This Time Last Year In Paris
This time last year (roughly) I was in Paris for the first time in my life. Ever since I was a little girl I ALWAYS wanted to learn French and live in Paris, so it's bizarre to me that I've only ever been to France twice. This school trip to Paris was such an unforgettable experience (for many reasons) and hopefully the first of many of my visits to the French capital.
|I thought carrying a DSLR camera around the Louvre somehow made me an artist, hence the bizarre angle|
We stayed outside of the city centre, probably a reassuring idea for our parents considering we visited the city only days after the tragic terror attack in Brussels. Our hotel was weird and small and you couldn't shower without getting the rest of the bathroom soaked in water. Both there and back we missed our ferries, so our agonisingly long journey from the West Midlands to Paris was made agonisingly longer and all the while we were cramped together in a battered old coach. In fact, the coach was late arriving to pick us up from school in the first instance, and then the night before we were due to leave Paris it broke down for 5 hours next to a train line heading towards the banlieue, in a district which we lovingly baptised "rape boulevard". But none of this really mattered: it made the experience of travelling even more thrilling.
As it was a school trip, we visited all the usual tourist spots in Paris: the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Cœur and, as someone who'd never been before, I was grateful. And, I can confirm, yes, the Mona Lisa is underwhelming in real life. I was probably more interested in the architecture of the Louvre than in the art itself (as you can see from my photos).
|Beginner's tip: if you want to climb to the top of somewhere tall in Paris, don't go to the Eiffel Tower. Go to the top of Montparnasse Tower - that way you get the Eiffel Tower in the skyline|
I know that I barely scratched the surface of what Paris has to offer, but from our short 4 day séjour I picked up enough about Paris to make me desperate to go back. There's something about seeing the sunset behind l'Arc de Triomph and exploring the sprawling streets of Monmartre that makes Paris such an exciting city. That and the standard of the macaroons (which are delicious even from McDonalds - and yes, French McDonalds sells macaroons).
Despite the hellish coach journeys and missing our ferry both ways, I'm so grateful for this trip to Paris, both for the big and small things. Being able to wander in wonder around the Château de Versailles and soak up all of its rich history was just as rewarding as feasting on quiche, grapes and strawberries from Versailles' small fruit market and bakeries.
So I'm wishing myself a happy 1 year anniversary - and you can see my commemorative post here
Where are some of your favourite spots in Paris? Any recommendations for me?