Paris, France

August 17, 2015

in Czech Republic, Europe, Stephanie Sartell, Summer 2015

The one and only. A city I’ve been looking forward to visiting since middle school when I studied the language. It was my first European-love of a city.

My roommate (from Prague) and I arrived in Paris in the middle of the night on a Friday. We thought the city streets might be quiet and intimidating trying to find or hostel, but that wasn’t the case at all. The neighborhood our hostel was in, Republic, was super active, a large night scene, people were EVERYWHERE it felt as if we were downtown. Perfect location for our hostel. (My hostel was Absolute Paris Boutique Hostel incase you want to look into it.)

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Day one:

Shopping. One of my main objectives of going to Paris was to go shopping, so we dove in on an overcast day one. There were a few stores I definitely fell in love with and wish I had back home, and there were many that were international companies that were very familiar.

As soon as the sun came out, so did we. Today we walked to the Notre Dam and met up with some of my roommates friends from back home in Indiana. The church was beautiful, tall, with one of the largest crowds of tourists admiring its architecture. You can explore inside too but we never made it that far.

During the same day we saw lots of protesters right in Republic square, very near to our hostel, in support of Greece. Greece was going through a lot of EU events during my time in Europe: a lot of drama and whether they would stay a member in the EU and continue using the euro as the country’s currency because they’re bankrupt.

That night we went to dinner with the new friends and enjoyed some delicious pasta, wine, and bread. For dessert we walked to a local crepe stand where the chef let me help make mine myself.   Best crepe the whole trip!

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Day two:

The Chateau du Versailles!!! This is a must see in Paris. Some people who go to Paris for one day and one day only spend the whole time at the Chateau because they think it’s so great. I spent a half-day there. I only bought the ticket for the regular Chateau entrance, I didn’t do any other museums or the Garden (the weather wasn’t great again so the Garden wasn’t picture perfect.

Another key part of going to Versailles was being at one of the locations of Angelina’s, a famous tourist café especially known for their extremely thick hot chocolate. I could not finish my cup alone, I needed to ask my friend for help. After that cup I felt completely full as if I just finished a whole meal. I definitely recommend, but get ready to share!

Today was also Summer Solstice, which caused for celebration throughout the streets of Paris. You could find live outdoor music at every corner, every genre with a crowd of people dancing and celebrating the new season. It was one of the most entertaining nights I had in Paris; I want to go to the summer solstice celebration every year.

Day Three:

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On our third day in Paris we started at the Musee du Louvre. Hands down best museum I have even been in. It’s where you can view the portrait of the one and only Mona Lisa, who had her own viewing area and security guards. The museum was huge; you could easily spend two days in there if you wanted to take in every piece of art. My personal favorite part was walking through Napoleon III’s apartments. It was probably the most prestigious living arrangements I’ve ever seen. You must see the Musee du Louver when you visit Paris.

After the Louver we went to the Arc Du Thompe. I was extremely excited for this because when I studied French years ago this was always my favorite monument we learned about. A huge structure in the middle of a large round about where you needed to go underground in order to reach, it was special. When we arrived, I soon learned the arc was so large it was often hard to get the entire structure into a picture. Under the arc had the tomb of an unknown soldier from World War I making the location increasingly historic. It was a great experience.

All of a sudden, unluckily, it got really windy and began raining. We took cover in a local café and decided how we wanted to spend our last night in Paris. Ultimately, I was going to the Eiffel Tower alone to see it sparkle under the moonlight.

Seeing the Eiffel Tower up close and personal is an experience people across the globe anticipate.   It’s a truly magnificent view, especially at night. You need to make sure you are there on the hour at least once so you can see the tower sparkle for a total of five minutes before returning to its usual lit up self.

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Day four:

My last day in Paris I spent at the Pere Lachaise Cemetrery, the Jardin Du Luxembourg, and again the Eiffel tower. We finally climbed up the Eiffel tower today and I loved every minute, every step (I bought the walking pass not elevator). There are two levels you climb on your way up. The first level had a patio set up; you could stay all day and eat and drink if you like, which would actually be a pretty sweet day in my opinion. The second floor had a gift shop I remember but more viewing area. Being on the second level probably felt just as intense of what it would have been like if I was all the way up on the top of the tower. Someday I will make it to the top, Paris is a place I will definitely be back for and hopefully much longer. This trip has really made me want to brush up on my French.

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Things I noticed about Paris

-Well-dressed people (not surprised)

-Easy metro

-Use student ID to get into places like the museums (then you can often get in free but it might be exclusive for EU student IDs)

-Eggs and omelets are on pretty much every menu

-Crepes!! (Yum)

-Eiffel Tower sparkles at night (I would try not to miss this)

 

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