I remember my very first street crepe outside Notre Dame at 7am. I was sixteen and on a school trip.
I remember trying Nutella for the first time. I shoved all of the Nutella packets in my pockets and backpack after every hotel breakfast during those ten days abroad. My toast and croissants never tasted so delicious.
I remember sword fighting with baguettes because we heard that was the thing to do.
I remember squinting, trying to see the Mona Lisa behind the rows and rows of people and flashing cameras.
I remember learning about bathroom tipping after being screamed at in French near the Metro. My friend impulsively pulled my arm and we ran down the street away from the angry French woman.
I remember reaching the top of the Eiffel Tower, reading how far away we were from the rest of the world.
I remember traveling to Versailles, walking through the gardens and the hallway of mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and hidden Marie Antoinette doorways.
I remember visiting the grave site of the Renaissance man himself, Leonardo da Vinci.
I visited the Louvre once more with an Art History degree underway, and all I needed to see were the dainty hands of my favorite painting to know I had reached “My Room” of master’s like Jacques-Louis David and Delacroix, and the feeling I had wanting to sit on the bench in that room the entire day.
I remember using the stairs going up the Eiffel Tower the second time, and being more frightened than the three-year-old in front of me while I held onto the railings for dear life. I also remember conquering my fear of heights if only for a brief moment.
I remember walking down the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc thinking how unbelievably long the street actually is then what I thought.
I learned how to ride a bike all over again while seeing Versailles as we pedaled through the landscape past the Petit Trianon and the Moulin.
What I remember most of all is the way the Eiffel Tower lit up like diamonds every hour on the hour, regardless of the time, and how everyone stopped to watch like it was their first time.
Paris will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope to visit again. I won’t allow anyone to take that away from me.