Lovers In The City Of Lights | Part 1 Celebrating Five Years Exploring Paris And Beyond

5 years. They have gone by in a flash. And yet, at the same time, it feels like we have been together for 100 strong. Life together is hard work but it is more amazing than we ever imagined it could be! Marriage is such a gift from God. Neither of us would be able to achieve our full potential without each other. It’s a beautiful, symbiotic relationship. We need the Lord and we need each other more than we could possibly know.

We had been saving for 5 years to get to Paris. A lot had happened since we stood at the front of Glassy Mountain Chapel, hands clasped in May of 2012. We had said “no” to more opportunities to spend money than we can count. We had worked tirelessly trying to build a business after we both quit our jobs on the same day over 3 years ago. We struggled. The truth is, there were some days when we were on the verge of throwing in the towel and going back to “real jobs.” Ryan even applied for a job at one point, thinking that was the only way to provide for us. But the Lord had a plan. He knew where we would be at our 5 year anniversary mark. And we couldn’t ask for more.

Since we got home from the greatest trip ever, we have been asked several times if there was a blog post coming! Uh yeah! Of course!!! And we won’t say much more before we get the the real show, the pictures! But we just wanted to let you have a little peek into what it took to get here. It wasn’t as easy as Instagram would like everyone to think. We have had our struggles in the last 5 years. No, we haven’t gone through cancer, or the death of a parent or child. But just like everyone, our struggles have been chosen specifically for us.

So please, go into this knowing that as wonderful as everything looks (and it truly was), this trip as well as our marriage journey is not without its challenges!

Without further ado, join us as we relive our trip to the City of Lights, and the City of Love!

Days 1, 2 & 3 | Paris

After we got off the plane from our long flight into Charles De Gaulle airport on the outskirts of Paris, our adventure got interesting very quickly. We picked up our 2 50-pound-on-the-dot suitcases at baggage claim. But Ryan quickly noticed that Alyssa’s suitcase handle was not working properly. It wouldn’t extend no matter what he tried! So to make a long story short, Ryan carried that 50-pound suitcase all the way from the airport to our AirBnB. Part of that was a train ride, but we estimate he carried it over a mile total, included 4 flights of stairs!!! Needless to say, we spent most of that evening resting in our room!

And speaking of our room, it was awesome! We stayed in a little 100 square foot AirBnB in the heart of Paris. We literally walked 10 minutes to the beautiful Notre Dame (pictured later)! Our shower was a littttttle bit small at 2 square feet but we got used to that pretty quickly. And with a beautiful view to the building next door and the bustling street below, we weren’t complaining! We even had a little kitchen inside what looked at first like a cabinet. And we were all set for two weeks of fun and a lifetime of experiences together (after Ryan recovered from his traumatic suitcase marathon!).

We spent the first 3 days just exploring Paris of course. We spent 2 days on the “hop on hop off” bus (highly recommend it!) seeing just about every site there is to see in Paris. We struggled with the metro system at first, but there was always someone to help us figure it out. Most French people know enough English to help you out, and contrary to popular belief, everyone we met was kind enough to help us crazy tourists!

We explored the Louvre, the Arc De Triumph, the Alexander III Bridge, and of course the Eiffel Tower which will make several appearances throughout our trip! The architecture in Paris just blew us away. Most of this was here long before America was even a thought!

Just a quick note on the food. It was amazing to say the least! We had a French bakery 20 steps from our AirBnB where we stopped just about every morning for baguettes, croissants, donuts, coffee and more! Needless to say, we hit the workouts hard when we got back.

Obviously the Eiffel Tower is a huge attraction in Paris! And it lived up to everything we imagined it would be! So beautiful! Another theme of our trip was that, because we use a nice camera (as photographers, yes) and because there is apparently a sign over our heads telling people to ask us to take their photo, we took a lot of Eiffel tower photos for other people! And we’re ok with that!

Yes, Alyssa found her favorite shopping place! Ryan said it was a “look, but no touch” situation. A girl’s gotta shop, though!

One of our favorite moments was kind of unexpected. We stepped off the “hop on hop off” bus on Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine River. It’s a tradition there to attach a lock to the bridge as a sign of forever love. And although we didn’t intent to do it, we decided to get one! So for 5 euros, we got a golden lock and wrote “Ryan & Alyssa Forever” on it (sappy, we know). But it was somehow strangely emotional. And although it may not be there forever due to removal of weight for the safety of the bridge, it was still an incredibly special moment for us!

Day 4 | Amsterdam

On the 4th day, we got up early and boarded a train to the capital of The Netherlands. In Amsterdam, we discovered that it is in fact possible to see 5 times as many bikes as people in one day. Bikes everywhere!!! But it’s really a beautiful city! We got to tour the Royal Palace and it was such a great experience. After that, we stopped in a cute street cafe called Melly’s Cookie Bar and had the best piece of chocolate cake you could ever taste! And although it was a little chilly that day, Amsterdam was a huge success!

This trip was so amazing, we had to split it into more than one post! More coming soon!!! Thank you so much for joining us!

Read more about our trip on Days 5-7 and Days 8-11!

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