“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines …”
Anastasia, Passport To Paris, Madeline, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, La Vie en Rose,
Taken, and about a million more books, movies, and TV shows have inspired a lifetime of interest in visiting Paris (not to mention the fact that several of my best friends went in high school with the French class… I obviously took Spanish). Therefore, I felt that I couldn’t say I studied abroad in Europe for four months without visiting the City of Light & Love. Off to Paris I went, and I must say, Eiffel for it (ba dum tss!).
Unlike the other cities I’ve visited (Amsterdam being the exception), I didn’t really have any idea what Paris would hold, obviously aside from the famous monuments. Paris is a HUGE city, but I had some helpful guidance from my Uncle Steve who has visited several times on business, and of course “Mr. Google” as my marketing professor calls it.
This trip, the old Imperium crew was back together (along with two other SU girls I had never met before, but had included us in their hostel booking) and I was very excited. After being on so many trips with those girls, I know that we not only get along well, but we travel well together, which I have realized is an essential part of studying abroad.
We arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport to find that the train we had been instructed to take was no longer in service, so instead we
blindly faithfully hopped on a bus “to Paris” which I guess is in the right direction. To avoid some illegal substance vendors, we took a cab to our hostel, located in Montmartre (the artist district, north of the Seine river) and about a 40 minute metro ride from the main monuments. We had two private rooms for the eight of us, and breakfast was included. Score!
Friday morning the weather was gray, rainy, and chilly, and I instantly missed the blue sky, sunshine, and 60 degree November weather in Madrid. BUT, as I have continuously reminded myself this entire
vacation abroad experience, I must live in the moment. We hopped on the metro and stopped first at the Eiffel Tower. We were immediately swarmed by men selling keychains and gypsy women trying to get us to sign petitions attached to slabs of cardboard, so we stuck together and watched each others’ backs. It was a little unsettling, but if you hold your ground and don’t let them approach you, they lose interest and move onto other seemingly easy tourist targets. It started to rain at the Eiffel Tower, but we got some great pictures. I had heard mixed reviews; some people impressed by the tower, and some not so much, but personally I was astounded by the beauty and sheer presence of arguably the most recognizable structure in the world.
While I hate rain and gray weather, I compromised with myself, saying that Paris is one of the few cities in the world that is equally or perhaps even more beautiful in the rain.
Things I did/saw/ate in Paris:
- Eiffel Tower
- Walking along the Seine River
- Crêpes in the Jardin des Tuileries
- The Louvre Museum
- Pont de l’Archevêché (Love Lock Bridge)
- Café au Lait in Parisian cafes
- French mass in Notre Dame Cathedral
- Dinner in the Latin Quarter
- Stargazing on the Steps of Sacré Cœur
- Café au lait and Chocolate Croissants
- Window shopping at Champs Elysées
- Arc De Triomphe
- Outdoor market near where Fashion Week Paris was held
- Tea & Macaroons at Ladurée
- Eiffel Tower at night!
From the Alhambra in Granada to the Duomo in Florence, I’ve seen some pretty incredible views of some of the most picturesque cities in the world, and I have to say that the view at night from the Eiffel Tower was definitely one of my favorites. It was fitting for us to begin and end our trip here, although only one weekend was definitely not enough to feel like I’d covered the whole city. The rain and distance from the city center held us up a little bit, but I am surely adding Paris to my (growing) list of cities to visit again, maybe next time with a petit ami…