My weekend trip to Paris was absolutely amazing.
Thursday after class my friends Liz, Fulani, Jacob, Lexi, Mike and I took a bus from Amsterdam Amstel train station to Paris. We stopped in a few places along the way including Utrecht (NL), Antwerp (Belguim), and Brussels (Belgium). I honestly was not that bothered by the 8 hour bus ride. I mostly slept and listened to my iPod. I was able to see a lot of countryside out of the window which made the trip enjoyable. We got to Paris around 11 PM. We got on the Paris metro and headed to our hostel. The Paris metro system is fairly easy to navigate. When we got to our hostel we immediately checked in, unpacked then ate dinner. The hostel wasn’t the nicest place I’ve ever stayed but it was bearable. There were 6 of us so we had our own room. That night we sat in the bar that was part of our hostel and talked to a few people. We met some Canadians that came to the Paris for the weekend because they got cheap tickets because they work for an airline. We went to sleep at a decent hour because we wanted to be rested for the full weekend ahead of us.
Friday we walked to the Eiffel tower from our hostel which was about a 10 minute walk. We spent time walking around taking pictures. The boys decided to go to the top so us girls walked around trying to figure out the best price for a boat tour. Then we all walked down the river a ways and went on a boat tour. It was a foggy/chilly day but it was still a nice tour. Paris is very large so I was able to see a lot from the boat. Then after that we found a place to eat. It was an overpriced cafe but what do you expect in Paris. I got a croque-monsieur which was pretty good. We met an American family from Massachusetts there. The mom, dad and brother were visiting their son who is studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium. After lunch we headed to the Champs Elysees where I went into the biggest Sephora I’ve ever been to. We also saw the Arc de Triomphe. Basically all things tourist. We were pretty tired by this point so we went back to our hostel to rest. After a break the girls and I went to happy hour at a bar close to our hostel. The drinks were outrageously priced so needless to say we didn’t drink much. Then (here comes to fun part) we realized that we needed to head to the Louvre if we were going to get in for free (it’s free Friday evenings from 7-9:45 for students under 26). However, because of many circumstances we were running late. So Liz, Lexi and I ran/walked all the way from our hostel to the Louvre which was NOT a short distance. We got there about 20 minutes before closing time but we were still able to go in for a bit. We raced to find the Mona Lisa since you can’t go to the Louvre and not see it. I was also able to see a few other Da Vinci’s and works of art. We decided to hangout outside of the Louvre for a little while since we had sprinted there. The view was amazing. The city was lit up and you could see the Eiffel tower from where we were standing. After a while we walked back to the hostel and went to bed.
Saturday we woke up and took the metro to the Catacombs. First we ate crepes though and they were delicious! The Catacombs was awesome. You have to descend more than a kilometer to get to the tombs. I started getting dizzy descending the stairs because it was a small spiral staircase. It was dark and creepy down there but I enjoyed it quite a bit. After that we took the metro over to the Notre Dame. I loved it. I had no idea how much I enjoyed cathedrals. Afterward we decided to have a picnic lunch in the park by the Eiffel tower so we walked around getting food. Then we went to the park and hung out for a couple of hours. That was a lot of fun. The weather was incredible Saturday so a picnic was the perfect thing to do. We were worn out so we went back to the hostel after we were finished at the park. We hung out at the hostel with and spoke with some of the other people staying there. We met a guy from California who is backpacking for 10 weeks before starting medical school in the fall. We also met some Icelandic people and native Parisians. We walked to the Eiffel tower once again so we could see it at night. We ended up sitting in the park where we met some Canadians who were also studying abroad in Spain, Switzerland and France who were in Paris for the weekend like we were. We finally headed back to the hostel where most of us went to bed. Lexi and I headed out before the rest of the group on Sunday because there were no more cheap tickets left for the later bus back to Amsterdam when we booked the trip so we left a few hours before everyone else. The bus ride back seemed longer because I was dreading it. We stopped a long the way again. The Brussels train station (where we stopped both times) is absolutely disgusting. We got back to Amsterdam and were trying to get back to Leiden but we got on the metro instead of the train. Which wasn’t a problem until we got off and tried to get out and couldn’t get through the gates and couldn’t because we didn’t have metro cards. One of the attendants came up to us asking us what we were doing and was just about to get mad at us when this guy distracted him. He let us through and then we ran up the stairs to the train station. Finally we got a train back to Leiden and I was able to come back to my dorm and get some sleep. I absolutely loved Paris. We were fortunate and everyone we interacted with was friendly and helpful. There were no major fall outs between the group I was with and we had great weather. I would definitely love to go back in the future to see everything I was unable to see during this trip. There is so much history in Paris that there was no way I’d be able to see it all in 2 full days there.
^Photo album for my pictures from Paris