About 5 years ago my family and I took a European trip to France, Germany, Switzerland and Iceland and Paris was by far my favorite part. I remember sitting on the train leaving Paris and thinking "I hope I can go back there someday". Well, I MADE IT!
As I watched the sun set on my 20th year (I am an English major, you will have to deal with the poetics), I had NO idea what would be in store for me in the hours to come. At midnight, I answered a knock on my door only to find Kara and Kristen singing "Happy Birthday" and bringing me a great card. I have never been around Holy Cross friends for my birthday and I have to say…they sure know how to celebrate! The next morning I opened my door to find gifts from friends as well as a box of chocolates from the director of the program Uwe, he takes such good care of us and is so thoughtful! The birthday wishes kept coming, but it was definitely eclipsed by the fact that we would be in Paris that afternoon!
The high speed train to Paris was great, we arrived at 3:30 and got to our hostel by 4. That left plenty of time to go to Sacre Coeur and see our first view of the Eiffel tower from on top of the hill in the Montmartre district. After that, we grabbed a quick dinner then made our way to the Louvre (which is free on Fridays for people under 26). I met my friend from home Laura there and it was great to catch up while seeing the best artwork in the world. After the Louvre we went towards Notre Dame and met up with Jimmy Doan who was also celebrating his birthday on May 30th. We had been planning to meet in Paris for months and our dream was finally realized! It was probably the best birthday of my life and it only got better as the weekend continued.
The next day was insanely busy, I am still reeling from the fact that we were able to see the Eiffel tower (everyone took the stairs, VERY IMPRESSIVE but not for me, my fear of heights prevented me from doing that one), the Arc de Triomphe (which I did climb), the Champs Elysees, and the district in between. We also took a boat cruise along the Seine river, luckily the weather was great! That night, we went out for our birthday dinner at a relatively fancy (we are, after all, poor college students) restaurant then made our way to the Eiffel Tower. We sat on the lawn and watched the lights come on, every hour there is a fantastic light show where the tower literally sparkles. We took lots of pictures and I cannot wait to upload them when I get home so that everyone can see them!
Sunday was our last day. We went to Notre Dame then walked to the Pantheon and along the bank of the Seine where artists and book sellers were setting up their booths. I bought a print and posters that I fell in love with, then made my way back to Sacre Coeur to buy more souvenirs and show Jimmy the area because he had not seen it the night before. We caught the train back to Luxembourg with no problems and managed to make our way back home before collapsing into bed.
Paris was one of the most tiring weekend of my life, but also one of the best. I couldn`t ask for better people to spend time with and it was great that I was able to meet up with Laura and Jimmy. This time as the train pulled out of Paris I wasn`t thinking IF I would go back, but WHEN. I can`t keep away from that city and the memories from this program and especially that trip will stick with me for a long time.