I am very sad to say that this will be my last post on my study abroad blog. Over the past 4 months I have learned so much, about the world and myself. I’ve been so blessed to have this experience and live my dreams. I am happy that I decided to blog about my journey, and have followers like you supporting me throughout all my adventures…so thank you!
There are many people that I could not have done all of this without, and I just want to give them all a quick shout-out.
- Thanks to my Nana and Papa for always supporting me…even though I know you worried every single day about me! Thanks for being my #1 blog followers too!!
- Thanks to my brother, who always managed to tease me on Skype and make me feel like I was back home.
- Thanks to my best friends, who kept me laughing 3,000 miles away and always cheered me up when I was homesick.
- Thanks to Mark, who bravely watched me venture across the world, to live in Spain for 4 months, with a smile on his face. That’s not an easy task for a boyfriend to do, and I am so grateful for his non-stop support in every new adventure I take on!
- Thanks to my past teachers and professors (some of whom follow my blog), for helping to shape me into the person I am today. I would have never been interested in international relations, Spanish or traveling if it weren’t for some of my favorite teachers/professors who inspired me! (You know who you are.)
Finally…there are two very important people I owe it all to.
Mom & Dad. You guys never cease to amaze me. I am inspired and motivated by you every single day of my life. I could have never accomplished all that I managed over the years without your love and support. I wasn’t afraid to adventure out into this world because of you both, so thank you.
This ones for you...
THANK YOU MOM & DAD FOR GIVING ME THE WORLD. XOXO
Now that I’ve had time to readjust and organize my pictures, I’ve decided to share with you some silly ones I’ve taken in some really cool places! For those of you who are not familiar with the term “selfie”, it’s basically a picture you take of yourself! Now that we have things clarified, I hope you enjoy my edition of “Selfies All Over the World”!
Trevi Fountain Selfie
Vatican Museum Selfie
Top of St. Peter’s Basilica Selfie
Tower Bridge Selfie
Big Ben Selfie.
London Eye Selfie
Eiffel Tower Selfie #1
The Louvre Selfie
Venus de Milo Selfie
Mona Lisa Selfie
Arc de Triomphe Selfie
Eiffel Tower Selfie #2
Sunset at the “End of the World” Selfie
Torre de Oro Selfie
Plaza de España Selfie
Hey everyone! Here is my post about travel tips for Paris! This is based on my own personal experience of the city and what I enjoyed the most!! I hope it helps if you are planning to visit anytime soon!! Enjoy!
- The metro in Paris is a little difficult to navigate at first, but after a couple trips it becomes much simpler.
- A one way ticket on the metro is 1.70 Euro, but I advise you to purchase a book of 10 tickets for 13.70 if you plan on being in the City for a couple of days!
- The bus system, I assume is similar but I did not travel via bus while in Paris. I found the metro to be very quick and sufficient.
- If you are flying Ryan Air and landing in Beauvais Airport, they have an airport shuttle that takes you to Paris. You can purchase your tickets after arriving at the airport, but to catch the first bus after your flight it is a good idea to have your tickets purchased and printed already. Here is the link to do that. Beauvais Shuttle
- The Eiffel Tower. Whether or not you make the journey to the top, it is impossible to not-see the Eiffel Tower when in Paris (literally-because you can see it from all over the City!). It is just as beautiful as you would imagine, and even more beautiful at night (if that’s even possible). Each evening, on the hour, there is a 5 minute light show where the Eiffel Tower sparkles and lights up the city! It is a must see! For a great view of the light show, get off the metro stop Trocadero!
- The Louvre. Possibly one of the largest and most famous museums ever! Home to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. If you have enough time, definitely make a stop at the Louvre. For students with an ID, entrance is free!! I recommend using side doors to enter the Louvre, rather than the main entrance under the glass pyramid. The wait can be rather long for the main entrance! If you can find a side entrance, you should be able to sneak right in without any hassle! For information on purchasing your tickets in advance, see this link. The Louvre However, if you are a student, don’t buy you’re tickets in advance because you will be able to get in for free! Just remember, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays! Also, if you go later at night, around 6pm, it won’t be as crowded!
