Paris (Spring Break part 2: March 20 & 21)

 

Paris was definitely a much better experience than it’s sister in the south, Nice. I loved every minute of it! We arrived by plane late Wednesday afternoon, due to plane delays. We had a hostel in mind that we wanted to stay at so we took a bus and then a train to the top of the city. We walked around for a while until we found the hostel we were looking for. As soon as we walked in we were immediately told the place was full. Then the nice man behind the counter proceeded to tell us that if he was full then most likely every where else in Paris would be. (This is the moment where I realized we should have booked online in advance, oh well). Thankfully the man was extremely nice and called about 7 hotels to check for vacancies to keep us from walking all over the city. He finally found one, but it was at the bottom of the city where we had just came from. He showed us the best way to get there by metro, and we were off! We were going to have to take two different trains to get there and at the time I didn’t know that once you paid for one metro ticket you didn’t have to pay again, I thought you paid each train. So, when we got off the first train I convinced Kathleen to walk the rest of the way because I didn’t want to pay another 1.20 for the train. I was told that the French in Paris aren’t necessarily fond of Americans, so I was a little nervous. We had no idea where we were, we only knew the address of where we were going…and it was almost dark. Thankfully my impression of the French was wrong, because on the way to the hostel we were asked twice if we needed help. Both times they were more than eager to help when we opened our mouth and they found out we were American. After their help and a few stops in random hotels, we made it to our hostel. We threw our backpacks of and went out for some food and to explore the city. Our hostel was right across from Notre Dame, so that was our first destination. It was great to see lit up at night. Most definitely better than I could have imagined. The greatest part of the night was when we saw the Eiffel Tower lit up in the distance. We both agreed out was a doable walk and set of in the direction of the Tower. We were wrong. Two and a half hours later….we finally arrive at the beauty! We quickly decided the walk was worth it. I could look at the Eiffel Tower forever. Pictures definitely can’t do it justice. THEN on the hour, she sparked. It may have been the greatest thing I have ever seen!! Thousands of lights had to be blinking on this Tower. Believe it or not, it left me motionless. I was in awe. I didn’t want to leave, but when we realized it was midnight we decided it was best to. I was happy to see the bus was still running and happily shelled out the euro to not have to walk the hours home!

Paris day 2 was even better than the first! I woke up and had [free] breakfast which consisted of a HUGE cup of coffee to dip a piece of bread in. I miss bacon. Anyways, after we went to Notre Dame. The cathedral is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out. There was so much history & so much to see! Sadly, we didn’t make it to the top of the towers. There was quite a line and a 8 euro entry fee. Next we hopped a on the Batobus, a boat that carries tourist up and down the river. It was convent transportation for the day! We had a few different stops along the way, but eventually we made it to the Louvre. It was massive! Honestly, I could be there for months and still not see everything!!! We were there going on 3 hours when I started to get a little cranky! We saw at least a small portion of each floor. NO ONE WARNED ME IT WAS THIS BIG. Of course, I saw Mona Lisa. She was great, but a little overrated in my opinion. I’ve always heard you couldn’t take pictures but that wasn’t the case. Everyone had cameras out snapping pictures. Needless to say, The Louvre is definitely something I won’t forget! Next we made our way back to the Eiffel Tower! I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal since I saw her lit up last night, but it was still amazing. We went to the other side of the bridge and spent some time at the carousel, then ended up buying a crêpe. We enjoyed our chocolate & banana crêpe while sitting on a bench just looking at the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t cheese & wine, but I still felt pretty French! Our next stop for the day was Pont des Arts, supposedly the “most romantic spot in Paris”. It’s a famous spot that I’m sure you’ve heard of. It’s a bridge full of locks. This particular bridge is known as the comminment bridge. SO, you and the one you are committed to write your names on a lock and lock it on the bridge. You then proceed to throw the key in the river. It is said that the only way your love can ever be broken is if the lock is removed, and since the key is at the bottom of the river…you are “locked’ in love forever! I know I know, it’s lovey dovey, but it’s still a sight to see!

By this time the sun had set & it was getting a little chilly. We did some quick souvenir shopping and then headed back to the hostel. 2 of our friends from school were on their way & we were going to wait on them to eat supper. While we were sitting in out room waiting on them we struck up conversation with the 2 other girls in our hostel. We found out they are studying in Dublin too. One of them spoke French, so when our friends finally arrived we all went out together to supper . The one who spoke French would walk from restaurant to restaurant reading us the menus in the window until we found something that wasn’t snails. (I know I was in Paris…but I’m not that brave!!) We had a great dinner together, then we all split up. Megan, Olivia, Kathleen and I all enjoyed Paris at night. We walked around and took in the sights.

Paris was perfect! I could not have asked for a better time! I did learn my lesson to book a hostel in advance though! On Friday morning I woke up around 5:00 and navigated the metro to the train station, and I was off to London to reunite with my best friend!

Nice (Spring Break, part 1: March 19 & 20)

Last week while most of my friends were going to Destin or Costa Rica, I was a lucky girl who got to spend her Spring Break in the South of France, Paris & London !!

The road to Nice was long. My roommate and I got up at 5:30 to catch a bus from campus to the airport to catch our 8:20 flight on time. We planed a early flight so we would have the full day in Nice. That didn’t work out. The plane boarded late & one we were all seating the informed us the plane was having technical difficulties & we would have to wait on another plane to come in and switch. I am TERRIFIED of flying so after I heard the words “technical difficulties” I freaked. THREE HOURS laters we were on a different plane and on our way to Nice. I was not Ryanair’s biggest fan that day! Once we got to Nice we realized we had no plans. We hadn’t thought about what we wanted to do once we got there, we hadn’t even thought of where we would sleep! (Sorry Mama, don’t stress out…it all worked out!)

We realized that we were a good 3 miles from the inner city so we started walking. The city of Nice was beautiful, especially once I got to see the beach! The water was so blue & there were rocks reaching out into the water. It looked like it was taken straight from The Little Mermaid! We took in plenty of the beach & sun. Feeling warmth on my face isn’t exactly something I’m used too! After a long trek we came to a hostel and paid for a 4 bed room. They informed us one of the beds was already taken, but I was not prepared for what I walked into! A tiny French man opened the door…in his underwear! It caught Kath & I completely off guard, and I think it did him too. I’m sure sharing a room with 2 girls was not ideal for him, especially when we noticed he had taken up all 4 beds with his clothes. We didn’t try to strike conversation, we just freshened up and went back out for the night. This is were the night got fun! I got to see a black & white movie in Spanish with French subtitles. I had no clue what was being said the whole 2 hours, but I loved it!!

Day 2: We thought it would be a once in a lifetime chance to see the sunrise over the Mediterranean, so we woke up at 5:30 to do just that. Our plan was foiled when we walked outside and it was raining…We still made the walk to the beach though. Sitting alone one the beach while the city was still dark and listening to the waves wash over the rocks was exactly what I needed to cheer up. The long day I had yesterday & the creepy Frenchman sleeping across the room had made me a little homesick. That morning sitting in solitude gave me time to sit and trust in God’s plan. I know I’m in His hands, even in a foreign country He still won’t let me go. So, after that sentimental moment we went back to the room and slept since we still had it for 2 hours. When we woke up we got tea (the hot kind, not the cold sweet kind that I actually like) and croissants. Cheap & French! Then we walked to a free Art Museum across town. The museum was great! I think I liked the building the art was in more so than the art.

After the museum our time in Nice was done and we caught a bus to the airport to head to PARIS!

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