November 23, 2016

This trip might have been the closest to a perfect weekend I have had abroad, and unfortunately, I can’t take any credit for it because Tim planned the whole thing.  Tim got to Florence the day before we left and was already exhausted heading into a very long week.  However, we still made it to the airport by 5:30 AM to make our flight.  I knew we would be tired, but with only a weekend in Paris and so much to see, it was ideal that we make it to Paris by 8:30 AM.

On Friday, we walked a total of 18 miles.  Yes, 36,000 steps was a lot in one day but just wait until you hear all of the things we did.  Paris is laid out nicely even if it is so large.  Tim planned a perfect loop for us to be able to hit all of the monuments in one day and make it back to the train station, where we would leave to go to his sister’s.  We started our day at the Louvre and from there you can walk directly to Tuileries, which is a beautiful garden area.  If you keep walking in the same direction, you run into the Petit Palais and Grand Palais.  Holy smokes, Petit was not that petite, but the Grand was that massive.  We didn’t take a tour of either of them because we knew we wanted to keep moving.  From here we kept walking in the same direction to Arc de Triomphe.

At this point, we hadn’t even made a turn yet.  We passed by some super high-end shops down the Les Champs- Élysées, and Tim made sure to keep pushing me along so that I didn’t walk into them. Even though I teared up a little when I looked at how beautiful the Louis Vitton store was.  After the Arc de Triomphe, it’s really easy to start making your way back and head towards the Eiffel Tower.  We didn’t know exactly where to go, but as long as you keep looking up, it’s kind of hard to miss the Eiffel Tower…

It was about 1:30/2 by this point and we were cold and tired.  It rained all day long, which was a bummer, but it was beneficial because there weren’t too many people out and about.  We continued our circle to the Army Museum then back towards the river to find Ponte des Arts.  It might have been the biggest let down seeing that they replaced the chain link with plexiglass and all the locks were gone…

We had one more major stop we knew we wanted to get to before dinner and that was the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  We walked into the Cathedral, and our feelings of coldness, hunger, and pain from walking so far had all disappeared.  We were both blown away by the monstrosity of the Cathedral.  It was incredible. Both of our jaws dropped and sagged on the floor as we walked around.

I know that was a lot to read, but that was just one day… I told you Paris was a long weekend.  Tim’s sister Diana lives in Reims, which is a 40-minute train ride on the TGV outside of Paris.  Since we are broke college students, it was nice of her to let us stay with her.  We spent Saturday roaming around her town.  Fortunately, Reims is in the heart of the Champagne region, so we took advantage of that. The Champagne region of France is where all champagne is made; if it’s not made there, it’s just sparkling wine. We toured these caves, which are below the town, that house over 23 million bottles of champagne 20 meters below ground.  They were dug 700 years ago by monks who needed a place to store and age their wine. This tour was another great and memorable day that I have been on abroad.

Sunday we were up and moving again back to downtown Paris.  This day was relaxed and only consisted of two things to do: Sacre-Coeur and Ladurée.  I am sure you can assume which of us chose each activity.  Sacre-Coeur was the perfect activity for the last day!  We paid the six euros each then climbed the stairs to the top and went to see Paris from above.  The view was mind-blowing.  Later we made our way to Ladurée before we had to head towards the airport.  We had a very nutritious lunch, which consisted of macarons, ice cream sundaes, and tea.

Sorry this post was so long but I told you it was one of the best weekends!  There was so much to share about it.  Thank you so much to everyone that has been reading along this semester.  I love hearing from all of you with your opinions on my posts.

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