About a year and a half ago, my daughter, husband, and I were very blessed to have the opportunity to visit Europe. My husband was scheduled to preach in Holland one weekend & Denmark the next, so in the days between meetings we were able to spend two days in Paris.
In light of current world events, this beautiful city and people have been on my heart and in my prayers so often, like I’m sure they have for most of you.
Paris is a unique city, full of beauty and history, and it’s strong. When you’re there, you feel an underlying current of pride and strength in the French people. We didn’t experience one rude person, not one who treated us with disdain because we were clearly wide-eyed tourists, in awe of their city.
We stayed in a hotel near the Eiffel Tower, within walking distance. There’s something magical about the first time you see the tower up close. It’s huge, so much bigger than I ever realized. And there are people everywhere.
We knew our time was limited, and we wanted to see as much as possible during our very short stay, so we took a riverboat tour.
This was perfect for seeing several Parisian locations we’d only ever heard of.
By the end of the tour it was about an hour before sunset, so we walked and walked to find the best views that we could.
Again, masses of people were doing the same. We were bombarded by people trying to sell cheap souvenirs, that was a bit intimidating, I’ll admit.
But even still, among that, there were couples, young college kids, families, locals coming home from work. People every where.
We enjoyed our walking explorations of the city. There’s something to be said about walking on streets and seeing buildings that are older than your entire country.
We didn’t know the Eiffel Tower sparkles at night. At dinner, we couldn’t figure out what the twinkling lights were that we could see reflected along the windows in the alley where the restaurant was. Another American couple we sat near told us it was the tower. When we got our first glimpse about an hour later, it was beautiful.
The next day, our last day, the cab drivers were on strike. The three of us crammed into the back of a carriage being pulled by a bicyclist, and he took us to The Louvre.
There were so many treasures to see there, it was overwhelming. I wanted to be sure to see everything, but we didn’t even scratch the surface.
The Mona Lisa and other pieces of art there are mind blowing. Did you know that the Mona Lisa is not even a very big painting? She’s fairly small actually, and held behind glass.
The Egyptian & Etruscan artifacts were also fascinating.
My daughters favorites were the pieces from the royal families. So beautiful.
These two had a lot of fun mimicking the ancient statues. It was very American of them, I’m sure.
After The Louvre, we walked to one of several lock bridges. I always thought there was only one, but not so.
That being said, what I’ve heard is that the bridges were too heavy with the locks, so Paris was going to cut them off. I’m not sure if that’s the case, my guess is yes.
It was definitely as sight to see, I think there were hundreds of thousands of locks on one bridge alone. I was hard to even find a place to add ours.
More walking, this time toward the Notre Dame Cathedral.
We enjoyed the street vendors and artists along the way, and even bought a few pieces to take home.
Our visit to Paris is one that I will never forget. I believe I can speak for my daughter and husband and say the same for them.
Someone asked me just the other day if I would go back, after all that’s happened with our world and the beautiful city itself.
My answer is beyond a doubt yes.
The city and humanity captured my heart.
I’ll continue to pray for Paris, that’s not just a trendy hashtag. When we first heard that Paris had been attacked, I could only picture the hundreds of people, families, children around the tower on the streets, by the Louvre, the cathedral. I’m not even sure geographically where the attacks happened, if they were near some of the areas we were, but I don’t think so.
Regardless of where it happened, it’s tragic and heartbreaking.
As a Christian, an American, a kind human who regards life as precious, please know that you have someone praying for you Paris.