An American in Paris

November 7th-10th

This past weekend I traveled to Paris, France with Alejandra! We both have been there before so we planned on a leisurely weekend strolling down the Champs-Elysees drinking hot chocolate and eating Lauduree macaroons. Although we did both, we actually did quite a bit else. Friday was a little rainy and very cloudy so when we landed in the morning we headed right to the Louvre. After fighting through the usual crowd of people surrounding the Mona Lisa, searching for Hammurabi’s Law Code for far too long and marveling at the beauty of Aphrodite, we left in search of crepes: the first of many. Crepes in hand we walked along the Seine, stopped at the famous lock bridge and headed to Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter for dinner.

loving the Louvre

loving the Louvre

After dinner –Greek food- we went to the Eiffel Tower and sat staring at it for at least an hour. It’s pretty incredible to go from touring St. Peter’s Basilica Thursday morning to standing under the Eiffel Tower by Friday night. Saturday we toured the Palace of Versailles and marveled at my favorite room in the world: The Hall of Mirrors. We walked through the main street of the town and bought food from the market and ate on the train on the way back into the city. Once we got back into the city, we went to Musee d’Orsay, the top of the Arc de Triomphe, Sacré Coeur, and Moulin Rouge, then spent the evening on the Champs-Elysees. The first time I went to Paris was 5 years ago with my family and with my infamous awful memory, I had remembered little from the trip. When I first came to Rome I didn’t think I would go back to Paris because I had already been, but Alejandra and I found cheap tickets and I wanted to refresh my memory the best way possible. I definitely experienced a Paris I hadn’t been able to at age thirteen.

On Sunday we woke up early again and went to Bastille Market, which is huge, and it’s a lot of fun to interact with the people there. Even though they proceeded to speak fast, fluent, French while I struggled to recall even the numbers from my four years (yes, four) of French, they were so kind and definitely know how to make good pastries. We bought food for lunch and with baguettes in our purses we headed to Notre Dame for Sunday morning mass. On our way we passed Sainte Chappelle –famous for their incredible stained glass windows- and since our admission everywhere was free with our Italian I.D’s, we went in for a quick visit before mass. 

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle

After church we rented bikes and went to the Luxembourg Gardens to people watch and breathe in the crisp fall air. We soon learned that it is forbidden to ride bikes through the park but you could walk next to the bike, so we did that. Rome has been a little behind in the fall weather department so it was awesome to see true fall colors and in Paris nonetheless! We biked around the area, Montparnasse, after the park until we found ourselves at this cute hole-in-the-wall French restaurant. The kitchen was smaller than my dorm room back on campus and you could watch them cook from your table. I’ve learned that those kind of places usually have really great food, and before I knew it my hypothesis was confirmed and we indulged in French food that I couldn’t spell even if I tried. We had crème brûlée for dessert.

We toasted to an incredible Parisian weekend and headed back for the night because we had to wake up at 3am… ouch…for our 7am flight in order to make it to class at 10am. Other than waking up at that brutal hour of the morning, the trip was incredible and I now have dozens of new memories of Paris to now (hopefully) hold onto.

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About Anna Johnson

I am from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, a small town right outside of the Twin Cities! I am studying Business, with a focus in Marketing and maybe a minor in Italian. I chose the Rome Start program because I wanted international experience and what better way than to start my college experience here in Roma! The best part about Rome Start is having Europe at my fingertips for an entire year, and learning in the heart of the eternal city.
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