Valentine’s Day — Paris, France
New Years Day I walked out of a cottage in Saint Germain, Wisconsin saying goodbye to my partner to fly away to a country across the world. Granted he would be studying abroad in Rome, Italy he would not be traveling to Europe until later that month. Little did I know that the next time I would see him would be in Paris, France for one of the most celebrated, and romantic holidays of the year — Valentine’s Day.
Once we both decided to go abroad spring semester our thoughts went to the same place, thinking to ourselves “We will be in Europe for Valentine’s day… let’s spend it in Paris!” We had talked about it seriously and then decided to make what most people dream of, a reality. Fast forward to February 13th, I am packing my bags and it starts to hit me that I am actually about to go to Paris for the first time. I get through my day and head to the train station, picking up a single rose at the local supermarket in Strasbourg, France. As I get on the train I receive a text from my boyfriend letting me know he’s landed and heading to the Airbnb. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you’ve not seen your significant other for almost 45 days. I know that some couples don’t get to see each other as frequently as he and I do back in the States, but all I know is that I’ve never missed him more than at this moment. He and I could spend hours goofing off, cooking, running, hiking or driving each other crazy on a road trip across the country. So one could say I was ecstatic to see him again.
I had the biggest grin on my face when I stepped off that train and went searching through the station looking for him. He was there eager to give me one of those hugs that squishes your face up to the point where you can’t breathe anymore. Once that moment hit the adventure begun. We both arrived late that night, grabbed some food and got ourselves prepared for the next day.
Trevor and I are always seeking out the experiences and sometimes we like to “rough it.” For us, it was more important to spend money on other things rather than using the Metro system in Paris. We ended up walking to all our destinations in Paris which led us to amazing cafés, boulangerie’s, and down some gorgeous city streets. We spent the day walking to The Louvre, Princess Diana memorial, Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triumph, Louis Vuitton Foundation, and back to the Eiffel Tower for sunset. In between these major locations, we stopped and had crepes, espresso shots and lunch in the gardens admiring the beauty of Paris.
One of my favorite parts of the day was sunset, with the sun going down and the lights of the tower coming on I felt a sense of awe come over me. Only then did it really sink in that I was actually there in Paris, with Trevor, eating new foods, experiencing a new city on Valentine’s day.
We then walked back to the Airbnb to get ready for our dinner reservation. We ate at the restaurant Astair, which served one of the most amazing meals I have ever eaten in my life. This was possibly a once in a lifetime experience and it was one of the best experiences of the weekend, the atmosphere of the restaurant was amazing, the food was phenomenal, and the staff excellent. I couldn’t have been more impressed with Trevor’s choice to have dinner here.
The next morning, Trevor and I spent our morning walking to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica with a pastry and coffee in hand. We then spent the rest of the day walking along the river visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral, Shakespear & Company bookstore, Panthéon and more. After a day of walking around the city, we ended with a dinner at The Frog & Underground Pub. Trevor and I have been in search of the world’s greatest sweet potato fries and we both voted this spot our number one out of all the places so far. Let me just say that we love sweet potato fries so this means a lot coming from us.
I can say that Paris did not disappoint, the people in local cafés and pastry shops couldn’t have been nicer when I spoke what little French I do know to them. I overall had one of the most unforgettable experiences in Paris this past weekend. I will never forget how far we walked… 27 miles between Friday and Saturday if you were wondering. Now I will say that I loved having the freedom to walk around and check something out that intrigued us, it gave us a lot of flexibility to peel off from the main path at any point. I am grateful for the opportunity to have spent Valentine’s day weekend in Paris and hope that everyone will get a chance to visit this great city.
Until next time,
Brandan lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A junior at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, he studies Information Science Technology & Business Administration. Brandan enjoys hiking, cycling, and any kind of adventure. He also spends time working in graphic design and coding websites. Seeking a new challenge Brandan was interested in learning a third language, French. His goal is to become trilingual before graduating spring of 2021. Brandan has a passion for learning languages, new cultures, and about European institutions. He serves as an ambassador in order to share his story and experiences with others.