During your time studying abroad, it’s important to take full advantage of your proximity to all that Europe has to offer.
My first weekend trip was to Paris, France. My boyfriend and I are both studying in different parts of Europe. Myself in Belfast and Zach in Turin, Italy. We decided it would be lovely to meet up in Paris “The City of Love” for Valentine’s Day weekend.
(Disclaimer: NEVER bringing a rolling carry on with me ever again. Hand luggage + cobble stones = BAD)
We got to Paris late Friday night to O’Rly Airport just outside of Paris at midnight. It was intimidating getting to a new city so late at night with no idea how to get to our hostel. We decided better safe than sorry and hopped in a taxi.
We stayed in the 18th Arrisodnment in ‘Le Montclair Hostel’ it was quaint and cozy with helpful staff and a great breakfast.
Taking advantage of just one full day of sight seeing we got up at 7:00am for the complimentary breakfast provided by ‘Le Montclair’.
Classic Parisian style breakfast consisting of amazing baguettes, honey, butter, coffee, and OJ.
BlondeBrokeBackpacker tip: Bring zip lock bags with you to wrap up food with you for a quick snack while you’re out and about! You’ll feel extra Parisian eating a baguette while taking in the sights.
Getting up early and beating the crowds is key while in Paris with only one day for everything! Paris is the most visited city in the world so every day of the week millions of people are oohing and awwing at the Eiffel Tower.
We arrived by 8 am to minimal crowds and an opportunity to take in the spectacular structure.
BlondeBrokeBackpacker Tip: Most attractions in Paris are FREE or DISCOUNTED with a student ID. Make sure to have an ISIC (international student ID card) or your European university-issued ID. Which makes seeing museums, monuments and attractions so much sweeter.
Exterior of Notre Dame, Interior of the main Cathedral
Paris is an extremely navigatable city. Plug your destination into Google Maps and you can be there in under 15 minutes.
Notre Dame was amazing! The structure and atmosphere were awe-inspiring. Entrance is FREE but a small donation is suggested. Truly a beautiful site.
Seen outside Notre Dame. A gentleman feeding pigeons.
BlondeBrokeBackpacker: Remember! SELF CARE while traveling! You will be walking roughly 12 miles a day while in Paris seeing all the attractions. You need to keep yourself fueled and comfortable!
When you start to feel ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry) stop and think when is the last time I ate? Take the opportunity to stop at a ‘petite cafe’ for some coffee and French onion soup!
After a quick lunch break we were ready to take on the Louvre!
BlondeBrokeBackpacker: Le Louvre is FREE with a European student ID!
Full of onion soup we were ready to take on our next site.
The Louvre is packed with every style of art you can imagine! It was such a thrill to see in ‘La Jaconde’ or the Mona Lisa in real life!
By the time we finished with the Louvre it was only 2pm. So we after resting our legs and relaxing on a comfortable couch in the Impressionism wing we decided we could do one more attraction.
We quickly googled “top things to do in Paris” and decided to head over to the Catacombs.
BlondeBrokeBackpacker: Keep things flexible! Leave a couple things unplanned and always go with the flow and you’ll never be disappointed.
We took the metro to the Catacombs and after waiting in a freezing 2-hour line we walked an incredible site.
“Moving bones from the cemeteries five stories underground into Paris’ former quarries. Cemeteries began to be emptied in 1786, beginning with Les Innocents. It took the city 12 years to move all the bones—from bodies numbering between 6 and 7 million—into the catacombs. Some of the oldest date back as far as the Merovingian era, more than 1,200 years ago.”
The vault is deeper than the metro and is so deep it exposes tectonic plates. 30 steps to go down and 83 steps back up to street level will bring you to the crypt.
BlondeBrokeBackpacker: The Catacombs are not free but with a student ID you can get in for 13 euros and it is SO worth it.
Until next weekend! Get your boarding passes ready!
-Blonde Broke Backpacker