While I was roaming around on my classmates blogs, I came across a post by Breanna Wandrych that caught my eye. Apparently she and her boyfriend are planning a trip to Italy this summer, along with spending some time in Paris, Venice, Tuscany, Rome, and Naples. Breanna’s post made me think back to my Parisian vacation and had me scrolling through the hundreds of pictures I took during my time there.
Last summer, I experienced my first trip abroad by spending a week and a half in Paris, France. My Aunt and Uncle were taking my cousins there for a family vacation, and I was lucky enough to be invited along. Although it was a month after my actual 21ST birthday, the trip was a joint gift from my parents and my Aunt & Uncle. My parents graciously paid for my round-trip plane ticket and my Aunt & Uncle took care of my housing and food while in France. I have to say, it was a pretty sweet deal! Especially considering it was my first trip abroad.
I have to say my absolute favorite part of the entire trip was the bike tour we took from Paris to Versailles. My Aunt arranged the trip through Fat Tire Bike Tours, who also have tours in Berlin, Barcelona, and London. I HIGHLY recommend checking them out if you want a different view of Paris, but be prepared to be sore the next day. The trip to Versailles included a train ride, a trip to the Versailles Open Market to stock up on food and drinks, and a picnic along the Grand Canal. The final destination for the trip (before turning around to head back to Paris) was The Chateau. While there, I got to see the Hall of Mirrors, Grand & Petit Trianons, and Chateau Gardens. The views were spectacular, the food was unbelievably good, and – although I was super sore the following day – it was an amazing experience that I hope to participate in again (either in Paris or one of the other cities they are stationed in).
Of course, as a tourist in Paris you have to climb the Eiffel Tower. I actually climbed it once on my first day there, and a second time when my cousin flew in from Spain. She was working abroad all summer and flew in for the last few days we were in Paris to see the city with us. The hike up the tower is exhausting, but taking the stairs is definitely worth it because the views you get on the way up are unforgettable. That is, if you don’t pass out before you get up high enough!
Another monument you can’t forget to visit is Notre Dame Cathedral. When we visited, there was a choir singing in the middle of the Cathedral so we had to be super quiet… which was quite hard for my three cousins. But when you pass by the stained glass windows, you can’t help but fall silent in admiration of the beautiful bright colors and hard work that must have been put into making them. While we were visiting Notre Dame, there was a man outside feeding the birds. He was handing out seed to anyone who asked for it, so we spent a good hour outside the Cathedral holding our hands up and smiling like crazy when a bird began eating from them.
On one of our last days in Paris, we participated in a boat tour. The tour was held on a giant boat that had three levels: one up top for viewing the sights, one for guests to sit at tables while looking through a wall of windows at the city, and one for the kitchen. The tour came with a three-course meal for each guest and live entertainment by an accordion player.
This trip was such a great experience, especially because it was my first time out of the country. I am definitely going to travel to Paris again, hopefully I’ll even save up enough money to pay for my parents to join me since they paid for the travel my first time. In addition to Paris, I plan to travel to Australia, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Africa, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Greece, Poland, and Spain (in addition to several major cities in the U.S. I have yet to see).