My mates and I woke up extra early to head to the Dublin Airport. Our flight wasn’t cancelled, but delayed. And then it was delayed longer. We learned of yet another opportunity cost to the dirt-cheap airline (Ryanair) we flew with… they don’t pay anyone at the information desk. This meant that nobody could answer any of the questions we had, including, “What the heck is going on here?” By some miracle, our flight was finally boarding. We arrived safely in Paris about six hours after we planned to, but we arrived.
The next morning, we were getting ready to leave our hostel when we were alerted with news of the attacks in Brussels, Belgium. We were devastated to hear of the attacks, and worried about our classmates who might be there. We actually had arrangements to fly to Brussels in the next two weeks, so we felt lucky to be safe.
We only had one day to see Paris, so we paid 7 euros each for an all-day ticket on the metro. This was a much-needed bargain after the 170 euro taxi ride from the airport to our hostel the night before. Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower. Around the tower, there were tons of people trying to get money from us one way or another. For example, I took a picture of some random bunnies sitting on a rubbish bin and a guy yelled at me to pay him! There was also a lady collecting donations for an organization that was definitely not real. We told her we didn’t have any money to donate and she continued to hassle us, saying, “Come on, any spare change…” We fast-walked away from her and decided that we no longer understood English. There were also LOADS of people trying to sell selfie sticks. Apparently they were at a “Special price, just for you!” We tried not to let these people distract us too much because the Eiffel Tower was an incredible sight to see.
We walked around some more and stumbled upon the “Love Lock” bridge. This is the bridge where lovers write on locks, attach them to the bridge, and throw the key in the river. Last year, it was speculated that the locks would be removed from the bridge because the weight of the locks was damaging the structure of the bridge. We could see areas where it looked like locks had been removed, but most of the bridge was still covered with them. Apparently some people think this tradition is tacky but I thought it was charming. We didn’t add our own locks to the bridge because, 1. We didn’t have locks, 2. The locks for sale near the bridge were 5 euros, and 3. It’s actually illegal and nobody was trying to get deported.
From there, we went to the Louvre, the museum where the Mona Lisa is displayed. We didn’t get to go inside and see the painting because we were there on a Tuesday, the only day the museum is closed. However, the whole Louvre Palace was beautiful and definitely worth seeing. We saw the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, and lots of macaroon shops. Once it got dark outside, we went back to the Eiffel Tower because it lights up at night and looks even more beautiful. On this night, it was lit up as the colors of the Belgium flag to honor the tragedy that took place in Belgium that day. It was inspiring to see France’s support for another country in the European Union.
We went back to our hostel shortly after nightfall because it was really cold and we were exhausted from walking over 12 miles that day. We went right to bed because we had an early flight the next morning. Up next: Adventures in Spain!
Au Revoir x