The night before Emily and I started our Paris adventure, I mapped out where all the different attractions were, and made a very nice google doc of what we were going to visit each day. In the true fashion of youth, we ended up completely ignoring it and winging the next 72 hours, but somehow still hitting pretty much all the major sights. This post is organized into places rather than days, because we tended to jump around a lot, visiting the outside of a building one day and the inside the next day.
There’s a reason it’s called the City of Lights!
Our first adventure was another free walking tour, the same company that we used in Amsterdam. Apparently these walking tours are popping up all over Europe, and I must say I’m very appreciative of them. Most of this post is going to be told in slideshows of photos, because the sheer amount we did is ridiculous.
Free for students! And of course I visited the Mona Lisa, knowing that if I ever mentioned to anyone I’d visited the Louvre that’d be the first thing they asked. The museum itself was ridiculously large, and I mostly hit a few sculpture and painting areas, you could spend a week in there and still not see half of the Louvre.
ARC DE TRIOMPHE
We also got in free here! (France is so kind to its students) Breathtaking views of the city, and the Eiffel Tower.
Not free, but still totally worth it. What I actually never knew was that the Eiffel Tower was built for the World’s Fair, and was meant to be deconstructed after, but the creator managed to convince everyone it could be used to send radio signals, so it was kept up and is now one of the most iconic locations in Paris. It was a bit terrifying to know that it was only meant to last a year and be standing at the top of it, though.
Didn’t see any hunchbacks here, but the cathedral itself was beautiful. A service was happening as we were there, and I couldn’t help but marvel at the wonder of it all.
Not much to say here, but it was pretty! Traveling Europe has really given me an understanding of the complete lack of history in architecture America has. We have some really pretty buildings, but they don’t have the sheer age behind them European ones do.
TRADITIONAL *cough tourist cough* FRENCH DINNER
Escargot, frogs legs, cheese, duck, and much more!
Emily and I signed a lock on the infamous lock bridge (after I haggled the price down, woooo Europe!) and then spent the rest of the night looking at the City of Lights the way it was meant to be seen in the dark.
Paris is not necessarily a place I would ever visit again (although it was beautiful) because of the sheer touristy nature of it (although I sound like a hypocrite since I live in LA). Now, the real gem of the trip was actually a place we almost skipped, Versailles.
After receiving numerous suggestions from friends to visit Versailles (including one from a girl from my college who works there and we just happened to run into on a train), Emily and I woke up bright and early to visit the town. When we got to the train station, though, we were told the palace was closed. I knew that Mikayla (the classmate I had run into the day before) wouldn’t suggest us visiting the place if it was closed, so I asked explicitly about the gardens, because that was what she told us to visit. We were told they were also closed. Dejected, we headed up to the cemetery of Montmatre and wandered around, lamenting the fact we would be unable to see Versailles (we were leaving the next day).
On a whim, I asked Emily to look up on her phone whether the gardens were actually closed, which is ridiculous because why would the train station lie to us, but lo and behold the gardens apparently stay open even if the palace was closed! We booked it back to the train station, and spent the rest of the day exploring some of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever been in (I wish I had another week to spend there, I didn’t get to see nearly enough). It was a different beautiful from the gardens of Keukenhof, for Keukenhof was a garden of flowers, and Versailles had a manicured beauty of lawns, hedges, and fountains.