What I realized quickly about France is how everything that is talked very highly of (Mona Lisa, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, The Louvre, Moulin Rouge) is all very overrated (EXCEPT for the Eiffel Tower. That is the definition of magical) .But the good thing is there is so much beauty in the unexpected things.
A way to describe Paris is the most beautiful disgusting city in the world. It is dirty and has a certain smog that coats the city, but it is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen.
This sounds quite crazy if you have never been to Paris, but if you have, you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Another thing I realized quickly about Paris is that I would walk until my feet fell off. I had never done so much walking in my life, but I saw so much in three days that it was all worth it.
We arrived to Paris Friday morning and began our adventures. Our first stop was to go to the Eiffel Tower. Seeing the first glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, it was hard to grasp the thought that it was real and that I was actually standing in Paris.
All the pictures I took look as if I had photoshopped the Eiffel Tower into the background. After going up into the Eiffel Tower, the feeling of being there became reality. We could see the whole city of Paris from the top. We had to climb over 700 stairs to get there, but the views were completely worth it.
From the Eiffel Tower we walked over 2.5 miles to get to the meeting spot for our walking tour. Yes, we walked over 2 miles to begin walking again. We walked along the Seine river and enjoyed Paris from the streets.
We saw so many landmarks from this walk. My favorite, the love locks bridge.
Maybe I love this notion because I’m a sucker for romantics, but it was just a cute experience. For those of you who do not know what the Love Locks bridge, or Pont des Arts bridge, is I will explain.
It became a phenomenon after Sex and the City. There was an ending scene where the two main characters seal there love by putting a lock on the bridge and throwing the key into the river to signify that their love with last forever. Well I was that person that fell for this cliche tourist attraction.
Walking on the bridge, you cannot see the handrails and guards anymore. Locks overtake the bridge. Of course I had to put a lock on there. It would not have a been a successful trip to Paris if I didn’t.
It would have been cute to do it with a significant other, but I think having the chance to do it with my friends, whom I have experienced so much with, was even better.
On our walking tour we saw Notre Dame, The Louvre, Champs-Elysees , Latin Quarter, Tuileries Gardens, and of course, the Eiffel Tower.
After the longest day, I was so exhausted. We went back and checked-in to our hostel and ate some macaroons and pastries.
We then went to Sacre-Coeur and watched the sunset. Even though it was the longest day and I had got no sleep, it was still so magical and bittersweet to be there.
Bittersweet because I knew that this was the last of our trips with everyone (Although, Sophie and I will be going to Greece).
Sitting on the steps of Sacre-Coeur and watching the Parisian sunset with a bottle of wine is a memory that I will cherish forever.
As we walked back to our hostel, we caught our first glimpses of the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night.
My sister has always talked about how when you see the Eiffel Tower sparkle, it is one of the most magnificent experiences ever.
You think Paris cannot get any better and then you see the Eiffel Tower sparkle and all your expectations are exceeded. You kind of have to stop yourself from crying because it is that beautiful.
Watching it sparkle, I had one thought. All I wanted in the moment was to have my sister with me. Being in the city she loves and watching her favorite thing in the world happen, I got a little homesick. But the thing I had to remind myself is that I know one day we both will be back to Paris and I will experience these things all over again but with her.
The next morning we woke up early and went to Versailles. We saw the palace of Versailles, where King Louis XIV lived and ruled France. We toured the Gardens and the Palace grounds. It was one of the biggest Gardens I have seen. It was 800 hectares, which is equivalent to around 2000 acres. So on top of all the walking I did the day before, I walked a 2000 acre garden the next day and it only got worse from here.
After we returned from the Gardens, we decided to conquer the Louvre. We had already walked miles upon miles, why not go into the largest art museum? In the Louvre, we only saw the main things - Mona Lisa, Venus De Milo, etc. We were only in there about an hour and that was enough for me. Afterwards I was DEAD. My feet felt like they would fall off at any moment and our day wasn’t even half way over.
Later that night we had a river cruise at night along the Seine. We ate a picnic dinner on Pont Nuef and then enjoyed our late night cruise. We took the cruise in time for sunset, and yet another thing I thought could not get more beautiful and it did.
The sunset was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen. The sky was painted with the colors of reds and blues. It was as if I was in a real life Monet painting. The cruise was perfect, it ended right when the Eiffel tower began to sparkle.
We ended the night sitting underneath the Eiffel Tower and just gazing at it sparkling. Michael, Sophie and I were in mid conversation and as soon as it started to sparkle the conversation stopped. No words could be sad and we just watched it sparkle for 5 minutes.
The next morning, I was exhausted. I slept a combination of maybe 8 hours the whole weekend, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
We started the day with Palm Sunday mass at Notre Dame. It was such an incredible experience. The church had over 500 people in it and the mass was over 2 and 1/2 hours long, but it was unbelievable.
During our last day, we just walked around and saw our last views of the city. Emily and her mom arrived to Paris that night, so we ended our trip with dinner. It was so nice to see her so happy that her mom was visiting. Even though she isn’t my mind, it still brought home to Europe. She even brought us some American food that we had been craving.
We experienced so much in such a short period of time. All the walking, the tiredness, the crabbiness everything was worth it. It was safe to say, I had never been more excited to be on a bus before. It was sad though. Getting on that bus meant that Michael, Sophie and I would never experience another trip together. And it meant that my time here is almost over.
I can’t explain enough how the word bittersweet describes this feeling. For those of you who have studied abroad you know what I am talking about. But for those of you who have not, I really cannot describe what it feels like besides bittersweet.
Even though this was our last trip all together and the most emotional trip, it was one of the best trips to end our time here.