Reagan Villet 6/6/16
Over the weekend, a group of eight of my study abroad peers and I decided to venture to Paris. I have always wanted to go to the “city of light”, as it has appeared in many shows and films I have seen, has been sung and rapped about in numerous songs, and is overall one of the most iconic international cities in the world. (Please tell me one middle schooler you know who did not have at least one shirt featuring a sparkly Eiffel Tower surrounded by hearts???).
For our trip, we took the Eurostar, a train that goes through an underwater tunnel from the U.K. to France (fun fact: it’s called the chunnel!). Unfortunately, the cheap train was at 5:40 am, but we decided the earlier the better, as we would have more time in Paris, and save money with the cheaper tickets! We arrived in Paris at about 9 am, and since check in was not until 2, decided to check our bags and explore the city. After a quick meal (which was very hard to order from as most of us spoke no real french, other than the staples: baguette, macaroon, and crepe), we headed for a stroll through Tuilerie Gardens and then down the famous Champs-Élysées, which I had seen in one of my favorite shows, Gossip Girl! At the end of the road, we were able to see the Arc de Triomphe, although the current flooding in Paris hindered us from getting too close.
After a quick nap, we decided to head to the Eiffel Tower! I have seen images of this iconic monument in the media site before I can remember; beautiful views, romantic scenery, and absolutely amazing structure. I was so excited to see it, as it was the number one thing I was looking forward to on our weekend trip (I know, I’m a true tourist). In all honesty, I teared up when I caught a glimpse of it on our cab ride over; it was absolutely immaculate and much more amazing than I had ever imagined. The sheer size and architecture was absolutely mind-blowing. As if the experience couldn’t get more exciting, a few of us saw rapper Waka Flocka Flame as we were going to buy tickets to the top!
The venture to the top left me awe–struck. As we decided to go for sunset, we were able to see the views from the tower at both light and dark. At 10 pm, the whole tower lit up, and I was lost for words; it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Although the view from the top was foggy, it was still stunning nonetheless, and the lower deck allowed us to see the whole entire city.
After a very long day, we headed back to the hotel to sleep and get up early for another full day of exploring Paris. After a quick breakfast, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower for some day-time views and pictures, and a very Parisian lunch of baguette and cheese.
After a wonderful tourist-y lunch and numerous photo shoots, we decided to head to the Catacombs. Unfortunately the line was way too long, so we decided to skip it, as we had other things we wanted to see. The next stop on our list was the Notre Dame cathedral. I am not very religious at all, but it was a really cool experience. The architecture and stained glass (and of course the history!) of the building was great, and I lit a candle in memory of my grandfather. After the cathedral, we went to go see the famous Lock Bridge, which was only a block away. Unbeknownst to us, the bridge is being removed, as the locks are too heavy! There are still some parts up around the city, but it was a bummer to see it closed. I was also really upset about the flooding situation, as The Louvre art museum was closed. The Louvre houses many famous paintings, including the Mona Lisa, but the threat of water damage caused the museum to shut so that the paintings could be moved to higher ground.
To end the weekend, we had a breakfast of real, French crepes (I cried a little eating them, they were that good). Overall, Paris was a really amazing city. While I was not exactly drawn to it in the same way that I have been with London, I still loved my little weekend, and I would definitely go back (if not only for the crepes and the art!).
Au revoir, Paris! Until next time.