paris  ten years ago 2So, it’s really more like 4 hours in Paris. I bought my tickets to visit Rome a couple of weeks ago. It includes a seven hour layover in Paris. Sounds like a perfect excuse for an adventure.

Notre Dame cathedral The last time I was in Paris was ten years.  It was also in April. So, I have a vague sense of what the weather might be like. Spring in Paris still sounds utterly romantic to me.

I keep asking myself what can I do with seven hours in Paris? Is it even possible? Should I go shopping? I could eat lunch at a cafe, or just wander around the streets of Paris. I’ve never tried something like this before, leaving the airport during a long layover. But this is Paris. I have to try. I keep reminding myself those seven hours include arriving at the airport, going through passport control, and I might have change terminals for the short flight to Rome.

I will arrive around 8 in the morning, Paris-time. I’ll be completely jet lagged at that point. Nothing beats walking in the morning to get over jet lag. I found a wonderful site called Paris by Train, which gives invaluable advise on getting to and from the airport. It only takes about 40-50 minutes to travel into the heart of the city. There is a stop near Notre Dame Cathedral. I’ve already found some great cafes, a tea shop that’s a bit of a walk, and an amazing looking chocolate shop. I don’t even like macaroons, but I’ve been day-dreaming about buying them.

I love this part of traveling. At this point I get to imagine everything. The weather is always perfect, trains are never delayed, and everything goes according to plan. Half the thrill is knowing that my plans will eventually turn into reality. I really will get to walk around Paris for a few hours.

Paris at night.

It’s both exciting and scary to know everything will not go according to plan. I have to remind myself I don’t speak any French at all. I have to be careful not to miss my plane to Rome. The weather might be horrible, and, if so, do I want to walk around with an umbrella? (Yes, of course.) Do I bring an umbrella from home, just in case, or buy one in Paris? Just how little can I pack in my carry-on bag so that I won’t be encumbered as I walk around? What am I going to wear? Question after question runs through my head. That’s part of the fun.

And this is only the first day of my trip. Next stop is Rome!

Rome ten years agoAh, Rome. I remember you.

It was June and so very hot out. I walked around the city with my friends. I dunked my head under the faucet of a drinking fountain (I didn’t really trust drinking from it!) I forgot to bring a scarf and didn’t get to see Michelangelo’s Moses. Instead I waited outside the church and bought an orange from a street vendor. The next day we left Rome for Venice.

I was on my whirlwind camping tour of Europe, 10 countries in 21 days! No time to really enjoy the city. I got all the famous highlights back then, so now I can explore. It’s going to be a very different visit.

I will report back with details later!

Update: For the fastest walking Tour of Paris

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