Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bonjour Paris!

20 march 2011

About 5 days ago I returned from a 6 day visit in Paris, France. This city was gorgeous, almost surreal to believe that I was actually in Paris, a city we normally only see in the movies. I went with 4 other Americans girls that also go to school with me in Murcia.

Day 1- We landed in Beauvais around 4 p.m., took a 1 1/2 hours bus to Paris, checked in at our hostel, then went out to see the Eiffel Tower by night.

This is what a typical hostel looks like. Luckily there were 4 of us, and we got a 4 person room, so we had the room to ourselves instead of sharing with other travelers. We stayed at the Aloha hostel, which had an excelent English speaking staff, free internet/wi-fi, computers, a kitchen, and played movies almost every night. I would definitely stay there again.

At night, the Eiffel Tower is iluminated with lights, and starting at 9 pm they twinkle like stars.

After walking under the Eiffel, we tried our first crepe made in France. The one above is a crepe with chocolate and whip cream. It was so messy that for the rest of the trip I hate only crepes with melted sugar, which are equally as tasty. A lot of people only think of crepes as desserts (filled with chocolate or strawberry marmalade) but in France they eat crepes in the sandwich sense too, meaning they can be filled with ham, cheese, or eggs (and lots of other combinations).

Day 2 - We climbed the Eiffel Tower, toured the Musée du Louvre (you know, the Louvre Museum that appears in the Divinci Code) and walked around the city and saw the sites.

This picture is of me with the French skyline in the background. It was taking from the 2nd level of the Eiffel tower. We climbed nearly 700 steps to get this high. Unfortunately we didn´t go all the way to the top, as you had to take an elevator and pay more.

The Louvre looks exactly like it did in the Divinci Code with the famous Pyramid entrance. The inside is massive, so much so, that it would take a week to really look at everything. After two hours, we were so mentally exhausted and were ready to leave. Students of the EU (with ID)
were able to get in free, so you could take a trip multiple days with out paying.

The Louvre is home to the Mona Lisa. We also saw the statue of Venus (the one with no arms) and the whole collection of Egyptian artifacts.

Day 3 - We visited Le Sacre Coeur Cathredral, and the Notre Dame.

Le Sacre Coeur, or the Sacred Heart Catheral.

The Notre Dame, here we were actually able to see a mass and the priests´procession to the altar. It was beautiful hearing the songs sung in French.

Day 4 - We set off to the Arc du Triomphe, the Moulin Rouge by day and night, and of course the Red Light District.
The Arc du Triomphe was constructed to honor those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars. Underneath it lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for WWII.

The Moulin Rouge, by night. We would have liked to see a show, but the starting price was almost 100 euros.

This is the typical store front in the Red Light District. We actually had people trying to sell us tickets to peep shows and private rooms. I thought all the neon signs were pretty, and you noticed all of the signs are in English, not French.

Day 5 - I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon, but later that night we went out an had a drink with a friend of mine´s brother who lives in Paris. I ended up getting some Spanish practice and a Bachata lesson. It was a fun night.

On Day 6 when we finally got home, needless to say, we were exhausted and ready to be home. I loved Paris. The desserts were amazing, and the men were very good-looking. I thought the people were fine, even though you tend to hear that they are rude. I did try to avoid speaking English, and spoke Spanish instead. I tried to pick up a few phrases in French, since I´m planning on beginning French when I return to the States. However, I don´t think I would like to live in Paris. It´s quite large and expensive. Its not ever very sunny, mostly cloudy and overcast. I think if I were to make France my home, I would have to search for a city in the south. Paris was definitely worth a visit. My advice to travelers who are tight on cash: If you are a student, always check to see if there are student discounts. Most of the Museums allow students to enter free. Also, food in Paris is expensive. My friends and I found the nearest grocery store and bought sandwiches and easy to cook meals all week, by doing this we saved a lot of money. All in all, it was an amazing trip, and we managed to return with still a bit of money in our pockets.

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