“Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.” -Unknown
Getting into Paris was interesting. Tip to all you who plan on traveling in countries you will not have data for: make sure you know where you’re going before you leave your wifi access. Especially if you’re going to be arriving late at night…in an area you’re unfamiliar with…without good directions. So, grab a good old fashioned paper map! Plot out where your hotel is as well as the train station or airport you are arriving at. You can also take screenshots of a map on your phone, as long as you have street names visible.
After a bit of wandering around, we finally found our hotel, had a good night’s rest. We began our explorations the next morning.
The back streets of Paris were not incredibly impressive to me. However, when we got closer to the city center, we started to see the beauty in the city. We got to look out the window of the restaurant we ate lunch at to see Notre Dame! (Also, we ate French Fries in France. I think it’s more fun to enjoy the cliches. You don’t want to miss that opportunity.)
Notre Dame was really neat! You can feel the history encased by this building as you walk up to it.
Fun Facts: The two towers of the building were made to be different. They did not want the towers to be symmetrical or perfect, because they felt that only God can make something perfect. It was considered an act of humility.
From Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower is about an hour to walk to. We decided it would be best to walk due to the beautiful weather, wanting to see the town, and, of course, we’re working from our college student funds. Why would we pay for extra train tickets when we can walk for free? We’re young! We walk!
There were lots of vendors on the streets as we walked along the river. The architecture grew older, more beautiful, and more intricate as we got closer to the tower. At one point, we looked out at the skyline and caught our first glimpse of the tower peeking out over the city.
The tower is like a magnet for tourists. There came a point where we could follow random people and know we were heading in the right direction. (You would think, “Just go towards the tower,” but you can’t always see it due to the tall buildings surrounding you. It would be very hard to get lost, though. At some point, you’ll see the tower through the buildings.)
Around the tower, there is a bit of a park – an area for a nice picnic. We saw a few groups of people sitting on blankets in the grass, having dinner. For any of you who enjoy a nice picnic, this would be a great place for it. How cool would it be to say that you had a nice casual picnic by the Eiffel Tower? No big deal.
After taking our pictures, some decided to stay back at the hotel. However, a few of us were eager to see the Louvre.
We left with intentions to head straight to the Mona Lisa, then slip out for our river cruise. Turns out, the Louvre was very busy that night. They were offering free admission to students, and the line was much too long for us to get through before our river cruise. We ended up taking pictures outside the building, then walking over to the meeting point for the cruise. (Well, now I can say that I’ve been to the Louvre. I just haven’t been inside the Louvre. Makes me feel like an underachiever.)
The night river cruise was fantastic! We had a great tour guide who spoke about 7 languages fluently! Impressive, right? He only had to use French and English for our tour, though. We were taken down the river, through the freezing winter air, too stubborn to go below where there was heat and wind-protection. I am from Michigan! I can handle cold!
We had a wonderful view of the brilliantly lit Eiffel Tower from the boat. This was the perfect way to end our day in Paris.