Paris, France

Nov 3rd-5th // Paris, France

A place of romance, beautiful views, history, friendly residence, & delicious food

Day One

We set out this morning for a long, productive day. The first step was to get from Roehampton University to the EuroStar. This included a quick bus ride and then a train ride. Once we got to the entrance of the EuroStar, we had to go through Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 11.42.50 PM.pngsecurity before we could begin boarding. This process was quicker than imagined, which is pretty rare in London. We then ran to our seats and made ourselves comfortable for the two and a half hour train ride. This includes going UNDER the ocean?! Hard concept to grasp? Just look at the map on the right. You hardly notice that you’re traveling underwater, the only indication is the black walls surrounding you for what seemed like thirty minutes. We finally arrived in Paris and attempted to make our way to our beautiful Airbnb. This processes included taking a few trains where we then got off, walked outside of the station, and looked up to see a massive tower.

It’s hard to truly understand what sometime looks like until you stand in front of it. You see the Eiffel Tower in photos and get a gist of what it looks like, but I believe that you don’t truly understand the power and history behind the figure until you are there in its presence. After a couple of minutes of staring, no words having to be said, we made our way to our Airbnb. There’s no way to describe the view of our Airbnb so I’m just going to include photos below for you to see…

Unbelievable? I know. We got so lucky with booking this Airbnb as it happened to be free the ONE weekend we were in Paris and it wasn’t too costly! We spent hours on the window seal just staring at the tower, admiring its beautiful, and taking in the moment. I still sit here in my London room with warmth in my heart and an obsession with the view from this Airbnb. If you’re ever in Paris and want a good place to stay with a view, hit me up!

After Facetiming friends and family to show them our view, we decided a late lunch was necessary. We found a small vegan restaurant nearby that we walked to since it happened to be a gorgeous day despite what the weather app predicted. For more information on this meal and the restaurant, see my blog post “Brasserie Lola” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog. After, we proceeded to walk around, grab some Starbucks mugs, and pick up a few souvenirs. By the time we got back to the Airbnb, or what we called home for the weekend, the Eiffel Tower was glistening, indicating the city of Paris that it was now night. Fae and I sat and stared, tears filling my eyes at the fact that I was currently sitting in Paris, looking at the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom, beside my best friend, listening to Bob Dylan. It was one of those moments that feels like a dream, that life is too good to be true. I was woken up from my daydream, I mean reality? to a text message from a friend indicating where to meet before dinner. “Meet next to the Eiffel Tower?” the message stated. Unreal. Fae and I quickly changed, finding it hard to take our eyes off the massive structure outside our window and headed out for a night in Paris. It was right before stepping outside the door that we noticed the tower begin to sparkle. Not just sparkle, but take on a dancing pattern of lights going crazy on the tower. I’ve attached a video below so you can experience what we were seeing. (We soon learned that this occurs every hour on the hour and lasts about fifteen minutes until one o’ clock at night)

 

We decided to explore the city a little before going to dinner. We ended up walking

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Arc de Triomphe

to Arc de Triomphe without even knowing it! We sat on a bench as orange leaves fell from the tree next to us. We watched the roundabout in astonishment at the fact that it was chaos, but controlled chaos. Cars raced in all directions without hitting each other and getting to their destination exit. After, we walked back a different route where we ended up at sitting at the edge of a river, people watched, enjoyed the live music, and soaked in the moment. We then met Sarah, Avery, and Yvette for a delicious dinner in the city. We shared laughs, caught up on our trips so far, and enjoyed this moment, five girls grabbing a meal in the beautiful city of Paris.

 

Day Two

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Place de la Concorde

Tourist day as I called it. I was determined to visit all the “must see” spots of Paris. We started at one side of the city and walked all the way back to our home. First on our list was Place de la Concorde where we took two quick trains to get there. After, we got delicious salads and lemonades at a restaurant nearby, see my post “Le Paradis Du Fruit” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog for more details. Fae and I enjoyed the cold air outside and the fact that we were experiencing a real autumn so no public transportation was needed today, only our feet and a map.

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Notre Dame

Next on the list was Notre Dame Cathedral. On this walk, we experienced live musicians, a man blowing gigantic bubbles, and cheap thrift stores. We got to the cathedral, took an abundance of photos and then set out for our next location, the Louvre.