- The Arc de Triomphe. It is possible to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, but like many things, we did not have the time to do so. It costs 5 Euros for students and 8 Euros for adults. For information on times, see this link. Arc de Triomphe
- Montemarte/Sacre Coeur. This area is a really beautiful place in Paris. Not only does it have an incredible view of the city but it was the home of many famous artists and is where you can find Moulin Rouge! It is worth the trek up all the stairs to get to the top, trust me!!
Luxembourg Gardens. Truly beautiful, especially in the Spring when everything is in full bloom! Grab a baguette and take a stroll around!!
- Notre Dame. This is actually the number one tourist attraction in Paris. Why? Because it is free to enter the Cathedral, where everything else costs money, including going inside the Eiffel Tower! Definitely worth checking out Notre Dame, it is truly beautiful!!
- Lock Bridge. Just take a quick stroll across the Lock Bridge before heading to the Louvre for the day! It’s beautiful to see all the locks of people young and old in love on the bridge!! It also has a great view of the Seine!
- Champs-Elysees. Best shopping in all of Paris? Hold on to your wallets ladies!
- Macaroon. This is my number one recommendation when visiting Paris. Ya, ya you can get fancy and try the snails, but don’t leave the city without having a macaroon, or two…or ten. They are so delicious!! Possibly one of my new favorite deserts! Of course, none will probably be as good until I return to Paris again!
- Crepe. They have little crepe stands and cafes all over the city! It’s a very yummy afternoon treat to have when walking around the city!! I recommend nutella with strawberries! (But you can also get more dinner-like crepes filled with meat and cheese as well!)
- Baguette. As stereotypical a baguette may seem to be, it’s true–the French love their baguettes! Everywhere you look, people were carrying large loaves of bread home with them!
- Croissant/Pastry. Any croissant or pastry you have in Paris is bound to be delicious!
- Wine. Again, Duhhhh.
- I recommend taking advantage of the free walking tour of the city offered by Sandeman! They also offer a tour of Versailles and Montmartre as well, but we only did the actual city tour! At the end of the tour, they ask that you tip your tour guide what you felt the value of your tour was! All the guides are very informed of the city and very fun!! I learned more about the history of Paris on this 2 hour walking tour than I ever knew before! For information about meeting locations and times, please see this link. Sandeman’s Walking Tour
- Another important safety thing to note about Paris, is that red lights do not always mean stop for Parisians. Be very careful when crossing the street, even if the green flashing light is advising you to cross, check both ways just to be safe!!
Cleanliness: * * * *
- Paris gets four stars for cleanliness. Although many people say that Paris is a dirty city, I found it to be pretty clean! It was very beautiful and the streets were not messy! I’m not sure what parts of Paris those people are visiting, but the parts I saw were clean and nice!!
Safety: * * *
- Paris gets three stars for safety. I’m not sure if the movie Taken has any influence on my rating for safety of Paris, but the city seemed relatively safe. I never truly felt unease, but I was a little nervous heading out at night! As long as you are aware of your surroundings, and stay in the nice areas of the city, you should have nothing to worry about!
Transportation: * * *
- Paris gets three stars for transportation. The metro is a little confusing at first and difficult to navigate. Occasionally, the metro would stop, or the lights would go out, which is not really what you want when taking a subway somewhere! The prices were reasonable however.
Food: * * * *
- Paris gets four stars for food. It is a city known for it’s delicious food, and it did not disappoint at all. Although I am more in favor of it’s famous deserts, rather than its meals, I was pleased with everything I ate while visiting! Please, do yourself a favor and try a macaroon when visiting!!!
