One of the first trips I took to Europe was with my sister. She was studying in Spain and we met in Paris for a few days of vacation. After Paris, we went on to travel in Spain. Three of her college friends were also studying in Spain and joined us on the vacation! We had a blast! Growing up we did not travel to Europe and the thought did not really cross my mind. As kids, we took family trips mostly to beach cities in Mexico and within the U.S. I started to travel abroad in college and have been returning to Europe ever since. Paris is one of my favorite cities and I have been fortunate to visit it several times. I would go there every year if my hubby agreed to it.
The first time visiting the Louvre, in Paris, with my sister, is the most memorable because we had so much fun! We were young and knew about the Louvre, but did not realize its greatness until we were there. One can spend days in the Louvre and continue to appreciate many art exhibits. As one of the Top 10 Museums in the World, it is a museum to add to one’s travel bucket list. Since it was our first visit, of course the Mona Lisa was one of the highlights. Once we got to the hall where the portrait is exhibited, we were surprised by how small it is (30″x21″). There was a large crowd surrounding the portrait, but we were able get close up to see it. It is isolated in a vitrine designed to resist gunfire and for preservation purposes. We saw many other museums while in Paris, but none are as memorable to me as the Louvre.
We visited many of the popular tourist attractions, including the Eiffel Tower. We ate crepes with Nutella, enjoyed pastries, drank wine, and visited the cafés! We took a scenic night tour of Paris, seeing the city lit up was beautiful! A different perspective from seeing it during the day. The hotel room is one of the smallest one’s I have ever stayed in…and the five of us stayed in one room! Ah, college years! The shower was so tiny, it reminded me of showers on cruise ships. And, of course, we could not leave Paris without doing some shopping! The Galeries Lafayette, with its stained glass dome, is one of the most famous department stores in Paris and the world! It is a shoppers paradise! Galeries Lafayette is a tourist attraction and offers free tours for visitors. I purchased clothing items, a few timeless pieces, and still have some of them! One of the other items I purchased was this Mona Lisa coffee mug.
I have visited the Louvre, Galeries Lafayette, and the Eiffel Tower on my other trips to Paris, but the first visit to the city holds a special place in my heart, mostly because it was with my sister. Writing this post, I am remembering how much we laughed on that trip, how my sister jokingly posed with one of the Greek statues at the Louvre, the many blocks of Paris we explored, multiple jokes we made about the tiny shower at the hotel, the times we sat at cafés and enjoyed a cup of coffee or a sandwich. My sister still stays in contact with these three college friends. They were part of her wedding party and guests at my wedding. They are friends of the family and I am fortunate to have spent my first trip to Paris not only with my sister, but also with these three amazing ladies!
On my other trips to Paris, I have purchased clothing and purses…but not another coffee mug. Every time I use my Mona Lisa mug, it reminds me of that wonderful vacation I took with my sister and her friends, our first trip to Paris! It makes me smile every time!
Have you been to Paris? Do you have a favorite city or museum?
PS – In case you missed the first “Today’s Cup of Happiness” post, here’s a link. It explains why I am doing with this cup of joe experience and includes a beautiful mug from Spain. Other Today’s Cup of Happiness posts are: Ysenburg Art Werk, Making It On My Own, Affectionate Girlfriend Nickname, & Nephew.