2 weeks late, but I am finally wrapping up blogs on my Easter Holiday travels by writing about my final city stop in Paris before heading back to uni!
I had always been told that the French can be somewhat standoffish towards tourists, especially Americans. I realized when arriving that they aren’t being rude as much as they are being proud. A friend here from Uni told me “the French have pride like lions,” and boy is that true! Even if a local from France speaks and understands English, if you go in arrogantly speaking English and not respecting their language and culture, there is a 99% chance they won’t respect you back. At fist this was frustrating, but reflecting on it, I have known multiple Americans who have said things similar to “everyone in the States should know and speak English.” So really, it isn’t much different. The first time we encountered the pride of the French language was when we stopped in a small French town called Burgundy for a lunch break on the way to Paris. We said “Bonjour!” when we entered and then proceeded to order everything in English. The woman behind the counter clearly understood every word we were saying to her, but she insisted on responding to us only in French, including asking if we wanted our sandwiches heated up and telling us how much we owed. Following this event, we decided it would be very useful to study some French phrases on the rest of the bus trip to Paris. I learned how to say the obvious, “hello,” and “goodbye,” as well as phrases like “do you speak english?” or “I don’t speak French” and “I would like…” “please and thank you.” It was fun to learn some of a new language, even if I butchered most of what I said. French is such a pretty sounding language and maybe one day I will actually invest in learning it more! I truly do miss greeting people with a happy “bonjour!” instead of a basic “hey.”
So, once we actually arrived in Paris and checked into our hostel, we had 2 days to explore the city. I got to see a lot in 2 days however I definitely would’ve loved having much more time there. Good news? There’s a vet school somewhere in France as well 😉
The first day, I went to explore the Palace of Versailles first thing in the morning. It’s a good thing I got there early because by the time I was entering the gates, the line was probably a couple hundred people long. While it’s definitely worth reading about sometime, I will spare everyone from a history lesson via my blog. If you haven’t even seen pictures of the palace, it is HUGE and gorgeous. Every single building is decked out in paintings and gold and mirrors and the outside is lined with large gardens and fountains. I can’t imagine someone actually living there, although I am sure it would be a great time.
The rest of the time in Paris was spent exploring the actual city. I found out, much to my delight, that Paris runs on a system super similar to the Tube in London called the Metro. It was just as fun and easy to ride around the city as the tube was and I loved every time I got to take it to a new destination. I hope everyone else who visits London and Paris appreciate this convenient public transportation as much as I did. As I jetted around the Metro system, some of the cool tourist things I saw included the Eiffle Tower, seeing the Lourve, Art Bridge, Notre Dame and Arc de Triomphe. Oh, and of course, losing my macaroon virginity to Laduree Paris (I hope Blair Waldorf would be proud)!
Going to the top of the Eiffle Tower was a really cool way to experience both the tower and see the city. I forget the exact details, but I am pretty sure a tour guide at one point told us the tower wasn’t supposed to be up and operating as long as it has been, which made the rickety lift ride to the top somewhat terrifying. Once arriving to the top, you should technically be able to see Paris for miles. Unfortunately, Paris has a pretty tragic relationship with air pollution. There is a constant haze covering the city skyline due to all the car and air pollution which makes it hard to see too far from the top of the tower. Still, it was possible to get a decent view of the city surrounding the tower and it’s exciting to say I’ve been to the top.
Seeing the Art Bridge was a dream come true. Most of you probably know it as the “love lock bridge,” which is what I originally was calling it as well. While trying to locate the bridge, I asked a nice looking cop for directions and before I was given directions I was scolded and told the true name is the Art Bridge. Cool. Either way, seeing this bridge has been on my bucket list ever since I can remember. I think it is so inspiring to see how many couples or friends have come to place a lock on the bridge representing an eternal love. I can’t even imagine how strong these peoples’ relationships were or how in love they are, but it must be amazing. I hope one day I have a love that strong that we could lock it in eternity, besides my dogs of course. As we approached the bridge I was literally skipping with joy and anticipation to see all the locks and feel the overwhelming love radiating off it. Sadly, the bridge has been covered in a lot of spaces with boards because the weight of all the locks was collapsing the bridge. The sides of the bridge were still visible and over flowing with locks however so I can’t say I was disappointed. I know they call Paris “The City of Lights,” but some have adapted to calling it the “city of love,” which makes way more sense because feeling the romance of Paris is truly inevitable.
Paris was amazing, as were the rest of the cities I saw over break, but after what seemed like a super short 3 weeks, it was time to return to Wales.
Reality slapped me in the face hard the first couple days back to lectures. While the majority of my fellow students spent their holiday breaks home working on assignments, I was out playing. This left me coming back to a group presentation and a short research essay due the first week back, and two 2500 word statistical analysis/research papers due the second week back. FUN STUFF!! While knocking out the first week’s assignments was rather painless, the two long research papers were rough. I meant to take care of them the weekend in between, but the sunshine came out to play. I accidentally spent a good two or three days lounging on the beach instead of the library. My procrastination started to wear off on the Tuesday before they were due and so I began to actually cram and work. With the occasional beach bonfire or netflix episode for breaks, I managed to complete both my essays in time!
This is now the final week of lectures before finals will start. Finals here fun for a month instead of a week like they do at home. This is a good thing because my exams here will be much harder than most I have taken at Purdue. Hopefully the beach isn’t too distracting! It’s also officially on the countdown of only a month until I am home! It’s mind-blowing how quickly time escapes us and I often find myself wishing it would slow down, but I do have to say I can’t wait to hug my pups and parents again.
Thanks for reading!