Easter is fast approaching, and I’m just about to take off to Barcelona, this year’s Easter holiday destination. It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to do a city trip during the Easter holidays. It’s simply the perfect opportunity. When I was still a student, finding the time to travel was never much of an issue, but now, with a regular 9-to-5-job and a fixed number of holidays per year, making use of opportunities like this can’t go unused. So, before I leave for Barcelona, I thought I tell you a little bit about my past Easter trips.
A Paris first-timer!
In 2010 I spent Easter in Paris. It was my first and to this day my only visit in this city. I travelled there on an organized bus trip, with an organization called Rainbow Tours. They’ve gone out of business now, but I used to travel with them to several destinations in Europe, including Italy and London.
Going from Hamburg to Paris on a bus takes about a full day. We arrived early in the morning and started right away with a sightseeing tour. I was dead tired after spending the night on the bus, but Paris’ sights managed to revive me. The city has so much to offer that it was hard to pack everything I wanted to do into those few days, but we tried our best!
How I missed climbing the Eiffel Tower
Although we covered a lot of things in the beautiful spring weather, there were some that I missed out on. Worst of all, I didn’t get to climb the Eiffel Tower. How could that possibly happen?
I certainly wanted to do it, you can believe that. Unfortunately, due to ongoing strikes of the staff, during the entire time of my visit, the tower was always either closed completely or only open on the lower levels. If I climbed it, I wanted it to be to the top! I kept hoping the situation would change during the days I had in Paris, but the top of the Eiffel Tower remained unreachable for me. I guess that means I will have to go back one day to cross that point off my bucket list, right?
To not miss out completely on viewing of Paris from above, I visited the Tour Montparnasse instead, a skyscraper with a viewing platform on the top floor. I remember the hardest part was finding the entrance. I finally went to ask a security guard for the way, in what I thought was a perfect French sentence. His first reaction was to ask me whether I speak English, crushing all my pride at mastering French. However, after we agreed on a language he showed me the way to the entrance and I got to enjoy some beautiful views of Paris.
Getting lost in the Louvre
Of course, I also spent a day at the Louvre. I am not usually much into paintings and those kinds of artwork. While I appreciate the skill it must take to create it, I couldn’t tell you anything about the work in question other than whether the motive appeals to me or not, and I’ll admit I find staring at paintings for any length of time rather boring. But even I know about the Mona Lisa, so there was no question I had to go and see it.
Once you’re inside the museum, the way to the famous painting is well signposted, so all those ignorant tourists like me can take a look at the famous smile and check it off their list. I had heard before that the Mona Lisa is much smaller in real life than you imagine it, and I can confirm that. Even with that warning already in mind I still thought it was tiny. I still enjoyed seeing it. The Mona Lisa is surrounded by so many stories, both real and fictional, it’s hard not to be fascinated by it. Of course, I had also read The DaVinci Code, and while the Mona Lisa has been moved to a different room in the museum since it was described in the novel, I at least got to take the obligatory photo of the pyramid at the Louvre’s entrance.
After seeing the painting, I stayed in the museum some more time, wandering around between the countless artworks. The Louvre is vast and holds so many pieces, it’s impossible to see them all in one visit. I decided to simply get lost in the endless corridors and exhibition halls, and see where it takes me. That way you can come across the most interesting exhibitions. I remember the Egyptian section and some underground part of the museum holding a reconstruction of ancient buildings which I both enjoyed.
My Esmeralda moment at Notre Dame de Paris
One other attraction I need to mention is Paris’ famous churches. There is Sacre Coeur, which is sitting beautifully on a hill in Montmartre overlooking the city. But the church that completely stole my heard was Notre Dame de Paris. True, I might have started out somewhat biased, as The Hunchback of Notre Dame was one of my absolute favourite movies as a kid. I couldn’t refrain from silently humming its songs under my breath as I walked through the cathedral. I mean, that’s normal, right? Right?? Oh, well.
Either way, Notre Dame deserves every bit of praise that I can bestow on her. It’s one of the most beautiful churches I have seen, and I’ve been to quite a few. I caught myself wondering what it would take for me to get married in that church considering that I’m not Catholic. And not intending to get married anytime soon. Still, surely there must be a way, don’t you think?
The trip ended with a night tour around the city, including a boat trip on the Seine. All over town, buildings lit up, and especially the Eiffel Tower was blinking and sparkling in the dark. I may not have been able to climb it, but I sure got to enjoy its beauty.
The rest will just have to wait for next time.
Have you spent Easter in Paris? Or been to the city any other time of year? Do you remember your first visit? What were your highlights? Share in the comments!