Paris is dreamy. There’s just no other way to put it. It is magical and romantic and just fun.
We only spent a few hours there on our last trip overseas, but it was my first time visiting Paris. I’ve wanted to go for years, and my daughter is obsessed with anything French or Eiffel Tower related.
After walking much of Central Paris (we put in a good 20,000 steps there, so we covered a LOT of ground in a short period of time!) I realized that Paris has quite a few lessons to teach about life and business.
Everything is TALL in Paris! The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Cathédral Notre-Dame, even the various buildings of the Louvre all seem to touch the sky as you walk among them. And the detail you see at the top is just as impressive as everything at the ground level. Surround yourself with this kind of beauty and elevate it so it can beautify the lives of everyone around you as well.
This rule is not unique to Paris - I noticed it when we were in Rome and Milan a few years ago as well. Central Europeans in general do not care much about the weather. Style is based on seasonality, not what it feels like at the moment. Now, I’m not a proponent for wearing a heavy down jacket on an unseasonably warm spring day, but how often do we base our actions on simply how we feel in the moment? How often do we change our minds, our motivations, and even our values simply because one day we don’t feel like it? We need to be stronger in our convictions. We need to determine that in our lives, we will “dress” for what we want to have happen, regardless of what does happen. We dress for the job that we want, not the job that we have. We hold true to the decisions that we make rather than adjusting them with every variation in temperature.
When getting ready for our trip, a friend told me that I should wait until 1am if possible so I could experience the magic of when they make the Eiffel Tower sparkle. She told me it was the most beautiful thing she’d seen. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep my kids out that late, even being jet lagged, and with the strikes going on the trains were shutting down at 10PM, so I figured I would have to save this experience for another trip. Then as we were walking along the Seine River, all of a sudden I saw the Eiffel Tower start to sparkle. I honestly thought I was the luckiest person ever that they lit up the tower like that so much earlier in the evening, seemingly just so that I could see it. After getting home later, I researched it and found out it happens literally every hour on the hour for a few minutes all night long, so it wasn’t anything special. But in the few minutes that I stood there watching it sparkle, I fell in love with Paris and the idea that it was sparkling just for me.
At one end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a beautiful and famous street in Paris that stretches between the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde is an Egyptian obelisk. Since we were heading to Egypt the next day, I pointed it out to my kids and snapped a picture of it, then promptly forgot about it. Then when we were in Luxor, the tour guide pointed out that at the Luxor Temple, one of the obelisks was missing - it had been stolen and taken to Paris! Apparently it was given as a “gift” by the ruler of Egypt in 1830, but the people never thought he had the right to give it away to begin with and were not very happy about its removal. I showed the guide the picture that I had taken, and he excitedly showed it to the driver and started talking in rapid Arabic, so I’m not entirely sure what happened after that. Point being, give credit where credit is due, and don’t assume you can share what others have created.
Every landmark in Paris is covered in the most intricate workmanship I have ever seen. It is incredible to see the beauty and hard to imagine how much time and effort went into creating those masterpieces. However, the interesting thing I learned is that the details don’t always exist to just impress their audience. Most of the details serve another purpose. They aren’t just fancy - they are functional, too! For instance, the gargoyles on the Cathédrale Notre-Dame aren’t just there to accent the roof. They figuratively scare demon forces away to protect the churchgoers and literally divert rainwater and wastewater away from the walls to protect the walls of the church. Few details exist just for the purpose of existing.
This isn’t meant to be a discussion on politics or employment practices in France (which I could talk a LOT about from prior experiences). However, I do feel like when you live in a city as iconic and frequently visited as Paris, you have a bit of an obligation to show those visitors the very best side of the city. Unfortunately, Paris is prone to a lot of strikes. While we were there, strikes were ongoing in transportation, monuments and attractions, and garbage collection. We were still able to get around without issue, but one of my friends who visited Paris a few days after us had more difficulty, and was met with piles of stinky garbage everywhere she went. She had a much different experience than us. Sure, upsetting tourism, which is a big moneymaker, is definitely a way to get people to take action, but is ruining all of those tourists experiences (and people who live there who rely on transportation to get around) really worth it?
Another controversy happening in Paris right now is the rebuild of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame. In 2019, a fire broke out which virtually destroyed the interior of the building, including the famous spire which collapsed. For over three years now, teams have been working to restore the cathedral. However, they have decided to take this opportunity to install several modern conveniences, such as updated lighting and seating. Some people have protested these changes, saying that they detract from the historical significance of the chapel. Applying this to life, there is always room for improvement in life, and if things start to fall apart, look at it as an opportunity to rebuild a better life, rather than simply restoring the life you had before. Unless you are a 2,000 year old chapel (and maybe even then), there is no reason in the world that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to make changes and improvements that you have been procrastinating and rebuild your life exactly the way you want it to be now.
Speaking of Notre-Dame, as we walked over the bridge from the Metro and the Cathédral came into view, my brain immediately erupted into a rendition of the Bells of Notre Dame from the Disney Movie the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I hadn’t even seen the movie since I was a kid, but somehow I still remembered it. I still hear it every time I look through the pictures. Music has a way of infusing itself far deeper into your mind and body than any other form of learning.
I carefully plotted out our entire trip, noting exactly where we would get off the Metro, how far it was from each of the landmarks we wanted to visit, and the estimated time it would take to walk through our entire little tour of Central Paris. However, with 4 children in tow, things definitely didn’t go as planned. Of course, me taking all sorts of pictures of every little thing didn’t help much either. And it rained. But in the end, we made it to the Eiffel Tower, even with the cold drizzly weather, and it was just as beautiful as I had hoped it would be, and worth all 20,000 steps to get there.
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I’m a wife, mama to 4, baker, creator, fitness enthusiast, & 7-figure e-commerce entrepreneur, dedicated to helping you succeed in your own product-based business.
I believe that every business, and every person for that matter, has a light within them, a spark, that they need to share with the world.
Something that is already there, waiting to be drawn out into the open.
And that the more we share our light, the more the world glows and becomes more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
My goal is to help entrepreneurs find their spark and let it shine.