After getting off the train from London to Paris on Thursday April 16th, I had to get to the hotel a friend booked for us. I went to Paris with a girl from my program, her best friend, and that friend’s home stay-mate. So there were 4 of us girls in the city of love, but they were flying in from Madrid and I was going to get there before them. Anyways, I got off the train and went to the information booth where they didn’t help me at all, mostly due to a major language barrier, and I ended up in the right part of Paris – the 12th district area – but in a completely wrong area of the district. The first people I ran into were a group of teen guys that told me to get on the bus with them and get off when they tell me to… ok. If it sounds sketchy that’s because it was especially because they kept looking at me and speaking french, which did not sound at all romantic coming from them, but after I somewhat sort of yelled at them and made them show me a map of where I was going (I couldn’t pull up a map because I don’t have data and didn’t have wifi to pre-load an area map), they were in fact correct and taking me to the right place. Conflict averted, and yes I apologized, I got to the hotel I couldn’t get in touch with my friends so I ended up waiting 2 hours for them to miraculously show up. If you understand what I’m getting at with this background info, my first impression of Paris basically sucked. Once we all settled down in the room, it was time to get some food so we figured that night was as good as any to see the Eiffel Tower lit up, so we got on the metro headed for downtown. The metro was always a long ride for us, our hotel being outside the city, but it was worth the price! We got italian food and then watched the Tower’s lights sparkle before heading back home for the long day ahead of us. On Friday, we went downtown and found a crêpe cart, where I got the most delectable banana coconut Nutella crêpe on the face of the earth. Seriously though no other sweet crêpe compared to that first one of Paris, and I think I’m now obsessed with crêpes because of it! Back to the story: We then walked to the Louvre and instead of going inside and spending the whole day questioning how small the Mona Lisa really is, we just took a few pictures and headed to the love lock bridge instead. The bridge is completely blocked off by wooden covers over the locks except for one section, and some panels have even been taken down and replaced with clear plastic shields. We didn’t care and we put our locks on anyway. Since I obviously don’t have a love to lock down, I decided to write my parents’ names. After all, they did take two weeks off to travel with me (or else I would have gone to the UK alone), and their relationship is everything I want in my future, so I wanted to let their love lock forever be in Paris, even if they won’t be. The lock came with three keys too so one is in the water under the bridge and the other two are waiting in my purse to give to them – I guess I spoiled the surprise. We then went to the Notre Dame Cathedral, and after seeing the beautiful inside we went to the top and admired the gargoyles and the view of Paris from way up there. It was a very Quasimodo moment. When we finally finished walking down the endless spiral staircase, we went to the Luxembourg gardens and to Angelina’s Cafe, which happened to be Audrey Hepburn’s favorite cafe in Paris. For dinner, we had crêpes. We then walked up to Sacré Coeur Basilica on the hill of the red light district and strolled though. There were some really good street performers outside and great views, so after we sat for a while and watched the sunset. Moulin Rouge wasn’t far, so we walked over and snapped a photo of the famous windmill before heading back to the hotel. On Saturday, we bought a baguette each and some cheese and meat, and then we went to the Palace of Versailles. Lucky for us, with a passport student visa we got in free! We saw the hall of mirrors and all the old bedrooms of the different kings and queens and princesses, but the most interesting part was the gardens behind the palace. The gardens stretched for at least a mile in every direction, probably more, and there we so many marble statues and fountains that we got lost trying to find. It was beautiful, and then when we returned we got to see the Arc de Triomphe. We walked along the street Champs-Élysées, the expensive Louie Vuitton street, and went to Ladurée cafe for some world famous macaroons. For dinner I had french onion soup (how fitting), and I tried escargot. I don’t like escargot. On Sunday, we went to the market and got – wait for it – CRÊPES for breakfast! Then we went to the Saint Chapelle Cathedral which doesn’t have walls, but stained glass windows. It was magical. Continuing on our healthy diet, we got cupcakes to snack on (my moms are better), and then got another crêpe. We went to the Orsay museum and saw the amazing works of Van Gogh and Monet, two of my favorites, and then bought croissants and macaroons. If you can’t guess already, I gained a good 5 pounds this day. We brought our food to the Eiffel Tower and ended our trip like we started, watching the lights sparkle on the hour. It was then time to pack for our flights the next day, and the reality set in that we actually had to leave the city of love. It was an amazing weekend, and even though I didn’t love Paris as much as other cities, I would have no problem going back!
Life is an adventure, so keep exploring it!