University of Wisconsin–Madison

Paris and Parents

Studying French and studying abroad in France, there are few trips as important as visiting the number one tourist destination in the world—Paris. Living in another country and learning so much, there are few times as comforting and exciting as having your family come visit. I had both at the same time—and it was AWESOME! Every study abroad student loves having friends and family visit because we get to show off everything that we have experienced so far. You know that feeling when you are showing your parents campus for the first time, and each building and sidewalk corner has some significance to your life that you must share with your visitors? It is the exact same thing, except now we have an entire country to show off (not to mention impress our visitors with our language skills)!

My ‘rents came to visit me in France for a week to round out an incredible semester. They started their first-ever trip to Europe by meeting me in Aix to see every detail about my life here. Whether they wanted to or not, they were given the most thorough tour from where I study to where I tripped going on a run. We then made our way via the TGV to Paris; I honestly have no other way to describe it besides a dream-come-true. Almost every young girl from the U.S who has watched Aristocats or Mary-Kate and Ashley’s movie Passport to Paris has hoped to see the The City of Lights. Add on classes about Paris’ great history and influence, I was bubbling with excitement. And thankfully, Paris turned out to be as incredible as promised.

Of course we did as many touristy things as possible. We gaped at the Eiffle Tower, climbed the Arc of Triumph, and nearly got lost in the gardens of Versaille Palace. We smiled back at the Mona Lisa, strolled down Champs Elysées, marveld at Impressionism in the Orsay Museum, and tried to find Quasimotto in the belfry at Notre Dame. From the Seine to Saint Chapelle, there is so much to see and do in Paris, that one trip will not suffice—but we had a good start! It was surprisingly easy to get around the big city using the trains and metro system—they have got it down to a science.

Without a doubt, experiencing this with my parents made the trip even better. It was great to translate their menus, talk about what I had learned about the culture, and to simply hang out together like we did before college hit. Not to sound too nostalgic, but there is always a part of home students miss. My favorite part of the trip was reflecting of all I had learned with my Pops on top of the Arc of Triumph as we waited for the lights of the Eiffle Tower to turn on. All we needed was some accordion music in the background to make it perfect. It was a privilege to have my parents spend the week with me on “my side of the ocean,” and seeing Paris was a highlight of this semester.

inside Notre Dame’s belfry
inside Notre Dame’s belfry
The Orsay Museum
The Orsay Museum
gardens of Versaille
gardens of Versaille
loving Paris
loving Paris
Palais de Versaille
Palais de Versaille

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Le Louvre Museum
Le Louvre Museum
A view of Paris from the Seine
A view of Paris from the Seine
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
plate of escargot
plate of escargot
Saint Chapelle
Saint Chapelle
L’Arc de Triomphe
L’Arc de Triomphe