Once upon a time I was 6.
And when I was 6 I started French class.
My love for the language has had it's ups and downs.
But my need to go to Paris hasn't.
So when I decided to go to London,
it also meant going to Paris.
So I did.
This last week was our designated "travel week" from our study abroad program. I toyed with ideas of Prague or Rome or any of the other places everyone else went but ultimately decided I couldn't demote Paris to a mere 2 day excursion. While the trip was amazing, we did have some bumps along the way. Just one of those things that you keep saying to yourself, "what is going on?" and then laugh it off.
Tuesday: Before even leaving I was sick. I was quite worried I would pass out but trudged along anyway and slept on the Chunnel, which greatly helped. We left London having the great idea that me, Heather, Laura and Maddy could head off taking Lyse and Jamie's luggage so that we could drop off their stuff at the hotel and then be off in the city. There was a blip in this plan because when the "luggage team" went to drop off the stuff at the hotel, it took them 3 hours to get back to us in the train station. So we sat in the station, huddling around heaters with homeless people waiting for them to show up.
Finally they did and we ate some food to fill our empty stomachs and then hurried over to see L'Arc de Triomphe. It was gorgeous. There was a huge French Flag that was whipping in the wind making it incredible. Throughout the whole trip I kept thinking to myself, "So THAT'S why this is always on postcards and stuff." Everything is so beautiful!
We arrived to our hotel- or villa- late that night and CRASHED. We loved having a full sized shower and nice comfy beds. Laura, Maddy and I cuddled the whole trip in our little bed. There was no better way to end each day then to cuddle up with my best friends and fall asleep. (We of course missed Julie though)
Wednesday: All the touristing would really began! We started at Le Louvre. We loved the photo opps naturally, and then we made a point to see the main pieces of art and wandered around looking at the glamorous building and everything in it.
After wandering around in Le Louvre and being highly critical of the art- yes. we are that pretentious.- we walked from Le Louvre, through Les Tuilieries towards L'Arc de Triomphe. We stopped along the way to bask in the sun and eat paninis and crepes. It was a wonderful thing to have to use sunglasses!
We then got back to L'Arc de Triomphe, compared the number of steps to those of the William Wallace monument (there were less at William Wallace fyi), and hiked up to the top! It was super windy but pretty dang beautiful.
After seeing the views we went over to see the Centre Pompidou which is a modern art museum that they constructed to look "inside out" (secretly, I thought it was ugly but that's okay haha). This was followed by our first... of many... crepe! It was delicious. We went over to the church exhibition after that where we ran into a whole bunch of awkward missionaries that made us feel a little bit at home.
Then we went to Hotel de Ville (aka Town Hall basically), which had a merry-go-round conveniently in front of it. They're everywhere in Paris which is actually quite charming. Then we headed home by ourselves, no help from tour guide Ryan. We may have gotten off the bus too early/late ...twice... but we made it home, made ourselves some dinner and got to sleep in the burrito that was our bed.
Thursday: First stop was Les Catacombs. [Definition: in the empty underground tunnels of Paris there are 6 billion peoples bones buried there because they ran out of rooms in cemetaries and moved them there in the late 1700s] Creepy right? Yes. It started out pretty cool seeing all the skulls and creepy designs with bones and THEN.... it just kept going. And going. And going. So many bones! Super creepy!
We then went over to Notre Dame and made the hike up to the top. It was FA-REEZING but so worth it. I loved seeing the view with all the gargoyles around. They are actually pretty awesome and make the beautiful view even cooler.
Then we headed over to Le Tour Eiffel! It is actually quite humungous. It kind of blew me away how huge it is! We went up to the top (some got scared, I surprisingly did not) and loved seeing how gorgeous the city is! It was a little smoggy but it didn't diminish the view at all. This was probably the most cold we had ever been. Waiting in line for the lift was the coldest few minutes (that felt like hours) of the trip. We were dying! So we went up, came back down, took tons of pictures, went to dinner, went back and took MORE picture then left. Definitely a place where we needed a ton of pictures. Obviously.
Afterwards we went to Musee d'Orsay which is the impressionist museum in Paris. I love love loved the Degas stuff, I declare him as my favorite. I did a project on him senior year and loved his ballerinas so it was great to see them in Paris (I've actually seen other "ballerina" paintings here in London at various museums too). Great end to a great day.
BTW: length of this post is embarrassing, apologies
Friday: VERSAILLES! We watched Marie Antoinette in preparation for our trip (the one with Kirsten Dunst) and all I could think about was the scene where she says to her ladies, "this is ridiculous" and they responded with, "this is Versailles". Perfect explanation. The inside was outrageously beautiful but the grounds were spectacular! It was a gorgeous day so it was nice to just wander around the gardens, grab some lunch, and take some pictures.
After losing Lyse on the metro (don't worry she was later found at the hotel), we arrived at Sacre Couer. I loved this! (I keep saying that!) It was such a pretty view and it was so fun to see all the street performers, fun shops and artists that were there.
More wandering after Sacre Couer, we ended up down by Notre Dame and got some kebabs for dinner then headed home. Note: Lisa, I ate lamb. I thought of you the whole time.
Saturday: Our final day, our tour guide Ryan, left us on our own. Which was a little nerve wrecking but turned out to be fabulous! I was a little stressed in that I was really the only one who could get around using my French but it ended up being so fun! We started at the Opera House which was so beautiful, I think we were all pleasantly surprised and kept humming Masquerade from The Phantom of the Opera as we wandered around... or at least I did.
We of course had to go take some photos in front of Moulin Rouge as we said "oh la la!" It was really just a quick stop followed by crepes and a lovely walk up a street full of boulangeries, patisseries, fromageries etc etc. We loved it.
Another trip up to Sacre Couer to check it all out again, and mostly to shop. I was pretty tame even though I wanted to buy all the crazy tourist things that were there. (Including a stuffed Eiffel Tower for Erin... shoulda gotten it.)
We picked up food for a picnic at the base of the Eiffel Tower to end the trip and ended up waiting for Laura to go to the bathroom for like 45 minutes. Geez. It was fine, we were surrounded by men trying to sell Eiffel Tower keychains. I can't even count the number of times I turned people down in French.
Overall, Paris was wonderful. I think we were all super happy and pleasantly surprised by how fabulous everything was.