Reminiscing on Paris | Photo Diary

A few years ago, I went on a Euro trip with my family to celebrate my high school graduation and no trip since then has come even close in comparison (yet). With Valentine’s Day having just passed, I felt a little nostalgic thinking of my time in the City of Love.

We spent 3 days in London before took a morning train to Paris. We arrived around noon, checked into Hôtel Le Littré (highly recommend), and immediately hopped on a bus to explore the city. Our first stop was the Louvre, the world’s largest art museum. It was so much bigger than I anticipated and there’s so much we weren’t able to see, so I’ll definitely come back another time. But what we did see was pretty incredible.

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Busts of Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates

(Not gonna lie, the Mona Lisa was pretty underwhelming, but maybe it was having to make our way through a horde of other tourists that took away from the experience.)

Afterwards, we refueled with some croissants from a stand in the courtyard and walked around the Tuileries Garden. Once we were all tired out, we got on a pedicab and took a ride down Champs-Elysees towards the Eiffel Tower. There was a bit of traffic, but we ended up getting stuck right in front of the Arc de Triomphe and got a chance to jump out for a quick pic.

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In spite of (or because of) the traffic, we ended up reaching the Eiffel Tower at the perfect time. By the time we got to the top, it was still bright out and we just had to wait a little while for the sun to set and the tower to light up.

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The next day, we had a quick breakfast buffet at the hotel (which was absolutely delicious) before taking a train out to visit the Palace of Versailles, the château that housed generations of French monarchs — most notably Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. We only got tickets for a tour of the palace, not including the gardens, but there was so much to see in just the palace alone. Every inch of it was so intricately designed, it’s basically a giant work of art in and of itself rather than someone’s former home.

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Replica of David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon,” in the original’s place
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Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles

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By the time we were done making our way around the vast manor, it was lunchtime, so we ate at a nearby restaurant, bought some souvenirs, and headed back to Paris. There, we took a look at the French Army Museum and Les Invalides, which houses the tomb of French war heroes such as Napoleon Bonaparte.

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Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, from above
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Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, from ground level

From there, we made our way over to the iconic Notre-Dame de Paris. The Gothic architecture, dating back to the Middle Ages, is so exquisite (and also a little haunting when you look closely at the gargoyles — The Hunchback of Notre Dame, anyone?) When we entered the cathedral, there was a mass in session and the sense of being in such a sacred place was overwhelming.

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Stained glass windows in Notre-Dame de Paris

It was raining while we waited to enter the Notre Dame, but once we went back outside, the skies had cleared. We decided to take a walk along the Seine, buy some macarons (of course), and peruse the collection of books at Shakespeare and Company. It’s the cutest little bookstore that carries a wide variety of genres. I ended up picking up a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Of Love and Other Demons” as a memento.

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That night we were supposed to take an overnight train to Lourdes, but due to bad weather, the train ended up stopping in its tracks and we were stranded in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. We went to the nearest station and after hours of convincing, we managed to get seats on a train back to Paris.

By the time we got back, all we wanted to do was get back to the security of our hotel room and sleep off all the stress from that day. Once we had time to chill out, we headed out for dinner a few blocks away, at a restaurant which I can’t remember the name of for the life of me, but it was a delicious and much needed pick-me-up.

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For dessert, we grabbed some crepes from a vendor just outside the restaurant and walked around the neighborhood for a while before heading back. And the next morning we were off to the airport to catch our flight to Rome.

It wasn’t the most ideal end to our time in Paris, but it was enough to keep me wanting to return to the city one day.

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