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Week 8: March 10-14th 



Paris was a dream. It was everything and nothing like I expected it to be. Growing up I always dreamed of going to Paris. Always seeing it in Hollywood films such as Rush Hour 2, Ratatouille, and Midnight in Paris, I had a picture painted in my head of what it would be like to actually experience the city. However, as I grew older its charm kind of faded away from me. My friends who've been there have said it was overrated, dirty, and the people were not very friendly. 
Two weekends ago I took a spontaneous trip to Paris for three days and it was an absolute dream. My flight got cancelled so I had one less day for my trip. This, however, did not stop me from seeing everything the city had to offer. I walked about 20 km everyday in heels (not the best idea). Cramming everything we could in less than 72 hours, Liam and I got to see so much of the city. We were also super lucky with the weather. It was sunny all weekend and not very cold (but cold compared to Lisbon). 
On the first day we walked around the city and visited Sacre Coeur, Palais Royale, Arch de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and Galeries Lafayette Haussman. Just walking around Paris you can see the charm it holds- or you can say Paris has a certain 'je ne sais quoi'. Every corner you turned was picturesque and there were so many cute cafes (for the most part). However, there are areas that you can clearly see that are much more ruined and older. I'd say this is outside the "12th" quarter (correct me if I am wrong). The city is designed in a circle with quarters. Walking around can definitely be confusing, I couldn't imagine driving there. 
Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time through the window of the train was very underwhelming, and even more when I saw it up close. It was a very old, rusty colour that did not look very impressive at all. However, it really did grow on me. The best way to see the tower is from afar. Then, you will be able to see the whole monument and how why it is so iconic. Seeing it at different times also made me love it even more. It is a whole different experience seeing it during the morning, afternoon, and night time. In the morning, the tower sits faintly in the sky, and you can see how it blends softly into the landscape. Whereas during the day, it is at full force with its structure, showing all its feature. Night time is the most romantic for the tower. Every hour starting at 8 pm there is a light show and I almost cried watching it. It was truly amazing. 
A number of Queens people were in France, and we also met up with people studying in France to hang out. It was really nice seeing the city with everyone. As Shirley said, "The city turns words into songs." 
The next day, we all had breakfast at a cafe called Angelina. I ordered their eggs benedict with smoked salmon and their infamous hot chocolate. It was very tasty but quite pricey. Everything in Paris is actually very pricey. Especially compared to Lisbon. However,  it did not stop me from eating...throughout the weekend I tried as many "iconic" French pastries and food as I could. We visited this store called L'Eclair de Genie for their eclairs and it was magnificent. It was my first time eating an eclair and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the passion fruit and raspberry eclair. I also tried the famous the Pierre Homme and L'dauree for macarons. It was amazing. Pierre Homme has many more unique flavours such as olive oil with tangerine or passion fruit with chocolate, but I enjoyed the macarons at L'dauree more. It was the perfect texture and consistency. However, my friend's macarons at home are just as good - shout out to Kim and her macarons. All weekend I consumed so many carbs- croissants, baguettes, crepes, you name it. So many crepes. And for our second night, we went to a French restaurant to eat French cuisine. I ordered escargot, duck, and creme brûlée. It was so good. I highly recommend the restaurant Le Pre aux Clercs. Their service was superb. Thanks Amanda for all of the food recommendations, everything tasted so amazing. 
On the second day, I visited two museums, the Louvre and D'Orsay. Both were very fascinating and completely different museums. The Louvre showcased ancient history, from the Renaissance, Greek history, to Egyptian history. I also got to see the Mona Lisa in person. The most impressive part of the Louvre for me was the interior design in the arches, podiums and ceilings. The work was so intricate and detailed. 
The D'Orsay was a very cool experience. I learned a lot about Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. I got to see the way the style of art progressed throughout the years and the work of art by many including Van Gogh, Monet, and Sisley. The building was also very interesting. It used to be a train station. That is why there is a huge clock in the middle of the museum. It reminded me of the movie Hugo. 
On our last day, we woke up super early to see the Eiffel Tower again. Then we visited Arm de Triomphe to go to the roof top. It had a panoramic view of the city which was super impressive. Afterwards, we visited the Louis Vuitton Foundation, a contemporary museum. At the time, there was no exhibition but we explored the building to learn about its unique architecture. Learning about the architect Frank Gehry and his inspiration was very fascinating. The whole building is inspired by his childhood memory of seeing fishes swimming in the water. The building is supposed to be a sailboat and there are no straight walls which represents the fish's moment. The LV foundation is also built around a river, where all the water collected from rainwater is used for the building. Right now, there is an art installation by Daniel Buren called "The Observatory of Light" on the building you can see the colour plates. The mission this artist wanted to portray was the beauty of lights and shadows and he did it through colours and his signature striped pattern. The monument also pays tribute to other monuments around the city. Altogether, I really enjoyed walking around the building and seeing the architects' work. 
 
After the LV Foundation, we walked down Champs Elysee to Palais Royale, Petit Palais and Ponte Alexandre. It was really nice to just stroll around and see the city on foot. Liam and I also visited the Notre Dame and went inside. Two very different experiences. The cathedral was so grand. It took 25 years after restoration to finish the building. Our last stop was the Eiffel Tower at night,. Watching the light show one more time was the best way to end off the trip, and with a Nutella crepe obviously, of course. 
There is still so much to do in Paris so I will definitely come back in the future. It would be lovely to experience it in the summer when the trees are all bloomed. The gardens in Paris was my favourite. It was such a peaceful place to just sit, relax, and enjoy the sun. 
I made a map of all the places I went on google maps. If you're interested, please message me! 

Au revoir Paris.

Thanks for reading, 
Sam 

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