My name is Stephanie Parsley and I am a photographer here in Arkansas. I am based in Central Arkansas but I love traveling all over the world to take pictures. I wanted to share my recent trip to Paris with you all because it was my first time going to Europe and there was so much to talk about. Also, I really wanted to help out those of you that ever plan on traveling there yourself.
At the beginning of 2015, I told myself that I wanted to begin a new goal of traveling to three different countries a year. Yes, three! Some of you may think that's awesome and others may think it's obsessive-- hey, that's fine. But for me, I want to be well-traveled before I ever decide to settle down. That being said, I wanted to experience a different country with someone I really care about; Ryan had never been out of the country and I had only been to Haiti, so this was a whole new experience for us both. (Plus I knew I needed a vacation before wedding season kicked in!)
We flew from Little Rock to Atlanta, then on to Paris. We actually really enjoyed the flight and watched plenty of free movies! When we flew into Europe at 6:00am, it was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen.
We used the RERB train and the Metro to get to our hotel, Hôtel Novotel Paris Centre Tour Eiffel
. I do recommend using the Metro in Paris. It was very easy and we didn't have any problems with pick-pockets or encounter any problems. We arrived several hours before check in and at this point we were so hungry and exhausted. It was about 10am when we got there and check-in wasn't until 2. We thought, "Okay, we can kill some time and get something to eat," but culture shock hit us when we realized almost every restaurant was closed during those hours. I guess in France you're taught to eat in the appropriate 7:00-9:00am time slot for breakfast (which I actually really like, considering I'm an early bird) and then after that you're cutting it slim on your food options. (Also, this may not be true at all and if you're from France don't hate me. That's just what we experienced there).
After getting a 30-minute nap in the hotel lobby we walked over to a local mall to try to hunt down some food. We did the unthinkable and got a do-nut, a couple of pizza slices, and juice. We were pretty delusional at this point so the idea of eating that much ridiculous junk food didn't even matter. And the worst part was that we had the entire day ahead of us, and everyone's advice was, "Don't fall asleep until night or you'll be jet-lagged the whole trip!"
When we were done eating we walked back to the hotel and slept in the lobby for a couple more hours. Well, I slept on Ryan for an hour and then it was his turn to sleep while I watched people give us weird looks and noticed the guards trying to decide whether or not we were homeless.
When we finally got into our hotel room, there was just no greater feeling than being in a bed or even seeing one. We were so happy. SO happy! However, we stayed strong and were committed to not falling asleep at the risk of a week of jet lag. We just took a quick nap and got up. After all, the Eiffel Tower was calling my name and it wasn't even a mile from our hotel.
We walked along the Seine and saw the famous Parisian gypsies (not Esmeralda style- which is what I was thinking before we got there...whoops). There were cute little pop-up stores, merry-go-rounds, tons of people, food, and little shops.
When we got to the Eiffel Tower I couldn't keep my mouth closed because of how beautiful it was. You see it in pictures and of course it's mesmerizing, but it doesn't do it justice. No photo can!
We stayed transfixed for about an hour and I took photos that I will cherish forever.
We then decided that we should probably eat early so we could finally get some sleep.
We took the metro to The Loving Hut
, a vegan restaurant located in the 11th arrondissement. We were really nervous to try and order our first meal in French. Even though I had been practicing everyday for almost three months, everyone told me that it wouldn't do me much good considering how fast they all speak. Luckily, the owner spoke English fluently and took our order with ease.
After enjoying a great dinner we went back to our hotel and finally went to sleep, dreaming of what adventures the next day would bring.
Come back next Friday to find out!