This time last week, I was with my love on our honeymoon in France. In France... My new favorite prepositional phrase, because our honeymoon in the city of love was the sweetest gift, the best surprise, and the most wonderful week ever, all thanks to my sweet husband.
Garrison decided early on in our engagement that he wanted to surprise me with our honeymoon destination. I was more than thrilled with his idea, because I don't like planning and absolutely love surprises--however, as our wedding day creeped closer, I became so curious! I'd ask him every few days, "hey, where are we going on our honeymoon?" and he'd just laugh at me (he's a very good secret-keeper). I knew he wouldn't tell me until after the wedding, but it was still fun to ask and dream about where we were going. All he told me was that we were leaving the morning after our wedding, and that my mom would pack my bags for me.
The morning after our wedding (pics coming soon!) we drove to the airport, where Garrison told me we were going to....New York City! I was excited; the city is amazing, and even though it wasn't one of the places we'd talked about going on our honeymoon, I knew Garrison would make it so special. We checked our bags, and set off for the Big Apple!
Of course, NYC was just a stop on the way to our real honeymoon destination. After we landed at JFK, Garrison and I got our bags from the luggage carousel and moved off to the side so he could figure out details about our ride to the hotel (that's what I thought, at least), but instead of calling an Uber, Garrison pulled out his phone and started videoing.
"We're not staying in New York City, Emma. We're going to Paris. Tonight," he said, smiling at me.
I freaking lost my mind. We were going to Paris. My dream city. The muse of my French-speaking heart. I was, and forever will be, eternally grateful to Garrison for making my dreams come true.
If you're planning a trip to Paris or have a serious desire to visit someday, here are some tips we picked up along the way, as well as things we wish we would've known:
You can use certain American credit cards to buy a lot of things. We exchanged money once while we were in Paris, because we didn't need cash very often. Our grocery store, the restaurants we ate at, and the monuments we visited all accepted certain American credit cards for payment.
Exchange money at the international airport in your country. This tip falls in the "things we wish we would've known" stack, because we definitely didn't do this, and totally wish we had! We originally wanted to exchange money at Charles de Gaulle when we arrived, but ended up not having time and doing it in the city, which was pretty stressful! Every exchange place charges a different rate, and trying to find the best rate in a foreign country can cause a lot of anxiety.
Buy tickets at the monument, because a lot of prepaid tickets for places like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower require that you print and bring them to the ticketing counter. This can be an extra huge hassle if you're staying at an AirBnB or hotel without a printer. We read online that the Louvre very rarely turns people away, so we decided to wait and get our tickets on the day planned to we visit... best choice ever. We got through security and had our tickets within thirty minutes of arriving.
The French are, for the most part, very kind. Every French person we interacted with was polite, understood my imperfect French, and treated us with respect...except for one random waiter, mais c'est dommage.
Sometimes waiting in line isn't worth seeing what's inside. We realized this while standing under the Eiffel Tower in a line that hardly moved and multiplied by the minute. After ten minutes of not moving, we decided to skip the elevator ride to the top and just enjoy the view from the ground.
Explore the Netflix options of the country you're visiting. This seems like a lame thing to do on vacation (clearly, the graffiti artists in Paris don't agree with me....look at the pic above), but Paris can be exhausting. Netflix is a great way to wind down after a long day of sight-seeing, and depending on what country you're in, you can access a different bank of shows than those available in the U.S.. Example: French Netflix has the first four seasons of Brooklyn 99; U.S. Netflix does not.
I hope you enjoyed keeping up with our Parisian adventures! We're already looking forward to going back--being an American in Paris truly is magical.