Okay so basically all of April I had no school. Actually let me rephrase that. All of April I had no school and while we are talking about it school is over!! So the obvious thing to do when one has no school and is in London is to travel. I had been to Amsterdam and Barcelona already, but I was now getting ready to embark on next travel adventure to France! My week was split in France between 2 different cities and 3 different people. I started off my journey in Paris with my friends Kaleo and Laurelle, and then I ended my journey about an hour and a half north of Paris in a very small town with my friend Pam.
On Monday Laurelle and I set off for Heathrow airport so we could catch our flight to Paris. No struggles with security and we actually ended up having quite a lot of time to kill so we watched the planes depart. We boarded our plane and they told us the flight 40 minutes! 40 minutes! I was thinking we are going to get up and then just go right back down. Which is basically what we did. When we got to the airport everything was closed because it was pretty much 11 by the time we got our bags and went through customs. We had heard the French people were rude, and we sure found that out very fast. We were walking all over the airport trying to find a bus or train or subway and then we found an information desk and she was not having our questions so luckily we figured it out somehow. An hour and a half later we ended up at the train station and found our hostel. We decided to get up early to start the day, and because breakfast ended at 10.
Our breakfast was definitely not an English breakfast which was mighty unfortunate. We were served a croissant and a cup of juice. I guess we at least got something. Our hostel was a block away from the Sacre Couer so we decided to check that out before we had to go meet Kaleo at the train station.
It was huge and the climb up the stairs was a little rough and brought back some bad memories of doing stairs in high school track. It had a nice view of the city, but we couldn’t see the Eiffel Tower. We stood up there for a little while. I was still in disbelief we were in Paris. We knew we had to get a crepe so we found a little cafe and I got a caramel crepe. It was delicious! After our 2nd breakfast we decided to try to find Kaleo at the train station. After 45 minutes of circling and scanning the whole place we found her. Luckily our hostel was only a 10 minute walk from the train station. After Kaleo got settled we headed for the Metro so we could go see the Arc de Triomphe. We picked the right stop because we walked right into basically!
It was huge! I never thought it was that large. It was weird seeing it in person because we have seen so many pictures of it and it has been in countless movies and there we were right in front of it. Now we had to figure out how to get to it which turned out to be quite the effort. If you did not know it is in the middle of a major highway so there is no crossing the street to go to the other side. We seriously debated playing a real life game of Frogger, but luckily it did not come to that and we found the underground walkway. When we got to the other side it sure did make the Marble Arch look like a toy. We walked around and took in the immensity of the building and then we headed down the Champs Elysees. If any road can make you feel poor it would be this one. We were walking by Dior, Chanel, and Prada all in one block. Laurelle and I had never a macaroon before, and Kaleo made sure that did not last very much longer. We found a little macaroon store and I got a lemon macaroon. Anyone who is reading this that hasn’t had a macaroon stop reading and go get one. Now. Unfortunately for you I am sure it will probably be hard for you to get one, but they are delicious! I love them. They are now my favorite thing. Next mission was to see the Eiffel Tower. It was quite the walk, but it was a beautiful one. We walked along the river and the Eiffel Tower just kept popping up. We finally got there and it did not seem real. I thought that at any point someone was going to flick it and it would just fall over. It was tall and magnificent. We just laid in the lawn and looked at it for awhile. It was really fun just to lay there and goof off.
We found dinner and then went back to the Eiffel despite the fact that we were all freezing, but we knew we had to see the Eiffel Tower at night and it was worth it. We got to see it sparkle which it does every hour!
We took the Metro home and headed to bed because we knew we had a long day ahead of us.
The next day was full of sites! We mapped out our route for the day, but right off the bat we changed that. Our first stop of the day was to go to the Louvre. It was supposedly only a 30 minute walk away…an hour later we arrived.
I knew the museum was huge, but I never realized how huge. I am pretty sure you could fit 5 Altonas in there. We were going to go in, but the line was also probably the length of Altona so we opted out.
After sitting in the courtyard for a while we plotted our next move. After wandering the river and grabbing some lunch and weaving in and out of souvenir shops and little stands with pictures we managed to find Notre Dame. Yet another building where I was taken back by its huge immensity. Paris sure does know how to make large buildings. When we were I did not notice an hunchbacks, but I did check just in case.
Just a short walk from Notre Dame was the love lock bridge. If you do not know the meaning behind the bridge here is a very short explanation. You go to the bridge with someone you love, write your names on the lock, lock the lock on the bridge, and then throw the key in the river. We just walked down it because we did not have any locks and I did not really want to commit to something like that.
