October 18-20, 2015
It’s an extremely humbling experience to be on an expensive trip and pass by Syrian refugees. This was my first experience in Paris, France. Although it shouldn’t have to be, it’s a good reminder, that I am an extremely privileged person living in Canada. I’m a very lucky girl and I have my parents to thank for that.
One of the coolest but shortest experiences we had on the trip was passing by Vimy Ridge. I would’ve liked to have visited the actual monument but even catching a glimpse of it from the highway was surreal.
On a lighter note – we arrived in Paris and immediately headed for our welcome dinner and visit to the Arc de Triomphe. The last time I was in Paris I definitely didn’t appreciate the city as much as I should of. We were given hours to spend on the Champs-Élysées and we spent most of it shopping. That’s partly why I was so excited to go back to Europe. It was kind of a do-over for me to experience the city as an adult (well, young adult).
I swear the restaurant we went to thought we weren’t going to eat for days. Each of us were LITERALLY given French Onion Soup (side note: is it just called onion soup in France…?), half a chicken with veggies, mashed potatoes, and probably THE BEST CREME BRULEE I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. Paris is also known for it’s famous wine, mmmmmm.
Our tour director, Brendon, was absolutely spectacular. I could go on for days about how great he is and how he always went out of his way to give us the best experience. For example, making sure we have a chance to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night. It only happens in the first 5 minutes of every hour.
Travelling with Trafalgar is probably the best way to see every major tourist attraction if you can afford it. We were only in Paris for a day and we got to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Basilica, The Louvre and Moulin Rouge.
What we learned from Brendon was that in Europe, time means nothing. The Eiffel Tower was supposed to open at 9:30am, it did not. However, being in a group tour meant we were given the chance to skip the line and be the first group up the tower (except this time I wasn’t going to wear a tutu… things have changed a lot since the last time I was in Paris).
It’s pretty crazy to think that I was just in Paris. That we just experienced all of the beauty of the city and missed the terrible terrorist attacks. Hearing about the attacks was scary for that reason, and the fact that The Eagles of Death Metal show is a type of concert I typically attend.
Given recent events I was given the honour of representing Roots Canada on Instagram to pay respects to the attacks. A bittersweet moment but I was incredibly honoured to have been chosen.
Notre-Dame was just as pretty as it was last time – except this time, without rain. The line to get in however was ridiculous. Luckily we got there early enough to avoid a major line-up (more Trafalgar secrets wooo!). I tried to find the same crepe place Alex, Alex, Jenn and I escaped the rain to but we were short on time so we settled for 1 of 16 crepe restaurants.
Brendon once again went out of his way to organize Louvre tickets ahead of time so that we had minimal waiting time. As long as the line was, and as small as the Mona Lisa is, my parents needed to see the famous Da Vinci painting. It took me a while but I finally made it to the front of the crowd.
One of the things I liked to do was look at the crowds of people look at paintings like the Mona Lisa. In the past year I’ve tried to stop the attempt to capture the perfect moment and instead, to try and stop to enjoy the view. The last time we were at the Louvre I think we spent more time trying to mimic statues and less time looking at paintings – oh high school.
Just in case you’re wondering the Moulin Rouge is nothing like the movie. There’s a lot more boobs and a lot less room to move around. At one point – I kid you not – the stage opened up and turned into a water pit, and then one of the half naked girls jumped into the tank of water and swam with boa constrictors. The French are interesting.
The theatre is packed with around 1,000 people and 2 exits. My mom and I had discussed what would happen if there was a fire in that building, such a scary thought. It’s even scarier to think what would’ve happened if the attacks happened there.
Along with a theatre ticket came a 3-course meal and lots of alcohol. Being the only one to drink red wine at my table, I was given my own personal tiny bottle which I gladly finished. Because of bronchitis I didn’t get to fully experience French wine last time and I was more than happy to make up for it.
You’re not allowed to take photos in the venue so excuse the poor quality ones that I managed to capture.
The Moulin Rouge puts on 2 shows twice a day, 7 times a week and they always sell out. Given those statistics and the opportunity to go my mom and I were definitely not going to pass up the chance… shows aren’t really my dad’s thing.
I think this was the second earliest day we had to wake up the entire trip. We were to travel from Paris to Switzerland by bus and I’m so grateful I can pass out in a moving vehicle. My bus buddy, Leanne, can attest to that. As soon as we leaned back in our seats we were out cold – something about the air pressure I guess.
We stopped at a French bus/truck stop where I proceeded to eat the biggest lasagna I’ve ever had in my entire life.