Paris is a different place for everyone, it's home, a holiday, a scene for clique movies and the destination of our trip.
When first arriving in Paris on Monday afternoon, despite being worn-out, we were all eager to be in such an eye-catching city as we strolled through the rural streets. Taking bus 38 to the hotel was "une nouvelle experience" as our first act of transport was a French bus. C'etait assez etrange parce que tout etait en francais et different des autobus retour a la maison. However, everyone still enjoyed themselves because of the scenery. "Being able to say that I took the bus in Paris and have the ticket to prove it just adds more to the memories" quoted from one of the girls as she listed travel one of her favourite moments of Paris. The first day included the well-known Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and a splendid yet lengthy walk down the Champs-elysees. What I particularly found amusing was being able to practice my French skills as I ordered a crepe and watching my friends giggle and smile as they ordered theirs, surprised at how much progress we have made in French. Whilst taking pictures and devouring Nutella filled crepes, we learnt new facts such as the Eiffel Tower is repainted every four years and why the Arc de Triomphe stands where it stands.
Although we savoured our rest, we couldn't wait to carry on our Paris adventure as we strolled down the Champs-elysees, admiring the French boutiques, restaurants and culture. We were given the time to wander and in our groups of four, we all extremely enjoyed the chance to look around and interact even more with the French people and culture. When we all joined back together, we continued our hike downwards, capturing moments in photos and eventually reached the end which displayed a breath-taking view of the Arc de Triomphe from afar. Another spectacular yet not widely known sight was The Grande Roue de Paris which is a giant Ferris wheel and even though we were not able to get on, walking past it and seeing it up close was just as great. Afterwards, we walked across Pont des Arts which is the famous bridge covered in love padlocks. Unfortunately, all the padlocks were removed but it was still fascinating. Nous sommes alles a Le Louvre et c'etait mon prefere parce que la pyramide de verre etait magnifique. The rest of the day consisted of us walking through the charming streets of Paris as we eventually ended up at a casual restaurant where dinner was eaten and feet rested. "My favourite part of the day was the Eiffel Tower because it is such a popular attraction and seeing it up close was wonderful."
On Tuesday, we travelled by bus to Saint Michel Notre Dame Station where we collected our tickets to ride a double decker train which peaked our interests. We were all enthusiastic to ride a double decker train because it was like a bus but faster and a much smoother ride. When we finally reached Palace of Versailles, also known as Chateau de Versailles, we were given an audiotape bursting with information about the castle and all the history it had to give and some girls decided to take leaflets in French which included extra information, testing their skills and seeing how much they understood. "The castle made me feel like I was going through time because I could picture the monarchs in the rooms." We toured the castle in our previous groups of four and we all found ourselves walking slowly as we were unable to take our eyes off the paintings and walls as the castle was elegantly furnished, colours of gold and white contrasting beautifully with the dark colours as each room was carefully crafted to perfection. We had also found ourselves catching small final glimpses of each room before we exited.
After the stunning tour, we ate lunch in the gardens with a scenic view then settled before walking through the attractive gardens. However, we did not make the same mistake of taking a "short cut" through the maze-like part of the gardens like the previous year did. We caught another double decker train back to Saint Michel and before stopping at Les Halles, we made a stop at Notre Dame, spending time appreciating the quaint cathedral which is acknowledged by many. Despite not spending a great deal of time there, we still adored the exterior and interior of the church, taking a few pictures before leaving for Les Halles. Another French bus was taken to Les Halles which is a massive shopping centre that pleased us all. We were given a decent amount of free time to explore and spend the money we brought on our friends, families and selves whilst practicing our French as we interacted, mostly asking how much something cost and for directions (Les Halles is way too big for us St Martins girls). Once we were satisfied with our shopping, we took yet another bus to our casual restaurant for dinner, loving the fetching sights Paris offered us.
On Wednesday, we were refreshed yet disappointed that our trip was coming to an end regardless of how much fun speaking and learning French in the capital of France was. Nevertheless, we decided to cherish the little time we had left by travelling to Sacre-Coeur which is a church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We spent an extended amount of time at the church, snapping pictures and gazing at the wide view that revealed Paris' beauty in even more depth. We struggled to climb the stairs but somehow it was fun as the teachers encouraged us in French. What mainly catch my attention was how silent the church and this expressed how much people respected Sacre-Coeur which was greatly pleasing. "Sacre-Coeur was definitely prettier than Notre Dame."
We carried on walking and found ourselves in a small village where a vast number of unknown artists sold their paintings and created new masterpieces to sell. Some of us had to start a conversation to express how beautiful we thought their work was as it is quite amazing how they created such simple yet enchanting artwork with a few colours and a paintbrush. We were given some more time to buy souvenirs and appreciate more work and then walked to Le Passe-Muraille and took some great pictures and a silly group selfie. Afterwards, we wandered around and landed at Montmartre Cemetery, where famous Italian singer Dalida is buried and many of us wondered why we were there but once we saw how beautifully decorated and respected her tomb was, we all found ourselves interested in her story.
After we paid our respect, we were given a small amount of free time to eat our lunch and take pictures in front of Moulin Rouge, which is a cabaret. The free time gave us a chance to relax and enjoy the time we had left. Once we took the bus to the hotel and collect our belongings, we thanked the staff in French and travelled to Gard du Nord. We were once again given some free time to find something to eat and buy the last round of souvenirs before we were checking into the Eurostar. When coming back to London, all of us were exhausted but grateful to have been able to experience how gorgeous French culture is and improve our French along the way. Now, we will always be looking forward to French lessons because of the remarkable memories we have.