“5 for 1 Euro”

16 Apr

Last week on Thursday after my class I was at lunch with my roommate who was leaving for Paris that afternoon. She had in passing asked if any of us wanted to go and then re-extended the offer at lunch. I started thinking about it and I really wanted to go! It was the one place that was so close, that everyone knew and I hadn’t booked a trip to go to. Being that they were leaving that afternoon at 3pm and it was 1pm, it became a mad rush to get packed and buy my ticket. My roommate was really excited that I decided to go, but I was afraid I wasn’t going to be ready in time. We rushed from school back to our flat and then with only about 40 minutes till we needed to be at the station, we found her parents waiting outside the apartment. They had come to visit her for the week and now they were taking a weekend trip with her to Paris!

I grabbed my bags and we rushed to the train station, to catch the Eurostar, it was about a two-hour train ride and a great view of the English countryside. We arrived at about 6pm, checked into the Hilton because her parents have tons of honor points! Ah I was so excited to sleep in a nice bed for a few days, not that mine isn’t nice…. It just has a few more springs than I am used to feeling. We had dinner in the Hotel that night and spent a few hours getting to know each other and just relaxing over a few drinks. We headed to bed after to prepare for our long day at Versailles on Friday. The forecast for the Easter weekend was not looking good, but I was determined to make it a great weekend no matter what.

The next morning we started with a hearty Hilton breakfast complementary with the room, it literally had everything you could possibly image, including some amazing French pastries and other native foods!

The metro/ train system in Paris is quite tricky, they cross and cross all over and with London’s system being so simple to maneuver it took us a little time to figure out how to use their system. After boarding the wrong train and getting off a few stops down to go the complete opposite direction we finally were on the write train to the 35-minute ride to Versailles. Along the way we meet a tour guide for Versailles and he gave us a small history of some of what we were going to see and some accordion players road on playing some French tunes! It was a great start to a not so sunny day, the sky was forecasting rain, and there was a small hope for the sun to break through, as we stood in the enormously long line that seemed to be moving pretty swiftly. It was a beautiful place. Only 15 euro for a ticket includes an audio guide, so it was a pretty good deal. The only problem was the number of people pushing through the rooms. The rooms were really cool each decorated with a different fabric color and pattern, so much gold embroidery and details making each room very unique. It was a crazy place, I cant image people like Anne Bolin, King Henry and so many other parading the halls, a story so familiar living such a ritzy lifestyle.

As soon as we were inside, it began to rain outside. In my hurry to pack I hadn’t brought all my warmest cloths and it was not warm outside, so I was happy for the 3 hours it took to walk through the house. There was a room of mirrors and chandeliers, beautiful oil paintings, portraits, and gifts from other nations decorating the rooms. Outside was a beautiful estate, fountains, and since we are just getting into spring you can tell in a few weeks the place would be blooming with every type of flower. Almost to the end of the house, I really needed to use the restroom so I ducted out to find the only one located outside. After waiting in a long line in the rain, I headed back inside to meet my roommate and her parents, not able to read the French directions is entered the exit and when I went to turn around I started to get chased by a man yelling at me in French and pointing for met to exit. I argued with no success so I was stuck in the bookshop until everyone had finished. I was so bummed that I didn’t get to see the rest of the house but it turns out that I really didn’t miss much.  When my roommate and her parents exited the wind was blowing and the rain was pouring, disappointed a little by the weather we decided not to tour the gardens. As soon as were started heading back the sun started to peak through the clouds.

It had been a long day of walking and standing so we were ready for dinner. My roommate’s mom loves Hard Rock café and goes to one everywhere she visits, and was so excited to go to the one in Paris. So we headed to Hard Rock to have some drinks and lively dinner. Turns out that the Paris Hard Rock is the second one after the very first one in London. It was a great vibe with Rock n Roll filling the air and a mood of happiness surrounding everyone.  We got back late, showered and passed out to get ready for a full day two!

The second day we again started with an amazing Hilton breakfast and then headed to stand in line at the Eiffel tower. We were in line at 8:30am waiting for the ticket booths to open at exactly 9:30am. There were already tons of people out and so many street venders selling tiny Eiffel tower key chains, “5 for 1 euro”! It was pouring down rain and standing in the cold, my legs were shaking and I felt like I was getting frost bit from holding my umbrella! People were rude and kept cutting in line, and there was no real order to the way that everyone was lining up to go up in the tower. At 9:30 on the dot the lines open and immediately the mass group of people formed into 4 massive lines of umbrellas. About an hour later and a few more people cutting in front of us we finally were at the front of the line and ready to board the first of two elevators to reach the top. The only think keeping me motivated was to see the view of the beautiful city! We crammed into the first elevator and then up to the second level we went!! Ah it was so cool! Paris is such a beautiful city! After wandering around for a while and finding some great souvenirs in the gift shop for my friends we got in line to make our way to the top! It wasn’t what I expected, it was an enclosed area with heating along the walls and above the windows had different countries and how many miles away they were from that spot. It was really cool to see. We climbed a small flight of stairs to the very tip-top of the tower, the wind was unbelievable but I was a feeling of being on top of the world. We snapped some pictures and tried to block the wind with our umbrellas, but accepting defeat in total we were only up there for about 10 minutes.

From the tower we headed to many other sites around Paris, the Louve, Musee d’Orsay were wanted to go inside but the line ended up being too long, Notre Dame, which was absolutely amazing and we walked back from the Louve to the, The Arch de Triumph. The sun ended up coming out for a few hours to warm us up and as we were walking through the park I could image how it would be in the spring. Flowers and trees blooming, it reminded me of the pointillism painting by Seurat of Paris in the summer. In each of the small ponds children were floating their small sailboats and people were relaxing chair all the way around the ponds. I could hear the friend accordion playing a tune in the background. What an amazing place, rich with happiness and culture. I could defiantly see why people would go there when they are in love. That night we ate at a French restaurant and had some traditional dishes. It was delicious. Around 11:30 my roommate and I ventured to see the Eiffel tower in all its glory lit up and catch at midnight on the hour its sparkle! Ah what a stunningly clear night it turned out to be and the perfect view of such a magical site. We sat for a while and just soaked it all in, we only had three weeks left now and then we would be going home.

Ah it seems like time flies. The next morning we woke up eager to fit in whatever we could before our train back at 4. We ran to Mont Marte a chuch high up on a hill with one of the most scenic views of Paris. Luckily we beat the rush, on our way our we saw literally hundreds of tourist pilling out of tour busses and parading up the hill, ah! We decided to walk to Moulin Rouge only about a mile down the road, after arriving we stopped for a nice chi tea latte and then headed down to the river. We walked for ages just taking in the beauty of the flower, the children on their bikes and people preparing for their Easter fests that afternoon. So many people walked by holding a French baggett, we couldn’t help but wonder if there was a pastry shop near by. Our last mission was to find a pastry shop, and then we did in perfect time to grab it and walk to the tube station to meet her parents. We ended up having about an hour and half before he had to board the plane so to finish off the great weekend we grabbed a beer and chatted in a restaurant in the station. With a nice buzz and a busy weekend, I drifted off to sleep for the two-hour train ride back to London. What an amazing weekend!

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