|My sister (left) and I at Versailles Palace|
The Arc du Triomphe and Sacré-Cœur Basilica
In Paris we stayed in a hostel in Montmartre, near the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It was nice to be in a quieter neighborhood, and we actually rented bikes to get around the city while being able to experience what it was like to bike around like a local (terrifying, let me tell you). We never actually went into the Sacré-Cœur, and I don't really remember why. We did, however, go into the Notre-Dame. It rained quite a bit while we were there, as we visited in very early summer (beginning of June) and we got a few crazy storms that sort of hung around for a couple days. To get out of the rain for a night we went to see "midnight in Paris" at a theater in the Latin Quarter, which was such a cool movie to see while we were there. The theater we were in actually appears in the movie, so that was pretty neat!
Notre Dame, some friends we met, and inside the cathedral
We made sure to hit all the sights like the catacombs, Eiffel Tour, The Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre (the Mona Lisa was about 1/8th the size that I expected it to be) and Versailles. We had such a nice long time in Paris that I didn't feel quite as rushed as I did in other cities. We also found it a little harder to make friends in Paris because everyone seemed so busy all the time. We did spend a bit of time with a group of Americans who were staying with a local, so that ended up being a nice respite from each other. By this point in our trip my sister and I had spend every waking second together for almost an entire month, so we were probably bickering more than usual. Oh well, that's what siblings are for, right?
Some shots from around the city
We spent an entire day at Versailles, as it is a bit of a journey from where we stayed. Honestly, although it was definitely a beautiful Palace, I liked the gardens much better than I liked the interior. I found all the statues and water fountains much nicer and more relaxing than trying to jostle our way through the crowd inside. The Hall of mirrors was definitely something I wouldn't want to have missed, though.
|Versailles palace, hall of mirrors, and the Palace Gardens|
I think, despite all the famous buildings and sights in Paris, my favorite thing to do was bike around with a fresh baguette and a wheel of Brie in my basket, and settle on the lawn of the Eiffel tower to watch the sun set and the lights come on. We did this at least twice, maybe more, and I never got bored. Every once in a while the police would show up, sending the illegal vendors running from their attempts to sell you wine or light-up balls, which was highly amusing. All in all it was just so pretty! My only regret in Paris is that I wasn't into photography when I visited, so I don't have as many quality pictures as I would like. I would be able to spend weeks just wandering around with my camera where I to go back now! Hopefully one day I will return to do just that.
The view from our hostel, some delicious pastries, and the Eiffel Tower
My last night in Paris was the very beginning of the Fete de la Musique, where everyone played music out in the streets all over Paris. We wandered around taking it all in with a big group of people and it was such an amazing way to end our time there. The next morning I flew back to Montreal, and my sister continued on to Amsterdam. I made sure to buy plenty of wine to bring back home, as well as a few bottles of perfume from the duty-free. I recall landing and greeting my boyfriend who had come to pick me up (we aren't together anymore) and feeling like I had woken up from a dream. I had a really, really hard time with jet lag and I slept the whole way from Montreal home to Ottawa. For the next few months I struggled with coming to terms with the fact that the trip I had been looking forward to for months was over. I had caught the wanderlust bug and was in no place financially to travel again anytime soon.
Since Europe I've only been able to travel once more- when I went to Vancouver with a close friend, and was able to stay with his family. Next week I'll share my adventures there! Unfortunately after that I'm all caught up with my travels, so next week will be the last Travel Tuesday for a while!