This Time Last Year In Paris

Eiffel Tower, (La Tour Eiffel) Paris

This time last year (roughly) I was in Paris for the first time in my life. Ever since I was a little girl I ALWAYS wanted to learn French and live in Paris, so it's bizarre to me that I've only ever been to France twice. This school trip to Paris was such an unforgettable experience (for many reasons) and hopefully the first of many of my visits to the French capital.

Me and my friend taking photos in Paris

Colourful French meringues in Parisian shop windows

Notre Dame Cathedral and the river in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral

Glass pyramids at the Louvre, Paris

Me taking photos in front of the glass pyramid at the Louvre, Paris

The inside of the glass pyramid at the Louvre, Paris
I thought carrying a DSLR camera around the Louvre somehow made me an artist, hence the bizarre angle
Me and my friend taking selfies in front of the glass pyramid at the Louvre, Paris

We stayed outside of the city centre, probably a reassuring idea for our parents considering we visited  the city only days after the tragic terror attack in Brussels. Our hotel was weird and small and you couldn't shower without getting the rest of the bathroom soaked in water. Both there and back we missed our ferries, so our agonisingly long journey from the West Midlands to Paris was made agonisingly longer and all the while we were cramped together in a battered old coach. In fact, the coach was late arriving to pick us up from school in the first instance, and then the night before we were due to leave Paris it broke down for 5 hours next to a train line heading towards the banlieue, in a district which we lovingly baptised "rape boulevard". But none of this really mattered: it made the experience of travelling even more thrilling.

As it was a school trip, we visited all the usual tourist spots in Paris: the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Cœur and, as someone who'd never been before, I was grateful. And, I can confirm, yes, the Mona Lisa is underwhelming in real life. I was probably more interested in the architecture of the Louvre than in the art itself (as you can see from my photos).

River Seine, by Notre Dame in Paris

Streets of Paris as seen from above (La Tour Montparnasse)

Paris from above (Montparnasse tower)

Paris from above, seen from the Montparnasse tower
Beginner's tip: if you want to climb to the top of somewhere tall in Paris, don't go to the Eiffel Tower. Go to the top of Montparnasse Tower - that way you get the Eiffel Tower in the skyline

Parisian streets in the sunshine

Paris town hall

Me and my friends loving life in Paris

Sacre Coeur in Monmartre

Panoramic view of Monmartre

L'Arc de Triomph at night

River Seine at night

Park in the grounds of the Louvre

Chateau de Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Hall of mirrors, Palace of Versailles

Musée d'Orsay

Love lock bridge Paris

Champs Elysees in Paris

Elysee Palace in Paris

Me and my friends in front of the Eiffel Tower, La Tour Eiffel

I know that I barely scratched the surface of what Paris has to offer, but from our short 4 day séjour I picked up enough about Paris to make me desperate to go back. There's something about seeing the sunset behind l'Arc de Triomph and exploring the sprawling streets of Monmartre that makes Paris such an exciting city. That and the standard of the macaroons (which are delicious even from McDonalds - and yes, French McDonalds sells macaroons). 

Despite the hellish coach journeys and missing our ferry both ways, I'm so grateful for this trip to Paris, both for the big and small things. Being able to wander in wonder around the Château de Versailles and soak up all of its rich history was just as rewarding as feasting on quiche, grapes and strawberries from Versailles' small fruit market and bakeries.

So I'm wishing myself a happy 1 year anniversary - and you can see my commemorative post here

Where are some of your favourite spots in Paris? Any recommendations for me?

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