A Parisian New Year

The Arc de Triomphe lights up during the winter holidays. | Photo by Kristy Dockstader

Paris – a city that you can find close to the top of most people’s bucket list – is known for its beautiful architecture, its delicious food, and its long history. This past December, I decided it was finally time to see this dreamy city for myself. Over the holidays, I started part one of my Euro trip by falling in love with Barcelona, and part two of this adventure was spent exploring Paris!

Paris is an amazing city to visit anytime of the year; however, I wanted to make my trip a bit extra special and ring in the New Year drinking wine at Parisian restaurants and watching the fireworks at the famous Champs-Élysées.

My last day of 2019

The majestic splendor of the Eiffel Tower. | Photo by Kristy Dockstader

After meeting up with a friend for a delicious lunch, I headed off to explore the city on foot. I walked for hours on end, until I found myself at the tall fences surrounding the beautiful Notre Dame. The city is in the process of repairing this historic landmark but in the meantime they have added fences all the way around Notre Dame with tons of information, not just about the cathedrals long history; but also about the recent fire that devastated the architecture and how it was being restored. I look forward to returning to Paris someday to see this cathedral in all its glory again.

One of the many cool forms of transportation that Paris has embraced: electric scooters and bikes. After hours of walking, my feet began to get sore, so I decided to test out the electric scooters while I made my way to the Eiffel tower. After testing this out, I wholeheartedly hope that Vancouver invests in this form of transportation eventually. For 4 euros I was able to feel the wind in my hair while having the time of my life zipping past all of the traffic for an amazing 20-minute ride.

By the time I made it to the Eiffel Tower, it was all lit up and set on the colourful backdrop of the setting sun. The Eiffel Tower at sunset was one of the most beautiful views I’ve had the grace to witness.

After feasting our eyes on the famous Tower, it was time to head towards the celebrations at the Champs-Élysées. I have watched some large new year’s celebrations on TV, but I have never had the pleasure of being engulfed in a sea of hundreds of thousands of people in such a way before. There was a mass feeling of excitement and celebration – and people as far as the eye could see. Viewing the show projected onto the Arc de Triomphe and the fireworks that proceeded at midnight were completely magical!

Experiencing Paris like a local

Part of my decision to visit this incredible city while in Europe was to visit a friend that I hadn’t seen in years. On New Year’s Day, I got to experience life like a true Parisian. My friend hosted me for a delicious homemade breakfast complete with any sauce you could possibly want on a crepe. We spent the day learning about life in Paris, from the politics, food, and even enjoyed some French movies. I also learnt that it is nearly impossible to make it home from a French bakery without eating at least part of the baguette on the way.

Of all of the adventures on my European trip, I think this quiet day spent with friends was my favourite. I think the best way to experience a city is through spending time with the people that live there.

Final thoughts on my journey through the City of Lights

Paris truly is as magical as the movies would lead you to believe. It was the most expensive city of my trip, but I am so thankful that I was able to visit. This city has a way of feeling delicate yet strong all at the same time. Roaming down the streets you can see the delicate designs on the balcony railings that line the street but also feel the long history of the city. Thank you for a magnificent start to the year Paris. Au revoir!