So, there we were at the CORRECT airport (Gatwick) after having to catch a shuttle bus from Stansted for three hours only to be told by almost any and every staff member that no flights were going to Paris that night; We had missed our original flight. A little perturbed and flustered, our only option was to spend the night in the airport until we could board the next flight the following morning. So, we found ourselves sleeping next to a heavy set older white man, not by choice, that felt the need to tell his disdain for Nigerians his country. Interesting? Was this suppose to be our bedtime story, sir?
Aside from this problem we also had another one...Airbnb. The night before we attempted to confirm the arrival time with our AirbnbSuperHost, we received an email from him canceling our reservation. "Is this some kind of sick joke?" I asked my sister. "No, he literally just canceled it... right after I gave him our flight information. This joker just texted me after canceling via email that, “I should've had better communication.”'
The Airbnb host made it seem like it was our duty to establish a friendship before using his apartment. Hmmm... interesting. So with no time to sulk, we spent the next 3 hours searching for another Airbnb host that wasn't too expensive and not too far from the city center. Boom! Found one for 65€ a night and it looked pretty clean.
So fast forward to our night at the airport, we communicated with our new host that we'd be getting in a little later than expected and thankfully she was very understanding.
Once we arrived in Paris our inconvenienced situation seemed incomparable to the “City of Romance,” and I was beginning to understand why people are so in awe of this city and nicknamed it that. Although this trip was not romantic at all seeing as though I was with my sister it did make for a magical experience. Christmas markets, Caviar for appetizers, The Louvre, Palace of Versailles and Toure de Eiffel, were the many things we got to see on this trip.
Our first night there we decided to get dinner and go to the Christmas market near the Eiffel Tower. The view while riding in the taxi was beyond amazing. I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in the episode of "Sex in the City" where she followed that French artist to Paris. Now, the rest of that rendezvous she had with her Parisian man landed her lonely, but fortunately, I was with my sis! The Christmas markets were everything I dreamed of and more. Hot Cocoa was being made, vendors selling handmade crafts and food galore was at every turn! Not only that, but the Eiffel Tower was right above us glistening in all its glory. What a sight! Afterward, we decided to see if the Eiffel was still open to explore and luckily it was. By this time it was 9pm GMT, and as we got up to the 2nd floor of the Tower, I was reminded again why it's always a must to explore the city not only during the day but at night. There's nothing like a night view!
Side note: I also suggest exploring the Eiffel Tower at night because it cost a bit less at night and there is barely a line 1.5hr before closing in the winter.
The following day we had to get up early because we only had that day to look at more landmarks and the Palace of Versailles was our next destination. The beauty and gaudy aesthetics about Versailles reminded me exactly of a particular musician…Michael Jackson! Remember how his house was made of gold and replicated the way Versailles was made? The gate itself, made me think I was walking into Neverland Ranch. Once we arrived at Versailles, there was a line to get into the house that made us want to turn right back around. However, people in line assured us that it was moving pretty fast. We even met a lovely couple that was backpacking across Europe having this as one of their stops. Good conversation with others tourists is always comforting until they randomly tell you how they got their tickets online, reassuring you that buying tickets ahead of time was a must in order to get into the Palace. BLAST!
Oh yes, we made the mistake of thinking that we could pay at the door instead of online. So, predicament number 150… we found ourselves in another one that would have been a disaster had my sister not rushed her 5’2 behind to the guards asking them where she could pay for last minute tickets as I held our place in line. Thank God tickets were available because from what we were told they're usually not and she made it back right on time or I would’ve had to give up my place and wait for her outside of the gates. This kind of made my imagination wander as I thought to myself, “ This must be what the Frenchmen felt like standing outside Marie Antoinette’s home while she practically let them starve.
When we finally got into the Palace, I was in awe of not only the regal aesthetics of the Palace but how freaking enormous it actually was. It makes The White House look like one of their guesthouse and my ENTIRE apartment in New York look like one of their bathrooms. Crown molding in every room, velvet walls, beautiful paintings and sculptures and carefully trimmed gardens exploded with splendor and magnificence as I explored every nook and cranny within this ornamented chateau. If you ever get a chance to come here, set aside at least three hours to really experience all that it has to offer.
Our last stop in the city was “The Louvre,” which I was excited to see because of the famous Mona Lisa. The museum was enormous and made me realize that I probably would’ve needed a full day to take in all that it had to offer. Although I am a fan of Leonardo Davinci’s other work, such as The Last Supper and Embryo in the Womb, I must admit, when finally arriving to see the Mona Lisa, I wasn’t that impressed. I felt like I’ve been lied to my whole life about how grand this painting really is. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is beauty that lies within the simplicity of this painting, but I think I was more surprised at how small it was and the number of people that were scrambling to get in front of the picture that was guarded by armed security. It made me think of how powerful, “word of mouth,” is when it comes to promoting anything as influential, beautiful or significant. However, I am still grateful to have gone to The Louvre and see what all the hype is about.
The next day we begrudgingly had to leave Paris, and I found myself in the back of the cab on our way to the airport stating, “ Au Revoir Paris…Jusqu'à la prochaine fois.”(Goodbye Paris...Until next time). I had to ask the cab driver how to say the last part but failed miserably. Our next and last trip was Iceland and as much as we were having a great time on our, “Sisters World Christmas Tour,” we were most excited about Iceland so we could go sightseeing and relax in the Blue Lagoon. Now, did it goes as planned…what do you think?