Charles de Gaulle Airport
The first stop for international travelers flying into Paris. This is where your adventure to the City of Light begins! Meet your friends, Courtney and her boyfriend Travis, at the baggage claim because they sat up in first class on the plane. Remember the delight on Courtney’s face when Travis surprised her at the airport by using his platinum miles for the upgrade, and how you forced a smile and told them that’s wonderful. Think of how you could barely afford the cheapest plane ticket, then remind yourself there is no price you can put on seeing Paris for the first time. Vivez l’aventure!
The global symbol of Paris, no trip here is complete without a picture in front of this towering architectural wonder. Fortunately, you’re here to take one of Courtney and Travis together, which she immediately posts on Instagram and Facebook. Feel grateful to be tagged.
Visit this magnificent medieval cathedral and then stroll along the bank of the picturesque Seine River. Try to focus on the atmosphere of walking in the shadows of century-old gothic walls, and not on Courtney and Travis holding hands. Keep the growing void of loneliness at bay as you cross Pont Neuf, the oldest stone bridge in Paris.
The world’s largest museum and home to the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and other famous works of art. Take another picture of Courtney and Travis together in front of the Louvre Pyramid. Try not to dwell on the fact that she forgets to tag you in this one.
This wild and historic red light district of Paris is popular with tourists looking to experience the city’s naughtier side. Visit the world-famous Moulin Rouge cabaret and remember that Moulin Rouge! was Courtney’s favorite movie in college. You saw it together on DVD one night in the student lounge, just the two of you, after taking a break from studying for the psychology mid-term. Recall that moment while watching it in the darkened room when you nervously slid your hand over to hers, but stopped just short, unable to work up the courage to go any further. Totally do not think about that moment at all as Courtney leans her head onto Travis’s shoulder.
The vibrant main avenue of Paris, lined with cafés, luxury boutiques, and theaters. Late at night, the atmosphere still lingers as you stroll its length by yourself. After Courtney and Travis tell you good night and go back to their hotel room, decide to stay out and take a walk to clear your head. Become acutely aware of the fact that no one in this magnificent city cares that you exist. Reach the end of this grand boulevard and stare blankly at the Arc de Triomphe, the grand monument commissioned by Napoleon at the peak of his power.
This beautiful church in the Montmartre is a Paris landmark, located at the highest point in the city. Sit down and soak in the view of Paris from what may be the world’s most romantic vantage point. Right now you are alone with Courtney, after Travis announced his need to find a urinal. Question whether this is the moment to finally confess your love for her, a love that you have been holding in since the day you met her during freshman orientation. Swallow nervously and decide that you cannot hide how you truly feel any longer, the consequences be damned. Tell her you want to tell her something. She turns to face you, smiling. Look deep into her eyes and begin to speak from your heart, before the moment is interrupted by the sound of footsteps behind you. Courtney looks up and her face beams. Feel yourself begin to deflate like a punctured soufflé. Turn around to see Travis, adjusting his cargo shorts. “Took a while, but I finally found a bathroom. Sort of,” he says with a wink. Courtney turns back to you and asks if you were about to say something. Mumble out a thank you to her for planning this trip.
Gare du Nord
The busiest train station in all of Europe. You can board the Eurostar here, that marvel of modern engineering that will whisk you underneath the English Channel to London in just two hours. Well, not you personally. You’re here to take the train back to the airport. Say goodbye to Courtney and Travis, who are off to London to “spend some more alone time together.” Courtney gives you a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek. Savor it for a second before Travis grabs you and pounds you on the back affectionately with a meaty hand. You are sure to never forget your trip to the City of Light, just as much as you’re sure that you have been forgotten the moment they’ve boarded their train.