Paris, considered by many to be the most romantic city in the world, has found a special place in my heart. We immediately drove to the Eiffel Tower where we battled the cold and wind in order to make it to the very top and take in the breathtaking view. Since we didn’t arrive until evening, the city of Paris dazzled beneath us, twinkling with promise of the magical day to come.
The first glimpse of Paris was incredible, but the next day of exploring and taking in the French culture was just as spectacular. I met up with a local Parisian who I knew from back home in America when she interned at the broadcasting station I worked at. My new friends from my travel group and I received a tour by a local complete with extensive French history.
We wandered down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, from the Arc de Triomphe all the way to the Louvre where I got to see the Mona Lisa for the second time in my life – however it was my local friend’s first time seeing Da Vinci’s masterpiece! That place was a madhouse with everyone pushing and shoving in an attempt to get as close as possible to the tiny little portrait.
Fighting through the crowd worked up our appetites. It was off to lunch in a tiny local café where I decided to try true French cuisine despite the fact that I am an almost full-time vegetarian. A very French man placed an appetizer of escargot (a fancy name for snails) and an entre of beef tartar (a nice way of saying raw meat) in front of me. I put away the thought that I was about to put what used to be a tiny, slimy creature in my mouth and to my surprise actually enjoyed it! The beef tartar was quite delicious as well – seasoned to perfection, it didn’t taste like raw meat one bit. Plus I was able to cross off one more task on my 101 in 1001 list: #59 Try a bite of three crazy foods.
Since I already had llama on the list, escargot and beef tartar would have satisfied this task. But being the overachiever that I am, I ordered foie gras as my appetizer at the Moulin Rouge show. I wouldn’t say it turned my world upside down, but I enjoyed it as much as anyone can enjoy an overstuffed duck’s liver. And it got me in the French spirit which was necessary for the surprising classy show of tons of girls prancing around with their ta-tas flying all over the place. In all seriousness, the show was spectacular. The highlights were a girl who jumped in and danced with snakes in a tank that rose out of the floor as well as two male acrobats whose pure strength, flexibility, and partner work made me hold my breath. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day in Paris.
Next Stop: Lucerne