For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to visit Paris. The glamour of the city has always appealed to me, as has the rapid, unapologetic French language. Thus, when an opportunity to spend three days in Paris was presented during my first few weeks at Queen Mary, I couldn’t refuse. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from my 72-hour adventure in Paris:
After arriving in Paris in the late morning—thanks to an early 5:00 am wake-up time to catch our train—one of the first landmarks that we visited was, of course, the Eiffel Tower. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and I was definitely left speechless staring up at such an incredible infrastructure. After we admired the Eiffel Tower, we boarded a boat cruise that took us along the Seine River. Watching the beautiful buildings that make up Paris float by, with the sun setting in the distance made for a remarkable experience. Once the boat cruise came to a close, we found a restaurant located near the foot of the Eiffel Tower—I could actually see the Eiffel Tower as I ate my steak-frites! We traveled back to our hotel, exhausted from our long day of travel, but excited about the next two days in the incredible city of Paris.
Our second day in Paris was our only full day – so it was important that we fit as many opportunities for sightseeing into the 24-hours allotted to us! We woke up early and ate a quick breakfast. We then traveled to the small town of Montemarte, a quaint small town where the breathtaking Sacre-Coeur cathedral is located. We spent the morning wandering around the town, browsing in some of the chocolate shops and art galleries. Next, we headed back to central Paris for a viewing of Notre Dame and lunch. In typical French fashion, we choose to eat at a small restaurant right next to Shakespeare’s Globe Bookstore where escargot and crepes were our meals of choice. After lunch, we headed to the train station to visit the Palace of Versailles! One of my favorite things about the palace was the amazingly intricate artwork on the ceilings of each room. The amount of detail was incredible! We also had a chance to walk through the Gardens of Versailles before we left, noting the unique design of many of the trees and bushes in the garden. Dinner was a quick (and inexpensive!) Turkish restaurant in Versailles. We spent the rest of the evening wandering the streets of Paris and made an important stop at the famous Laudree for the best macaroons I have ever tasted!
Our final day in Paris did not disappoint, despite our sadness about leaving the incredible city. We spend our last morning taking in as much of the Louvee as we could. One of my favorite moments was looking directly at the Mona Lisa. It was quite strange to be staring at such a famous painting! The Louve was such a big museum that it was impossible to see all of the exhibits and exhibitions in one trip, but I am already looking forward to my return trip! After we ate a quick lunch, we spent the rest of our time in the city walking through the Tuilieres Garden, taking in the beautiful weather and the natural rhythm of the city. I also got to try mulled wine, which I have come to realize may be my new favorite beverage!
We headed back to our hotel and made our return trip to Queen Mary. While we were all sad to be leaving Paris, it was very nice that unlike other vacations, when you would return home, we were returning to the amazing city of London to continue our studies! I was so grateful for the opportunity to experience Paris, but am also happy to be back in the familiar environment that Queen Mary provides.