Updated: Apr 22
Today is the last day of my spring break tour with Bus2Alps. We’ve been in Paris for two days now and it is an absolutely beautiful city. I came to Paris with low expectations as I expected it to be overrated like most cities in Western Europe, all big cities like New York City, but was pleasantly surprised. Our hostel is on the outskirts of the city, but is only a short subway ride into the heart of all the action.
We arrived in Paris on Thursday at around 4:00 PM and immediately checked into our hostel – Saint Christopher’s Inn. Our room was huge and each bed had a curtain on it so you can close it at night and people can turn the light on without waking you. It was a really cool concept and came in handy both nights. Also, each bed had two power outlets near it – a huge plus. It also had a nice bar downstairs with pretty good food.
A picture of our room at the hostel
On Thursday night, our group leader, took us to see the Eiffel Tower light up. We arrived as the light show was going on and only saw the show from a distance, but it was absolutely beautiful. We decided to walk towards to Eiffel Tower and watch the next light show from up close. We stopped at a supermarket and bought some wine and baguettes for the show and parked ourselves about 50 meters from the base of the tower. That was a great “Welcome to Paris” gift.
The view of the Eiffel Tower as we arrived
Eiffel Tower up close
A picture of myself with the Eiffel Tower
On Friday morning we had a pre-arranged walking tour of Paris. It was a phenomenal tour that lasted four hours. We saw almost everything in Paris. We started with the Cathedral of Notre Dame which was beautiful. I had a flashback to my childhood and remembered the movie, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and we learned that that story was written in 1902 to save the church from being torn down or modernized – it worked! Then, we went into the courtyard of The Louvre and saw the famous “invisible” pyramid. After this, we stopped for lunch. I went and got a baguette with ham and cheese and a cheese pastry. It was great! Afterwards, we went to a very pretty garden called the Tuileries Garden and walked down to the Arc de Triomphe and saw the Eiffel Tower from a distance.
Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris
View of Paris & the river Seine
Even a cloudy day couldn’t stop the inner beauty of Paris from showing
Old, beautiful building in Paris
Boats line the Seine
The Seine splits in two to create a small island
Couples write their names on a lock, attach it to a fence on a bridge & throw the key into the Seine River to symbolize their eternal love.
Famous pyramid in front of The Louvre
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel & Eiffel Tower in the background
Beautiful architecture in Paris
As I walked through the quiet of Tuileries Garden, I felt so removed from the city of Paris.
Statue in Tuileries Garden
People relaxing by a fountain in Tuileries Garden
Flowers in Tuileries Garden
After our tour, I walked to the Eiffel Tower to try and get to the top. The employees would only let me to the second level, not the top, because they decided for me that I cannot do stairs in case of an emergency. When I told them I could, they told me that it was their policy. This was a bit of a bummer, but the view from the second level was still pretty good.
Under the Eiffel Tower
Then, I went to the Louvre and saw the Inverted Pyramid, Mona Lisa and other works of art. The Mona Lisa was very small, as expected, but it was still pretty cool to be able to see it. I was in the Louvre for about 3 hours.
Shameless selfie with the upside down pyramid.
The Mona Lisa was a lot smaller than I would have thought!
Venus de Milo
Then, I went and saw the Moulin Rouge come alive as darkness began to take over the city. It was so cool to see it – next time I am here I want to go to a show there.
Moulin Rouge by Day
Moulin Rouge by Night
That night, I met up with a few people from my tour group to watch the Eiffel Tower light up one final time. It was still an amazing sight.
Today, we went to the Palace of Versailles. It was huge & as gorgeous and grand as I heard! I only had enough time to visit the palace, but the garden looked amazing so I absolutely want to visit it the next time I am in Paris.
Palace of Versailles
The famous Hall of Mirrors
After the Palace of Versailles, my tour group & I parted ways. They were about to embark on a 14 hour bus ride back to Rome, but I decided to extend my spring break trip by taking the train from Paris to London through the Chunnel!
Note: This post was originally published on April 2, 2011 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe” which chronicled my study abroad experience.