"Paris is known as the 'City of Lights'... a city of culture... of fine dining and magnificent architecture. Paris is a city for lovers: lovers of art, lovers of history, lovers of food, and lovers of... love." - Paris, je t'aime
The beginning of my Europe trip started off in London, which you can read about here. On our last morning there, we met up with our Contiki tour group for the first time, got on the Contiki coach and after three nights, said goodbye to England. I really regret not posting the Paris leg of my travels in chronological order now, but never mind! I had to save the best for last.
Upon leaving London, we boarded the ferry to Paris and it was so strange watching cars drive onto it. Nick, our coach driver, drove us onto the ferry too and I don't know why, but it was so amusing to me. We got off the coach and on the ferry, we indulged in a big, hearty English breakfast, which I didn't finish as I felt a little seasick. I remember getting off the coach and as a little French boy saw my best friend's travel pillow printed with the Australian flag, he exclaimed, "Australie!" So cute!
When we arrived in Paris, we made our way to the hotel and after settling in, had dinner with the strangers who'd later become our friends. We then got back onto the coach where Kellie, our Tour Manager, gave us a tour of the beautiful city all from the comfort of the Contiki coach. As we drove closer into the heart of the city, I looked out the window and to my amazement, saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I thought I'd cry the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower, but I didn't. I think because it didn't seem real. I look back on my travels to Paris and sometimes I still can't believe I was there. In Paris. That place I'd dreamed of going to since I was fifteen really was as beautiful and perfect as I had imagined. It really does exist. To the people who said I'd hate it, not to get my hopes up, that it smells and the French are rude, you were all wrong.
I got my first glimpse of the Champs-Élysées, The Louvre and Arc de Triomphe - all perfectly magnificent. Coming from a country that's relatively new, it's so fascinating to learn about a city that's so rich in history and culture. I was in awe of the incredible sculptures and those limestone buildings with blue/grey roofs that can make it so hard to find your way around if you're a first time traveller, as everything looks the same.
As the sun started to set, we got in line to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, though we didn't have to wait long. Thank God for tours! I don't even know how to describe the view. I'll let my photos do the talking.
That night, we were chatted up by Frenchmen, watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle, saw gypsies for first time and experienced the Paris metro.
I was home.