My first thought when I was invited to travel with Trafalgar Tours throughout France and Italy for a week was: what a trip of a lifetime! I had been to both countries before, however it had been years and I was definitely ready to return. The customized trip that I would embark upon was designed to showcase their innovative and brand new At Leisure and First Class programs amongst the backdrop of two of the most gorgeous countries. Along the journey, I would be sampling the authentic local cuisines and immersing myself in the rich cultures through the exclusive Be My Guest and Hidden Treasures experiences. And if that was not extraordinary enough, I would be joined by twenty-five of the most celebrated journalists from around the world. I told you — trip of a lifetime.
I hesitate to call the trip a tour, as Trafalgar Tours has been working tirelessly to revolutionize their company, so that guests no longer feel as though they are on a traditional tour, rather they feel like they are an “insider.” Considering that I have an aversion for tours, they had the potential to change my view on organized travel.
My European adventure began in Paris, France. I was not meeting the others until later in the evening, thus as soon as I arrived at my lovey hotel, the Marriott Courtyard Paris Neuilly, I dropped off my luggage and headed straight back out the door. Not a single second was to be wasted, since I only had half a day in the beloved capitol.
My first stop was to meet a fellow blogger, Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland, at a café. She and I had been e-friends for what seems like years and if I only had time for one thing in Paris it was going to be meeting her. As is the case for all enjoyable encounters, our hour together went by way too quickly and I was left wishing that I had more days in Paris to spend with her.
After we bid adieu, I decided that the best way to spend the next couple of hours was to just get lost. I had absolutely no idea what arrondissement I was in and that is exactly how I wanted it to be.
There was only one thing that I was determined to photograph and that was a carrousel. On my previous trip to Paris I had become enchanted with them, as they transported me back in time to an era that I would have loved to have lived in: la Belle Époque. Of course, it was not too long before I wandered into one!
I sat and watched a myriad of joyful children ride round-and-round and after a while realized that dusk was fast approaching and I wanted to watch the sun set over the River Seine, so I sett off again to find it.
While I think Paris is undeniably romantic and indescribably beautiful, it had never captivated my heart like it had for so many others. That is, until I watched the pink sky melt into the river and cast a dazzling glow upon the entire city. It was a magical moment that had me contemplating never leaving the spot that I was in.
But, I did need to leave, as I had a special welcome dinner and evening tour of the city to attend. . .