My husband and I were in Europe this past summer. We had purchased tickets for an organized group tour of World War II battle sites. This was intended to be his trip – to focus on his interests – but it turned out to be a trip that would change my life.
In order to get over our jetlag before the tour started, we started our trip with a week in Paris. As we reset our body clocks, we enjoyed our week in my favorite European city by visiting popular museums and monuments.
I have an easier time with jetlag, so while my husband rested, I visited several yarn shops. One afternoon, when I arrived back at the apartment we had rented, my husband told me he had had a dream.
In his dream, we had met up with the organized tour and I took the women from the group on my own tour to all the yarn shops. We both laughed about his dream and I didn’t think much about it after that.
Two days passed before we met up with the other participants in the group tour. We all sat around getting to know each other while we waited for the hotel to get our rooms ready. An hour later, as most of the group headed to their rooms to take a nap, I dropped my luggage and walked to the park across the street.
As I returned from the park, I met two of the women from the group. The were on their way to take the metro to see Notre Dame and invited me to come along. After emailing my husband, I joined them.
The women had asked the concierge at the hotel for directions. He had told them where to get off the metro, but I knew that going one stop further would bring us closer to the cathedral, and we were a bit short on time. We walked a few blocks, got in line and were inside Notre Dame minutes later.
We followed the crowds of tourists, walking the circuit around the inside of the cathedral. We took pictures of the massive arches, the small chapels and the magnificent Rose Windows. Only one of the windows has remained undamaged and therefore, is original to the building.
We walked around the outside of the cathedral, before heading back to the metro. I invited the two women to come with me after dinner to see the Eiffel Tower at night. I warned them that it would be late, but they seemed interested.
We arrived back at the hotel just in time for our “welcome dinner.” The two women joined the rest of their family on one side of the room, while I joined my husband on the other side. When introductions were made, we became aware that the two women were part of the family of one of the war veterans that was traveling with us.
After a delicious meal, some instructions and the introductions, we all got up from the tables. I walked over to where my new friends were standing to ask if they still wanted to go see the tower with me. They did – and five other family members were also coming along.
The sun was setting by the time we left the hotel. We walked to the metro station, where I helped some of the family members buy metro tickets. I showed them how to read the metro map and pointed out where we were going.
When we arrived at the tower, it was nearly dark. The tower was lit up and as we approached, it started to twinkle. The twinkling lights were added in 2000 to celebrate the new millennium. They still twinkle every evening for about five minutes at the top of the hour.*
I did not go up the tower, since I was planning to take pictures of it from below. Plus, my husband and I had been up it earlier in the week. One of the women who had come with to see the tower, decided to stay on the ground with me.
After about an hour, we all met up again. We took the metro back to the hotel so we could get to sleep. (I’m sure the others were exhausted due to jetlag – it was after midnight).
The next morning we boarded the bus and after a quick driving tour of Paris, we left the city. Over the next ten days, we visited the beaches at Normandy; the Ardennes, where the Battle of the Bulge took place; and several cemeteries. After touring Nuremburg and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, we ended the tour in Munich.
The night before the tour ended, one of the women who had come to the Eiffel Tower, thanked me. I asked her what I had done that deserved thanks. She was thanking me again for helping the group use the metro and guiding them to the tower.
I laughed to myself as I remembered my husband’s dream. Could it come true? I realized, at that moment, how much I enjoyed showing a little of Paris to my new friends.
I returned from that trip with a new enthusiasm for this website and blog. When a friend told me how much she wanted to go to Paris, I said I would be her tour guide. I started planning…
Later this week I will announce my first tour! Be watching for it.
Update: Click the tour tab above for more information about the tour.
*Due to copyright laws, Paris does not allow pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night to be published on a commercial site.