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  • Writer's picturethewanderingprofessional

#tbt Travel Diaries - Ville De L'Amour/Paris

Welcome to the next part of the #tbt Travel Diaries series, as I revisit my study abroad adventures in England. After a little break after my trip to Dublin to start my month long Spring Break, it was time to really start the Eurotrip, two weeks of straight travel with two new countries to visit. With my parents coming for a week to explore London and southern England, I thought it was only appropriate to front load that trip with a couple days in Paris and finally take that elusive Eurostar under the English Channel. Too bad I took it so early in the morning I fell asleep as soon as the train started moving and missed the entire trip. So hopefully you guys enjoy coming down memory lane with me on this next one:

Original Blog Post April 14, 2013:

For Spring Break I decided to use my few weeks long break traveling on a Eurotrip. Three cities in thirteen days, Paris, London, and Barcelona. My first city on the trip was Paris. With luck on my side the weather for the two days I was there was beautiful, sunny, and warm (Well nice enough that I did not have to bundle up for the first time since the fall). But not only was the weather nice but the whole city was beautiful and I seriously could not stop taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower because it really was majestic and at night it became even more majestic. The architecture there and all the quaint streets going here there and everywhere (It was kind of confusing walking the streets) with the little cafes lining them just made the city that much more quaint.

The first day started off quite interesting. Got to the airport to see it had been evacuated and put on lockdown, lasted about 3 hours and got lifted a few minutes before my plane was originally set to take off. The airport surprisingly did really well staggering people in and fast laning those who had missed there scheduled plane times. I actually got to the gate right when the plane was suppose to take off but we actually didn’t take off till about a hour after scheduled. Thus all the lateness didn’t get me into Paris and my hostel till dinner time so only had night to see stuff. I took advantage of this to see the Eiffel Tower light up for the night (while eating a crepe of course) so headed to the back of the Champ de Mars near the Ecole Militaire to enjoy the view. Most people go on the other side of the tower, so I had the area pretty much to myself.

The tower puts on a night time light show which was really cool to see it sparkle like a diamond, though only lasted a few minutes.

After the tower lit up, got to see a little of the city lit up at night on my back to the hostel.

The next day was a day of sightseeing, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, actually going up the Eiffel Tower, etc. I had planned to go into the Louvre and of course see the tinniest picture in the world, the Mona Lisa, but with my luck come to find out the one day a week its closed is Tuesdays. Just gave me more time to marvel at the Eiffel Tower. First stop of the day was at Notre Dame.

It was hard to get a picture of the whole front of the church because they stuck a stupid stand right in front of it.

I really need a new camera because mine really does not like dark scenes inside of the church.

Admiring the beauty of the random streets on my walk from Notre Dame to the Palais.

And that quick trip down the road brought me to the Palais Du Luxembourg.

Unbeknownst to me, Paris has its own Pantheon around the corner from the Palais.

From here ventured through the tangled streets of Paris towards the Musee du Louvre, even though it was closed. I found this one of the more confusing cities to traverse because half the streets I was walking on did not appear on the maps.

I randomly stumbled on the Lock bridge after taking a different street that was not shown on the map, my only lock was keeping my stuff a the hostel secure so could not put anything on the bridge. This misguided find did help me from searching it out after the museum so at least that was a win for the wrong path.

You do get a decent view of La Seine from the bridge.

To the Louvre! (Said the same way they said it in Eurotrip) Since you like to be closed on Tuesdays this is all I will get to see of you. I did almost go to Disney in place of the Louvre but thought that might have been a bit too ambitious to fit in on this day too.

As I made my down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees passed by the Petit Palais...

...and Grand Palais.

And to the end of the road to be greeted with the Arc De Triomphe. I decided to not go up as I was about to be heading up the tower to get even better views. And let me tell you, do not try to cross the street, it is impossible, there are underground stairs, that were not pointed out, were the way to get across.

And from the Arc you get a great view looking down the Avenue des Champs Elysees towards the Louvre. And let me tell you this street was massive, I did not spend much time on here because I could not afford a lot of it anyway.

Time to go to back to the Eiffel Tower and actually go up it. I did try and go up it the night before, even trying the corner entrance where you walk up to the first platform instead of taking the elevators since that line is suppose to move quicker, but it barely moved so figured better to try again today.

For context, you can go up the tower using any of the corners at the bottom of the tower. Three of the corners you take an elevator and one you can walk up to the second floor. But these first set of elevators and stairs will only bring you to the first observation area which is the view above.

To get to the top observation deck, you have to take a second set of elevators, no more stairs allowed. This elevator was a bit more terrifying because its still an old cable car that goes up the center of the tower so pretty much there was no bottom to it, so it me gave kind of a stomach dropping feeling. But the view you see above is what you get up there and totally worth it.

When I got back to the bottom I headed across the river to get a view of the tower where most people view the lights at night, at the Theatre National de Chaillot, as I made my way back to the Place de la Concorde.

After visiting quite a few landmarks the day was starting to end. The great thing about studying abroad is that you will likely find other friends from high school, college, etc. studying abroad too in other cities you may visit. One of my old high school friends was just so happening to be studying in Paris so of course we planned to meet up for dinner (she was interning all day), hi Susan! She had a plan to show some more of the city in the Montmartre part of the city, more specifically Sacre-Coeur. The views from Sacre Coeur over the Montmartre were beautiful especially as the sun was setting for the day.

Only picture I got of Sacre Coeur as we were being hounded to buy beer off people and definitely were almost in a scheme to be pick-pocketed, so we got out of there quickly. This experience kind of brought the vibe of the area down but the church was still beautiful as well as the views over the city.

We had a fantastic dinner (with such great wine I mean I was in France after all) at a little outdoor cafe near there and got gelato (my new addiction) near by after. Yes, I skipped on crepes for gelato and I do not regret it. It was nice to meet up with a friend in Europe and catch up on life and about each others study abroad adventures. It was a great way to end an amazing time and I thank you for getting together with me(I still owe you), and I am still amazed at your French speaking. I hope you were able to finish your paper due the next day if you read this. An early train ride to London the next day had me crashing early but not before catching the crazy ending to the Paris-Barcelona game at the hostel’s bar with about a hundred others. I then met a very nice Canadian staying in my room who I talked with for about an hour before bed, wish I got her name but best of luck to her traveling around Europe for the next couple months.

Paris really was wonderful and I had a great time there. Two days down on the trip and on to London with my parents for the next seven days.

Have you been to Paris or France before? What did you think of the Tower and City, did you get to see the same sights that I did? Let me know what some of your favorite parts of the city are.

See you in the next adventure.

-The Wandering Professional

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