Monday, June 24, 2013

J'adore Paris

I know my blog has been very silent lately so for that I apologize! Nothing too terribly exciting was going on as I was just assisting with end of year things for the school which really isn't all that interesting. So after a week or so of doing not so interesting things, this past weekend, my flatmate Taylor and I went on a little adventure!

We had previously booked a weekend trip to Paris and what felt like weeks away was right on our doorstep on Friday! We left directly after finishing work and met at the train station to catch the Eurostar to Paris! For those that are not familiar with the Eurostar, it's a train that when run from London to Pairs passes through the Channel Tunnel or for short, the Chunnel. It's easily the quickest and cheapest way to get to Paris. We arrived there around 9pm local time and headed to the metro where we boarded a train toward our hostel. Finding the hostel was a bit tricky, but we managed to find it and check in without too much trouble. After settling in and charging our phones for a few minutes, we were off again with our destination set on the Eiffel Tower. We got there with just about five minutes to spare and made it in front of the tower to the lawn right before the twinkling lights of the tower lit up and began to sparkle! It was beautiful. I have seen it before, but seeing it so close with a huge crowd cheering made it really sink in that we were in Paris!

The next morning we were up to an early start to collect our Paris Pass. We had reserved a two day pass that included entry to over 50 museums, unlimited metro passes, a hop on hop off bus tour, a river cruise, a wine tasting and a lot more. We got all of these things and a guide book that told us where everything was and how to get there. We were fairly close to the Opéra which is that national opera house of Paris and one of the stops on our bus tour, so we headed that way to catch a bus and start our sight seeing. Our next big stop was (not surprisingly for two girls like us) the Champs-Élysées which is a huge shopping street in Paris full of designers, car dealerships, malls, and little cafes. We walked all the way up and down stopping here and there, and then came to the Arc de Triomphe which of course is a must see. We took some pictures and then braved the crazy traffic surrounding the Arc to get to it. With our Paris Pass we were able to get into the Arc for free so we climbed all the way to the top (there were a lot of stairs). We were met with some amazing views of the city. You could see the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Cœur in the distance. Once we climbed down, we found an underground walkway we didn't know existed that took us safely to the other side of the street. We boarded the bus tour again and took off.

We stopped for a quick lunch at a little french cafe and then headed for our wine tasting. We got there a little early so we did some shopping in the surrounding area and then enjoyed a tasting of six fantastic french wines. I loved all of them! Once we finished we took the metro back to the Eiffel Tower to board our river cruse from its base. The cruise lasted an hour and had some stunning views of the city. We really enjoyed it! After a crazy day we headed back to the hostel for some much needed rest before tackling our last day.

It was a good thing we went to bed early too, because the next morning we climbed up all the steps leading up to Sacré Cœur which was quite the work out. The church is beautiful and the view from the top of the steps is breath taking. We really enjoyed our visit. From there we headed to Montparnasse Tower where the top floor offers a panoramic view of the entire city of Paris! We could see the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Cœur, The Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe (which looked so small in the distance you could barely make it out) and much more. The views we saw on this trip were amazing! We left the tower and went to Notre Dame which is celebrating its 850th year this year. There are many things being done in celebration such as some restorations to the church as well as some charity work. The church is beautiful and so worth the line to get in! After a quick lunch we left Notre Dame to go to the Louvre where Taylor saw some pretty awesome art and I mostly sat down. I was so tired and after I saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and some other famous works, I was fine to take a little rest. We ended our day by going back to the hostel to collect our things and taking the metro back to the train station to catch our train back home. 

Our trip was amazing. I think we packed as much of Paris into two days as we possibly could have
and hit all the major sites. I can't believe I live in a place where going to Paris for a weekend is possible and I'm so grateful that my parents have taught me about the world and how to travel. It's one of the greatest gifts they've given me, and I'm a much more cultured person because of it. I wouldn't have been able to go on this trip with out the guidance they've given me which I remembered constantly as I jumped onto the metro or pulled out a map.

Summer school starts this week so I'll have some field trip adventures up soon. I'm also going on another trip this weekend to Amsterdam! I can't wait! This summer has afforded me so many enriching experiences, and I'm so happy I get to take advantage of them!

Au revior!  

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