This weekend I took a trip to Paris with one of my friends from High Point. We took a train to Pisa, ran to snap a picture of the Leaning Tower, got some gelato, and rode a bus to the airport.
We took a RyanAir flight to Paris and got to our hostel late Friday night. We made a plan for the next day, showered, and fell asleep. The next morning, we got free breakfast at the hostel around 7:30. It was pretty good, with cereal, croissants, baguettes, orange juice, coffee, and hot chocolate. Our first stop was Notre Dame, the famous gothic cathedral. It was stunning. There was a choir singing and organ playing, which gave it a very holy feel, much like you’d see hear in movies. I was in awe.
We then headed toward the Louvre. On the way there, we saw where (I assume) they moved many of the locks from the Love-Lock bridge that all the tourist couples love. I think the idea is that you put a lock there to symbolize how your love is forever. They took down the locks from the original bridge because they made it too heavy. I don’t think the locals liked it anyway, but we tourists think it’s a cute, romantic thing to do.
We got to the Louvre, which is ginormous, snapped some pictures, and hopped in line before it got too long. It was just opening, so the line wasn’t terrible. We got a map and started toward the Mona Lisa. We pushed and shoved to the front of the small crowd and took some obligatory selfies.
The Louvre. It’s so huge it wouldn’t fit in this picture.
Winged Victory of Samothrace
Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s “The Seasons”
Liberty Leading the People
The museum itself should be in a museum.
What my dream house would look like
This is a Rembrandt!
Venus de Milo
We could see the Obelisk from the garden, so we walked there. Next was the Arc de Triomphe, which was a straight shot from where we stood. We could see it was right down the road, so we decided to walk there. That was a bad idea, because it was so much farther than it looked. It seemed like we walked forever by the time we reached it. Our feet were already hurting, so we had to take a break halfway there. We finally reached our destination and were told it was free that day this climb the Arc de Triomphe, so we climbed that spiral staircase all the way to the top. I think that was easier than walking there from the Louvre. The view at the top made it all worth it. It was beautiful, and you could see the Eiffel Tower in the skyline.
We then took the metro to the Eiffel Tower. It was huge, magnificent, and had long lines of tourists waiting to ride the elevator to the top. We decided not to go up, but if you do, I’d consider taking the stairs if you’re up for it. It’s cheaper and there’s basically no line. Unfortunately, a lot of the grassy areas were fenced off, which was a bit of an eyesore. We strolled around and got a snack, then rode the metro to see Moulin Rouge. We didn’t want to see a show, we just snapped a picture and left.
We then went to see Sacre Coeur, the cathedral dedicated to Jesus’ sacred heart. Whe we got there and saw all the steps we’d have to climb, (it’s the highest point in the city), we were so tired that we decided to rest and eat dinner at the restaurant across the street. I got a quiche and a salad, which was very good. I was just really happy to have some vegetables, because whenever I usually eat out, it’s just a sandwich for lunch. Also, there was free wifi, which is always the determining factor in where we eat.
Once we were well rested and well fed, we began the ascent to Sacre Coeur. It wasn’t as bad as it looked from the bottom. There were a lot of people sitting out front, watching the sunset and listening to a man sing about Africa. The inside had beautiful gold mosaics, but I still think Notre Dame is prettier. As we left, we snapped some pictures of the sun beginning to set.
As we left, we stopped at a cute little store that sold biscuits (cookies) and other sweets. I bought some madeleines, which are soft cake-like cookies that have a little bit of filling. They were delicious! The girl working there was really nice too. Everyone says Parisians are rude and don’t like Americans, but everyone I met and asked for help was very nice. One guy at the train station even printed out directions for us to get to our hostel Friday night!
We stopped by the Effel Tower again to see it at night, and we were not disappointed.
We rode the metro back to our hostel, looking forward to collapsing in bed after walking over 15 miles that day.
The next morning, Sunday, we got up early and went to see the Palace of Versailles. We left too early to get the free breakfast at our hostel, so we stopped at the McDonald’s right outside the train station once we got to Versailles. I got a slice of flan and a mocha, and I must say, I think the Europeans do McDonald’s right. I don’t really like McDonald’s in the States, but that flan was good. We then walked to the palace a couple blocks away. We got there almost an hour before it opened, and there was already a line forming. I stood in line for the entrance while my friend stood in line for the tickets, which was probably our best idea of the day. By the time it opened, the line had filled the entire courtyard, winding like a snake to take up every bit of space. It was rediculous. We were so glad we got there early.
The palace was gorgeous! I can’t imagine living there, it was just incredible. It would be so fun to get dressed up and go to a soirée in a place like that.
We decided we didn’t have time to see the gardens, so I’ll save that for next time. 😉 we took the metro to the Musee d’Orsay, and ate lunch while standing in line. It probably only took about 30 minutes to get in, and we got in for free by showing our visas! I loved this museum because Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas are some of my very favorite artists.
Woman with a Parasol by Monet
We then started our trek back to the airport. For some reason, the very convenient metro stop that we had just used was closed when we left the museum, so we had to find another one. On the way, I saw a statue dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, since he served as the dignitary to France.
We rode the bus to the airport, caught our Easyjet flight back to Pisa, and hopped on the train back to Florence. Another girl from SACI sat next to us, and we talked with her and a friendly Dutch man the rest of the way back. I was completely exhausted and had several large blisters on my feet, but I had just seen basically everything I wanted to see in Paris in a day and a half!