By Julia B
I’ve wanted to go to Paris for as long as I can remember, so when I found out it was only about two hours by train from London (where I was in January for an NETC Teacher Convention), I had to book tickets. Some people thought my husband and I were nuts to only go for a few hours, but we didn’t care, we just wanted to see it – and we were so glad that we did. I had gotten some suggestions from a few friends and colleagues so we’d have some idea of things to see and do, other than the Eiffel Tower. Since we had a limited time, we were reminded not to just jam in as much as possible, but to take time to take it all in and enjoy the experience (and the food & wine!). That little reminder definitely helped, and made us feel better about not seeing all the typical sites.
We were so excited to embark on our 11 hour journey, but our excitement was quickly overcome by confusion when we tried to read the Paris Metro map. Let me preface this by saying I have been taking public transportation to and from work for more than five years…and this thing still confused the heck out of me. After five minutes staring and trying to decipher the map as if it were written in Chinese characters, we finally got it and were on our way!
We paid too much for a map of the city and began wandering. Saw the Opera House…
…stopped at Laduree, renowned for their macarons, and enjoyed Praline and Pear & Chesnut macarons. They were fabulous!
We kept walking and arrived at the Place de la Concorde, where we got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in all it’s metallic glory…
We were pretty hungry since we’d only each had a croissant on the Eurostar, so we decided to go to Angelina Tea Room, recommended by many people, including a teacher I’d met on the London convention. She drew me a map to Angelina, which was super helpful in leading the way there. She told me to try their hot chocolate. WOW. It was the most amazing hot chocolate I have ever had in my life! It was literally a liquidy version of a melted bar of chocolate. It was to die for, but you can only drink a little. Along with the cup, they give you a large teapot full of more hot chocolate, and a very small cup of fresh whipped cream. Needless to say we left most of the pot sitting on the table because our stomachs couldn’t handle it, but everyone should experience that hot chocolate in their lifetime!
Here are a few other things we did…saw the Louvre…
Walked through the Tuileries Gardens…
And up the Champs Elysees…to the Arc de Triomphe…
Drank Pinot Noir & ate a plate of French cheeses…
At this point it was starting to get a little dark, so we decided we’d go see the Eiffel Tower from a closer angle. We went to the Trocadero Metro stop since we had some insider info from and NETC Tour Guide who said this was the place to go for the best view. We got to street level, rounded the corner of the building and there it was!
It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed. I can’t even describe my feelings at the time. I was just in such awe. It was really beautiful all lit up in the night sky. We just stood there for 10 minutes taking tons of photos and just admiring the tower when all of a sudden, the flickering lights came on. The tower has 20,000 lights that flash for five minutes every hour. I didn’t realize this when we arrived, but since we stayed for less than an hour, there was the definite possibility that we could have missed it. SO glad we didn’t. It was fantastic. Unfortunately when I looked into booking a trip up to the top, there wasn’t a time available until February, so that will have to wait until next time!
Sadly our time in Paris was coming to a close so we decided to stop in one more place for some munchies before we left. I don’t remember the name of the place we went, but they had the best charcuterie plate! We shared a table with some French women, had a drink and then made our way back to the train station, deciding that we’d definitely be back in Paris some day!
Here’s are just a few places I’d go if I were you…
- Eat a macaron at Laduree
- Drink the hot chocolate at Angelina on Rue de Rivoli
- See the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. Go to Trocadero for the best view! Then climb to the top.
- Find a cafe to enjoy a cheese plate
- Go to Sainte Chapelle – I didn’t get to go, but I read about it on our way out the Arc de Triomphe and it looked amazing!
- Take a cruise on the Seine
- Visit Montmartre
- Explore the Latin Quarter
- Take it all in & enjoy yourself!
Have you been to Paris? What was your favorite part? Any suggestions for future visitors? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
See all of NETC’s Educational Tours to France.
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