By Benjamin Mangubat
After spending our first two days exploring Brussels we entered into France, with our first stop being Paris. We spent three full days in Paris where we visited many iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Day one consisted of a guided tour around the city for our first taste of Paris. We visited the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and enjoyed authentic French cuisine for dinner at a local restaurant. The following day in Paris, we took a bus tour with a city guide and ended with visit to the Louvre.
Like most of our afternoons, we were free to explore the city on our own, and my group decided to embrace our touristic side and visit the Eiffel Tower. We walked about 45 minutes from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower passing through a beautiful park where we sat at an outdoor cafe and had a mid-afternoon snack. Once we arrived at the Eiffel Tower, we decided to go to the top of the tower. Two of the girls wanted to go to the very top. I am afraid of heights and the top of the tower was the last place that I wanted to visit. Lucky for me, the top was closed and the girls had to settle for the second floor. It was still a challenge to go up to the second floor, but I conquered my fear and went up to see the amazing sight that is Paris from above.
Heading back from the tower, we had to navigate through the Paris metro during the rail strike. The regular metro time table was altered and many trains were not running. After getting back to our hotel we changed and went to find some dinner. We walked a few blocks away from our hotel, passing many fancy restaurants and bars, until we found a small little eatery where we could get things like croque-monsieur or a regular burger.
Our final day in Paris was our one and only free day on the Eurozone trip. The class wanted to see and do many different things, so we split up into our usual groups and were set free to explore. My group decided to start with the Paris catacombs, relying on Google Maps to lead the way, however it lead us to the wrong place. By the time we had discovered our mistake and were headed to the correct place, we got a message from some of the other students letting everyone know that the catacombs were closed due to the rail strike going on in the country. How does a rail strike affect the catacombs? To this day I still don’t know. Our plans changed and decided to go to Versailles. Upon our arrival we discovered the wait to enter the palace was hours long, so we decided to instead visit the gardens of Versailles as there was a shorter line to get in. We spent the rest of the day exploring the gardens of Versailles and the surrounding area.
We ended our day by getting dinner at the same restaurant we ate at the night before and packed up to move on to our next destination, Aix-en-Provence and the south of France.
Be on the lookout for Eurozone Trip: Part 3!