Falling in the love with the city of love: Paris
After exams were all complete there was one last place I needed to visit before heading home- Paris. My friend and I had finished our exams and were ready to go explore the city filled with some of the greatest monuments and sites. Saturday afternoon we began our 17 hour megabus trek to good ‘ol Paris. Arriving early Sunday morning we headed to our hostel to drop off out bags and then allowed the adventure to begin.
Our first stop was Versailles, a city about an hour out of the center of Paris. It houses the massive Palace of Versailles, however we didn’t tour the actual palace but went to explore the gardens in the the back. Since we were going on a weekend the fountains and music were playing, only adding to the whimsy of the space. After many hours in the bus we were incredibly thankful to have a relaxing time of strolling the gardens and soaking up the sun. Once our exploration ceased, we headed back to the hostel. That night the bar in the hostel had a karaoke night where two guys would play guitars and anyone could go up, request a song and belt away. I somehow allowed my friend to sign me up for it. So, in the matter of five minutes, I added and crossed off karaoke abroad to my bucket list. It was not something that I had ever imagined myself doing but luckily I had a friend to encourage me. In truth, that’s what this trip is all about: opportunities to do once in a lifetime things that go beyond the zone of comfort. It was a blast and set the mood for a fantastic next couple of days.
On Monday we had a bike tour with a company called Fat Tire Bikes. We completely lucked out with immaculate weather during our tour as it rained both before and after. It was an awesome way to see the city and learn it’s history, plus it gave us a good jumping point for the city. Following our city exploration we hit the Eiffel Tower for a climb to the top. After walking endless amounts of stairs we hit the second floor to see a view like no other. It was impeccable and spanned for miles and miles exemplifying the symmetry of the city. I continued from the second floor all the way to the top via a lift to not only enhance the height but the view!
The following day it poured literally all day. Nevertheless, we were determined to tackle some of the big areas of Norte Dam, Montmartre, Sacre-Coeur and the Moulin Rouge. We spanned the outskirts from one edge to the other experiencing a new perspective of the city and it’s people. That night we headed out for another bike tour to explore the Notre Dam area, biked into the sunset by the Louvre, passed the love lock bridges, learned the history of it all and hopped a boat down the canal. Our tour finished with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower as it glistened and sparkled with its thousands of LED lights that perform every hour on the hour at night for five minutes. After our tour concluded we went for an infamous Paris crepe and headed back to the hostel to pack and get some rest for our last day of Paris.
On our final day we headed to Louvre determined to see Mona Lisa and the expansive art collection contained within the walls of the enormous building. After completing a few Mona selfies and exploring the artwork of different eras and regions, we headed to the park behind the Louvre to snag some chairs by a fountain, relax and soak up some sun. Afterward we began our walk down the Champs-Élysées, a long road lined with some of the most expensive brand name stores in the world. The Champs-Élysées leads down to the Arc de Triumph- another Paris sight seeing must that is housed with history and also one of the biggest intersections in Paris. After that we began walking in search of last minute shops, souvenirs and a place for our final Parisian meal.
We ended up walking all the way from the Arc to our hostel as we searched for an inexpensive place to fulfill our hungry appetites. We ended up befalling upon a little bakery along the canal called Le Fournil de Virgile. This place ended up being the perfect finale to our trip. The baker ended up undercharging us for our meals and, as we were eating, came over and dropped off a little bag of goodies for us. We were so in love with this man, his bakery and the incredible pastries that we decided to go back in and get a true Paris croissant for the road. Yet again, he gave them to us for free. We were flabbergasted and humbled by his generosity and could not stop talking about it for he rest of the night.
As we walked the canal back to the hostel, picked up our bags and headed to the bus station to begin our trek home I couldn’t help but reflect on the last five months and especially the past four days. In four days we managed to explore it all, visit nearly every historical landmark in Paris and undoubtedly fall in love with the city of love.
Until next time, au revoir!