I mention in a few postings, I was able to go to France in June of 2006 with my French teacher and a few students. We started our adventure in London on my 18th Birthday and spent two days there. We stopped at Stonehenge our our way to Portsmouth, England for our ferry (a mini cruise ship) ride to Caen, France.
It was a 6 hour journey were I caught up on documenting my trip and writing notes to Daniel (we had been dating almost 8 months at that point). I also tried my first sip of wine, it was gross, but don’t worry red wine is now my drink of choice!
Our first day in France was sad, we visited Omaha Beach, where 61 years prior thousands of men died fighting against the Nazis cause. We saw the Normandy American Cemetery, during a chilly and raining morning. To make the day more reflective we visited Pointe du Hoc, where we explored dark trenches that brave men died in. One tench was pitch black, so we used our camera with flash to see the walls stained brown and red. We were very uncomfortable to say the least.
The trip started looking back on the bright side by visiting Mont Saint Michel and celebrating my French teacher, Mrs. Pea’s birthday! We had lunch at Creperie la Sirene our our walk up to the Abbey. Of course we went French classic and had crepes; mine were apple & cinnamon. If you go in the St Michel area and you drive by Biscuitterie De la Baie du Mont St Michel, you must stop! I bought premade crepes that I was going to bring home as a gift, on one of the bus rides, I got hungry. Needless to say they were gone shortly after Paris. They were incredible, I still dream of them!
Before arriving in Paris we visited Chateau de Chenonceau and Chateau Chambord in the Loire Valley. Chambord had a fancy roof and a large spiral staircase, but the inside felt cold, explains why it was a hunting lodge. In the gorgeous gardens of Chenonceau, I felt like I had walked into a fairytale, it definitely my favorite chateau of France!
We drove through Paris to get to our hotel, which was located across the Opera Bastille. Which looking back was a great location to stay at. The first day we had a bus tour, visited the Notre Dame, and only were allowed 2 hours in the Louvre! We were literally running around so we could see the highlights. I was lucky to see the Mona Lisa without an outrageous crowd. I was extremely disappointed in the size of the painting. I’m more interested in how humans made beautiful sculptures thousands of years ago. On our run out we saw three little girls copying a statue, so we made time to do the same! I took time to revisit the statue during my trip in November 2013!
I don’t remember much of Versailles, to name it my favorite, but if you go you must rent a bike to explore the grounds! It was one my favorite highlights of the trip! I will definitely go back to Versailles the next time I’m in France!
After Versailles is when we were able to go to the Eiffel Tower. I recommend you go before sunset, that way you can see the city in all its glory, but also see it as it turns into the City of Lights! Beware the elevator is very old and makes unsettling sounds, it terrified me! We only went up to the second level, which is still very high, you can see a lot of the city from there! I wore Daniel’s shirt to be nostalgic (Risk Productions is how he signed all of his films during high school). The best part was I called my family and Daniel from the Eiffel Tower, I had to rub in my excitement!
The next morning we woke up early to take the TGV to Southern France. Unfortunately, I was so exhausted that as soon as we left the station I closed my eyes and didn’t wake up until the ride was coming to an end. The good news is, TGV ride is incredibly smooth; bad news is, I didn’t get to see any of the country side. Our first stop was in Avion. It was a quaint little town. I then got some exercise by kayaking 2 hours (around 5 kilometers) on the Gardon. It was hard, but beautiful, we went under a Roman aqueduct. Our trip finished in Nice with an afternoon trip to Monaco. What an amazing little country, if only if I could afford to live there!
I recently read my journal from the trip and I had a lot of complaints and missing Daniel way too much. It’s funny how you don’t remember the bad things. I look back often at that trip, all the amazing places I saw, and I only think happy thoughts! I can’t believe how many times I wrote how I missed Daniel. I guess that was the teenager in me thinking life revolved around boys.
“A walk in Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.” ~ Thomas Jefferson