What I realized quickly about Paris, France is how everything that is talked very highly of, i.e Mona Lisa, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, The Louvre, Moulin Rouge is all very overrated. Don’t get me wrong, everything in Paris is extraordinarily beautiful, but those sites are full of tourist. The good thing though is there is so much beauty in the unexpected things, that the off the map destinations make up for all the crowded touristy attractions .
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, but if you have been to Paris you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Another thing I realized quickly about Paris is 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 so I would say the blisters and foot pain 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 rea,l and that I was actually standing in Paris. I had to touch it to make sure it was real.
All the pictures I took looked 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 around 700 stairs to get to the top, but the views were completely worth it.
From the Eiffel Tower we walked over 2.5 miles (The beginning of the all the walking, yay) 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 the bridge because of the romantic story behind it, but it was just one of those things that when you’re in Paris you have to see it and be apart of all the cliches. 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 real phenomenon for tourist and romantics 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 was running on little sleep, it was still so magical and bittersweet to be there. I forgot about the bags under my eyes and I just appreciated where I was, the city of love.
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. 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. The walking 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 saw some of the main things – Mona Lisa, Venus De Milo, etc. 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 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.
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. And to make it even more perfect we ended right under the eiffel tower as it sparkled.
We spent the rest of the night sitting underneath the Eiffel Tower and just watching 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 said and we just watched it sparkle.
We started the next 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 at dinner with the both of them. It was so nice to see her so happy that her mom was visiting. Even though she isn’t my mom, it still brought a little piece of 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 and the crabbiness, everything was worth it. I had never been more excited to be on a bus for 6 hours. Getting on that bus meant that Michael, Sophie and I would never experience another trip together. And it meant that my time in Europe 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.