Bonjour Paris! Monday we started our trek to Paris, France about 5 a.m. London time (much too early if you ask me, but whateves) and by 10:30 a.m. we were in Paris with another passport stamp (whoop, whoop!) and our 36 hour adventure began.
The first thing I noticed when we got to Paris was how dirty it was, even more so than London was when we got off the plane. Things in Paris were old looking, the metro station looked worn and smelled pretty nasty (later we heard tales that other members of our group witnessed a man peeing in the metro, not a great start to a trip there) and there was trash everywhere. Things are also a lot smaller in Paris, cars, food portions, escalators, anything you can think of. It was also a ton more expensive in Paris as our average Coke price there (funny how we’ve been pretty much surviving on it over here) was approximately 4.80 Euros, which translates back to $6.40 –no thanks for less than 12 ounces.
Needless to say, our trip started with a lot of disappointments, especially when comparing to London. It’s funny how you can build a country up so much in your head for so many years and be so disappointed by it as soon as you get there.
But then we started our tour. Our first Stop was The Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmare
If you think this building is beautiful on the outside, you should see the inside. I’ve never seen architecture like this anywhere, not in the United States, not in Ireland. Only in England and France. Words can’t describe the beauty of this building and of Notre Dame. My only disappointment was that they allowed us to parade through during mass which I felt took away from the service and from God. It’s become so much of a tourist attraction I find it sad sometimes that these churches aren’t being filled to the brim with devoted believers, instead tourists parade through with their cameras just to snap a picture and say they’ve been some where famous. Alas, that is my rant.
From there we were allowed to head to our hotel to drop off our stuff and break before touring the city more and meeting up with the Paris J-Term group for dinner. Cassie, Brie and I got to share a room on the top floor and we were so excited when we got there and discovered we had a balcony that we figured out how to get the door open and headed out to see our view.
As I was stepping out my pants caught on part of the handle.
Yep, you can guess where this is going.
I ripped my pants.
Right under the butt cheek.
I flew downstairs with Brie and talked to the front desk but of course they don’t have needle and thread and within 10 mins EVERYONE in our trip knew that I had a whole in my pants and they were all asking how it was doing (most embarrassing moment of my life, I think even more so than when I slipped in soup at a homeless shelter my freshman year of high school). Brie and I when to the supermarche (I remember some French) and had an interesting time trying to communicate with the locals in French so I could buy a sewing kit. But I got one and I fixed my pants. 🙂
That night we toured Paris, both the very wealthy and the more bohemian/ hippy part of town. And we got to see Notre Dame.
This is kind of the back view of Notre Dame, It’s so beautiful on the inside, words cannot describe how gorgeous this is. We were told that the locals were the ones to raise all of the money to build this beautiful place and that it took more than 200 years to build. Can you imagine building something that you would never see completed? I think that would be so hard for me.
Anyway, by this time it was freezing but our professors (whom we crowned Lord and Lady Duff while in Paris because it seemed better than He and She Duff) took us to what is supposed to be some of the best ice cream in the world (it should be it was like 6 euros which translates to close to $10 but the smallest serving of ice cream ever). From there we walked to the lock bridge which was adorable.
The bridge was PACKED with locked in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Some had names on them and other didn’t but it was still adorable to see the love and commitment that these locks represented.
Apparently you are supposed to place the lock on the bridge and then throw the lock into the river symbolizing your unending love and commitment to one another. We actually saw someone on the street while we were walking by who was placing one there, ADORABLE!
We finally met up with the other group which was so nice because they could show us around Paris in a less tourist way than we would have been (at least they knew where we were wandering to 😉 ). Plus it was great to see my dear friend Becky and the people she’d grown close to on the trip.