When we arrived in Paris, we had a total of about 40 hours before our flight home. That’s not a lot of time, but we wanted to make the most of it. We decided that instead of trying to spend a lot of time truly seeing one or two places, we would quickly see them all! So we bought passes for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour and off we went. We started at the Lourve. Remember that beautiful building we walked right by the previous day? Here it is (this is not the spot we walked by, I’d be really embarrassed if I had walked past a view of the pyramid and hadn’t noticed).

I had seen countless pictures and seen movies and read books that talked about these places, described them, showed them, but being there was something else! The Lourve, for one, was exactly how I had imagined it – although a little more hidden than expected. It was truly stunning, with the sun reflecting off the glass and the fountains shimmering in the light. What I hadn’t expected was more than the pyramid, the buildings and courtyards – that part amazed me and made me really realize that there is so much more than what you see in a movie or read in a book!

From there, we hopped on a bus and headed towards Notre Dame. Now this means even more to me after the fire last week, I am so blessed to have seen it standing tall and proud! We walked all the way around it, saw the gardens and every corner, all the gargoyles and even got a peek inside to see the stained glass without actually going in.

Our next stop was the Arch de Triumph – and this is one of the landmarks that truly surprised me. It’s in the middle of the road! In a roundabout. Like, literally, traffic drives in a circle around it like it’s no big deal. I can’t imagine driving to work everyday and being all “I go left at the Arch de Triumph!” It was also so, so much bigger than I had expected. It’s just huge! And intricate. And gorgeous.

I am leaving out a lot of places that we walked by or drove past that were really neat. The Orsay, the Obelisk, Moulin Rouge, just to name a few. Our goal to ‘see it all’ was in full swing – even if seeing it was no more than that, a quick sighting as we drove by!

We finally arrived at the stop that allowed us to see the Eiffel Tower. At this point, it’s early afternoon, we’ve been in Paris for almost 24 hours and have only had a few glimpses of the tower from a far. The Eiffel Tower was actually the biggest shock to me. First, I expected it to be sort of a centralized landmark, I thought I’d be able to see it from all over – but this was very much not the case. If you weren’t in the right place, there was no sign of this huge tower! The other thing that really surprised me was it’s color. It’s brown. I always thought of it as silver or gray, so seeing it up close and realizing I’ve been picturing it wrong my whole life was eye-opening! It’s massive and stunning and big and intricate and powerful all at the same time. I knew it was big, I knew it was sort of a bridge in that cars drove under it – but seeing just how huge, and how many cars – that was really cool!

I will end this post with a picture of my husband and I showing just how brown the tower really is! And I am going to stretch our quick trip to Paris into a third post! I told you, we wanted to see it all – and we extended our trip into the nighttime to make sure we did just that!