I spent this past weekend in Paris with my friend Susan and it was fantastic. We took the chunnel and it was very convenient, about two hours and security/customs was much easier. I was a little nervous about this trip because it was the first I had planned outside of the school and I reserved the hostel online without really knowing what it would be like. When we got off the train, our hotel was a quick metro ride away and it was really nice, best hostel I have stayed in. It was clean and the staff was very friendly as well as English speaking. They cleaned our room and changed our towels everyday, which is not typical for a hostel. That evening we went to Notre Dame, which was beautiful. Afterwards we went to a café and had crepes and café au lait. We then walked along the Seine, toward the Eiffel Tower as the sun set.

On Friday, we went to a bakery for breakfast and I had an almond croissant. After all, you must try pastries in Paris. It was a beautiful spring day, about 60 degrees. We went to the Arc d’ Triumph, the Bastille, the Luxembourg gardens, and Louvre. The street leading up to the Arc had very trendy and expensive shopping – Louis Vuitton, Cartier and the works. We then visited the Bastille, which is a monument in the middle of a busy street. It is copper turned green, with the names of those who died on the column. Many of them are buried under there. From there we went to the gardens with all kinds of flowers and fountains. It was a great day to visit. We ended the day at the Louvre, which is free to anyone under 25 after 6 p.m. It was very impressive and they allow you to take photos of all of the art as long as you turn off the flash. I saw the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Psyche and Cupid by Canova, Venus de Milo, and Dying Slave by Michaelangelo. We didn’t leave the museum until around 8 because it was so big it took a long time to get from one piece of art to the next.

Saturday we began the day by visiting the Moulin rouge. It’s a nice area with a few cute shops nearby. From there we went to the Musee d’ Orsay, which has all kinds of impressionist artwork. It is an interesting space that was at one time a train station. I saw Monet, Renoir, Cassat, Cezanne, Whistler, Matisse, Manet, Degas, Gaughin, and Van Gough. I really liked all of the art. After that we went to the Grande arch. On the journey from the journey from the museum to the arch it began to rain, a big change from the previous day. It’s at the very edge of the city and very modern, built in the 80’s. Honestly, I’m not really sure why it was #3 on our guidebook’s list of things to see. The view from the top was nice, you can see the Arc de Triumph and Eiffel tower, but overall not worth it. After that, we went back to the Eiffel tower and went to the top. We got to see in the daylight as the sunset and in the dark, all lit up. The next morning we left to go back to London an on the journey home it snowed. All in all it was a great trip.

Originally posted 4/8/08