Friendliness of People: * *
- Paris gets two stars for friendliness. Many people asked me when I returned from Paris if any French were hostile towards me because I was American. I actually did not find anyone to be particularly rude to me because I was foreign. Unlike Rome and London however, Parisians do not go out of their way to make you feel welcome or to truly help you. Nonetheless, I was expecting it to be a lot worse, so I was pleased with what I found.
Overall Cost of Visiting the City: * * *
- Paris gets three stars for overall cost. Like any capital city, it was pretty expensive when it came to meals and shopping. However, it is doable on a budget! Don’t forget your student ID to get discounts and into the Louvre for free!
Hostel Rating: * * * * *
- We stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel on the Canal. There is also another St. Christopher’s that is in the Montmartre region of Paris. We were very pleased with our stay! Breakfast was included each morning and the bathrooms and rooms were very clean. We stayed in a room meant for 12 girls, and each bed had a curtain you could shut when you went to sleep and a little light for reading! It might not have been the cheapest place we could have stayed in Paris, but it was safe and clean, and many of our friends had recommended it to us! Definitely worth the extra money! St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel
Days Needed to See the City: 1 Week
- Paris is a beautiful city with a lot to offer! Take the time to enjoy everything and spend a week there! If you are a study abroad student, you can get most of the main attractions accomplished in about 3 full days, though it is an exhausting trip! I would prefer a week in Paris so I could have time to take a day and travel to Versailles and spend more time exploring the Louvre!
I fell in love with Paris the moment I arrived! I understand why it is a place where artists and writers go to live, and lovers go to vacation! It is a beautiful city, filled with surprises around every corner! I loved adventuring through the streets of Paris, and was lucky enough to meet up with a friend from school who showed us around! It was a great trip and I will be going back to Paris again soon, that’s for sure!! xoxo
Bonjour (again)! I am attempting to complete my Paris blog posts while everything is fresh in my memory!! We did so much in two days, I don’t want to forget a single thing!
Lucky for us, our friend from St. A’s, Niles, is studying abroad in Paris this semester! On Sunday morning we had a plan to meet outside Notre Dame at 11:30 to meet up and see the city together!
It was really great to see someone from home!! Niles mapped out our whole day and we headed out walking around the city & catching up!!
Just like the Spanish know how to do Plazas, the French know how to do gardens! First stop, the Gardens of Luxembourg!
In all honesty, I’m not sure of all the places we walked around to! All I can say is that Paris is beautiful, everywhere you go!! We visited the Latin Quarters, some small shopping markets, the Jewish quarters and the outside of the Modern Art Museum.
The weather on Sunday was a little wild, first sun, then rain, then sun, then hail! It was so on and off again! After walking around for a couple of hours we stopped for breaks when the weather got strange. I tried a French chocolate croissant during one break, it was very good! Outside the Modern Art museum, we got drinks together and talked about our study abroad adventures during another rain shower! Of course, I got wine…when in France, right!
With a little pep in our step from the alcohol, we decided to venture up to Montmartre, a hill in the Northern part of Paris that overlooks the whole city! It is known for night clubs, artists and Moulin Rouge! Many artists, such as Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh had studios in Montmartre.
You might be surprised we were willing to do more stairs after climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica but I think the wine numbed our legs enough so we could do it!
Still climbing!!! The white domed church at the top is called Sacre Couer. It was built in the hopes to change Montmartre from being such a party area of the city. They thought that the artists might view the church as God looking down upon their bad behavior and change their ways! I don’t think it worked so well.
When we finally made it to the top, it started raining and fog crept into our view of the city!!
We waited out the storm under Sacre Couer, and eventually the sun started to peek out!
My pictures (like always) do not do this view justice!! It is worth the hike up!! (Just get a glass-or two- of wine before hand and you’ll be fine!)
A little foggy still, but we got an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower from Montmartre as well!
To this day, it still remains a very artsy district in Paris! Artists come to showcase their work in this plaza! Although Moulin Rouge is located in this area also, we did not stop by because it isn’t in the best neighborhood!
