Although the trade-off was missing the major celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee earlier this week, I went on a trip to Paris. It was definitely worth it; Paris is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. Despite it’s enormous size, it is a very laid back city, and I was able to have a very relaxing and enjoyable few days.
The first day we started off at the Lourve, however the line was about a mile long so we decided we did not really need to see the Mona Lisa (none of us are particularly artsy people). So, from there we went to Notre Dame Cathedral. I found this even more impressive than in pictures. The Cathedral even had a little garden around the side and back of it. Inside, there was a mass going on, so that was nice to witness. After Notre Dame we walked over to the Luxembourg Gardens. All I could think was what a great place to go for a run. All the trees were so perfectly manicured and in the center was a fountain where kids were racing toy sailboats. It was a great area to sit and relax. From there, we went to the Eiffel Tower (and stopped on the way for crepes). We climbed the first two levels of the tower then took the elevator up all the way to the top. It was really obvious how huge the city of Paris is when looking from the top of the Eiffel Tower. After this we made our way back down to the second level and had a beer looking out over the city. Definitely one of the best views I’ve had in my life. From there, we went down to the park and had another beer while looking up at the tower. It amazes me how such an industrial looking structure stuck in the middle of a park and surrounded by completely different style architecture could be so beautiful. But it really was; I could have spent even longer than we did lounging by the tower. Finally though, we left and walked along the river before heading back to the hotel for the night.
The second day, we took the metro out to Versailles. The castle itself was closed, however we were able to go into the gardens. Again, all I could think was how much I’d like to go for a run here. There were three huge fountains, surrounded by more mazes of trees and bushes and lined with statues. The garden even had it’s own lake. It was so enormous people could rent golf carts in order to see the entire thing. We spent a long time exploring the gardens (and I got another crepe) before heading back into the city center. From here, we went to the Arc de Triomphe. It was much bigger than I expected, and encircled by a very busy round-about. We sat and watched the traffic for a while and I am honestly surprised I did not witness any car accidents. The Arc de Triomphe is at the edge of the Champs de Elysees, the major shopping street in Paris. We walked along this street for a while and were awed by the stores that could have been castles. The gates to Abercrombie and Fitch looked a lot like the gates to Buckingham Palace. After exploring this area for a while, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to watch the lights come on at night. Looking at the lit up tower against the dark sky was the perfect way to end the trip; I did not want to leave and go back to the hotel.
Finally, however, we left the tower and made our way back to our hotel. Paris is definitely a city I want to return to (maybe when I am not a college student on a budget). This trip was a major highlight of my time abroad which is too quickly coming to an end.