Paris--A Snapshot

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August 26th 2011
Published: August 26th 2011
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Hello again!

Sorry for the elapsed time between blogs, but I was in Paris for three days and made my trip to Rennes yesterday, so I've been busy busy busy! But it's all been so fantastic. So I left off when I was in the airport in Toronto and boy did that 5 hour layover feel like it lasted an eternity. I twiddled my thumbs for a bit, but then I got on an enormous airplane. It was three times as big as any plane I've been on and man was first-class nice. However, I wasn't sitting there. I actually met a nice French couple in the airport and once I got on the plane they realized they weren't sitting next to each other, so I switched seats with them. My flight left at 7:30 Toronto time which is 12:30 France time, so I tried to sleep, but really I just closed my eyes for an eight hour flight.

I arrived in Paris at 8:30am and picked up my giant suitcase and met my group. It was exciting to meet 24 other students but we were all exhausted. We had to wait around until 11:30 to leave, so we all started to get to know one another which was fun. We then took a really nice bus (it had curtains and everything!) into Paris. One of the first things we saw on the side of the "auto-route" (the highway) was an IKEA, so it hadn't really hit me yet that I was in France. Then we got to Paris and all of the buildings were gorgeous. There is not an ugly building in all of Paris. We stayed at a very nice hostel that was not far from Notre Dame. We had a little time to rest, but then we took the Metro to our restaurant for lunch. My first French meal was salmon with rice (very Minnesotan, haha) and frozen yogurt for dessert. Twas lovely. We decided to walk back to the hostel to help our digestion and we saw some of the sights briefly on the way home--like the top of the Eiffel Tower. Then we had some more down time at the hostel and some orientation meetings.
That night it was off to the Latin Quarter for dinner. Since we were a big group, we split up and decided on different restaurants and somehow I was separated from everyone else. It wasn't a big deal though because we weren't too far from our hostel. I grabbed a falafel (very French, not really, but it was cheap) and went and sat by Notre Dame. There was a storm a brewing, so I sat on one of the bridges watching the lightning flash as the sun was setting. It was so beautiful. I then made my way home and I did get a little lost, but there were many nice Parisians who helped me out. Finally I arrived at the hostel and decided to just sleep since I hadn't slept in about 40 hours.

The next day began with a lovely breakfast of yogurt, baguette, cafe, and orange juice. Nothing special, but it's only breakfast. We then broke into groups and our group took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower. It was magnificent. We walked around under the tower for a bit and then grabbed some lunch (a yummy sandwich) and sat in the park/garden in front of the tower. It was so nice to relax after such a long day the day before. We just sat and took pictures of course. I talked with Pierre who was one of the student guides with us. It wishes to teach French in America, so we talked about teaching French. I always get more nervous when I speak to a native French speaker, but we had a nice conversation.

Then we decided to walk to our next destination which was back by our hostel. We walked along the Seine and we passed by a lot of things, Academie Militaire, Le Grand Palais (Palace), Place du Concorde (where the obelisk is), Pont Phillipe III (the most decorative bridge), Hotel des Invalides, Le Louvre, and Musee d'Orsay. It was a long walk, but I enjoyed every minute of it and took plenty of pictures which I'll figure out how to put on my computer and share with you at some point.

We then had a tour of Hotel de la Ville which was informative and the hotel was gorgeous. It was a bit hard to stay awake since it was warm and we were all tired, but we survived. Then Alyssa, Marcus and I decided we needed some things so we went to BHV which is a lot like IKEA and Target put together. We then meandered around and bought wine bottle openers which will probably be a smart investment. We returned to the hostel and the group decided to have a picnic by the Seine. We went to the Supermarche (super market) next to our hostel and bought some picnic-y type food and a bottle of wine, of course. It was relaxing and enjoyable to sit by the river and continue to get to know everyone. We did each have our own bottle and I may have drank my entire bottle of wine, but the good thing is that my French greatly improved as the evening progressed. We returned to our hostel safe and sound and rested up for the next day.

This entry is getting a little long and it's getting late here, so I shall continue with my Paris adventures tomorrow perhaps. Until then, I hope you're all enjoying sharing with me in my escapades and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post on my blog. Thinking of you.


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