I know it’s been quite a while since my last post because classes have gotten quite busy, but I still want to document all of my wonderful trips I have taken. So now, let’s talk about Paris!
We had a very early start on Saturday, February 21st. We had to take buses to the airport because the tube wasn’t even open yet. But we made it no problem and it started snowing just as we were about to take off!
We landed and went straight to the city. Our bus dropped us at the Opera House and we went to have lunch at a little café nearby. It was my first attempt at speaking French and I felt like I did relatively well for not having been in a French class for 3 years! Then we walked past the Louvre and through the garden, across one of the lock bridges to make our way to the Musee D’Orsay. It was a beautiful museum full of really great art and was a lovely way to start our Paris excursion.
After that we made our way to Notre Dame and walked around inside. There was a ceremony inside happening on the altar, so I approached the woman working at the front desk to ask what it was and it turned out to be a ceremony for the new catechumen who would be baptized at Easter Vigil. This whole conversation was in French so I was also very proud of myself for understanding it all. The church was gorgeous and also had the crown of thorns of Christ inside which was absolutely incredible to witness. “God Help The Outcasts” was definitely stuck in my head the entire time, although we never ran into Quasi Modo.
Something we learned very quickly was that no one wanted to speak English, at least not right off the bat. They were very polite when I spoke my slow, broken French and would slow down to match my pace so I could understand, but they would not speak English to me until we had had at least 5 or 6 exchanges in French and then they would basically give up and start speaking English. Which was fine by me because I loved speaking the small amount of French I knew the whole time!
After Notre Dame we went to check into our hostel and then eat dinner. Afterward we made our way to…The Eiffel Tower!! Dream come true, casually. It was FREEZING and first we had to wait in line, like, forever. And then we took an elevator halfway to the top, looked around up there, and the views were amazing. I thought that was the top, then realized there was quite a bit more to go. I’m terrified of heights, so this was not the best news, but we made it and it was incredible. Absolutely everything we had ever dreamed it would be. Like I said it was freezing, but we stayed up there as long as we humanly could, then we wanted to make our way back down in time to see the whole tower lit up. That was also incredible. Every hour on the hour at night for 5 minutes the entire tower flickers with a million lights and it was so beautiful. It was my 5 year old self’s dream come true. Then of course we had to finish the night off correctly with Nutella Crepes.
The next morning, we hiked up the literal mountain that Sacre Coeur sat on because it was very close to our hostel. It was a beautiful church. Then we made our way to the L’Arc de Triomphe and wandered down the Champs Elysee. Afterward, we made a special pilgrimage to Le Centre Pompidou. It’s the modern art museum of Paris and though we didn’t go in, I’ve desperately wanted to see it since doing a project on it in Freshman year of high school. It has an exoskeleton so all of the heating pipes and electrical wires and people moving devices like stairs and the elevators are on the outside, and it also has a sculpture fountain. The fountain was turned off, but I was very excited to get to see the building. Then, we went to walk around La Comedie-Francaise and the garden of the Palais-Royal. Finally we made our way to the Louvre!
We didn’t realize how long the line was and ended up standing in it for 2 hours. Note to self for later Paris excursions: buy tickets ahead of time. But once we made it in, it was beautiful. Of course we got to see the Mona Lisa. Everyone always warned me how small it was going to be, so by the time I got there I was expecting it to be about the size of a postage stamp. It really wasn’t that small. But anyway. All of our favorite part was the Napoleon Apartments which were so elaborately decorated and beautiful. We spent 3 hours there and still didn’t manage to see everything. Next time!
So our whirlwind adventure in Paris was a success! I will be returning with my parents come April and I am so excited to get to go again to such a wonderful city!