Bonjour!! This weekend, my friends and I took a holiday in the city of love… and by love I mean bread, cheese, wine, crepes and croissants. “GIVE ME ALL OF THE CARBS!” I said as we touched down late Wednesday night. And from that point on, Paris did exactly as I asked and much, much more! ****FUN FACT AND TIP FOR ANY AND ALL PEOPLE STUDYING ABROAD/PLANNING TO STUDY ABROAD: If you come to Paris, bring your student visa to all the museums, churches and palaces you visit. Long-term EU residents under the age of 26 get in most to all places for free! We saved around €100 just from using our visas… the only place we paid for entry all weekend was the Eiffel Tower!!**** (Going to look into the other cities I am planning on visiting to see if this works elsewhere as well!)
This was my second time in Paris, the first being when I was 11 years old and took a trip with my mother and grandmother. I will always cherish those memories that I made with them there. This experience was completely different, and I loved both equally. It was amazing to revisit some of the beautiful places I’d been before, as well as explore some different parts of the city with more appreciation for what I was seeing. Being older, more mature and independent definitely added to this experience as well.
So here we go! Thursday morning we were up early and stopped by a small patisserie on our way to the metro. After some coffee and croissants, we were prepped and ready for our big adventure to Versailles. It took about an hour train ride and a little confusion to finally arrive, but once we made it the whole ordeal was definitely worth it. The gardens as I had remembered were still incredibly beautiful and intricate. Visiting in the fall, there were less tourists than when I had come years ago in the spring. Flowers were less abundant as well, but the statues and sharply cut trees, bushes and grass kept my eyes wandering. My friends and I kept joking about how much fun it would have been to be a royal dog in this palace. So much green space for play time! After exploring the gardens, we headed inside to the palace… something I had not done when I was with my mom and grandma. The palace was unreal. To think that a family once lived there blew my mind. My favorite room, as cliché as it may be, was definitely the hall of mirrors. It reminded me of Cinderella’s ball, and I imagined people all dressed up similarly with a classical music group and royalty everywhere. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine to visit places like this for just one day or night to see what it would have really been like.
After Versailles, we ate some yummy crepes and headed back to the city. We saw Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle. The vibes in these churches were completely different from those at Versailles. Beautiful in different ways, these religious spaces gave me feelings of tranquility and humbleness. A picture is worth a thousand words, however I am not sure that one could capture the beauty of the stained glass at Sainte Chapelle with a photograph. Posting a few pictures anyways… still incredible!
Friday began at our same patisserie near our apartment and we headed out for the Picasso museum. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived to the metro stop. The area was full of art galleries; modern day artists selling and presenting their works to the public. Exploring this area was a small part of heaven for me; I couldn’t help but think of my amazing art teacher from high school Ms. Berger who would’ve loved this nook. After the Picasso museum we ventured on to the Tuileries gardens for a cup of coffee before L’Orangerie. I am a huge Monet fanatic, and after years of art classes and art history, seeing my favorite pieces in person was thrilling. The waterlilies were even more breathtaking than I remembered from years ago. I am so happy we chose to go back. That evening we ventured to the Louvre as well and my friend and roommate Grace mentioned to me, “when is the next time you will be at the Louvre, in the evening with everything outside lit up, completely free of charge?” The answer is probably never. The Louvre gave me a similar feeling to that of Versailles… how could someone have possibly lived here? (on a tangent… definitely still would have preferred to be a royal dog at Versailles.) The ceilings at the Louvre were my favorite part.
Saturday was the most freelanced day for certain. Another morning at our patisserie and we were off to begin the most touristy day of my life. Honestly, being a “tourist” gets a bad rep sometimes. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed my hike up the Eiffel Tower, the incredible view, and the satisfaction I got from the whole experience. The best part of the day, however, was when we went to a local grocery and bought baguettes, cheese, and champagne and had a pleasant lunch on the lawn, with the Tour d’Eiffel as our view. Completely “cheesy” but completely worth it. Experiencing these adventures with friends gave it such a different feeling than that with my mother and grandmother. Both equally as meaningful, but incredibly different perspectives. Saturday we also explored some beautiful flower markets and saw the tower sparkling and illuminated. ALSO PSA: I found peanut butter crepes at a stand near the Eiffel Tower. If you’re as obsessed with PB as I am… definitely search it out.
Overall, I could not have asked for a more fun weekend with my buds. One of the things I was most nervous about living abroad alone was if I would make friends or not. I honestly assumed I’d be on my own pretty often. Being in the tight knit USAC program has given me the opportunity to get to know my classmates well and develop friendships that I am hoping will last a lifetime! This life keeps getting better and better. I find it most important in my travels and everyday life in San Sebastián to appreciate the smallest things, because in the end they can mean the most.
I have another stay-cation weekend upcoming and after so much action in Paris, I am most definitely looking forward to it. Thank you so much for reading and keeping up with me! Also, I would love to hear from anyone who has been reading my blog… please contact me via email, iMessage, Instagram or Facebook messenger!!! I am definitely a bit out of the loop from America so many apologies if you feel I have not been reaching out! ((in retrospect– I found out Dwayne Wade joined the Cavs about 3 days after everyone else… if anyone knows any American information/news other than my consistent CNN notifications about President Trump I would be much appreciative). Until next week… Muchas gracias y hasta luego!