November 29th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | Comments Off on Bonjour Paris by
Sam and I started our trip approximately 6:00 am on the 5th of November for our 3 day Paris tour with International Friends followed by a 3 day Barcelona visit. The night before, we stayed up quite late to finish the work we’ve been neglecting all week, 2 lab reports due the following Monday. Stress. Since we were going to be traveling all throughout reading week, we had to get them done before we left. and we did..(much to my surprise. I still got a first, which is the equivalent of an A) With about 3 hours of sleep we got on the coach and began our journey to the city of love, Paris. The coach tour to Paris includes a bus ride of 2 hours to Dover Beach, then from Dover, we take a ferry to Calais, arriving in France. Then another 2-3 hour coach ride to Paris. Yes it was quite a tedious trip, but it was worth it. =)
We checked into our hotel in central Paris and I realized that I do not know a word of French…well..good thing we have a tour guide. Throughout my entire stay in Paris, I’d always find myself spitting out Spanish when French is needed. Fail. Epic fail ChenChen. After going around Paris for a couple of days, I can say that the city is absolutely everything you expect it to be! The city itself is just absolutely beautiful, however the three days of consistent rainfall, cold windy rainfall puts a damper on the mood. We did not let that get in our way of being touristy. The first night, we had a panoramic bus tour of the city, followed by a cruise tour down Seine, and then Eiffel Tower. The tower light up with astonishing white lights for the first five minutes of the hour starting at 6pm. I cannot even begin to tell you the beauty of such a sight, especially at night. Walking beneath la Tour Eiffel, I felt so content yet so insignificant. The body of the tower is softer and more elegant than that of a sky-scraper. It seems like, with her four legs and elaborate and detailed arches, rises into the air gracefully.We bought crepes on our way to back to the hotel- dulce de leche, and ended our first night in with some tacky French soap opera.
The next day, it seems like the gloomy weather of foggy London town has followed us to Paris. Cold cold rain came down, and lasted all day. Our first stop was the cathedral Sacre Coeur (sacred heart) which sits on the top of a hill. It was once the tallest point in Paris until the tower was built. After climbing many steps we were provided with a wonderful southern view of the entirety of Paris. Notre Dame was our second stop, the rain continued. We all had cold, wet feet by the time we arrived but Notre Dame was worth it. I did not take pictures but rather took some time for a much needed personal spiritual reflection. We took the Metro home after Notre Dame, as it was still raining. It is only 1,70 euro for a one way ticket on the metro- much cheaper compared to the London Tube, but that is what you get when the metro is subsidized 2/3 by the Parisian tax payers. We spent the rest of the afternoon napping and drying off. Dinner was at a pizza place our tour guy suggested. It was marvelous, the three friends and I had a great night with wine, 2 huge pizzas, and some amazing dessert. The rest of the night held more wine drinking, and bar hopping.
Again it was raining when we awoke on the third day in Paris. It was also the first Sunday of the month, which means the Louvre was open to public free of charge. The Louvre was much bigger and crowded than the other museums I had visited in London. We went straight for the Mona Lisa- who is smaller than expected, surrounded by a crowd of irritated tourists. The rest of the day after the Louvre was quite and peaceful, we stayed in and rested for our next destination, Barcelona!