yes, yes it is.
First stop of my Christmas holiday: Paris. My friends Jamie, Christina, and I packed our bags and hopped on an early morning flight to Paris... early as in 6am flight. We survived our miserable Ryanair flight and arrived in Paris with little to no sleep. The first thing I did upon arrival to Paris was walk into a cafe and order a big piece of the most amazing salmon and spinach quiche I have ever eaten.... and at that moment, I knew I would love Paris.
We stayed at the St. Christopher's hostel in Paris, and it was really nice, and by far the best hostel of our trip. After checking into our hostel, we headed straight to the Christmas markets on Champs de Elysees, one of the main shopping streets in Paris. Maybe this is my inner fat kid speaking, but the markets may have been my favorite thing in Paris! We walked through the markets drinking hot wine and stopping to eat delicious food, including the most amazing potato and ham dish I have ever experienced. We loved the markets so much, in fact, that we made it a point to return almost every day of our trip.
Day 2 of our trip was Christmas eve. We took a free walking tour of Paris hosted by Sandeman's New Europe tours, and it was wonderful. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Paris! We walked along the Senne River and saw sights such as Notre Dame, the Lourve, a lover's lock bridge, to name a few. Although we nearly froze to death, I enjoyed getting a little history lesson while seeing more of the city. That night, we went to a holiday dinner at our hostel and then headed out to see more of Paris. Our new friend and hostel roomie, Joe, took us to the Montmarte region to see the Moulin Rouge and the Sacre Coeur. We had a nice little night walking around the area, drinking our vodka and orangina deathmix and freezing our culos off.
Lover's lock bridge. Lovers and friends lock a lock to the bridge and throw the key into the river to symbolize eternal love. We learned that they actually cut the locks at the end of each year. So much for eternal love, right?
The one and only Moulin Rouge.
The Sacre Coeur... beautiful at night!
Day 3, Merry Christmas! Good thing there isn't much to do on Christmas day in Paris, because we spent the first half of our day trying to recover from the night before. Since many restaurants were closed, we made our way back to the Christmas markets, where Jamie and I shared the most incredible mushrooms we have ever had... and a salmon sandwich... and churros. nom nom nom. Feeling satisfied, we headed to the Eiffel Tower! We had to wait in line for quite a while, but it was 100% worth it... the views from the Eiffel Tower were amazing. It's one of those places that feels so familiar because I've grown up seeing it in photos and movies and such, but it's still impressive in real-life. On Christmas night, we went ice skating at this cute little outdoor rink. We had fun showing of our skating skills (Joe is a pro), or lack thereof (cough cough Christina), besides the fact that some asshole skater bros were cutting people off left and right. I ended the night with a phone call home... getting to talk to the fam made my day, even if it was only for a few short minutes.
The next day was our last day with Jamie, so we decided to head to the Louvre museum before saying goodbye. I really wish I could have enjoyed the museum more, but it was just too crowded to really appreciate it. I don't think it's any secret that the Mona Lisa really isn't that impressive in person, and it doesn't help when the room is packed like a concert- I was waiting for people to start crowd surfing at any moment. Nonetheless, it was still cool to see some iconic art pieces, and I got in for free so I didn't feel too gipped. Hopefully I'll get to return on a less crowded day in the future. After the Louvre, we went inside the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral.
see what I mean?
The girls in front of Notre Dame!
On our last full day in Paris, we took a day trip to Versailles to see the Palace of Versailles. I've seen pictures of Versailles in the past and it's beautiful, but we happened to go on the wrong day! It was insanely foggy and cold, and after waiting in line for over an hour, the palaces were jam packed with tourists. We got through the palaces as quickly as we could and then headed to the gardens for maybe 5 minutes before we decided to call it quits. That night, we paid another visit to Montmarte to visit the sex shops. Good, clean fun, I promise! We also went out to dinner in celebration of our last night in Paris. I would recommend never ordering horse meat (I know, that should be a no brainer...), but I did sneak a bite of Christina's beef bourguignon and it was to die for.
mystic gardens at Versailles.
Day 6 of our trip marked our final day in Paris. After checking out of the hostel, Christina, Joe, and I stopped by a famous falafel restaurant before heading off to the airport. I'm glad we spent a full 5 days in Paris- the city is huge and there is so much to do and see! While Paris is gorgeous around Christmas-time, it was a little too crowded for my liking. As a result, I think I enjoyed just walking around the city and eating more than the museums and such.
Au Revoire, Paris! Until next time...
Next on our itinerary: Rome, Florence, and Venice. Full report to come.