Spring Break Part 1: Paris and London

Spring Break Part 1: Paris and London

With Europe at our finger tips, the students of the John Felice Rome Center spread across the continent and beyond during our 10 day spring break. Students had the option to join JFRC staff on a study trip to the Balkans or Greece and Turkey or embark on individual journeys. I opted to map my own route. I used my European connections to my advantage, having the opportunity to stay with family friends in London and Ireland.

My friend Jordan and I spent our first weekend in Paris, where we met two friends that are studying in Madrid. We stayed in the St. Germain neighborhood which allowed us to walk to all the major sights of the city. We made our way to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees. And might’ve accidentally stopped for crepes twice–when in Paris, right? That night we made our way to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The “City of Light” is magical from that high up and certainly lived up to its nickname.

Saturday we aimed to see as much of the city as we possibly could. The Louvre was our 1st stop which helped us beat the crowds and allowed us to get nice and close to the tiny portrait of Mona Lisa and other iconic artwork throughout the museum. Then we walked along the river until we reached the island of the Seine river that Notre Dame calls home. The rest of our afternoon involved a stroll though the Latin Quarter (plus macaroons), lounging in Luxembourg Gardens (plus crepes), and a visit to the Musee D’Orsay (no snacks here, but involved an impressionist feast for the eyes). Our super touristy day ended with full stomachs and happy hearts.

Sunday brought us on a journey to the Palace of Versailles. Where, after our tour of the palace, we got to soak up the sun by the lake before returning to Paris for a double crepe dinner (that brings the crepe count to 6 in 3 days). Although I could’ve stayed in Paris for the next month, it was time for us to head off to city #2 and experience London for a few days.

We kicked off our visit to London by eating lunch at a Mexican restaurant (one type of cuisine Rome just doesn’t have) then taking a lap around part of the city center. We passed by the London Tower, crossed over the Tower Bridge, stopped for tea and brownies at the Borough Market, took a bow by Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and made it back over to the tube by way of the Millennium Bridge. Since we stayed with a family friend of mine she gave us a pub recommendation near her flat. Eating shepard’s pie and “bangers and mash” was the 1st time we felt like true Londoners.

Tuesday brought us on a walking tour of the city center past Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye, and a pit stop in the British Museum. Since we packed seeing the majority of the city into one day our evening tickets to see Les Miserables gave us the perfect excuse to sit for 3 hours. After such a full day on Tuesday we decided to take things a little slower on Wednesday and took a day trip to Oxford. We wandered around the town and the campus for most of the day gaping at the beautiful architecture before enjoying yet another dinner of pub-style food.

Both of us absolutely loved our time in Paris and London, but our spring break adventure continued in Ireland that weekend.

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