Visiting Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower are both items that have always been on my travel bucket list. I actually was in Paris momentarily before this trip, but wasn’t able to do anything meaningful. When I studied abroad, I traveled to Germany with a few friends I had made during my time in Leeds. We were all really excited about it because we had found such a great deal on plane tickets – only 40 euro!
Well, our very inexpensive trip was about to become very pricey. A few of you may remember five years ago when the Icelandic volcano erupted and, due to the volcanic ash in the atmosphere, effectively grounded all flights. In order to get back to Leeds, we had to take a series of trains and a ferry – one of those trains went to Paris where we would essentially just have time to spend the night in a hostel before leaving again in the morning for another train. So that is precisely what we did.
This time around I am so glad that I got spend more time in Paris and see everything that I have wanted to see for years.
Tanya and Brock really wanted to see the Mona Lisa, and I really wanted to see The Law Code of Hammurabi. Those were the only two MUST see items that we had. We had heard previously that it was best to know exactly what you want to see in the Louvre – otherwise, you could spend days in the place. It was solid advice. The place is huge, beautiful, and overwhelming. There are so many different wings, so many things to see, and so many crowds of people to navigate through.
We saw many other things on our way to find our two must-sees. Still, even with only having two, we still spent 2 hours inside the Louvre. Some of that was because it took us forever to find Hammurabi’s code.
It was important to me due to the fact that it was the very first instance of written law. The code is also quite famous. You know the whole “eye for an eye” thing? Yup, that’s Hammurabi!
I had heard that the Mona Lisa was incredibly underwhelming from many different people. I think that, in this instance, this actually helped me to appreciate it more than I maybe would have without these warnings. For one, it wasn’t as small as people had made it out to be. Yes, it was covered with what appeared to be bulletproof glass and there may have been about a bajillion people in front of it all cajoling for the best photo, but I still found it beautiful and an ultimately cool experience to see what is arguably the most famous painting in the world. This photo isn't the best representation. I feel like it was much more beautiful in person.
We also saw Winged Victory. This is from Ancient Greece - so basically incredibly old. It was created to honor the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
We decided to walk from the Louvre to Notre Dame, and I am so glad that we did. We got see so much more of the city this way and, in my case, got a lot of much needed exercise.
We happened upon the Pont des Art bridge, freshly relieved of most of its locks and looking rather… pink?
A few locks that weren't on the bridge and therefore didn't have to be removed.
Notre Dame was so beautiful. We spent a lot of time here resting and taking photos, all in an effort to take it all in.
We left Notre Dame, had a quick bite to eat at a rather delicious Parisian café and then made our way to the Eiffel Tower.
A few more sights that we spotted on our walk through Paris:
Again, it was quite a walk, but we were up for it. I have to say that, for me, the Eiffel Tower made all of Paris worth visiting. I understand why there is so much fanfare. It’s such an impressive design and just so incredible to see in person. It was actually first created just as an arch for the World Fair held in Paris. Over the years, it’s been developed and built on to become one of the most famous man-made landmarks.
The Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower at Night
I only wish my night time photos could do it justice. The whole tower actually sparkles vibrantly every hour on the hour. Such an amazing sight!
The Arc de Triomphe
We also saw the Arc de Triomphe. I can only imagine how many car accidents this place sees. I have no idea how anyone drives in this city. While this arch is considered the center of the city and has been featured in countless movies, there are no distinct lines. Cars were merging in and out with no lines to guide anyone, and it was crazy to watch.
The three of us shared the most delicious crème brulee I have ever had to wrap up our first night in Paris.
I will be sharing more about the Palace of Versailles in a future post, as this one has become rather lengthy. I cannot wait to share those photos!