Paris, France

My time abroad is quickly disappearing.  With less than two weeks left, I’m reflecting on all the fun things I’ve done and the trips I’ve been on.  One of those trips was Paris, France.  Paris, to me, has always been one of those must-see places and I am so glad I got to see the city.

One of the highlights of our trip was the great flat that my sister and I stayed in.  The owners of the flat let us take care of their cat Tonnie for the weekend.  My family has two cats at home so, needless to say, we were very excited.

We arrived late Friday evening and on Saturday we set out relatively early for the Musée du Louvre.  As an Art History minor, I definitely had been looking forward to this part of the trip.  We saw tons of art including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as well as parts of the Parthenon

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Winged Victory of Samothrace

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Mona Lisa

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A metope from the Parthenon

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Venus de Milo

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After leaving the Louvre, we walked through the Tuilerie Gardens to Place de la Concorde, a major square in Paris, where the Luxor Obelisk and the Fontaines de la Concorde are located.  The Luxor Obelisk is a tall monument that used to be located at the entrance to Luxor Temple in Egypt.

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Luxor Obelisk

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Elevation of the Maritime Fountain

We moved on to walk down the Champs-Élysées, towards the Arc de Triomphe.  The Champs-Élysées is a boulevard containing plenty of shopping and plenty of people!  We reached the Arc de Triomphe and went inside to go to the top since we decided we wouldn’t be going in the Eiffel Tower later on.  There were 284 steps up a spiral staircase but it was worth the climb.

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Arc de Triomphe

From the Arc de Triomphe, my sister and I walked to the Eiffel Tower.  (We stopped to get delicious crêpes on our way).  We came upon the Jardins du Trocadéro first.  This is an open, grassy area in front of the tower where the Fountain of Warsaw is located.  We walked up and around the fountain before walking to the Eiffel Tower.  We passed underneath it, taking lots of pictures and then walked through the Champ de Mars.  The Champ de Mars is a long park located opposite the Jardins du Trocadéro with the Eiffel Tower separating them.

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The Jardins du Trocadéro and the Fountain of Warsaw

Leaving the beautiful sunset and the Eiffel Tower behind, my sister and I made our way to the metro to go to Le Marais for dinner.  Le Marais is a historic district that our cousin recommended for eating and shopping.  So, after we ate, we headed back to the flat to relax before another day of sightseeing.

On Sunday, we got up and headed to Sacré Coeur which is also known as the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre.  Montmartre is the hilltop on which Sacré Coeur is located, as well as the name of the surrounding district.  We had to climb a lot of stairs to reach the hilltop but once we got there, there was a large area where artists were making and selling paintings or doing caricatures.  Surrounding this collection of artists were tons of shops and restaurants.  Around the corner from here was the basilica with a viewing point.  The morning was a bit cloudy but the view was still nice.

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Montmartre

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Sacré Coeur

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Once we left Sacré Coeur, we made our way to Notre Dame de Paris.  We stopped to grab some lunch before taking a long walk around the outside of the historic cathedral.  Once again, I had learned a lot about Notre Dame in my Art History class so I was very excited to be experiencing the grandeur of the cathedral in real life.  I think my sister was bored with my explanation of flying buttresses (they are outer supports for the high walls and ceilings).

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Notre Dame de Paris

After visiting Notre Dame, we headed back to the flat to pack up and go back to London.  The trip was definitely a great experience and I loved seeing all these landmarks that I’ve heard about for so long but I was definitely happy to get back to good old London.

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The River Seine

Natalie Van Baars is a student at the University of Hartford and an official API Blogger. Natalie is studying abroad with API in London, England.

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