting from one place to the next, just taking in Paris, breathing it in.
After an hour or so of wandering our neighborhood, we ran by our boulangerie St. Martin, picked up some croissants and pain au chocolat to take home with us for breakfast. We returned to our apartment, ate breakfast, got ready for the day and headed back out a couple hours later. We strolled across the River to the Right Bank, wandered through the Louvre square, then over to the Le Nemours Cafe (the spot where Angelina Jolie has breakfast in The Tourist) to have lunch. We sipped on cafe au lait and ate sandwich mixte and watched Paris flood past us. After lunch, we wandered over to the Tuileries, which are always gorgeous this time of year. Paris does parks so well and the Tuileries are always a favorite of ours. We wandered through the falling leaves, taking in the Autumn colors and enjoying the mild weather.
After a while of wandering, we jumped on the metro and headed up to the Opera district for some shopping. After a bit of exploring and shopping, we jumped back on the metro to the Eiffel Tower. Seeing this landmark really never gets old and every time I’m blown away by its sheer size and what it represents. For me, it’s always represented the world out there to explore, a landmark that showcases how much is out there to see and travel to and it blows me away every time.
In the late afternoon, we headed back to our apartment on the RER to rest a bit and then headed back out after a long late lunch at our favorite spots, Cafe St. Regis, and jumped back on the metro to the Tour Montparnasse, a spot Nick really wanted to check out on this trip. We watched the sun set over Paris, high above the city with 360 degree views of the whole area. It was truly a gorgeous spot and I can’t believe we’ve never checked it out before. As the sun set over Paris on our last night in Europe, I couldn’t help but feel like this city has come to mean so much to me. I fell in love with Paris years ago, but with each subsequent trip back, it feels more and more like a home away from home, a refuge in the crazy world, a place that makes me feel safe and inspired and always in awe. It’s a place that will always be a spot I can escape to, a place that will hold my heart and a place that feels like my spot in the world and I’m so thankful for that.
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