Paris, Je t’aime!

What can I say… Paris was absolutely wonderful! It started on Saturday night with Colleen’s birthday dinner at a really nice restaurant in Saint-Michel. In honour of the occassion (and just being in Paris) we went all out and ordered 3 delicious courses. That began the trend of eating and eating and eating… I don’t feel like we stopped at any point of the trip.

Our apartment was really nice. Sure, it was for two people, and there were six of us – but we worked around that. A few in the bed, a few on the floor. Not so comfortable, but lots of fun. It was in a really good area, allowing us to walk to most of the places we went. And we walked A LOT. I don’t know if I’ve ever walked so much as I did in those few days. As exhausting as it was, it was a great way to take in the surroundings. And it made me feel a little better about my excessive consumption of crepes, croissants, chocolate, cheese, and so forth.

On Sunday we spent the afternoon at the Versailles. It is certainly one of my favourite places that I’ve ever been to. I had been to Versailles on my last trip, but it was no less inspiring this time. Partly because I’ve studied the history around it, and partly because it’s just SO beautiful.

One of the rooms inside the Palace

In the gardens of Versailles

On Monday, Sabrina and I climbed to the top of Notre Dame. The view was definitely worth the amount of stairs we had to climb to get there. Although I’d been inside last time, I was still taken aback by how beautiful it was. We continued the same theme with a visit to Saint Chapelle, a magnificent old chapel. We then visited the Pantheon, which houses the tombs of people like Marie Curie, Emile Zola and Victor Hugo. I have Sabrina to thank for planning the day’s itinerary. Her ability to speak fluent French and read a map didn’t go astray either!

A view of Paris from the top of Notre Dame

Inside Sainte-Chappelle

Inside the Pantheon

That afternoon, we met up with the other girls at the Eiffel Tower. They had spent the day shopping and wandering and eating chocolate. One of the appeals of going to Paris when we did was spending Valentine’s Day in the City of Love. Of course, the Eiffel Tower was full of couples that day, and we very much enjoyed some people watching in the late-afternoon Parisian sun.

No need for an explanation here!

Girls (minus 1) 

Following two nights of eating at restaurants (Sabrina took us to a great little place her friend reccommended the night before) we decided to cook dinner at our place. Well, Isabel decided to cook and we decided to eat. As usual, her culinary skills amazed us all. We enjoyed her mixed vegetable dish along with lots of bread, cheese, (sausage for those who would eat it) and wine and chocolate.

The next day was probably my favourite of the trip. Since Emily was leaving on Tuesday, we went out for breakfast before she left. Most of us ordered a continental breakfast which included coffee (much better coffee than in London!), orange juice, baguette with jam and a croissant. Yum. After we had said goodbye to Emily, we headed towards the Louvre. When we got there, I was surprised not to see a line outside, as I remember waiting in line last time. As it turns out, the Louvre is closed in Tuesdays.

So we re-evaluated our itenerary, deciding to walk to the Champs-Elysses. We took our time up the famous strip, stopping to look in various shops along the way, before arriving at the Arc de Triomphe. After taking some pictures, we set off towards Monmartre. I was really keen to go to Monmartre, because it’s somewhere I didn’t make it to last time.

Isabel and Me in front of the Arc de Triomphe

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Monmartre. I knew it was on a hill, and Sacre-Couer was there, but that’s about it! Turns out, it’s a really picturesque area above the city with cobblestone streets and cute little shops. Sacre-Coeur, a very old Roman Catholic church, is at the top. From there, you get a beautiful view of Paris. The Church itself is beautiful too, although we were not allowed to take photos inside.

Sacre-Couer

Me in front of the view I speak of 

We spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering the streets of the area, which was lovely. We also found the Moulin Rouge. By the end of the day – in which we did not take the Metro once – I was completely exhausted, but very content with what we’d accomplished.

One of the streets in the area

And then, yesterday, it was already the last day. Fortunately, our train home was not until the evening, so we got another full day in Paris. In the morning, Colleen, Tiernan and I took a tour of the Paris Opera House. It might be the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen – a truly amazing piece of architecture. I enjoyed listening to our tour guide talk about the history of the place; how rich people would come to the opera not to see the show, but rather to be seen. And apparently I have to watch ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’

Inside the Opera House

The theatre itself. It’s still used for performances today.

In the afternoon, we went to the Louvre, seeing as we missed out the day before. Although I have been, there was so much I saw that I don’t remember seeing. The place is unimaginably enormous with a remarkable variety of art, artefacts, and more. When we came out, it was beautiful and sunny. We spent our last hour or two wandering the streets of Paris, and of course having a last coffee and crepe.

The Louvre

Last views of Paris – for now!

And then it was time to go home. It’s interesting, coming back to London felt like coming home to my own bed. It was so good to have a bed to myself last night, and to eat some healthy food today.

To be honest, I was a bit disconcerted that my first trip abroad while in London was to the one other place in Europe that I’ve been before. But looking back now, I saw so much that I didn’t see the first time, and it was a completely different experience. Although I didn’t do a whole lot of the navigating, I feel much more acquainted with the city than I did after my first trip. I even got to speak a little bit of my high school French!

It was a fantastic few days in a culture-rich city with super cool friends, and I’m sad that it’s over. I have to face an assignment now. But, I do have my birthday to look forward to. Paris and a birthday in one week – not too shabby. Well, I hope you enjoyed my last post as a teenager! xx

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