On our way back down from Montmartre, we stopped for a snack! And what’s more French than splitting a baguette! (Big thanks to Niles for showing us around all day!!)
Finally, we headed back downtown towards the Arc de Triomphe!
This infamous monument in Paris was commissioned by Napoleon so he would have a place to march his troops under it after victory! Unfortunately, they were restoring part of the Arc (top left) so I didn’t get the beautiful picture I had hoped for!
St. A’s takes on Paris!! So happy we got to all meet up! Again, huge thanks to Niles for showing us around all day! We had the best time!!
After walking for nearly 5 hours, we said goodbye to Niles and he pointed us in the direction of the Eiffel Tower (our final stop of the day!) But first, a quick snack!! I had to try a macaroon before leaving Paris!!
It was so delicious!!! I highly recommend getting them when you visit! Macaroons might be my new favorite desert!
And finally! Here we are!! The Eiffel Tower!! Now maybe you are wondering if we made it to the top. I am sorry to say we did not. We contemplated it for a while, but our feet were so sore from walking all over Paris that we didn’t think we could muster up the energy! The temperature was also beginning to drop quickly as the sun was setting so we opted out of climbing to the top. If we had more time, we would have made it up!
After the longest (and best) day in Paris, I felt as if the soles of my feet were bleeding from all the walking we did! As we were on our way to the metro, I actually rolled my ankle on the crooked cobblestone! Unfortunately, by the time we were back at the hostel it was swollen and hurt too bad to walk on! We were hoping to make it out to the light show again Sunday night to meet Niles, but with my swollen ankle, we never made it! I am still very disappointed by my bad luck, but we were blessed with an amazing trip nonetheless, so I cannot complain! (In case anyone is wondering, my foot is getting better after icing and resting it!)
I must say that Paris is everything you dream about and more. The streets are clean and beautiful, the Seine River and bridges are magnificent, the food-delicious, the bread-fresh, and the deserts-to die for. The Eiffel Tower is more incredible than any picture could have prepared me for! I fell in love with the city of Paris and 100% will be going back again soon (hopefully with my Mom)…this time to spend a full day in the Louvre, climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and eat 100 macaroons.
If you have the chance: VISIT PARIS. Just go, please! It’s amazing and worth seeing! I am so grateful I had the chance to go this past weekend, and very thankful we had a friend to show us around the city! I have dreamed of Paris my entire life (with pictures of the Eiffel Tower hanging on my walls since Middle School) and finally, I made it! Two full days was not nearly enough time! I’m not sure even a week in Paris will do the city justice, but it is a must see!!
Now I am both sad and relieved to say that the next time I will be getting on a place will be to come home in a month! Paris was the last of our big trips, but in two weeks we will be spending time on the gorgeous beaches in Lagos, Portugal! My Mom & my boyfriend’s mom will be coming to visit in April also! And there is Santa Semana (or Holy Week) that is huge here in Seville! I am looking forward to some downtime in Seville, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather in this beautiful city I call home! I promise to keep posts coming during this last month! I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by! Thanks for joining me along this incredible journey!
Au Revoir Paris, I will be back to see you soon! xoxo
Bonjour everyone! I am safely back in Seville after spending a couple days in the beautiful city of Paris this past weekend! Like all my trips, I had the most amazing time!! Paris was everything I expected it to be, and much more. I understand why artists and writers live in Paris, or why great romances begin there…it is an incredible city, each street as beautiful as the next one! I think I will do two posts about Paris, describing my two adventurous days!
We arrived in Paris late on Friday, exhausted as usual after a long day of travel. Although we could have ventured out, we decided to go to bed early so we would be refreshed for a busy day of touring around! Our hostel (St. Christopher’s Inn, on the Canal) recommended to us a free walking tour of Paris, called Sandeman’s New Paris Free Tour. They are unpaid tour guides and work off of tips! Our guide was very informative, interesting and funny!
