Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bonjour, Paris!

Alright y'all, I am waaaaayyyyy behind on blogging (as in I have three weekends worth of travel to blog about and I'm about to head out for another trip tomorrow). BUT I'm finally sitting down to write about our trip to Paris!

I visited Paris the summer after my sophomore year of high school- here's a little throwback:

Most people are mortified by old photos (and sometimes I am!) but I'm gonna still stand by and say that this was a pretty solid outfit for a 16-year-old in Europe. 

Ever since my trip, I had been itching to get back to Europe, especially Paris. So when Zac, Lydia, and I were planning their visit, we knew (or at least Lydia and I knew, Zac was just along for the ride!) that a weekend in Paris had to happen.

Z and L arrived early Friday morning, and after a full first day in Amsterdam, we were up bright and early Saturday for our train to Paris. This was actually my first trip by train this semester- every other trip has been by plane or by bus! Trains in Europe are getting more expensive, and with so many low-cost airlines and MegaBus Europe, train travel isn't always the best option. But, it ended up being the best for Paris!

I don't have a ton of pictures from Paris. While it would be great to have more for the blog, I don't regret keeping my camera in my purse most of the time. 

Here's why: I had already been to Paris and had nearly 1,000 photos (no, really), and many of the things I was seeing (the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe) have not changed in the last four years. I also have started to realized that you cannot experience life through a camera lens. So many people come back from trips with a million photos, but no memories of what they did without looking at their pictures. I wanted to savor this trip, and I knew that over half the things I saw were impossible to capture with a camera. There is a huge difference between seeing the massive, blooming Jardin des Tuileries, and taking a picture that only captures a fraction of its beauty.

So, while I don't have too many photos, I have so many great memories from this weekend, and I would not trade that for anything.

I think my outfit has improved a little....

Outift details: Hat, and trench coat, H&M. Scarf, Bloomingdales. Bag, Tommy Hilfiger. Earrings, Tiffany & Co. Ring, Kate Spade. Boots, Ivanka Trump (similar). Pants, Target

Every single building and every corner took my breath away. The first day I barely took any photos because I just wanted to look around and soak it all in. 

Scarf, H&M. Top, H&M (sooo comfy and perfect for traveling). Necklace, Henri Bendel. 
Not sure what we're laughing at...knowing us it was probably nothing!

On our first day we spent a lot of time walking around, stopping by Notre Dame (where the line went to the end of the block so we skipped peeking inside, as Lydia and I had already seen it), and visiting the Jardin des Luxembourg. On my first trip I had not visited Luxembourg, Tuileries, or the Musee Rodin, so I wanted to get those in before we left!

So. Many. Blue. Doors. 

We strolled by Les Invalides, which was a military hospital during the war and holds Napoleons' tomb as well as the military/armory museum. While we didn't visit it this time, it's a beautiful building and worth a trip!

Our next stop was the Musee Rodin, where I was flattered by the attendant when he complimented my French (he was surprised when I told him that I needed an English map!). The museum is under construction right now, so only the garden and a small part of the museum are open. However, this meant that it is free to visit! Besides, all the major works that people come to see, such as The Thinker and The Gates of Hell are located in the garden. 

The big building at the end of the garden is the Hotel Biron, where the works are usually on display, but that part is being renovated. Guess I'll just have to come back to Paris...

Le Penseur- The Thinker. 

The dome of Les Invalides.

My first time in the Tuileries Gardens, and they were gorgeous. We were pretty lucky with the weather for most of our time in Paris. It was a little chilly at first but by our last day we were shedding our coats in the afternoon. 

Luckily Zac didn't want to visit the Louvre, saving us all several hours of waiting. Tip: when I went we arrived in the morning and bought our tickets under the pyramid, saving a lot of time. Also, make a game plan- there is no way you can visit everything and the crowds make it difficult to stop and appreciate things. Look up which works you want to see and limit your time. There are so many other museums to see! 

Top, H&M. Scarf, Forever 21. Sunglasses, Ray-Ban.

On Monday we took full advantage of the perfect weather (think cloudless blue skies and no coats) and had a picnic at the Jardin des Champes Elysees. We were a little disappointed to see that sitting on the grass was not allowed, but we found a bench that worked just fine! 

I love Paris, and I loved it even more the second time around. I can't wait to return, and I am so grateful to have two of my favorite people come all this way to visit me! 

Tuesday we headed back to Amsterdam, and I've got a few more pictures coming, so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 2, 2015


My favorite month is finally here!!! I did a big post last year at the beginning of April and it amazes me to see how much has seems like it was just a few months ago! Number 5 on my list was about waiting to hear back from Amsterdam...and look how things turned out!

This is my favorite month for a few reasons- my birthday is in April, it's the (real) beginning of spring, the weather starts to change for the better, and everyone just seems to cheer up a little! Even on rainy April days I still get excited for the May flowers that are coming...

This April is particularly special, for just a few reasons.

1. I'm living in Amsterdam. I don't think that needs an explanation. This is probably my best April yet.

2. I'm turning 21. Not that it matters in Europe, but I still think I'll feel like more of an adult, especially once I'm back in the states.

3. I'm headed to Paris! Zac, Lydia, and I are jetting off to Paris Saturday morning for a few days. I've been itching to get back to Paris since I visited 4 years ago and it's finally happening! I can't wait to spend Easter weekend in one of my favorite cities with two of my favorite people.

4. I've started a new semester, a new set of classes, a new chance to learn in a completely different setting than what I'm used to.

5. Flowers. The flowers here are so, so, so cheap, and I bought this beautiful bouquet of hot pink roses for 3 euro ($3.22)! I love that the sun is shining and the grocery store is always filled with flowers.

This semester started out pretty rough, and I knew it was going to be difficult, but I managed to make it to my favorite month, and now I love this place more than ever.