By the time we got to Paris, I had been in France for a week and had eaten about 150 cheese sandwiches. Bayeux had proven to be a lot different than I expected- the pace of the city was very slow, almost everyone went to bed at 10:30, and there was not a ton of variety between the three streets we had access to. Bayeux also allowed for a lot of down time in the evenings, which was both good and bad, but as a result, the group became a lot closer and we had a lot of fun just relaxing, talking by the pool, and playing cards. However, after 6 full days, I was excited to get to Paris for a change of scenery.

As we drove into Paris, it was easy for me to see why it is such a popular tourist destination. The buildings were beautiful- intricately carved and tall- and there were tons of historic places to see within each square mile. There were statues and monuments every couple of feet, it seemed, and the city looked very scenic with the Seine running casually through it. The Notre Dame Cathedral was as impressive in person as it looked in pictures, the pop-up book shops on the river’s bank were quaint, and the weather was beautiful. I also enjoyed the variety of food, easy transportation system, and bustling atmosphere that was absent in Bayeux. However, the language barrier was difficult at times, because less people than I expected spoke English.




With a slow start to my free day, I only managed to check a few things off my Paris bucket list. I visited the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, walked around the surrounding courtyard, and that night a group of us went down to see the Eiffel Tower. It was breathtaking. It was both impressive from afar, and from practically underneath it. I didn’t realize just how massive it was, but standing at the base trying to fit the whole thing into one picture quickly put its sheer size into perspective. I had dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower since I was about 10 years old, and it did not disappoint. As the sun set and we all sat in the lawn, talking, laughing, and sipping champagne, we were all in awe as the Eiffel Tower lit up and started glittering.




Although the Eiffel Tower was hard to top, my favorite part of France was visiting the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. I knew of its history before the trip, but after Patrick’s speech, was much more informed and impressed by Sylvia Beech. The bookstore seemed right out of any child’s fantasy, with hundreds of books lining each shelf, crammed every which way to take up as little space as possible, so that more books could fit in every square inch of each bookcase. With a staircase winding around a corner, leading upstairs to more books and ladders propped up against shelves to reach all of the books near the ceiling, the place seemed absolutely magical. I could see right away how the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein and so many others were inspired to create and tell stories.



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