Then we made our to Laudree. You remember how I told you that you should go get a macaroon if you haven’t had one. This is the place where you should get the macaroon. You will pay a pretty penny well actually a reasonably priced penny, but it will be the best macaroon you have ever had. If I remember correctly from what Kaleo was telling us it was the first place to make macaroons in history and they are known as the best macaroons in the world. I would believe the latter of the sentence that’s for sure. They were delicious. I got three different flavors: orange blossom, salted caramel, and Marie Antoinette. They are all delicious. Laurelle said pistachio is the best flavor I will take her word for it since it is a classic.
After getting our macaroons we did the next most French touristy thing you could do which was to go buy baguettes, wine, and brie to eat under the Eiffel Tower. It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was just fun to sit and look up at the Eiffel Tower. I could have done it for hours.
After sitting there staring at the Eiffel Tower once all the dumb tour buses left we decided we should probably go up it. We did the cheapest route which was to walk up the first two levels and then take the elevator the rest of the way up. The stairs were not that bad and I do not like elevators so I was not going to complain about spending less time in the elevator. We stopped on each level and admired the view and we were in the Tower when it sparkled which was very neat. When we got to the second floor we had to take the dreaded elevator ride. It was packed and I could not move and I was not excited about it. Finally we reached the top and go to see the whole city.
Laurelle and Kaleo were not excited about the very top so we did not spend much time on the very top, but it was pretty to look and see all the lights. We headed back down after a while and caught the Metro back to the hostel.
The next day started out pretty rough. We woke up early and went to breakfast. Laurelle and Kaleo were leaving to go to the Switzerland and I wasn’t catching a train til later. I was sitting down in the common area when Laurelle told me Kaleo got her phone stolen. None of knew what to do and the people at the front desk were not helping, but they had to leave to catch a train. Unfortunately there was nothing any of us could do to get her phone back. I headed to the Louvre because I wanted to go in and see it. The line was wicked short so I got really lucky and got right in. I beelined for the Mona Lisa and was very disappointed. It’s really small and there is a huge crowd of people standing in front it.
Still don’t know what she is smiling about. I walked around the museum for a while, but I was not terribly into a lot of the art because after a while it all starts to look the same. I could appreciate it but I was ready to head to Pam’s. I walked around the city all day and then I got my train to Pam’s. I got to her place around 8. Now for those of you who do not know who Pam is which I am sure is probably a majority I will inform you. She studied at ROVA (yes without the W) when she was 16 when my mom was in high school for 6 months. Then she came back to England and ever since has been traveling all over the world dancing and she now lives in a small town about an hour and a half outside of Paris where she owns a restaurant. My mom had not seen her since high school, but I was not too worried about it. When I got there she greeted me the best way I could think to be greeted which is with a plate full of food. We talked for a couple of hours and I tried to catch her up on everything that was going on back home. I realized not much has changed in 40 years. I was exhausted so we went to bed early because Pam had the whole day planned for tomorrow.
The next day we woke up early and headed to Reims to go to a champagne cave tour, but we made a few stops on the way. We stopped at what used to be the most visited place in France even more visited than the Eiffel Tower that was until the Germans destroyed it. It was a chateau.
Then we headed to a cathedral which was where all the kings of France were crowned.
Then we got the best pizza I have had in a long time and then headed to the champagne caves. I do not know much about champagne, and I did not realize how complicated it was. They told us the whole history and the process of how to make it. The fact that stuck out to me the most was the idea that men have to turn 40,000 bottles of champagne every 2 days. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting job.
Pam is surrounded by loads of history. That is something I have realized while being here. Everything has a story. When we got back we just stayed in and talked and I went to bed early because I had to catch the train at 6am to head back to Paris so I could head back to London.
I said my byes to Pam. It was great staying there and it was beautiful to see this part of France. I was very grateful that she let me stay with her for a few days. When I got back to Paris I had a few hours to kill before I got on my Megabus ride home. I just walked around for a little bit and got a pastry and a croissant of course.
After I got my snack I headed to the Megabus lot and hopped on a bus for an 8 hour ride to London. It was a long ride and for a few minutes I did not think I was going to make it past border control, but I finally made it back to London. It was great being home. Yes home because London is my home now.
There should be another post soon for my Ireland trip, but you guys probably should not hold your breath because I have a lot of plans this weekend and even when I have no plans I struggle getting my post done. That is all for now though.