Last June, I had the opportunity to return to Paris. This getaway was different from the last time because I had lesser control of the itinerary for this one. Also, the main objective in Paris this time around was touching less on social sciences and intimate moments but more on social gatherings and reunions. And speaking of reunions, I really had quite a handful – so much that it was fun to bring together my friends from different backgrounds in 1 setting.
A quick ‘La Vie Parisienne’
During the first day, I finally met Juli, one of my long-time online friends (and 1 of 3 online friends who come from France). How amazing it is to finally speak in person but you never expected that your humor together is way better than what you already have as good online friends. We had a quick but meaningful and tasty lunch in the Champs-Élysées area. Hopefully, even with our busy schedules, we will manage to meet again and perhaps explore the gastronomic scene of the French capital.
I caught up with the rest of my friends to sum up our afternoon at the Café de l’homme, which has arguably one of the best views of the Eiffel tower from the Trocadero side. If we had more time, we would have spent the sunset over drinks in that place. We ended up eating Lyonnaise cuisine at the second arrondissement and with me are my closest clique in Malta as well as Jiggy, one of my close friends from high school who I haven’t seen for 8 years. He also brought with him a friend who was another online friend which I only got to know more during this stay in Paris. I’m not usually fond of bringing together in one venue friends who I got connected to from different backgrounds because I believe this might cause awkwardness especially to friends who are shy and reserved and it could also make some friends “out of place” or feel “unattended”. Fortunately, they all got along and with the arrival of one of our friends from the UK later that night, we just felt too comfortable with Paris as if we were living there. We capped the night with some tasty macaroons and hot coffee. Fantastique!
…Where the Magic Happens…
We spent most of the following day in one of the happiest places on Earth – Disneyland! Well, I might sound too old for this but this was something I was quietly but surely looking forward to. It’s been 11 years since I’ve been to Disney park and this was only my second time to one. I’m not an über fan of Disney but I have to admit that I grew up with it and have liked it, since the 2D movies in the 90’s all the way to the half-real, half-CGI effects that Disney currently offers us to adaptations of previous movies. Another reason was that I just really needed a different objective to this travel and that means that I just wanted to chill and not think about itineraries and what to do next. This place was certainly one of the best options to just spend the day. If you’re looking for a breezy time in summer, Paris is definitely not the best option. The Seine river runs through the city but it’s located hundreds of miles from the coast so it was definitely quite humid when we went there. However, the rides were quite amusing and we had a lovely time in the park just enjoying each other’s company and taking tons of photos and just acting like we’re kids again. The fireworks display after sundown was the highlight and I must say, I got a little bit emotional. Jajaja. It wouldn’t be too much to ask to have a fairy tale life, right? 😛
…Mirrors and the Arts
The following day, we visited the Château de Versailles, the historical place of residences of the then French monarchy. The complex was actually huge and the exterior was lavishly designed. It’s all golden the moment you approach the entrances. The gates, the plate designs on the exterior of the palaces – they mesh well with the material used in the frames of those buildings. But the awe doesn’t end there! Once you step into the main palace and pass through the individual chambers, you will immerse into the ambiance of how it was to live like a French royal. The walls and ceilings are painted in detail, romanticizing the military victories and lifestyle of the French monarchy in all aspects of paintings. Finally, as we approached the last halls of the palace, we finally saw the grandness of the hall of mirrors. Gold statues, bold paintings on the ceiling, and glorious chandeliers dropping from them – there was this air of elegance surrounding the hall that it seems like we spent most of our time in the palace solely in that room. Before we left the complex, we took a rest at Angelina café to indulge in our craving for sweets and refreshment after a humid day.
And finally, on the last day of our trip, we spent most of our time within and around the 8th arrondissement. This is where the Alexandre Bridge and most of the world-renowned museums (i.e. Louvre, Orsay) are located. We just wanted to have a relaxed time and the weather was quite rainy that day, which explained why it was really humid the days preceding it. At the Alexander bridge, I posed for some photos, especially as I wanted to remake some scenes in the music video of one of my favorite songs (Princessa’s “I Won’t Forget You”). We proceeded to the museums of Orsay and ultimately to Louvre, where indeed, I was really impressed by the display of countless of artwork, depicting humanity’s way of life, primarily through the eyes of western civilization and history. The key takeaway from this segment of the trip though is my almost impossible selfie with Mona Lisa. Jaja. Man, that was one of the most difficult shots to take!
Ultimately, it was a relaxing trip! It was not my usual “I-need-to-be-in-control” kind of trip but sometimes, it’s quite refreshing to just let your companions do the thinking and what you need to do is just to sit back and relax. Contrary to mainstream popularity, Paris is not my favorite city. But in recent years, I really made quite nice memories over there and hopefully, I will have another chance to visit and make some more great times there.