By Julia B
During the spring, I started to share with you my two-week adventure to Europe with the post: Four Days in London. From London I hopped on the Eurostar to Paris.
My first impression of Paris was a bit underwhelming. Our hotel was on the Boulevard du Montparnasse and I was a little taken aback by how Vegas-y it felt. I was expecting a quaint Parisian street and this main road was full of neon signs, traffic, and tons of people. I quickly realized my perception of Paris was based on a 1920s version and that Paris was much more like every city in the modern world.
After getting over my initial misconception, I kicked off day two with new enthusiasm. I began by strolling through Luxembourg Gardens on my way to the Île de la Cité. Luxembourg Gardens definitely met my expectation of what a Parisian public space would look like. It was clean, beautifully manicured, and had stunning and varied statues throughout. My stroll took me through Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was a collection of adorable cobbled streets and cute colored store fronts. I then crossed the Seine River, checked out the love locks and marveled at magnificent Notre Dame. I finally wrapped up day one by getting a bit lost down an arcade only to find an amazing deal on a three-course meal of escargot, duck confit, and chocolate souffle. Needless to say, day two was pretty great.
Over the next couple days I filled my time with a lot of walking to see all the sights. I didn’t realize what a trek the Champs-Élysées would be to see the Arc de Triomphe up close, and then from there how far the Eiffel Tower is. Everything seems close because you can see it from a distance, but then as I walked towards the monuments, I realized they were just huge!
In addition to walking, I ate a lot! I enjoyed a baguette and cheese in a park with a bottle of wine, but couldn’t get over the feeling that a police officer was going to come by and yell at me for drinking in public. I had lots of pastries: eclairs, chocolate croissants, and mini, colorful macaroons. I indulged in crepes at dinner two nights (one savory and one sweet) and, tested the local beverages as well.
My favorite part of Paris was the Marais area and if I ever have the opportunity to go back, that is where I would stay. I feel like it best fulfilled my perception of Paris and upon visiting it my last day, felt like my adventure was complete.
Next stop, the Benelux (minus the Lux)…
What was your favorite sight, food, or monument in Paris? Never been or want to go back? Start planning your educational travel program to France!
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