Here’s the way overdue Paris blog. With the semester starting to wrap up things are getting busy.
Because of our lack of planning skills, our flight to Paris left at 3:15 when I’m not usually done with classes until 4:30. So I was forced skip the majority of my history class and Latin Rhythms. Given that we only had 4 more classes until the performance at the time, I was a little panicked. I couldn’t allow myself to complain too much because it was our fault and we were going to PARIS. We landed in Paris around 8pm leaving us enough time to grab dinner and plan out our weekend before crashing for the night.
First on our must-do list was the Eiffel Tower. Before I go into too much detail about our first tourist hot-spot, let’s talk about how we got there. A bunch of people at school had already been to Paris and were giving us advice when they told us that the metro system was so relaxed. To suggested that we buy the 10-pass and conserve it all weekend, squeezing 2 or 3 people in on one ticket. It was a struggle, but we fit Jess, Rachael, and me in the turnstile on one ticket. We were exiting at the Eiffel Tower stop when we metro security demanded to see our tickets prior to leaving. I was holding the one validated ticket, so I got off ok, but Jess and Rachael were each slapped with a 45 euro fine. Obviously I didn’t let them take all the blame, and we split the 90 euro debt between the 3 of us. What a welcome to Paris!! Not only did this put a damper on our day, but so did the cloudy/foggy weather Paris was having. After that obstacle, we continued on our way to the Eiffel Tower. My first view of it was super anti-climactic. It was so foggy/cloudy that we couldn’t see half of it! Needless to say, we were a little bummed with the events of the day so far.
Near the tower there were these lines of bear statues representing and decorated by every country. We had a good time guessing which bear belonged to which country before we realized they were in alphabetical order; that kind of ruined the fun. Of course, we had to strike a pose with the USA bear when we stumbled upon it. After marveling at all the countries’ creativity, we were off to the Arc de Triomphe. We’ve seen one in almost every other country, but they’re all modeled after this arc of arcs. It’s like all the others were merely preparing us for the astonishing Arc de Triomphe. We snapped our pics before taking over the rest of Paris. Next on our list was the Sainte-Chapelle. It was small but mighty; one of the prettiest churches I’ve seen in my 3 months here. And that’s saying something taking into account I saw 10 churches in Rome alone. First of all, there’s a statue of St. Louis on the first floor. The upstairs was almost all stain glass depicting the entirety of the Bible. Starting with Genesis, each panel of stain glass represented a book of the Bible and encircled the chapel. At the back of the church was a special representation of Revelation, the Rose of the Apocalypse.
Being the 90s kids that we are, we couldn’t leave Paris without seeing Notre Dame. As we were walking there, we laughed to ourselves about how we probably wouldn’t know as much about it if it hadn’t been for Disney. So Walt, we thank you. Notre Dame was fabulous, gargoyles and everything. There were even a plethora of pigeons outside where 2 ladies fed them. They flocked around all the tourists searching for food. I almost got to hold one!
We’d hit up a good majority of our touristy hot spots and spent the rest of the day roaming the streets of Paris, stopping to get crepes along the way. Jess was in search of a winter coat for our upcoming Germany trip. Our friend told us about this thrifty, trendy area so strolled the streets scoping out some good sales. With our bad sense of direction and unusual misfortunes, we weren’t able to locate the cheap shopping district. Instead, we settled with dinner and crepes for dessert. I love crepes!!!! Nothing beats nutella and banana. With our stomachs full, it was time to call it quits.
Saturday we took a train to Versailles. Yes, the Palace of Versailles!! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing all of the things I learn about in my history classes. Throughout this whole semester my history class has been talking about King Louis and the French Revolution. It is 876534x more interesting to learn about these things when I have the historical visuals right in front of my eyes. Because our visas are good for a 6-month stay, we’re considered members of the European Union and were able to get into the Palace for free! We even got free audio guides, compared to other museums and such it was a steal! It took us almost the entire day to walk through the Palace and we didn’t even get to see everything. The property was bigger than I could’ve ever imagined. How one family felt the need to take up that much space is unfathomable to me. Rooms on rooms on gardens on fountains. It was overwhelming. The gardens themselves were probably larger than the entirety of SLU’s campus. Since it was another dreary day in France, none of the fountains were turned on and a little bit of beauty escaped the Palace. It was a long day of walking; by the end we were dead. We left the property and recuperated at a crepe shop. On our way back to the train station we came across an outdoor market which we just couldn’t pass up. I swear if I lived in Europe for the rest of my life I would have way too many clothes. Everything is just so cute!! I was the proud owner of a brand new sweater before we left Versailles.
By the time we got back to Paris, it was dark enough outside so that we could get our much anticipated look of the lit-up Eiffel Tower. We stared in awe. Our first anticlimactic view made the lit up version 0987654x better. Just when I didn’t think it could be more awesome, it started twinkling, every hour. It was magical. Unable to resist, we just had to go to the top that night. We rode the elevator all the way to the top and got the best view of Paris night life. We hung out up there for a while, realizing how lucky we were to be living out this dream.
Sunday we spent our day admiring the works of art in the Louvre. We asked the receptionists at our hostel how much time we should set aside for the museum and he jokingly suggested 3 years. So, there was no way we were going to be able to see all of it in the 4 hours we had planned. We did our best to see the main attractions including the Mona Lisa and armless Aphrodite statue. Of course, we had to imitate all the art; I perfected Mona’s smile.
We needed an energy boost after our 4 hour hike through the Louvre so we stopped for some crepes before seeing the Love Lock Bridge. It wasn’t a long walk from the Louvre, but we got lost and made it one before we finally found the famous bridge. Every chain link on that bridge has at least one lock strapped to it with the a couple’s initials scripted on the side. The idea is to put the lock on the fence and throw the key into the river, how romantic. As we were wandering across the bridge, awe struck at the amount of locks, we witnessed a man propose to his girl friend. It was so cute!! They even asked us to take some pictures for us. It was so adorable listening to them on the phone calling all of their relatives to spread the good news. Lovestruck, we headed back to the hostel to pick up our bags before hopping on a bus to the airport. We got back late Sunday night so it was nice to be able to sleep in our beds before running to class in the morning.
Paris was fabulous. I’d have to say that I enjoyed getting crepes after every meal more than gelato. I just loved them! This whole going to a new country every weekend is so much to take in. Sometimes I have to remind myself where I am and which language to speak. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bumped into someone in another country and said “lo siento” (I’m sorry). Or when we return to Madrid and madre serves us dinner and I say “merci”. It’s getting so confusing! Such an abroad problem. I don’t think it’s hit me yet; all of the things I’ve been doing. It’s unreal. I feel like I’m going to get home and be like, “Did those 4 months really just happen?” I’m not looking forward to that day. But it’s not over yet! After Paris came London.
What a weekend.