Bonjour! So this weekend I was in Paris with my program. It was a great time! It was full of great food and sights, but the weather was not so great. It rained practically the entire time. But it was amazing nonetheless!
The trip started out on Friday. After a late night trying to pack, I woke up on Friday morning to get to class. I was running late to class, but luckily that class was cancelled so I got to enjoy my morning before heading out. Back to bed! Only for a little though because we were due at the train station at 12:45. We left from St. Pancras International station which is right across the street from Kings Cross. And St. Pancras is just as massive as its counter part. I found out Kings Cross is more for domestic travel and St. Pancras is for International travel. Although not really because I am going to Brighton on Sunday (2/7) but we are leaving from St. Pancras. But anyway, I’ve only travelled by train one other time than this weekend. Fredericksburg has a train station and I went home by train one year. So I was definitely excited to be on the train. It was a little different experience because we had to go through customs first before we got to our terminal, instead of after we arrived at the destination.
It was a quick 2hr and 30 minute trip to Paris and we were set. it didn’t really feel like a super long time. I caught up on Serial and afterwards tucked into the Martian and off we went!! After arriving in Paris, it was just a short walk to our hotel. We got settled in our rooms, it was off to the river! But first a stop at the grocery store to get some bread cheese and wine for our boat tour. The hotel is right by the metro so getting to the pier was very easy. We arrived at the tour and immediately broke into our stash of food. It was probably one of the best meals I’ve had. The boat took us up to the Eiffel Tower, and down around Notre Dame then back to the dock. Paris is so beautiful by the river!! It was so amazing to see the sights that I’ve only seen in pictures or videos and then see them in real life for the first time.
After the boat tour we were able to venture out on our own. a group of us decided to got explore the Eiffel Tower. Getting there was super stressful. I’d never seen the map of the metro before so it was really confusing to find a way to get to the Eiffel Tower. It made me miss the Tube in London. But it was so worth the views once we got there. We even got to see the tower sparkle! They light it up even more with twinkling lights for 5 minutes every hour.
We walked around the base of the Tower, with our heads up the entire time, and through the park that surrounds it. The Eiffel Tower is massive, I could never really comprehend how big it was until I was standing at the base of it. Its gorgeous.
On Saturday we got up early for a bus tour around Paris. Of course we got to see all of the sights we saw last night but it was a different perspective to see it from street level. We went to the Eiffel Tower, past Notre Dame, up to the Arc de Triumph, Crystal Palace, and the Louvre where we ended the tour. Each person received tickets to the Louvre and we decided to take full advantage of that. We descended down into the atrium through the glass pyramid, which was incredible.
It was so overwhelmingly beautiful and busy. I wish I had known more about the Louvre and what was in there because I only knew that the Mona Lisa was there. We made a b-line for it since we knew it would be the busiest painting.
Afterwards we popped over to the cafe for a quick lunch. Then it was off to probably the most lavish apartment in the world. They belonged to Napoleon III, and it was incredibly, ornate, and colorful. I can only imagine what it looked like when it was actually being used. It was like we stepped back into the 1700s I would definitely come back to the Louvre, to explore even more of what they have.
Then we were off to Notre Dame! Just casually hung out with Quasimodo. I was speechless while walking through. It was amazing. It kind of brought me back to Rome where we went to tons of churches. Notre Dame is massive though. Between the towering ceilings, beautiful stain glass windows, and quiet alcoves, it was easily my favorite place. I just sat in the main part of the sanctuary for a few minutes to take in the entire place. It was also a great space to dodge the rain.
We popped over to Shakespeare and Company, a famous bookstore. it was chock full of different books, from classics to some new authors. I bought a book and I’m really excited to read it! It was such a pretty store! We grabbed some crepes and decided to head back to the hotel to take a nap. Unfortunately, when we got around to getting dinner the only restaurant open was a Chinese restaurant. But it was still delicious!
On Sunday, we headed off toVersailles for the day! It was great day to go as well! It was only cloudy and it rained for a little bit. I started to get the hang of the metro and we had to add another train to the trip. The Palace of Versailles was just as ornate as the apartments in the Louvre. The Hall of the Mirrors was my favorite part along with the gardens as well. I probably will go back in the spring so I can see all of the flowers blooming.
We walked through the gardens after we toured the Palace. The gardens were incredible. From the palace you could practically see the entire gardens! We walked down to the reflecting pool and back up to the palace.Everything was so green from the rain as well so it totally made up for the fact that there were not flowers.
We made our way back to the hotel to meet the rest of our group. We stopped at the grocery store around the corner for another round of brie and bread. We headed over to the train station for a departure at 8pm. Unfortunately we got delayed coming back because there was a fire alarm in St. Pancras and the entire station needed to be evacuated. But we made it back!
Overall, I would definitely go back to Paris to see the Louvre and Versailles again. I enjoyed my time there but I don’t think I would go back for an extended stay, maybe only for a day or so. Paris is very beautiful!
This was how fast we were going on the way back to London