There is a marker in Paris in the very center of the city, if you weren’t seeking it out you would likely miss it altogether because it is just a small metal plate on the ground with the inscription “Point Zero”. It is located just out front of Notre Dame and it is said that if you step on this marker, you WILL return to Paris one day. Well, six years ago in the Spring of 2010, I stepped on that marker and dreamt big (in a wishful thinking kind of way, sure in my heart I thought, “I will never again in my wildest dreams get so lucky” but hoped that maybe, just maybe the marker would pull through for me. I am here to tell you the marker worked. This time with a beloved husband in place of beloved schoolmates, returned to the very spot.
But here comes the big fail on my part– this year I flubbed and didn’t step on the stone. A large tour group made it there first and so I caved in defeat (if you have ever seen a large eccentric tour group then you can surely sympathize!). Hopefully my first step on in 2010 it has reoccurring properties??
Last trip I was in high school and this trip I am a college graduate, married and living across the globe in the real world with a real job so it was incredibly entertaining for me to go back and see how well my memories match with what Paris is like. I quickly found that memories are mostly based on feelings and pictures so Paris for me this time felt brand new.
For this trip, Z and I decided to live on the edge a bit and booked an Airbnb (we are serious risk takers, I know) instead of our usual HotelsCombined score. But to be honest, for this trip, the little apartment tucked into the Le Marais historical district turned out to be a perfect place to call home for the week. When it came to booking, I pretty much selected all of our flats in various cities but this one I let Z choose all on his own (which was the best decision ever because it turned out to be hilarious and ironic). He did amazing and got us in the cooooooooolest part of town in a reaaally neat old building close to literally everything and somehow not “touristy” at all (we got our fair share of tourist hot spots in my pick later in the trip in Barcelona).
BUT (you knew there was a but coming right?) god bless him, my 6’6 husband found us a literal TINY HOUSE. You know what I am talking about, right? This entire apartment was literally the size of our king size bed back in Texas. It had a loft style bed (that yeah Zach definitely had to curl himself into a ball to fit into) then I teeeny little couch with the babiest sized kitchen you have ever seen. Oh! And the coolest cedar bathroom ever where I got a good laugh out of Zach not being able to figure out how to flush the toilet. I let him squirm in the 3ft by 5ft bathroom for a solid 5 minutes before I showed him the handle hanging from the ceiling. Hehe #badwife
We really lucked out because a close friend of ours that we met in Qatar had actually moved back home (to Lille, France) and drove down 2 hours to meet us in Paris!! Cedric you are the best! It was perfect because he gave us the lay of the land to kick off our adventure.
First, (like all good things in life) we started with food. Like all typical Paris tourists we stopped over at L’as du Fallafel …not to be confused with Fallfel which is like 20ft down the road ahead of the real thing.
Thank you Cedric because Z and I totally would have just eaten at the imposter fallafel place and never known the difference ha!
I will admit that we were skeptical about “the world’s best fallafel” because well HELLO we live in the Middle East and have become somewhat experts at in the art of a perfect fallafel. –Okay to those of you who are totally lost and have no clue what a fallafel is, it is a fried little round cornbread like breadcrumb ball that is great on its own but is happiest rolled into a wrap with some veggies.
So L’as du Fallafel’s “Special Sandwich” contained a MASSIVE HEAP of crispy fallafels (and other little goodies like eggplant and cabbage) bursting out of a warm pita wrap, SMOTHERED with garlic sauce. A-mazing.
Next we wandered around the city getting our first glimpse of the major landmarks. I was convinced early on that our Blue Bike tour later on that night would be the time when we figure out the city but I really think that you must walk the city first in order to learn it. Within the first few hours of walking (oh yeah my fitbit was loving it) I could pretty well tell my way around and could even navigate back to our little Airbnb “home” from any point in the city.
After our feet started to groan, we decided to spend our last bit of time with Cedric being total “Frenchies”, like him, and stopped off for a coffee.
Cedric taught us the perfect thing to order called “Cafe Gourmet”. Basically, you get an espresso and three little desserts for (pretty much) the price of an espresso–hello my new favorite thing to order for the rest of the trip. lol The best part is that every cafe serves three different little desserts–so fun!
After catching up over coffee, it was time for our Blue Bike Tour (and time for him to get back to Lille) so we parted ways and geared up.
Like I mentioned before, I booked this on our very first day of our trip (yes after hours and hours of airports and plane cabins) because I couldn’t imagine a better way to get a lay of the land but let me just tell you, this tour was seriously so much fun that I didn’t pay one ounce of attention to where we were. It was more like a whirlwind of beautiful sights, smells and laughter. We took the 7pm tour (which holy cow looks like midday because daylight lasts forever in Pairs) and after taking a few laps in the garage (and trying to regain the art of not looking like a noob on a bike) we headed out into the streets of Paris–in which there are definitely some people weaving skills required..so I became a bit of a danger to society whiiiich only made it more fun ha
Although being on foot gives you time to learn to roads and such, something about being on a bike is so freeing. You zip around and are filled with that childlike sense of playfulness (maybe just those endorphins pumping) PLUS Paris is basically the flattest place ever so biking around always just feels light.
We were paired with a small group and a suuuper friendly tour guide named Ben.
It was nice to get to just follow him around and enjoy without having to think about where we were going or holy crap are we going to get hit if we cross the street right now?! He also planned our route so that we got to stop off at all of the interesting focal points and learn insider bits about the city.
After riding allll around, Ben lined our bikes up and brought us out on a boat cruise where we got to sit and relax while he told us story after story about the interesting old buildings along the Seine.
NOT TO MENTION the sun was finally setting so we got to watch the display of color siiink out of the sky from the most amazing viewpoint.
The cruise had the most EPIC ending because just as perfectly as in the movies, when we slowing drifted up to the Eiffel Tower, it burst into twinkling light that captured everyone. I remember from 2010 loving seeing the tower do this and so I was expecting for it to feel normal but just like the first time, it completely took my breath away, again.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: If you have never seen the Eiffel Tower twinkle, add it to your bucket list. And if you are going to add it to your bucket list you may as well add on to do it while cruising down the Seine. ALSO don’t forget to have Ben there to tell you the story of why the tower twinkles. Oh you want me to tell you? Nope! Save it for when you are there 🙂
After the boat tour, we were in a totally dreamlike state and that is when we got to end our night with a monument studded ride home. Louvre BOOM Champs Elysee BOOM Concorde Square BOOM.
After Blue Biking, walking and eating out hearts out, you better believe we fainted into our little 5ft by 5 ft bed.
Paris, you have done it again. Stolen my heart.