Falling in Love in the City of Lights

View of Paris, France.

Story and photos by Randy Whetstone Jr.

Paris has long been known as the City of Lights as well as the City of Love. In May, I had the chance to take it all in myself on a European excursion. From seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night to falling in love with French baguettes, I can truly say Paris was an experience like no other.

The first stop was a tour of Notre-Dame located in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral is one of the largest and most recognizable Catholic Churches in France.

Randy in front of the Eiffel Tower.

After, I went on a River Seine cruise coupled with a visit to the Eiffel Tower. A trip to Paris just wouldn’t be complete without a taking a few selfies with arguably one of the most famous structures in the world as your background, right?

The river cruise and vantage point from the second level of the tower was a wonderful place to see the eye-popping and jaw-dropping beauties of the city. I’ve been in world-famous towers before, including the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. However, the breathtaking view from the Eiffel Tower is in a class all by itself.

Day one of the trip ended with a performance at the famous Moulin Rouge. The show included dancing, singing and acrobatics that give a fresh perspective to entertainment. It’s definitely a must-see if you ever visit the city.

Throughout this French experience, I learned so much about the country’s history and culture through the Hop On Hop Off bus that stops at all of the major tourist attractions in Paris. One included The Louvre, the world’s largest art museum and home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Tower of London.

Not far from the Louvre was the Champs-Élysées. If you’re an avid shopper, this is the place to be. Described as the world’s most beautiful avenue, you can find pedestrians and tourists crowding the sidewalks to reach their favorite stores.

I had but one mission: finding the Louis Vuitton store. I would be remiss if I was in the country of one of the world’s most beloved fashion designers and not stop by the store he founded. Similar to the Eiffel Tower, the Louis Vuitton store also has eye-popping views, like price tags that will make you want to hide your wallet.

The trip was capped off with a day spent in London, UK via the Eurostar train. While there, I had the chance to see the Tower of London, the Shard, the London Eye and the London Bridge. I also took a River Thames cruise to see Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. The iconic clock was under construction at the time, however. It will soon be renamed Elizabeth Tower in honor of the Queen.

Above: View of Paris, France. Below: The London Eye.

The day in London was pretty remarkable. I was there one week before the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Princess Meghan, and I can say I relished in the excitement.

My trips to Paris and London were filled with moments I will remember for the rest of my life. I truly fell in love with these cities during my time there and am incredibly grateful for the experience. VT