It was the morning after France had beaten Croatia to win the 2018 World Cup. I sat on a plane at 8 a.m., preparing to land at Charles De Gaulle Airport. My mother, sister and I boarded a train, and in just a few stops, we were standing in the heart of Paris with our suitcases in hand.
After dropping off our bags at the hotel, we hit the ground running, determined to pack Paris into a day and a half before taking the TGV to Lyon.
First on our agenda was one of Paris’ central landmarks, The Louvre, whose architecture alone explains why it’s considered a must-see. That same night, we would give ourselves the typical Parisian experience and dine on escargot paired with a bottle of Bordeaux, before trekking through the city for an up-close view of the Eiffel Tower.
Following a good night’s sleep, our Paris adventures concluded with a walk through the Musée D’Orsay and a hike up a rather large hill to see Sacré-Cœur — and a spectacular view of Paris.
I was sure that nothing could top Paris’ charm, but little did I know about the other hidden gems that France has to offer. Escaping the bustle of Paris and waking up to the peacefulness of old Lyon was the perfect second stop to our travels. My mom was so taken by the town, I was momentarily afraid that she would opt to go into early retirement and never return to the states.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case, and we picked up our rental car to continue south. It didn’t take much driving for me to realize why France only has roundabouts, as opposed to four-way stops (because French people don’t recognize the concept of a right of way).
With the aid of my limited navigational skills, my mother was able to safely get us to Provence. We stayed there for two days before continuing to my favorite stop: Nice. Between swimming in the cloudy turquoise Mediterranean and sitting at the top of La Chateau drinking Desperados, a French tequila-flavored beer that would blow your mind, it’s hard to pick a high point.
Initially, I thought that my mother was crazy for planning a road trip through southeast France that included a new stop every couple of days. Now that it’s all said and done, I can proudly say that I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
As unbelievable as a 10-day trip to Paris would be, nothing beats getting outside of the city and seeing the lesser-known parts of France — not to mention the insane views and rich culture that you can find all over the country is nothing short of a dream for any videographer or photographer. If you ever find yourself planning a trip to France, may I suggest the path less traveled, and grab yourself a bottle of Desperados while you’re at it.