Thursday, June 9, 2016

Je T'aime Paris

Hey everyone,

So Eurotrip is going really well! I've made it all around France and I'm starting to learn a bit of French! Nothing like learning a language when you have no other choice, but to try and speak it. So I'll pick up where I last left off which was the train ride to Paris.
So after making my way to the train station from the center of Bayeux I waited for my train that would take me into the city. After a short wait and speaking to a lovely group of elderly folks about the French rail strike, the train came to the platform for us to hop on. After one stop in Caen to get people on our train we went straight to the city. 

The ride wasn't that long, but I was fighting falling asleep the whole time thanks to not getting any sleep the night before (this is starting to become a theme). But I wish I had gotten some sleep on the train, because once I was off the train Paris showed me she was in full force.
I came in through the Paris Saint Lazare station, and looking at the map on my phone my hostel wasn't to far from it. I got into the city at 4:30 I didn't make it to my hostel till 6:45. I wandered the streets for a few hours trying to ask people for directions and figure out where I was going. (Starbucks France: just make your wifi free so I don't have to try and buy something to use your wifi!) But after that two hour struggle I made it in one piece!

All I wanted to do was drop my bags and just relax for a bit, so I went right up to my room. When I got to my room I got a chance to bunk with some of the most amazing people I have met on my travels so far. David, KC, Jesse, Callum, Cameron, and Bruno where some of the most sound people I got a chance to meet on any of my travels in the past year. David and KC are owners of an art collective in Rochester, NY called UUU Art collective, Callum and Cameron are two of the most friendly Scots that I have ever met. Jesse, who was surprised when I said I knew where Grantham was, is such a down to earth girl. And finally Bruno the 6'0 Pol that is always up for a good time. 

We formed a great bound from the beginning and when the first full day in Paris rolled around Callum, Cameron, David, KC and Myself went on a free walking tour! We started right in front of the Saint-Michael statue in the Latin district. And it was there that I witnessed my first pickpocket of the trip. It's a danger when traveling, but if you got your head on a swivel you have nothing to worry about. We also saw them get arrested as well later on. From there our guide took us to Notre Dame Cathedral and told us all about the French Revolution. I was in awe just standing there looking at the cathedral and it's architecture, and that wasn't the last time I was on this tour. But I got to hear the cathedral bells ring which was something I never thought I'd hear.

After the Cathedral we made our way over to the 'New' Lock Bridge because the old Lock Bridge couldn't hold the weight of the locks and the people that walk across it. There we learned about the lock tradition (where french gigolos use combo locks on the bridge), and saw that the water levels in the city were extremely high. The rain has been merciless on the city the past several days and it began to flood parts of the city. Before we got swept away from the water, our group made it over to the Louvre.

Our tour guide told us all about the Louvre and what the buildings were used for before it was an art museum. After that we got to see a cool art exhibit that was on the pyramids on the entrance of the museum. The picture doesn't do it justice. After we found good spot to see the Eiffel Tower, and that is where our tour ended. KC, and David had bailed when we got to the Louvre to go look at some of the art, however Callum, Cameron, and myself continued on the tour. We got a quick bite to eat then it was off to see the Eiffel Tower. First however we had to see the Arch de Triumph. 

The Arch was something that I always saw in textbooks (same as the Eiffel Tower) and wanted to see it in person. It was so large from what I thought it was and in such a nice part of the city. After that, the group of use made it to the Eiffel Tower without getting too badly lost. I stood in awe looking at this wonder of the modern world and it was something to behold. It was then I really wish I had someone to travel with, like Callum and Cameron, but traveling alone wasn't too bad.

After that we all made it back to the hostel and then went out for a nice meal. KC, David, and Bruno all meet up with use back at the hostel, before we left to get food. I got the Duck which if you are ever in Paris I totally recommend you should get. But after paying for our meals we wanted to just go out, but because we didn't want to venture far, we ended up in the hostel for a few drinks. We met some great people from EF College break, who were staying at the hostel, and just all in all had a great night.

We were all a bit slow getting up from the night before, but we all knew it was well worth it. I rolled with Callum and Cameron again, as we went to both Sacre Coeur, a beautiful church overlooking Paris, and the Paris Catacombs, pathways under the city where hundreds of thousands of people were put to rest. It was a great day, but I made it back to the hostel and I was a bit shattered. But everyone wanted to go see the Eiffel Tower at night, and with a little pressure and a bit of a second wind on the metro, I ended up going. 

Photo Credit: Cameron Swanson
I was glad I did. After seeing it during the day and at night, the Eiffel Tower is something special. But the Tower sparkling at night is something that I will never forget at all. After getting some photos, and just standing there looking at it, we all hit the wall and needed some sleep since we all left the next day. David called an Uber and it got us back to the hostel in no time. Most of us said our goodbyes that night, because we weren't sure if we would see them in the morning.

I rolled out early morning to caught my train to Montpellier, and everyone else was getting there next form of transport to their next destinations. As I sat in the train station I had to think for a moment, and say how lucky I was to get roommates like that. I wish them all the best in their future travels!

But I realize that I am a city behind so I hope to get a post about Montpellier out later this week, so look out for that. I will be posting trips like this for the next month so look out for that. But remember to stay safe and enjoy the day!


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