While I was in Paris, I got into the habit of writing things down in my journal (this adorable red moleskin my Dad got me for Christmas, might have been my favorite gift). Lauren mercilessly teased me, and I’ll admit I felt slightly pretentious sitting strolling through the gardens of Versailles and riding the Parisian subway while righting in my notebook. However I am extremely grateful right now for my act of affectation, because I can write about my trip here, with richer detail!
Anyone who knows me would quickly agree that I am not the most organized girl in the world. “Pre-planning” for Paris consisted of me booking my tickets, and spending the next three fantasizing about meeting a handsome descendent of the House of Bourbon who would whisk me off to Versailles and fed me crepes while wearing a beret. I have an active imagination. Anyways, Ryanair (which is the cheapest airline in Europe) requires you print your ticket and check in online four hours in advance. Which I did not (that would require me to read the terms of agreement …). Also I got my wallet stolen two days earlier. Also I had five minutes to pay a huge fine/get through security/ deal with the raging bitch that was not fond of my face. Made it in the nick of time and five or so hours later we arrived at our adorable little hostel in the nineteenth district. We intended to check out a nightclub with Ryan, but the drama of earlier events zapped our will to party, so instead we had a beer at the bar downstairs. Met a nice Australian and New Zealander and learned to always assume someone with a “down-under” accent is from New Zealand.
The next morning, after a less than satisfying breakfast, we went out on a free tour of the city. Our tour guide was this hyperactive, bubbly, history nerd from New Zealand who radiated enthusiasm and positivity . We went to the Louvre, saw the pyramids (the scar on the face of Paris), and took cheesy tourist pictures. We saw the charming unassuming bridge where Carrie and Big had their romantic kiss in the season finale of SATC. We went to concord square, saw the petite palais and the grand palais, and had a lunch of snails and frogs legs! The snails were delicious, and Lauren was kind enough to splash some in my face. We left and found Kim, who had just arrived and continued on our own. The climax of my weekend, and quite possibly my time in Europe, was after lunch when we climbed the Eiffel Tower. I am a dramatic basket case of emotions sometimes, but I was overcome with tears of awe and wonder when I looked out at Paris from the second tier. We spent two hours searching around, not talking just soaking in one of the most famous and life altering sites in the world. It was really awesome.
That night we went to a few bars near The Moulin Rouge. We met a couple of French guys who ended up being slimy creeps, so our escape route was a table of inconspicuous gentlemen who ended up being super cool guys. I talked American politics with this uber intelligent guy from Belgium, not exatly bar banter but interesting.
The next day we went to the Palace of Versailles. Extravagance realized. We got a history lesson from our tour guide from the day before in four hours that could rival a year of AP European history senior year any day. If anyone has any questions about the life of Louis’ 14-16, do not hesitate to ask me. The highlight was easily the hall of mirrors, which was so elegant, lavish, and warm. The weather was overcast and misty, but oddly it accented the mysterious and bewitching vibe the palace has perfectly, especially in those incredible gardens. We trained back to Paris with a really sweet Australian girl who is backpacking around Europe for EIGHT months! Apparently it’s a cultural thing for young Australians to see the world while they’re young.
That night we did a bar crawl set up through our tour group that was fun. I caught someone pick pocketing me, which was very scary, but all he got was my mole skin, which I managed to snatch back within seconds. He promptly sprinted out of the bar when I began screaming. We met a group of British university students who were on a fieldtrip to Paris. Just your run of the mill casual field trip.
Our last day was dedicated to the Louvre. Two semester of Art History gave me some elementary knowledge of of the art, but with 35,000 pieces, I was in way over my head. Saw the Mona Lisa (obviously), and my personal favorite Liberty Leading the People. It was long, and at times tedious, but also quite amazing. There is a certain atmosphere about museums that makes me feel so calm and tranquil, and that atmosphere was incredibly amplified in the world’s most famous museum. I left that night by myself and made it back to Rome at around midnight.
Paris gets an A in my grade book. It has everything a young traveler could ever want, unique cuisine, an incredible cultural vibe, and an entertaining nightlife.