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The long awaited, ever fabulous: Paris

The long awaited, ever fabulous: Paris

I can’t believe that I’m already back in Rome after my last trip of the semester. I loved Paris (coming soon: ranking of the places I’ve been this semester) and I definitely made some great memories there.

The weekend was kicked off on Wednesday night last week since it was the beginning of Thanksgiving break. It was a little weird to not be home for the holiday. There was a special dinner on Wednesday night in the cafeteria though. It consisted of wine, pasta (of course), turkey, mashed potatoes, and peas. The pasta was really good: it was pumpkin ravioli with melted cheese on top. I wish they would make that regularly for meals! Overall, it was a good time and I ended up going to sleep pretty late even though I had to get up at 4 am the next morning to leave for my flight to Paris.

Of course when we got to the airport we saw people from JFRC that were on the same flight. It always seems so crazy to me that I just run into people I know all over the world since everyone travels so much here. “Yea, I’m in [insert European city here] and I know the people sitting at the table over there, no big deal”. It is a really cool feeling. We had a nice ryan-air flight and arrived in Paris pretty early Thursday so we had time to do a lot of sightseeing right away. After dropping our backpacks off at the hostel, we headed over to the Louvre. It was really easy to get there, and everywhere else around Paris because they have such a great public transportation system. We took the Metro all over the city. It was really clean and trains came every couple of minutes so the wait was never too long. That was a great change from Rome because in Rome public transportation is more often than not a nightmare. The Louvre was HUGE so we didn’t get to see even close to everything in the three hours that we spent in the museum. We did get to see all of the highlights, however. Also, it was really nice that almost all the museums in Paris are free for students so we just had to show them the Visa in our passports to get in. The Mona Lisa was naturally one of our stops in the museum. It was smaller than I imagined, though. I really liked the Winged Victory statue. We also went to the D’Orsay Museum during that first day in Paris. It has the more modern impressionist painters, who built their own museum because their artwork was not allowed in the Louvre. That museum was pretty cool too. It was a long day of traveling, however, to by the end of the night I was glad to get out of the museum.

D'Orsay Museum

The second day of the trip, we went to Versailles. I was so excited! It was really cool to see the place that I had learned about so many times in history classes. It really is a giant palace. Although it is outside of Paris a little bit, it was really easy to get there by train. The whole palace is not open to the public so we saw the inside pretty quickly. Luckily, along with our free student tickets, we got free audio guides that told us about each room. It was a little dreary that day, and it started raining as we stepped out into the giant gardens that surround the palace. Not even the rain could stop my excitement, however. The gardens were so beautiful! After about a 15-minute walk through the gardens, we arrived at the Grand Trianon, where guests stayed, and the Petite Trianon, which was Marie Antoinette’s personal space. At this point I still just couldn’t get over the fact that these famous people in history had walked the same halls! There is also a little village that Marie Antoinette had built on the grounds that was super cute. It looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale! I was also surprised to see that there were a lot of animals on the grounds, I could have reached out and touched a bull at one point. By the time we finished walking around Versailles, it was already around 5pm, so we headed back to Paris in order to see the Eiffel Tower at night. Naturally, it was really pretty. If you get a chance to go there, make sure to be there on the hour after it gets dark because there are small lights all over the tower that twinkle.

Our second full day in Paris was also a lot of fun. One of my friends and I were staying a day longer than the other people we were traveling with, so we were able to sleep in a little. This was one awesome benefit of having some extra time because weekend trips get really tiring when you wake up at 8 and are out until past midnight every night. We met up with our friends to go shopping for souvenirs and ended up stumbling upon a Christmas market! There were tons of stands with food and gifts. It was awesome and really helped me get into the Christmas spirit (it hasn’t really felt like winter to me here since its still so warm). I had a variety of delicious snacks at the fair for lunch: soft pretzel, chocolate covered marshmallow, chocolate covered waffle, and hot wine. It was so nutritious… not! I also got a bunch of souvenirs for family, friends, and myself.

On our last day in Paris, we did some more traditional sightseeing. We checked out Notre Dame in the morning. Then I had a ham and cheese crepe by the Eiffel Tower (delicious!) before going up to the top of the tower. There are a couple of choices for ways that you can go up. We chose to walk to the first level instead of taking the elevator. It was 40-sum stories! It wasn’t too bad of a hike though. There is a good view from that level. Even though we heard that going to the top didn’t give you a much better view, we decided to do so anyway. We had to take an elevator to the top level.

The view was pretty much the same, but the elevator ride was really cool. It was weird because usually elevator rides are within a building, but going up in the tower felt like the elevator was just going up in the middle of the air. The whole Eiffel Tower experience took a bit longer than we expected, so by the time we were back on the solid ground, we had just enough time to pick up our backpacks from the hostel and we were off to the airport!

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