We met our guide at 11:00am and begin walking all over the city, listening to the history behind the buildings in Paris and the country of France! Although it actually rained while on our tour, the sun came out a little later, making Saturday an incredible day! (I unfortunately did not take many pictures while it was raining!)
A view of the Seine River before the storm! (Even a rainy day in Paris is still beautiful!)
The sun came out in time to visit the incredible “Lock Bridge”. This is where lovers of all ages, from all around the world, write their names on a lock, clip it to the chained fence of the bridge and toss the key into the river! I think the concept of this bridge is great, it is literally FILLED with love… we can always use more love in this world!!
On one side of the Lock Bridge, there is this beautiful building, where very educated people in France determine the rules and words of the French language! (For example, our tour guide explained that it took them 5 months to decide if the iPod would be masculine or feminine! It’s now officially a masculine noun, in case you were wondering.)
The opposite side of the bridge is part of the Louvre! We quickly moved through the large area of the museums and to some beautiful gardens!
Our tour ended around these gardens between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe (which can be seen in the distance).
Beyond these gardens is the “Place de la Concorde”, one of Paris’ largest squares…also known for being the location of many executions after the Revolution in France. Our tour guide said there was so much blood spilt in this square, that even 10 years later, when kids would jump on loose stones, blood would seep up from the ground! (You know how the French loved the guillotine.)
After our walking tour ended, Kayla and I headed back through the gardens to the Louvre!
Lucky for us, since we are students, our admission was free!! But beware, if you plan to do the Louvre, do not expect to see everything!! It might honestly be impossible!! It is such a massive museum, I was in awe! Our tour guide told us that if you were to spend 10 seconds looking at every piece of art in the museum, it would take you over 3 MONTHS to see it all!!!
We spent a little over 2 hours in the museum and was only able to visit 4 sections: Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Renaissance. Lucky for us, we were able to see two of the most famous pieces of work in the museum!!
The Venus de Milo! (Famous statue from Ancient Greece of the Goddess Aphrodite of Milos)
And of course, Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous “Mona Lisa”. The picture quality is poor because the painting is actually behind two glass sheets (one that protects the painting against flash, and the other that’s bullet proof…not sure why someone would shoot a painting, but better safe than sorry!)
Although it was incredible to see this Renaissance painting, it’s definitely not what you expect! For starters, it is very small!! And everyone crowds around it so it’s hard to get a really good view!
Something that truly puzzled me, was the fact that the Mona Lisa is in this room, with a crowd of people surrounding it…and on the opposite wall was this massive painting of the Last Supper.
It literally covers the entire wall opposite the Mona Lisa! This is also an amazing piece of art work but is brushed to the side by a tiny painting of one ambiguous woman. I must say however, the only very cool thing about the Mona Lisa, is the fact that no matter where you stand in the room, it always looks like she is looking at you!! Kind of crazy!
I highly recommend visiting the Louvre if you are in Paris. It is one of the most incredible museums I have been in, and as a nerd who enjoys history and art, it’s a great place to wander around for hours! I have to admit that Kayla and I got lost trying to find the exit!!
But we eventually made it out!!
After a very long day, we slowly made our way back to the hostel. Before catching the metro, I got a crepe for a snack!! (I mean, hey, when in France?! It was so delicious)
After resting up at the hostel, we decided to get dinner and drinks before catching the infamous Eiffel Tower light show! For those who don’t know, the Eiffel Tower lights up every hour, on the hour for about 5 minutes! We were unsure of where to watch the show from, but our friend recommended getting off at metro stop Trocaderno! At first we were unsure where the Eiffel Tower was, until we turned a corner and saw this incredible view!!
After waiting a couple minutes, 10:00pm rolled around and the Eiffel Tower began to sparkle! I’m not kidding, the tower actually glitters!! It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!!
I understand now why Paris is called the City of Love. xoxo