Last week we had a day off from school, so Amy and I decided to take a chance and venture to Paris for our short break. Although it was a blink-and-you-missed-it trip (we left after class on Tuesday, had Wednesday there, and then came back in time for class on Thursday), it was completely worth it. For thirty four hours, we literally sprinted through Paris. Its impossible to see everything Paris has to offer in a day and a half, but that didn't stop us two girls from trying. I have to say, this was the most unbelievable and amazing trip I've taken yet.
Our first stop immediately after checking into our hostel was the Eiffel Tower. After some difficulty understanding the French tram system (seriously, mind telling people that a stop is completely gone before they get on a tram?), we finally reached the tower. It never looked so magnificent as it did then, especially after an hour of hopping on and off of over 10 trams trying to get there. Along with being the symbol of all things French and a major landmark, it has incredible detailed ironwork and the view from the top was breathtaking.
After even more difficulty using the trams to get back to hostel that night, we woke up the next morning and headed to the Louvre. It was incredibly packed, but Amy and I got to get in for free because we are students in the EU. The museum is built like a maze and it was extremely hard to navigate through. Seeing as we only had 34 hours in Paris, we couldn't spend the days upon days it would take to really soak in all of the amazing artwork in the Louvre. Our strategy was to basically run around like mad-women and come to skidding halt whenever we recognized a work from one of our Art history courses.
Other than seeing the Eiffel Tower, there was one thing I absolutely had to do in Paris. And that was visiting one of Laduree's pastry shops and trying on of their famous delicacies, French macarons. Not to be confused with the American coconut hub-cap version of the pastry, French macarons are an iconic symbol of Paris.
Amy and I split a set of 6 macarons and they were absolutely delicious. They came in this beautiful box with all 6 cookies perfectly lined inside (Amy and I ate 2 of them before I got the chance to photograph them, opps...). Amy got a lemon, a chocolate passion fruit, and a strawberry macaron. I chose a pistachio, a caramel, and a rose macaron. Although I didn't quite feel like Blair Waldorf eating them, they were quite an indulgence.
Another situation that proved to me that I am a broke college student, I was ecstatic to get into the Manet exhibit at the Musee d'Orsey for free! They had many of Manet's well known works including Olympia and this one, Luncheon of the Grass. Not only was I excited to see this work because I had written a paper this specific piece in my Art History class years ago, but it is also the painting where Blair meets Prince Louis in front of on Gossip Girl. Granted I am clearly not a glamourous Upper-east-sider relaxing in Paris on her summer vacation. My French is quite terrible and I didn't meet my own prince-posing-as-a-commoner, but I enjoyed the painting none the less.
When I first planned going to Paris, I was actually more excited to see this than the Eiffel Tower. I have a painting of the Arc de Triomphe in my bathroom that I found at Goodwill. It was quite an experience to see it in person. There is a constant circle of traffic flowing around it (there is an underground tunnel to get to the center) so I imagine it would make an amazing night-time, long exposure photo.
Speaking of photos I want to take. I saw a poster once of the Eiffel Tower behind a mary-go-round and knew that I wanted to recreate that shot on my own. There is something about the serious-ness of a landmark like the Eiffel Tower in combination with the frivolity and light-heartedness of a mary-go-round. I don't think my photo came out as well composed as the professional poster, but I still plan to print it large and make it my own poster back home.
All in all, it was a super short trip, but it was completely worth it. Check out me and the amazing Amy next to the tower on our last day. We only had 34 hours in Paris, but we made it work! I hope to return some day and truly savor Paris as a much slower pace, but I am over-the-top glad I got to catch a glimpse of it now.