It’s been well over a month since I’ve been back now, and every day I think about how much my semester abroad changed my life. Before, I was a traveler, taking in the sights and the experiences and creating memories. Now I’ve become a storyteller, relaying my experiences through words and photos. While it’s good to be home, I miss being a traveler, I miss collecting European memories!
One of the most eventful trips- Paris. The one that stole my heart more than I believed it would. Here’s the story-
The city of love, the city of lights, one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever seen, Paris completely took my breath away. This was probably the trip I was most excited for this semester, since Paris is on every girly-girl’s must-see list, and there was a lot of hype for it to live up to. Not only did this amazingly ornate and beautiful city live up to the hype, it exceeded all expectations.
I feel like I could spend the rest of the my life there and still not see everything there is to see, so while Kirby and I were able to see all the big monuments and do the sightseeing in 2 days, I still want to go back and discover Paris’s hidden treasures.
Here are some highlights from our trip.
P.S. I feel like it also says a lot about this city, because this weekend was a trip full of hiccups and a lot of unfortunate things that happened, and it was still one of my favorite weekends I’ve spent. I’m going to recount our weekend bit by bit so you guys get a better idea of what we went through exactly.
Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the First Time
How did I spend my Thanksgiving last year? Camping in the Málaga airport… Oh my goodness was I missing home by the time 5 a.m. came around and I was FaceTiming my family, with their turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy, but I digress. Since camping in the airport turned out the be the least stressful part of that very long day.
Upon landing in Paris, we were given instructions from our Airbnb to head to the Gare-du-Nore train station to pick up our key from the consigne. After that, we received no word from him again. Once we got to the consigne and realized neither the locker nor the password he gave us were valid, I panicked. Kirby and I were in a country we’d never been to, where we didn’t know the language, and now we had nowhere to stay. Thankfully, my dad had enough hotel points saved up that we called every Holiday Inn in Paris to beg for an available room. Ultimately it was for the better as we got to stay in a nice hotel in the heart of the city rather than a sketchy Airbnb, so everything happens for a reason right?
After the longest day of our lives, Kirby and I finally got around to exploring the city once it got dark. We were planning on meeting up with friends at the Eiffel Tower, and figured it would be easy enough to find. Little did we know that right off the metro stop and around the corner, it would be there to absolutely stun us.
If you can, I recommend seeing the Tower at night for the first time. The experience was magical. Not only was it lit up, but we got there just in time to see the lights twinkle and glitter magnificently, and it’ll be something I’ll remember forever. During the day, it’s not nearly as awe-inspiring, but in that moment, seeing it for the first time, I knew why it was so iconic.
Palace of Versailles
I’ve been obsessed with the Palace of Versailles since I took AP Euro in high school. So once I realized how easy it was to get to, I had to book tickets (thanks EU visa for getting us in for free). There’s nothing like that gaudy gold French Renaissance architecture. Everything in that palace is opulent and outlandish and GOLD and diamonds and rich colors and fabrics. It’s insane! And amazing. Even though we encountered our second big hiccup (the RER, the main train that connects from Paris to Versailles to Notre Dame to basically everywhere was closed) and it took 2 hours to get there instead of half an hour, it was worth it to see this place I’d only ever read and fantasized about. And no picture, no description of the Hall of Mirrors competes with seeing it in real life, I can tell you that much.
As the hopeless romantic I am, I had to make sure to visit Point 0 of Paris at Notre Dame. The legend has it that if you make a wish on the star, you’re bound to return to Paris. And as I fell in love Paris, I was getting my ass to this star to make a wish.
So France, it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you soon 😉
Big regret? Not visiting the Louvre. But unfortunately, our delay from Versailles made it impossible for us to have enough time… Next time Paris…
Walking Along the River SeineArc de TriomfSeeing the Eiffel Tower AgainClimbing the Arc de Triomfe
Early in the morning, before the tourists are out and about, the Champs Elysees isn’t shoulder-to-shoulder traffic and there’s hardly any cars, Paris is magical again. Climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomf was the cherry on top of a perfectly imperfect weekend.
And I can tell you this much. It was worth running through CDG airport and almost missing our flight to try a Parisian macaroon.