Once we were all packed and ready, it was time to say arrivederci to Italy and bonjour to France. I was excited to go, but I really had no idea of what was ahead of me. I had no idea that I was about to fall suddenly in love with the picturesque Paris.
With only four of the days of our fall break to spend there, my friends and I planned on getting as much accomplished as possible and started our adventures as soon as we arrived. There are myriad things to do and see in Paris so it was tough to choose. But, you can’t go to Paris for the first time without visiting the Eiffel Tower. We knew we absolutely wanted to see it and it ended up being one of our favorite memories. Luck was on our side because at the moment that we first saw the tower its lights were sparkling. It was breathtaking. We conquered seemingly endless stairs until we reached the point where the only way up is by elevator. At about 1,063 feet, the view from the tower was impeccable. That experience plus delicious crepes with nutella made for the perfect first night in Paris.
On top of that we saw the Arc de Triomph, the famous street called L’Avenue des Champs-Élysées , the red light district and Moulin rouge, Champ de Mars, Napoleon’s tomb, a war museum, the Bastille, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, took a boat tour along the Seine river, and more. Each place that we visited was beautiful and full of history. I loved every minute of it.
Aside from the sightseeing, there was something else that was really important to me; food. Before leaving for Paris I flipped through a guide book which declared that you simply cannot miss the food in France. I was determined to have a nice authentic meal before we went home, so my friends and I planned to go out to eat on our last night. We couldn’t wait and looked around on the street near our hotel and were thrilled when we found a cute restaurant that wasn’t terribly expensive. We went inside and they brought us to our table. We were surrounded by people who were laughing and staring at us because we were the only Americans in the place. We suddenly realized that we should have paid a lot more attention to the menu and decorations because after all that anticipation, we were not about to eat French food. Somehow we missed the fact that we were in a Moroccan restaurant and there was no way that we could leave at that point without further embarrassing ourselves. Even though I was disappointed that it wasn’t French, the food was good and we can look back and laugh about what happened. And while we were in Paris we still got to eat amazing croissants, pastries, and crepes.
As much as I loved Paris, returning to Florence was so exciting. As soon as we got off of the train I could feel that I was home. So many of us got to travel to different countries over our break and I couldn’t wait to see all of my friends again. I was so happy to go to our favorite spots, share stories from our trips, and of course get some gelato.
Freshman Florence Experience (FFE)