Monday, April 11, 2011

Paris in the Spring!

I think that when you are able to say that you are taking a casual weekend trip to Paris, France, you can assume that your life is going alright.  Well, that is exactly what I did this past weekend!

My friend Laura and I decided to head to Paris a couple of weeks ago, and little did we know at the time that we had literally picked the best possible weekend to go!  Every single day we were there it was in the seventies and sunny!  It as amazing!

In the four days that we were in Paris, we crammed a lot in, which left us really tired at the end, but it was completely worth it!  So, here is what we did:

The first day we got an afternoon flight, which worked great!  The flight was only about fifty minutes.  During the flight we sat next to a girl from Washington, USA who happened to be staying at the same hostel as us!  So, once we arrived in Paris, the three of us went out to dinner together.  Rachel (the girl we had met) had been in the UK for a wedding and was going to Paris and Denmark to do some traveling and to see family.  Then, we went on a long adventure to find the Eiffel Tower, which we kept seeing in the distance but never could quite get next to!  Finally we got there and sat and looked at it.  On the hour the Eiffel Tower sparkles, so we saw it do that twice!  It was amazing!  After that we walked on the river a little and then finally found our way back to the hostel.  In the hostel, Laura and I were staying with another two people, Dean and Shelly.  Shelly is teaching English in Spain and Dean had come out from California to visit her and they decided to have a trip to Paris.  They were really cool people that we hung out with throughout the weekend!
View from the Courtyard of our hostel!

The second day, we got up and walked to the Louvre!  With our student visas we were able to get in for free, which was amazing!  We went and saw the Mona Lisa (which is really small!) and then wandered parts of the gallery near it.  After this we wondered through the gardens in front of the Louvre.  As we were walking towards the Arc de Triomphe we saw police officers blocking traffic on a street.  Suddenly we saw a huge motorcade go by with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy.  I guess he wanted to see Laura and I in Paris.  So, we got to the Arc de Triomphe, then decided to head to the Eiffel Tower again.  It was great to see it during the day, also with all the beautiful gardens and trees.  We got some crepes and little bottles of wine and sat out under the tower for a while (maybe even napped!).  We got a little sun burnt, but it was completely worth it!  After that we headed back towards the hostel.  We got some sandwiches at a grocery store and then found a little park to go eat and people watch.  It was a beautiful night.  That night we hung out with our new friends and the others at the hostel at the bar in our hostel.  It was a good time!

Still pretty small!

I had to stand on this block, but I could still touch the top!

I love sitting in Parisian Gardens

The weather was literally perfect!

Nutella and Banana good!

The next morning, we got up had breakfast at the hostel and headed to Jardin du Luxembourg where we walked around and sat and had some coffee, and did some more people watching.  It was such a relaxing way to start the morning.  After that we walked around a bit and then found the nearest train station to head to the Sacre Coeur.  It is such an amazing view from there!  After that we went and got some amazing gelatos!  SO GOOD!   After this we walked and yet again decided to relax under the Eiffel Tower!  It was great!  When we finally realized we were getting a bit burnt in the sun we headed back to the hostel to get ready for dinner with our program director Jill and her husband Nick who had offered to take us to a real French Restaurant near Notre Dame.  Before hand Laura and I decided to walk up the river.  We went to the Pont des Arts were couples go and attach locks to the bridge and throw the key into the water together.  We walked all the way up to Notre Dame and hung out there for a while.  We met Jill and Nick there and then went and had the greatest meals, as well as one of the greatest times of the trip!  It was great to sit and relax in a real french restaurant where the waiters and waitresses all for the most part only spoke French (luckily Jill was able to translate for us!).  The food and the wine was simply amazing!  It was such a great night!
Luxembourg Gardens!

View of Paris from the Sacre Coeur

the signs on the fence were for the Paris Marathon, which was on Sunday

By the fourth day, the sun and the long weekend was starting to get to the two of us.  We woke up, had breakfast and headed to Moulin Rouge and then took our own little tour of the Red Light District.  After this we walked to a place that Jill and Nick had recommended called the Centre Pompidou.  It is a Modern Art Museum, but for three euros we were able to go up this clear tube thing and get some unbelievable views of the city.  After we climbed up, we left and got some food and ate on the bank of the Seine.  After this, we were so tired!  We made our way to a little park and rested on some benches for a while before going to the bar at our hostel and having a drink.  Then we spent our last hour in Paris relaxing in a park near our hostel.  It was a lazy end to a busy trip, which we were both ok with!
Oh, the decisions one must make in Paris....

The bar in our hostel...the clock was stuck at 9:30...but it was time to go.
 Then another adventure began--getting home from Paris.  We started around 4- by getting on one metro--then getting on another metro--then getting on a train (which we couldn't figure out how to buy tickets for, until about 10 minutes after getting into the station)--then we got onto a bus (because the train to the airport wasn't running)--then on a train to our terminal--then we went on the plane (I also set off the airport security buzzer for the first time so that was fun)--landed and got on a bus to the airport--went through customs--got on a bus (after the one we were waiting on broke down)--got on a train to King's Cross--then got on the bus to Clerkenwell a little after midnight.  I'm tired just writing that all out.

Overall, the weekend was amazing.  All of the other trips I've been on have been great, but this one really seemed like a true vacation.  We did a great job just finding time to relax and enjoy the city, which is exactly what we wanted to do!  It was a great last trip before the program ends.  Now, I'm back in London--preparing for finals...and realizing just how great life is!  


  1. Hey Stephen,

    What a wonderful Blog update! You just provided me with a short escape from the work day, and sent my mind to that beautiful city. Paris is truly special and unique. It sounds as if you and Laura had the same beautiful weather that Rosalind and I had with your Mum and Dad when we were in Paris. Thanks for a great break from work. continue living the dream, and you are correct, life it good!!!

    Au revoir,

    Tom S.

  2. What a wonderful trip! I love hearing about all the wonderful things you are doing. Keep enjoying life!

  3. Hi Stephen,
    Paris sounded amazing! Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.
    Enjoy every moment!