The morning before departure started off wonderfully. A run in Kensington Gardens, Naked Juice, and a scone prepared me for the weekend of a lifetime.
Around noon, we set off on our train ride to Paris. The relentless ear popping for the first half hour got pretty old, but I was out for the rest of it. Considering we all had to ride a coach everywhere we went, it took about 7-8 hours from the time of departure in Kensington to finally arrive in Paris. We had an hour to dump our stuff off, eat, and then we were off to see the beautiful city on a boat tour. As we got off the underground, we were only a block away from the magnificent Eiffel Tower. I could never have imagined the size of this, I was in awe. The city looked amazing on the boat, but unfortunately pictures weren't turning out well in the dark. The cold got to me a bit too.
Most people went out to explore afterwards, but I knew we were in for a huge day, so I got some good sleeps. Plus, our hotel was incredibly nice, I had to take advantage of the tres tres comfortable bed, which meant I didn't have springs digging into my back all night.
We started off the morning with a semi-pleasant continental breakfast and then we were off for a bus tour, that would lead us to the Eiffel Tower. Mid-way, the bus stopped at the Notre Dame. This church was incredible as anyone could imagine and we had plenty of time to snap pictures.
The history of France is so rich and there's so many stories behind the buildings and why they were built where they are and how they are. We finally got to the Eiffel Tower around noon, just when it started raining. We waited a good half hour to ride the elevator up. When we finally got up there, despite the fog, it was gorgeous. Paris goes on for miles and miles.
After that cold, rainy experience, we grabbed lunch at a nearby cafe. The language was more of a barrier than I thought. I guess two years in high school did not really do me any good. At least I could semi get by, usually just by smiling. We headed to Le Louvre next and I was so excited because from the boat tour, this place was beyond enormous. I captured so many great photos. Did you know you can take pictures of Mona Lisa WITH the flash? It seemed a little concerning to me. Our last section we visited was Napoleon III's apartments. I couldn't believe that Parisian's taxes went to this place. As incredible as it was, it was a little obnoxious. I got it on video, but it has decided to take hours to upload so check it out on Facebook for those who have it.
The Louvre was completely amazing and when Julie and I go, we are going to explore more. We hiked on over to the Arc de Triomphe, but of course not until we got our crepes. Crepes with nutella are probably one of the best inventions. I say that about a lot of food, but I'm serious. I wish I could send you all one.
Crepes put us all in really giggly moods!
Moving on, we finally made our 1 1/2 mile trek to the Arc and then we were off to the Latin area to get some dinner. People literally stood outside of their restaurants and pressured you to come into their restaurant, dramatically pointing out the menu and speaking english, since apparently we just scream AMERICAN to everyone. We finally picked one because it offered us a free cocktail. I'd never experienced one before so I figured, why not? Not that great, but let me tell you what was. My gnocchi. Okay people, if you haven't tried it, go for it! We Americans love pasta anyways, so I guarantee you will.
We adventured back after dinner and prepared for our next day at Sacre Coeur. Unfortunately it was our last day! There were still so many things I wanted to do, especially go to Versailles, but that can wait for Julie. We ventured out around 10 and made it to the church. Gypsy people were trying to put a bracelet on our wrists and quite honestly, it was really scary. Apparently if they get one on you, you can't get out and then you have to end up paying them. Bess snagged a picture of them and they were not happy. Also, might I mention that there were not only creepy gypsies, but fake statues, a random man that played a harp, an accordion player, and strange men that sold handbags. It's fine, I bought a crepe to relieve those strange feelings.
One of the fake statues. Weird!!!
Off we went to the Arc de Triomphe because we needed some good daylight pictures. The highlights from this adventure were...
- the many, many, many Asians who did the peace sign, no smile thing
- Jackie getting dodged by a pigeon
- the Monks who wanted pictures with us
- being literally in the middle of the city
- seeing the biggest shopping road and not buying a single thing :)
the monk who LOVED us Americans
this is Jackie after getting hit, pigeon in the back
We ended the day by revisiting the Eiffel Tower in the daylight. We also went to this place with peace written in all different languages and it was really neat. This weekend was about the most adventurous, fun, tiring, silly trip I've ever been on, for FREE! Well I suppose tuition payed for it... but I can't wait to go back! Au revoir!