We continued walking the same road that we stared on until we came across three giant glass pyramids. A pretty good indication

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The Louvre

that we had reached our destination. We took photos in front then proceed to join the line of people into the museum. A fun-fact for those of you that are students, if you show them your student ID and some proof of identification, you get into the museum for FREE! I have heard rumors that you have to pay more to see the Mona Lisa, and let me tell you that this rumor is FALSE! Follow the signs inside, or the group of people running, and you will find the Mona Lisa in the back of the museum. There is a rope in front of here and a few guard that ensure her safety. You may have to wait a couple of minutes and use some force to get to the front and snap a quick photo.

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Do I really have to caption this one for you?

There is a bullet proof glass in front of her so your photos may have a glare, but you must have some evidence that you were there correct? This was another one of those experiences where I had to step back and remind myself that this was real and that I wasn’t in a dream. Yes, I did run back and forth and yes, her eyes did follow me. Just tourist things right?

The rest of museum is huge and very easy to get lost in, just a warning, this did happen. Actually, it’s the largest museum in the world! Being said, you could spend hours, days, even months in this museum! Fun-fact time!! “If you ever had 100 days spare, you could probably squeeze in every piece of art, but you could only spend 30 seconds on each piece – and that’s if you were there all day, every day.”1 There are 380,00 pieces in total! Another fun fact is that the Louvre wasn’t originally a museum but rather a fortress and then a royal palace. Also, Napoleon was the first to ever hang the Mona Lisa in his private bedroom. Fun-fact number three is the fact that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and then returned two years later. For the final fun fact, there is said to be a Louvre Ghost that dates back to 1190 and thought to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor.

  1. http://thelistlove.com/10-interesting-facts-about-the-louvre/#

In need of some coffee, we set out by foot to find a cute little coffee shop. While walking, we discovered a beautiful area that we found out was called Place de la Concorde pictured below. Although we never ended up finding a cafe, we enjoyed our sunset walk while following the Eiffel Tower back home.

Exhausted and just wanting to pick up a cheap dinner, we spotted a Subway and you get we got a foot long, apple juice, and a bag of chips?! Throwback to childhood. We sat in our bed, glancing at the Eiffel Tower a few times while watching Modern Family and eating our vegan dinners. The perfect ending to the perfect day.

 

Day Three

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part. Thank you Paris for inviting us into your city and showing us so much hospitality. You were more than I ever imagined you to be. You have so much history and beauty within your city that it’s hard to comprehend the fact that people live in you year round. I look forward to the day where I get to visit you again, which will hopefully be soon.

 

xoxo,

katie davis

Brussels, Belgium

October 21st-23rd // Brussels, Belgium

Day 1

Travel day! Being our smart selves, we booked 7am flights. This doesn’t sound horrible correct? WRONG! A 7am flights means getting to the airport at 5am since we had an international flight which means leaving to Heathrow at 4am. All in all, there was no sleep happening that night.

Even though we packed an hour before leaving and got absolutely no sleep, we made it to the airport on time and took an hour flight to Belgium. When we got in, we attempted to figure out public transportation but ended up just getting a taxi instead (we usually use Uber but in Brussels they don’t allow Uber to pick people up from the airport). We reached our Airbnb, unpacked, explored the penthouse, and then decided to grab some lunch. We looked around for some vegan options and ended up just getting some fries at a local bar. Sleep deprived and exhausted, we headed back to our Airbnb for a small nap.

When we woke up, we researched good restaurants in the area and found a sushi restaurant that we ended up trying and LOVING! (See my post, “Makisu” for more details). We walked around the streets of Brussels after then headed back home for a beautiful nights rest.

 

Day 2

We set out for a long, unexpected day. It first started with figuring out public transportation. After asking around, we bought day passes and used Google Maps to get us to our destination. After a couple train rides, we got to the local flee market.

 

We explored all the little shops and talked to the owners who seemed fascinated by our ascent and language. The next stop was getting some food. We had a beautiful walk on our way to the famous La Pain Quotidien (See my post “La Pain Quotidien” for more details).

 

After, we adventured to find some delicious Belgium chocolate. This involved seeing captivating buildings, street performers, and a boy who went down flights of stairs on a scooter and managed to not fall off.

 

Post scarfing down the best chocolate of our lives, we then found directions to a famous landmark in Brussels and also the oldest resident in the city.

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“Manneken Pis”

We then ended up finding the famous square of the town where we watched the sunset and enjoyed this moment in Belgium.

 

We then had one last thing to do: eat some fries! I have always through fries were from France because well, French Fries. BUT I learned that fries originated from Belgium! There are small cafes open late for those who are craving some delicious fries and we took advantage of this. We came. We saw. And we ate!

 

Overall, Belgium was an absolute dream. The architecture was stunning, the people were friendly, the food was delicious, and our airbnb had the best view of the city. Until next time!