After spending two full weeks in London, England, I opted into the optional two-day trip to Paris, France. For someone that has never been outside the country, the opportunity to go to two countries in a two week span was incredible.
As a former architecture student, the anticipation of traveling to a famed architecture capital built with each passing day.
My first day in Paris was spent as a tourist. While I would argue you don’t fly eight hours to Paris just to skip visiting the Eiffel Tower, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The experience is exactly what you’ve always thought it would be – taking hundreds of photos millions have already taken, standing in long lines, and pushing through other tourists who are crowding around you trying to get the perfect photo. It is something I’m very glad I did, and can cross off my bucket list.
The second day was my real favorite.
We had a tour guide help navigate us around the Parisian streets, as no one in the group spoke French. In tourist-y parts of Paris, English is widely spoken and recognized. Not all natives are happy about it, but the simple use of bonjour or merci (the only French words I know) can go a long way in warming up a native, exhausted from the pouring in of tourists.
We spent the day on a walking tour of the city. I highly recommend walking tours in any new city. You are able to better photograph sites, especially in comparison to bus tours, spend as much time as you want at one stop, and ask lots of questions. The city was absolutely beautiful. Every street I looked down held another breathtaking view. I felt as if I was getting a VIP tour of the hidden treasures of Paris. It is days like these that make people want to move to The City of Love.
The day really was one out of a storybook. We passed open markets, vineyards, churches, and local shops. As I ate my lunch (and dessert, it was Paris after all), artists surrounded me painting and selling their work. I went shopping for scarves, jewelry, macarons, and other small treasures that I couldn’t live without but could still fit into my already overstuffed suitcase. When I was tired, I sat atop the stairs that lead to the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, the highest point in Paris. The view left me speechless, and as the wind blew through my hair, I knew this was a place I would need to come back and explore a second time.
The day ended quickly, and with it, my trip abroad. I boarded a train back to London for the night before catching my flight back to the U.S., but the two weeks packed in so many memories and experiences.
I can only hope my life holds many more chances to travel the world.