Wanderlust. A strong desire to travel.
It’s one of those words people love to get tattooed, define in their Instagram caption, or claim they possess a lot of. Is it the word itself that captures people or the beautiful and longing feeling it evokes? Either way, I think it’s safe to say that Millennials have taken this word and claimed it as their own—myself included. I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking “Yes! This is how I feel!” Wanderlust instantly resonated with me.
My strong desire to travel has persisted for as long as I can remember. I’m constantly making lists of where to go and what to see, and scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. When I’m not researching, I’m talking about my travel dreams with Mike.
Our first big vacation together was a five-day trip to Seattle in 2015. We researched the hell out of it and planned out every minute of every day, and the trip was amazing. It was a dream vacation and it really solidified our future together; both Mike and I have the same long term goals, including seeing the world together. And our first trip proved we make a great traveling pair: his spontaneity and my need to plan every second complement each other well.
One year ago we were presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to honeymoon in Paris, France. How could we say no? It would be our biggest vacation yet, a seven-night stay in the City of Love and Lights. Paris was easily number one on my list of must-see cities and even after we booked our flights, I had to constantly pinch myself to be convinced that I wasn’t dreaming this up. We were really going to France! For our honeymoon! And this wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the generosity of my brother- and sister-in-law.
I’m not at all exaggerating when I say that I have thought about Paris and this trip every single day over the last year. I find myself reflecting on my memories from that vacation whenever I slip into a daydream. Or when I’m feeling anxious and need to take my mind somewhere peaceful.
So in honor of our one year Paris anniversary, I’m recapping our trip. In hopes that it will inspire you to take a trip for yourself one day.
On December 6th, 2017 we departed LAX on a plane bound for Chicago, where we embarked on a red-eye to Paris. The flight was long and we didn’t get much sleep, but we did get a free glass of wine and most of the plane to ourselves. As far as flight experiences go, I think that was the best one we’ve ever had. The same could not be said for the flight home, which was stuffy and crowded with terrible food—but hey, you win some and you lose some.
Despite being exhausted when we landed, we immediately embarked on a trip to Disneyland Paris after checking into our town home at the Marriott down the road. It was 39 degrees and raining that day, but we enjoyed walking through the main park for a few hours. The Park food left a lot to be desired, but their Sleeping Beauty Castle made up for any shortcomings.
The next day we started our exploration of Paris by diving head first—for the Louvre. I feel now is a great time to tell you that Paris is everything you see in the movies and more. It looked magical and it felt magical, the Louvre being no exception. We were a tad bit underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa, but that’s about the only underwhelming experience of the entire trip. I was elated that the city I had been dreaming of visiting my entire life lived up to all of my expectations.
The rest of the week was spent hitting up as many sights as possible, including:
- Sacré-Cœur, Moulin Rouge, and Montmartre
- The Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, and a visit to Ladurée
- Notre-Dame cathedral, Shakespeare and Co. bookstore
- Jardin du Luxembourg and Musee d’Orsay
Plus quite a bit of other shopping and exploring! We missed a chance to see the Catacombs and Monet’s house was closed while we were visiting, so we’re anxious to see those on our next trip to Paris, whenever that may be.
Perhaps my favorite part of the entire trip was our visit to the Palace of Versailles. It was breathtaking in every sense of the word and I can’t emphasize enough the historical feel of it all. Not to mention the grandeur. Walking through the doors was like stepping into the past and being a part of that bureaucratic society. Each room was more impressive than the next, with no expensive being spared in the design of the Palace and the grounds.
We spent an entire day exploring Versailles and we still weren’t able to see it all. The grounds really were that massive. And my favorite adventure happened during that visit: while exploring Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, Mike and I got lost in a rainstorm. Before we knew it, it was pitch black and the grounds were closing. We were lost in the pouring rain, with no idea how to get back to the car. But we just started walking, freezing cold but hand in hand. A half hour later we managed to find the car and we drove home soaked to the bone, but perfectly content. With anyone else, I would have had a miserable ending to a perfect day. With Mike—I had an adventure I will always cherish.
And that is a perfect summary of our honeymoon—an adventure of a lifetime that we fondly look back on each day. And we dream of doing it again in the near future. There is an endless list of cities and countries we’re hoping to see, ranked from top priority to bottom. But no matter how many places we long to visit, we still long for Paris more.
Please enjoy some highlights from our trip: