Two weeks ago I had pleasure of traveling to Paris with my good friend, Becca. Straight after classes on Wednesday we took our separate trains from Cádiz and Sevilla, and met up at the Madrid train station where our greeting looked something like this.
Turned out I didn't know the Madrid metro system quite as well as I thought, so it took a few transfers and some backtracking to get to the airport. A long security line ended with me getting my first pat-down, and Becca and I subsequently experiencing our first time running through an airport to catch our plane 12 minutes before the gate closed.
Upon our arrival to Charles de Gaulle, we learned that the last train into the city had already left, so we would have to buy bus tickets to another train station. Tired and a bit overwhelmed at the ticket office, we ran into an American living in Paris who offered us his help. With directions from that friendly lad (who really enjoyed showing us photos of his newly-potty-trained kitten,) we took a bus, then a train, then a metro to the international district where our hostel was located. After a bit of midnight wandering we got directions (in Spanish!) at a bar, arrived at the hostel (The Loft, which I highly recommend) and promptly passed out.
Without much of a plan, we headed into the city center on Thursday morning. We came up out of the metro and turned a corner, and saw Notre Dame popping up from among the rooftops across the Seine.
We figured that was as good a place as any to start our Paris experience, so we spent an hour or so there, attended daily mass and took plenty of photos. Like much of the trip would be, it was such a surreal experience, I kept asking myself, "Is this real life right now?"
|The stained glass at Notre Dame is undeniably beautiful and so intricate, absolutely exquisite.|
The remainder of Thursday was spent shopping, walking arm-in-arm around the city (in an attempt to conserve warmth in the freezing temperatures), and eating crepes and creme brulee. We even managed to find the bridge where lovers attach their padlocks and throw the keys into the river...
|Locks on locks on locks|
This was the view that greeted us right off of the metro, not bad. I have to admit, I was skeptical about the Eiffel Tower, but let me tell you, it lived up to the hype. It was definitely another one of those "Is this real life?" moments.
|What a beauty.|
|Trying to keep warm.|
|The wheels that pull the elevator, in action.|
|A bust of Eiffel. Nice work, buddy.|
We finished off day two with l'Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre....
|Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, underneath l'Arc.|
|My host mom told me to get photo-proof of |
me touching all the monuments, here it is!
|View from the top.|
|We had a little photoshoot at the top.|
|Somebody call Tyra, because we've got |
America's Next Top Model right here.
|Mona Lisa was.....small.|
|Inside looking out.|
|Papyrus. Personal favorite.|
|The marble was unbelievably carved.|
|Louvre by night.|
|Marie Antoinette's Hamlet|
When we got back into the city, we wandered around for a while. My favorite part was through the Jardin des Tuileries; from the center you can see the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe.
|Becca wasn't a huge fan of all the birds at the Jardin des Tuileries.|
We turned around for one last peek at the Eiffel Tower by night, then descended into the metro, by then we were metro-experts. The day must've been a bit much for Becca, because she fell up the stairs on our way out of the Belleville station. We laughed all the way back to the hostel, where a very persistent British guy at the front desk tried to get us to go out for drinks, but all we wanted was directions to the airport. Had it been eyebrow-boy, I might be telling you a different story, but alas it was not, so Becca and I finally convinced him (in both Spanish and English) that we were wiped out and going straight to bed so we could get up for our flight in the morning.
And that was that, a metro, train, and bus ride later, we were on a plane back home (to Spain, that is.) I have to confess that I wasn't sure I was going to like Paris, but it was SUCH a great trip, I can't think of a single part that left me disappointed. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to have this experience, and especially to share it with a wonderful friend. I have definitely fallen in love with Paris, and all I have to say is this:
Audrey Hepburn knew what was up when she said, "Paris is always a good idea."
So here's to Paris!