A part of my trip was to go to Normandy. We went to Omaha and Utah beaches. This is where the Americans landed during WWII. It was weird to think that on those same exact beaches I was standing on, young soldiers, most of them my age and younger, were fighting for their lives and for their country. Imagining the fear that these soldiers felt as they approached the shores of France, not knowing what would happen. Now, houses line the beaches with roads connecting to towns and the pic. The area has changed so much since that war.
Paris is one of my favorite cities that I have been to. The architecture, the colors, the sidewalk cafes all combine to make it one of the most romantic cities in the world.
*Side Note* On the way to France, we had a connecting light in Chicago and I saw Air Force One as the plane was going toward the terminal. Pretty cool.
When we first arrived in Paris, we had about half a day before we met up with our tour group. We decided to eat lunch and make a trip to the Louvre since it wasn’t a stop on our tour. The museum is HUGE and the map is kind of confusing, but we were able to navigate ourselves to the pieces the guide books recommend to see. These would be things like the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, etc. The Mona Lisa was definitely the most popular piece of art in the museum, with a huge crowd around the painting. It’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but it was cool to finally be able to see this painting that I’ve always seen in books and on TV.
After the Louvre, we had a difficult time finding a cab back to the hotel. It took us about 40 minutes to get a cab and the driver was not very nice to us (probably the only rude French person we came across).
Later that night we took a tour ride down the Seine River. It wasn’t what I thought it would be because since it was a “night on the Seine.” I thought we would be able to see the city lights, but it was still bright as could be at 8pm and hot.
A few days later we returned to Paris and we had an entire day to ourselves. My family and I were out walking around Paris for about 14 hours. I’ve never been out for that long walking around. It was super tiring, but we had a day to visit everything we wanted to visit in Paris. The downside of a tour. We visited Notre Dame, San Chapelle and its amazing stain glass windows, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musee de Orsay, with eating and walking in between. My favorite place would probably be the Musee de Orsay, beautiful museum with different kinds of works.
Those were a few of the places I went to in the two days I was in Paris. I hope to be able to return and be able to spend more time strolling around the city rather than rushing through every place.
As school was finishing up for the summer, between studying for finals, saying my goodbyes to the seniors, and going to my brother’s graduation, I found myself scrambling to pack for my France trip. This trip was my brother’s graduation present and time for us to spend time as a family. Because my brother is going to college in a month and a half, my parents are left at home by themselves for most of the year.
I’m lucky to be able to have parents that like to travel, even if they aren’t super adventurous. Adventurous as in, exploring a foreign country on our own. My parents like going with tour groups because they don’t have to worry about travel accommodations, tickets to certain attractions, and hotel reservations. I’ll admit that that part is nice, just being able to wake up in the morning, hoping on and off the bus to see things. The downsides to a tour group are the early mornings, constant moving, and the lack of time in places you want to stay in. The tour group we went with, Gate 1, is better suited for my liking because they give a lot of time to explore on your own rather than having to stay with the tour group to explore places and to find your own restaurants to eat at. If you happen to be looking for a tour group, I would recommend Gate 1.
The Itinerary (the cities):
Paris, Tours, Bayeux, Avignon, Nice
Coming up, the abridged version of my trip with some pictures.