Oct 29, 2009

I <3 Paris

I have discovered yet another awesome thing about France:

Fall Break

That's right, a week and a half of no school at the end of October! I love France just a little bit more now. Since this vacation exists not only for me and my host brothers, but also for my host mom, we took a trip to Paris for a few days. I'm going to call this my first trip to Paris even though, yes, I did spend a few days there at the very start of the trip. Why am I not counting orientation as a trip to Paris? Two main reason. The first is that we were confined to the hostel for the vast majority of the time. The second is that frankly I was too nervous to take anything in. But not this time! This time I enjoyed Paris to the fullest!

It started on Sunday evening. My entire host family (both parents and both brothers) and I caught the 7:15 TGV (high speed train) out of Lyon, and around 2.5 hours later we arrived in Paris. Since my host dad works in Paris during the week he has an apartment, which is where we all stayed for the trip. Not much happened that night, but I was still super happy to be in Paris!

My host dad didn't have a vacation, however, so the next morning when we woke up he was already gone. The day dawned sunny and warm, a perfect day for sightseeing. My host family and I caught a train to the Eiffel Tower, where we were then met with the task of waiting in line.

The Eiffel Tower
Even though we were in the considerably shorter line for the stairs, it took us about an hour or so to get to the entrance. The view was sufficient to make all that waiting and the stair-climbing that followed worth it though! From the first platform you could see a long way, and from the second you could see even further. It was also amusing to attempt to place people by country based on what you could hear of their conversations (I think I managed to find all the Americans!). We stopped at the second level because, as spectacular as the view may have been from the top, the line would have cost us another 2 hours. After we finished at the tower we made our way through the souvenir vendors ( Key chain, only 1 euro! 1 euro!!) and caught a bus to Monmarte.
1 euro!

We bought sandwiches and ate them in front of Sacre Coeur, and then climbed to the top of the hill.
Sacre Coeur

The area was filled with musicians, painters, tourists, and people with crazy Chinese yo-yo skills. My host mom got talked into getting a caricature of the 3 kids done! After Monmarte we headed off in search of music shops, and then, after not finding them, did a bit of shopping. Later that evening my host parents went out and the three of us kids stayed back and watched a movie.

The next day was equally exciting. Again, we didn't see my host dad in the morning, and after breakfast My host mom, one host brother, and I took the metro to the heart of tourist heaven Paris. (I'm not sure what my other host brother was doing that day, but we didn't see him). We walked down the Champs-Eysées, and stopped in a few stores. There was a huge line in front of the Adidas store because Lionel Messi was going to be there, and when we came back by later in the day it was about 2.5 times as long as the line for the Eiffel Tower, no joke. We climbed the Arc de Triomphe, and the view from the top of it was incredible.
View from the top of L'arc de Triomphe

We took a bus back through Paris and got out at the Musée d'Orsay. We had lunch in a little café and went to see Notre Dame, where we met up with one of my host brother's friends. We walked around a while, got ice cream, and then did a little more shopping at a semi-underground shopping center.
Notre Dame
That night my host parents went to the theater and dinner, and the 4 of us (My 2 host brothers, the friends, and I) stayed back, ordered pizza, and chilled.

Wednesday, my host family (again sans host dad) left to go to the Cité de la science, which was a bit like the science center in Baltimore. We ate lunch there, and then headed to the Cité de la musique, which was a music museum! It was very cool, with an audio tour and tons of really rare instruments (like an Octobass, which is like an upright bass only around 10 feet tall). They also had a very cool Miles Davis exhibit and, at 8:00 PM, a jazz concert. The concert was amazing, and the 2 hours it lasted passed super quickly. We (we being my host family and some other people who were there with us) went to dinner after the concert, and then took a taxi back to crash for the night.

Thursday, we woke up early because my host mom, host brothers, and I were taking the 9:00 TGV back home. We grabbed breakfast at a bakery along the way to the train station, and that was it.

I really, really enjoyed Paris. It was a nice change of scenery, and I got to see all the things I learned about in 8th grade french class!



  1. Sophia,

    I am really enjoying your blog. I'm Annie Balagur's uncle and as we don't hear much from her it's great to read your observations. Glad you enjoyed the trip to Paris...keep bloggin', we'll keep reading!

    Annie's "Uncle Jeff"
    Facebook: George Thebeagle

  2. sounds fun!
    science center in baltimore=<3
    so the one in paris must be awesome as well. :D