Monday, April 23, 2012

Post 14: A weekend in Paris

Shakespeare and Company bookstore
Most people would decide after two straight weeks of traveling and living out of a backpack that it is time to take a break for awhile and stay in one place.  I, on the other hand, decided to go to Paris.  In all honesty, I didn't really think I would like Paris.  I went in with low expectations and left with a newfound love of the wonderful city.

The stereotype of basque people (the people from the area in which I study) is that the people are very cold.  Whether it's a result of this stereotype or just good luck in terms of which people I met, I thought that the people of Paris were very friendly, despite what most people say about them.  

One of the Louvre's ceilings
We arrived in the early afternoon on Friday and were immediately ready to explore.  We started off at the Arc de Triomphe, which was located just a few blocks from our hotel.  The arc was impressive, but the view of Paris from the top is the true reason to go there.  

After the Arc de Triomphe, we leisurely explored one of the main streets in Paris and made our way to the Fontaine Saint-Michel.  As a graduate of St. Michael's School, the fountain was especially exciting for me. 
Sainte Chapelle
Later on in the day, I spotted the Shakespeare and Company bookstore.  After seeing it, I quickly told my friend Maggie that we need to go inside.  We went in and both fell in love with it.  We loved it so much that we came back the next day.  Nerdy?  Yes, but if you have any love of books, you'd understand.  The place honestly feels magical.  We were also invited to register to vote in the U.S. while there.  It would have been cool to say that I registered to vote in Paris, but I opted to just wait until I get back to the U.S.

Notre Dame
On Saturday, we started off the day at the Louvre.  We knew we didn't want too spend the whole day there, so we went in with a game plan.  We wanted to see the following: Aphrodite, The Winged Victory, and Mona Lisa.  After getting lost for a little bit, we eventually found all three pieces of art.  It was cool to see, but my favorite part of the museum was the ceilings.  I realize how ridiculous this might seem, but the ceilings were remarkable.  I find that this is true in most monuments and museums in Europe.

After the Louvre, we visited the Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame.  Both churches were beautiful, as expected, but I found the Sainte Chapelle to be absolutely astounding.  Upon entering, I think it's impossible not to utter, "Wow."  The stained glass that lines the walls and the colors that decorate the ceilings are simply beautiful.

The Eiffel Tower sparkling at night
Later on in the day, we climbed our way up the Eiffel Tower and watched the sunset and then ate crepes while we were waiting for the tower to start sparkling.  The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour on the hour for five minutes after dark.  Watching it sparkle, I couldn't help but feel giddy in the way that I do when I am in Disney World.  It's beautiful and enchanting.

On Sunday, we relaxed in the Jardin du Luxembourg before heading to the airport to come back to Bilbao.  The trip was definitely a success and left me with a desire to return back to the wonderful city of Paris.

The semester is winding down and I'm beginning to freak out a little bit about the fact that I will be home in three and a half weeks.  I'll just need to make the most of the time I have left!

Until next time... ¡Adios!

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