Newlyweds embark on a spectacular vacation in the City of Love
When deciding where to go for our honeymoon, my then- fiancé ( now husband) Daniel and I had one clear criterion: a romantic foreign city where neither of us had previously been. The answer was clear in our minds, so we decided to spend the first week of August 2018 in Paris!
Before landing, I anticipated a lively and artistic city, and my expectations were fully met. Scattered throughout the city were permanent museums and smaller art galleries. There were also temporary art exhibits in open areas for the public to view. Additionally, some artists sold their art on the streets, while others were busy working in their shops or by the Seine.
They say that in North America we eat to live, but in Paris they live to eat. Our culinary experience in “la ville des lumières” confirmed that saying for me. There is no such thing as a quick bite to eat in Paris. Even ordering “un café” and “un croissant” in the morning was a lengthy ordeal. Patience is a must, but I think that the slow pace helped create a refreshing atmosphere for us, in stark contrast to today’s fast-paced, on-the-go culture. On one outing, we ate at a restaurant called L’escargot Montorgueil, and I decided to order frog legs. It was the most adventurous type of cuisine I had during our stay, and it actually tasted like chicken once I got my mind past the not- soappetizing outward appearance. My husband, Daniel, chose the steak tartare— essentially raw beef with spices—but I was not brave enough for that.
In tourist regions nearly everyone can speak English; however, I was eager to see how much of Canada’s second official language I remembered. Despite not having the opportunity to practice French for the past several years, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of knowledge I retained from my university days. It was enough for me to be able to effectively communicate which tickets we needed to purchase for a train ride to the Château de Versailles, to converse with the hotel concierge and to buy a dress at a small boutique.
We definitely did our fair share of sightseeing, including politely elbowing our way through the crowds to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and climbing the Arc de Triomphe at dusk for a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower bathed in the colours of the setting sun.
We also decided to visit a Canadian-style pub one sunny afternoon and I was definitely surprised to see this type of establishment in such a large European city. It was very close to the heart of Paris, situated on the left bank of the Seine near the highly frequented Saint- Michel—notre-dame train station. Inside, the walls were decked out with many Canadian flags and autographed hockey jerseys. There was even a large moose sporting a Canadian Mountie’s uniform. Intentionally cliché in a fun way, I suppose, but there was no doubt we were in Paris, not back in Canada.
The first half of our week was filled with sightseeing and touring, but by the second half, we had settled in quite nicely and we started to feel like locals in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, the dis- trict where we were staying. Some of our days began with an early morning stroll around the local Jardin du Luxembourg and ended with a stop at what had become our favourite local bakery, Paul Boulangerie et Patisserie, for a freshly made baguette. One evening we followed all of that up with a visit to the cinema to watch a French- produced film called Roulez Jeunesse, a comedy directed by Julien Guetta. Aside from the big tourist attractions the city has to offer, I really enjoyed strolling along the small streets in the non-touristic areas, particularly very early in the morning when shopkeepers were preparing to open their stores. We are looking forward to returning to the city, perhaps for one of our future wedding anniversaries! n