University Paris trip


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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris
May 3rd 2011
Published: May 4th 2011
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Paris. The city of love, arts centre and famed for a big tower thingy. I wasn't all that enthused about going to Paris. Its one of those places that just hasn't really appealed to me. So suffice to say that i wasn't expecting that much. After a very long day on a coach, we arrived. I was devastated. What had i wasted my money on. There seemed to be rubbish everywhere, with people picking through it, and as we pulled up at our hotel, the grass banking opposite seemed to be the playground of quite a few rats. At this point, i just wanted a bed in a clean room. And after half an hour of standing around for the rooms to be organised (fair enough, there were 80 of us) and being read The Rules, thats exactly what i got.

The next morning, after a continental breakfast of bread, we were left to our own devices. We had to be at Notre Dame by 1pm, but other than that, do what you want. So we all, yes all - the woman at the ticket office didn't like us that much, headed for the metro to go to the Eiffel tower. We got a bit a lost. The Paris metro system isn't the most simple thing to understand. I'm just really glad i got a day ticket. Anyway, we eventually got there. Its a tourist trap and naturally, as with most tourist traps, there are people who want your money. I have never been given bigger evils than i did by a deaf mute who wanted my money. She thrust a clipboard at me as i tried to walk past and i, foolishly, stopped to read what it was. As begging goes, she was going for the hard sell approach. After escaping, i entered the next stage. 5 for a euro. Do you want key-rings? Are you sure you don't want key-rings? Very Cheap. 5 for a Euro. Maybe you want a big plastic tower that lights up instead? No? You sure? You want some key-rings? All I wanted was to get a picture of the tower and leave. But it was lunchtime, and there were a lot of us, so we had a picnic of bread that we'd stolen from breakfast. Then it was time to brave the metro again. We did pretty well this time, there was only a slight mishap of being on the wrong platform, but we realised before anything went wrong. Notre Dame is pretty, but there was no time for a proper visit. Each tutor was going off to do something that they wanted to do, and we could choose to go with one of them, or to just do your own thing. Les was going to the catacombs. The catacombs is home to the remains of around 6million people. They were moved there when the cities graveyard became overpopulated and sanitary concerns over the cemeteries contribution to disease. It's basically a very long tunnel (the bit thats open to the public) with bones decorating the sides. It was clammy and there were a lot of steps to get out. After that, we split up into smaller groups, and ours headed to a gallery, the first of our trip. It would certainly not be the last. The Musee d'Orsay, situated in an beaux-arts railway station. We ended our day by going to the Arc Du Triumph. Paris looks very pretty at night. Oh, just as a side note, if the only one of the group who has actually been travelling before says not to try a particular restaurant, you should just trust her and try somewhere else. It's cheap, fine, but it is also empty. There is a reason for this. Rant over.

The next day, we used the coaches and made our way a little further out, to Versailles. Everyone knows about Versailles, so i wont bore you with the history bit. Lets just say, if i were rich enough, i would deffinately have that garden. Not the insides so much. They were beautiful, don't get me wrong, but it was a bit too much. Too lavish, too fussy, too rich. Theres only so much of the really good dark chocolate that you can have on one go. after lunch, we headed to Montmarte and Sacre Coeur, the highest natural point in Paris. Very pretty views. Nice church thing. I wasn't really paying attention to be honest. I was more interested in the artists and little cafes in winding streets. It was was very picturesque and very easy to imagine artists like Dali and Van Gogh at home here.

It was our last day in Paris. And the lecturers were on a mission. It was gallery time. The Louvre was our first stop. Its big, the Mona Lisa is small and it really counts as about five galleries. Next up was The Pompidou Centre, famous for its inside-out architecture. I'm starting to get bored just thinking about trips round galleries, so i'll stop describing it. We ended the day in a graveyard. Père Lachaise Cemetery is the resting place of many famous names. Jim Morrison, Rene Lalique and Oscar Wilde, to name but a few. The place is huge, with tombs resembling small houses more than anything else. Some were modest, others were not. Jim Morrison's grave was littered with cigarettes, tributes from fans. Cigarettes were part of the culture Jim Morrison was apart of, so a fitting tribute. Oscar Wildes grave was covered in graffiti, again from adoring fans. There are some instances when it's inappropriate. This is one of them. Plus it just looked a mess...

I'm aware that i've not really talked about the food. We had some good experiences, some not so good, but to be honest, nothing stood out as being particularly outstanding. Except that quiche i got from a patisserie. That was very good. Mmmm.

Our last day was bad. Get up at 5am. Breakfast at 5:30. Be on the coach and ready to go at 6:15. Joy. All in all, it was better than i was expecting it to be. Although i was sick to death of galleries by the end of it.



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