On Thursday afternoon, I took off for Paris! A bunch of my other friends went to Munich for Spring Fest, but I wanted to go to Paris instead. So I left Florence for the airport at 2:00 for my 4:00PM flight. I got there with plenty of time to spare, but I’d rather be safe then sorry. So I landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport right outside of Paris, north of city. I was planning on meeting up with my good friend from high school, Margaux, and she was supposed to meet me after I got off the metro. I had a minor freak out because my phone wasn’t connecting when I tried to call Margaux. She had given me directions, but I was a little confused and wanted to confirm my arrival, the directions, etc with her. So I went up to the information booth and confirmed how to get to where Margaux was going to meet me. I had 15 minutes of free wifi in the airport so I strategically planned to use it once I knew my game plan. I went on Facebook and found one of Margaux’s roommates, Alix, on Facebook and messaged her because I couldn’t get a hold of Margaux. Thankfully, Margaux was with her and I was able to communicate that I had landed and was on my way to the metro.
So I left the terminal, took a shuttle to the next terminal where the RER train station was. The RER is a train that connects the outskirts of Paris into the city. The station was huge, but I figured out where to buy a ticket and which RER to take. The RER took me to a metro stop where I switched trains and got on the metro to go to Margaux’s stop, Saint Germain des Prés. I got off the metro and Margaux was there waiting for me! It was so great to see her. We went up to her apartment, which is right in the heart of Paris, and her friends were cooking some dinner for us. That night, we went to the gardens at Invalides (a beautiful building which used to a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans), and hung out with some of Margaux’s friends. We rented Velib’s, which are bikes. So we biked around Paris! Very adventurous.
I really wanted to see a lot while I was in Paris, so we had a pretty tight agenda. We woke up early on Friday, showered and the first stop was Ladurée, the famous macaroon shop. I got a rose macaroon and Margaux got a vanilla macaroon. The rose flavored macaroon was like nothing I had ever tasted before. It literally tasted like roses. I tried the vanilla one too, both of them were so good. After Ladurée, we walked over the “Love Lock Bridge” which is actually called Pont de l’Archeveche. Couples come here and attach locks to the bridge with their names on it. Margaux told me that once a year, the government has to come in and cut locks off the bridge because the locks make it too heavy and the bridge will collapse with all that weight. From the love lock bridge, we went to the Louvre. The actually building was absolutely huge. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous the buildings in Paris were. I kept saying that they all looked so fancy and sophisticated. I thought everything in Paris was just fancy! It was all so pretty. Since it was so early, we were lucky that the lines were short and we got in with no long waiting. The Louvre is huggggeeee. We walked through a pretty decent chunk of the museum though. We saw the moat in the museum, the Italian art, the Greek art, impressionist pieces, and obviously saw the Mona Lisa. Going to see the Mona Lisa was nuts. There were SO many people crowded around it taking photos. Everyone was ruthless, it was so difficult to get to the front to take a photo. After a couple hours at the Louvre, we left and went Le Marais (the Jewish and Gay quarters of Paris) and met up with Alix, Margaux’s roommate at Le Loir dans la Theiere for lunch. Lunch was delicious. I had a mushroom and cheese tart/quiche thing. And then we all split our desserts. They were soooo good.
After lunch, we walked through he Jewish quarters to get to Notre Dame. While walking through, I ran into Zoe Stahl. My good friend from camp. She wasn’t studying abroad, but she goes to University of Michigan and she finished school for the year, so she went to visit friends abroad. Such a small world! Notre Dame was beautiful. Absolutely HUGE! After Notre Dame, we walked around gardens behind the church. Then we walked back through the Jewish quarters and split a kebab and the famous and best kebab place in Paris called L’As Du Fallafel. It was SO good. Israel status.
After that, Alix went home and Margaux and I went to the Musée l’Orangerie. I started to get a serious allergy attack. Just some seasonal allergies. Not so great when you’re using your eyes to look at art. l’Orangerie is an impressionist museum. Lots of Monet’s, Renoir’s, Picasso’s, etc. And Monet’s huge water lily paintings are here. They are in this giant oval room. So beautiful. After l’Orangerie, it was raining and we took the metro to Musée d’Orsay. It was great. With a Student ID you could get in to all of these museums for free! I loved this museum. There were tons of paintings here, so much to see. The museum was closing at 5:30PM and it was 4:00ish when we got there, so we had to kind of hustle, but I got to see it all! After the full museum day, we went back to Margaux’s apartment and stopped at a grocery store on the way back home to pick up dinner. We got an array of smelly cheeses to have a classic smelly cheese French dinner. Delicious! That night, we didn’t end up doing anything and we hung out at Margaux’s apartment.
On Saturday, we woke up early again and went to Angelina’s for breakfast. Angelina’s is the super fancy tea room that is famous for their hot chocolate. It was so good. Super fancy. We then walked down Champs Elysees, the big street with the Arc de Triomphe at the end of it. We then crossed the roundabout and went to check out the Arc. After that, we took the metro to the Eiffel Tower. It was sooo big. Way bigger than I expected. I thought it was so cool. I couldn’t believe that I was standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, such a famous landmark. After the Eiffel Tower, we got on the RER and took a train to Versailles. Versailles is right outside of Paris, so you have to take a tran there. Wow. What a beautiful palace. Again, so fancy. Everything in Paris was just so refined and super classy and elegant. Very different than the rustic Florentine lifestyle. Versailles was fantastic. The furniture and patterns in all the rooms were so great, and the Hall of Mirrors was so cool. After the castle, we walked around the gardens. The gardens were so enormous. We walked around for about 45 minutes and took a bunch of photos and then took the RER back to Paris. We went back to Margaux’s apartment and then went to dinner at Le Refuge des Fondues. It was a fondue restaurant where you drink wine out of baby bottles. So bizarre, but a really cool place. After dinner, we went to Montmartre and saw the Moulin Rogue. I loved seeing it because Moulin Rouge is one of my favorite movies. After that, we walked around for a little and then went home.
Sunday morning, I had to wake up at 4:30AM to get a cab at 5:00AM to go the airport. My flight was at 7:20AM. It was so early, but it was really nice being back in Florence by 9:00AM.