I am, without a doubt, a francophile.
I still remember my first French lesson vividly, proudly announcing “J’ai sept ans!” to my fellow peers as I apparently found it far more exciting to say than a more truthful “J’ai six ans.”
Twelve years on, I am able to read French novels (albeit painstakingly slowly), enjoy French cinema and, of course, converse (somewhat) in the beautiful language.
With this in mind, you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of visiting Paris, if only for a day. Although I had visited before, this was the first time that I felt able to truly immerse myself in French culture.
The transport of choice was a coach and, due to the coach’s lack of buoyancy, a midnight ferry (this sounds far more charming than it really was). After groggily descending the steps of the coach, the group of us made our way towards Cité des Sciences et de l’industrie, a huge museum boasting numerous exhibitions on all things science, as the name suggests. There was an incredibly informative and poignant exhibit displaying alarming facts and statistics concerning climate change. If this exhibit is still showing, be sure to take a look.
I had just enough time to grab a baguette before we headed to the metro, destination Musée D’Orsay. This, for me, was the highlight of the visit. Seeing the work of Monet somewhere other than on my grandparents placemats was certainly surreal. My only complaint would be that I was unable to spend the entire day there; I’m sure I’ll be returning in the near future.
We then strolled by the Seine (this is probably quite romantic if you happen to be a couple and are running on more than 3 hours worth of sleep – neither of those things were true for me) making our way to Notre Dame. Although Quasimodo wasn’t in that day, it was still well worth the visit. The architecture, as well as the detail and colours of the windows, are absolutely breathtaking. Having already had a baguette at this point, I felt it necessary to go full cliché and buy myself a crêpe.
As daylight began to fade, we boarded a boat that proceeded to take us past the many spectacular buildings that line the river Seine. With the sun firmly tucked away below the horizon, the lights of the Tour Eiffel began to sparkle as we glided by.