Wandering off the Island: Paris

Kaitlyn Gervais University of Limerick, Ireland


December 9, 2014

Off on my second adventure with WSA and it was a blast! My friend Lacye and I got on an early morning flight on a Friday and flew to Paris. Even though our trip was just a brief two days we sure did everything we could to see the sights. But in all honesty, I’m going to have to come back, there’s just way too much I still haven’t seen of Paris. Here’s what I can say about it now:

  • In terms of food I did not eat a lot of French cuisine. I had crepes, which in any shape or topping they were delicious. They had Creperies everywhere and for a reasonable price you can stuff your face with as many delicious crepes as your heart desires. I also tried the escargot. Now I have always been a picky eater, didn’t like to try anything and snails? At 10 years old, I would have said forget it, I’m going home to eat my mac and cheese. However, I have done some growing up and am more willing to try the delicacies of other cultures. My verdict? I didn’t like it. The taste overall was fine but then it came to actually bite down on the escargot and that’s when I lost it. The texture ruined it for me and my guide gave me a napkin thinking I needed to throw up. But I finished it like a champ, horrid facial expressions aside. However, if you are going to France, you still need to try it yourself and gather your own opinion. You either love it or hate it.
  • In terms of transportation the metro is crazy but it’s your only option aside from walking. The metro system is so complex but if you are able to figure it out, you will feel like a genius. Why yes, I can tell you how many and which metro lines you will need to take to go across the street, thank you!
  • In terms of scenery there’s a lot so I will break it down. Arc de Triomphe was gorgeous but the part of town it’s in is full of richy rich people. However, you can have a nice meal at McDonalds and get that Royale with Cheese, looking down on all the upper class. Fools do not understand the importance of that Royale with Cheese
  • The Louvre is huge. Do not think you can see all of it in one day. You may be lucky if you see it all in a fortnight! If you are short on time, go see the gems of the Louvre like the Venus di Milo and Mona Lisa. If you have a day, you can see a nice portion of the Louvre but it may be better to just go to Musee d’Orsay for your fill of art.
  • Notre Dame is gorgeous! Make sure you get your Disney on and belt out some of the soundtrack from Hunchback of Notre Dame. Don’t care if people are staring at you like you are some crazy American. You know you are, and you know you are dying to sing to the Notre Dame you saw in the movies of your childhood.
  • For all the film fanatics! Moulin Rouge: beware it is in the red light district. Prepare to see many things. Then head straight up to Montmartre which will fulfill your love of Amelie where you can re-enact the scene taken place at the Sacre Coeur! It will brighten your day. Then later, when you are watching these movies, you can tell yourself quietly that you were there. You get it.
  • I know at this point you are dying to ask: Kaitlyn are you ever going to bring up the Eiffel Tower? If you would be patient I will tell you now. It was one of the best things I have seen on my trip hands down and I ooh and ahh every time I see it, especially lit up at night. The majority of my pictures were of the Eiffel Tower. When I went, our group got their close to when the sun was going down. Our guide led us from the metro on this trail that wouldn’t let us see the tower until we walked around the corner of some block, like a little surprise! When we got closer, Lacye and I saw a couple get engaged which was really sweet. We also saw military men with HUGE guns walking around, so not so sweet. Our guide got our tickets and we were off to go up the Eiffel Tower. By up, I mean we took the stairs, not the elevator. THE STAIRS! Do you realize how big the Eiffel Tower is? Then can you picture the amount of stairs you need to climb in order to get up to even the first level? I’m not entirely out of shape but that climb up had me breathing hard. My friend and I joked that we were getting a nice workout for our gluts! On our journey up to the second level, lights started flashing which scared me at first. But then I realized I was climbing the Eiffel Tower during one of their famous light displays! How cool is that? Though it was nicer to see the light display when off the tower too. I highly recommend visiting it at night, although going down when the Eiffel tower closes is a bit of a challenge. You never realize how many people are on the Eiffel Tower until you try to use one elevator.

There were plenty of things I did not get a chance to see, like the catacombs, the celebrity filled graveyard, the Parisian pantheon, more creperies and so on. So my advice is utilize the time you are given and see as much of it as possible. It also wouldn’t hurt to tag along with someone who speaks some French if you don’t already as many locals did not know English. Paris is a beautiful city and probably one of my favorite cities outside of Ireland!


Ireland Travel