I was fortunate enough to start my international travel endeavors early than most in life; as a seventeen year old that had just graduated high school, I was privileged enough to go abroad to Paris, France with some of my close friends, teachers, and my mom through EF Tours. Although it was only for a week, my trip to Paris was one that shaped my college experience and aspirations, making me crave international travel and the prospect of learning about different languages and cultures so exciting. The only thing I regret about Paris is what most do: there simply isn’t enough time to cover everything it has to see, offer, or experience.
The typical landmarks, The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, l’Opera de Palais, the Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame, the Luxembourg Gardens, and the Eiffel Tower were all covered in my weeklong trip. We were able to go with a large group of students from all over the United States through EF Tours, so there were a large number of us getting to know each other and explore the city. I am a self-proclaimed history and art buff, j’adore les musees, so seeing the city itself with its extensive history from the books and movies was surreal to say the least.
Seeing only the basic French icons wasn’t enough for me though. I want to go back. For weeks. Months. Maybe a year. Backpacking across Europe perhaps? It’s just a thought. But with this thought I have done some significant background research, and if I could spend another week in Paris, I would make it count. I’m not saying I would go wild, throwing all cares out the window. I still want to see the grand views, but not the ones that are the first that are thought of when one thinks of Paris. If I could go back, here are the places I would like to see that I missed out on before.
One, I would like to visit the catacombs. Yes, skeletons and bones are creepy, however this holds significant history and represents a darker time in Europe’s history. It shows how far today’s civilization has come with respects to health and vaccines. The catacombs are made up of 6 million people, known as “The World’s Largest Cemetery.”
I attempted this when I was in Paris, but ran out of time: I want to climb the stairs to the top of Notre Dame. Growing up watching so many Disney movies (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) seeing the Notre Dame Bell Tower is obviously one of my top priorities when I go back.
Pantheon de Paris.Yet again with the creepy burial sites, this is known to be the crypt to some of France’s most known contributors to science and literature: Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Marat, Emile Zola, Jean Moulin, Soufflot, Louis Braille, and Marie Curie. The Pantheon was originally built as a church. Under Louis XV there were discrepancies in construction, mainly because of different styles and financial problems, so the Pantheon has its own unique style and architecture to it.
A couple others that are on my list are Saint Chapelle and La Conciergerie. Just like anyone else, I’d love the chance to “see it all,” in France, the beautiful French country sides, the vineyards, small, quaint towns, ride a bike down an empty, forgotten road and explore. However, until the day I am able to embark on all of these adventures abroad, I just have to continue to plan and research for my next week to Paris.