Well be prepared for a long post… I’m not sure I have the energy to write this but I will try to the best of my abilities! All I can say is WOW to Paris.
Thursday started with classes but our professors could hardly wait so classes flew by, we had a quick lunch and all met at the train station by 1pm. I have to say, our group is a very timely group, nobody is ever late. This was my first experience taking the Eurostar under the water. It was incredible. The train was so fast but you could hardly feel anything, and the seats were 100x nicer than in a plane, more room and way better headrests. The trip took just about two hours with a one hour difference. We checked into our hotel and the experience began. When I said everything was smaller in Europe I was not kidding. These hotel rooms make dorms look ideal. They somehow fit a queen bed and a pullout couch into this room. They were setup the same as an American hotel room but everything was just squeezed into a smaller space. Also I noticed there was not a single drawer in the whole room. After moving into room 312 we all met in the lobby for our welcome dinner, thanks again UST! We walked over to this very nice authentic French restaurant and had a three course meal. Started off with this amazing salad with bread and cheese, main course was duck and potatoes (surprisingly delicious) and finally we had a dessert of chocolate cake with raspberries. I think I was more full than any Thanksgiving I have ever been to. With our full stomaches in tow we went back to the hotel and decided to walk around the hotel area since we had a big day the next day we didn’t want to stay out too late. We wandered for a few hours just getting the feel. We weren’t in central Paris so it wasn’t too touristy but we saw cute shops and a lot of local life.
Since we stayed in a hotel we got complimentary breakfast and boy did we take advantage of this. From eating helpings of eggs and baguettes to throwing two or ten in our purses for later, we got our moneys worth. The day started off with a three hour bus tour of Paris, this is honestly the best way to get accustomed to the area. We saw the Eiffel Tower, Lourve, Arc de Triumph, and all the other touristy places that you can think of in Paris. We were dropped of at the Notre Dame Cathedral and walked around Paris for four hours. We saw the Lock Bridge, the Lourve, and ate some crepes in Paris. Not a shabby morning at all. At 4:30 we met back up for a boat cruise. We got too see all the attractions again but this time from the Seine River. It was gorgeous, and did I mention that it was sunny and 75 the whole time! None of this London rain for the weekend! After the boat tour we all went back to the hotel for a night out in Paris. When they say wine in cheap in Paris they were not kidding. I think we found bottles of wine for just over one euro. Trust me, you pay for taste, these things were gross.
Saturday started off with a tour of the Versailles Castle. We took the train over to Versailles and did about an hour tour on the inside. It was absolutely packed! Never go there on a Saturday if you can avoid it. Also, do not wear heels if you want to save your legs. The whole ground is cobble stone and I was falling over while I was in boots and watching my every step. It was gorgeous, we were on castle overload since we have seen so many in the past but the mirrors and chandeliers were incredible along with the gardens in the back. I will also never forget the stories of all the Louis who lived there, Louis the XIV built it, XV enjoyed it and, XVI paid for it aka he was executed. After the tour we went back into central Paris and explored the Lourve. With my saavy ways I somehow got all seven of us in for free with our student IDs. I don’t think we should have but if there was a potential of not paying 12 euros we were going to do it. You could spend weeks in that place, but we only had a few hours. It was gorgeous and I finally can say I have seen the Mona Lisa! That night was our friend Olivia’s 21st birthday so we rang it in at midnight drinking champagne under the Eiffel Tower, honestly one of the best ways to celebrate I think. Every hour for five minutes it lights up and sparkles so it sparkled right at midnight for her to turn 21. Eating bread and drinking wine under the Eiffel Tower is absolutely amazing, and yes we were the annoying Americans singing and probably being the loudest ones there.
Sunday we slept in late enough to catch the last few minutes of free breakfast and then went around the local area and saw the cute markets. We only had an hour before our train left, but we stayed around and got the last bit of Paris in. I wish we could have gone back into town but I needed my sleep. We left and came back to London (what I now call my home) on the Eurostar. Of course when we got back to London our tube was closed so we had to trek back on buses with our luggage looking like tourists, even though I think we have passed that step. And now we have officially made it home!
I have to say Paris was incredible. It was only our first weekend trip but it will be hard to top. Next weekend we have the Vikings game and then we got to Scotland. This trip is finally real. I am in Europe traveling the world. Not everyone can say that they took a random weekend trip for school and saw the Eiffel Tower, no biggie. Here are some pictures from the weekend, my words can’t live up to the true beauty and amazingness of Paris!