Day 2: Paris

Trip Start May 20, 2013
Trip End Jun 08, 2013

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, May 23, 2013

Today I woke up at 7:30, had breakfast at 8:30, and then we left at 9 to be dropped off in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe. The first thing I wanted to do was walk to the Eiffel Tower. Serena, DJ, and Andrew had the same plan, so we walked together. It only took about half an hour to get there. I didn't go up in the tower or anything because I had already done that before.

I really wanted to see Notre Dame, but I thought it was too far away to walk. Serena, DJ, and Andrew convinced me that it wasn't as far as it seemed, so I walked there with them. It actually didn't take too long. We walked down by the Seine and got lots of nice views. We survived walking through a tunnel where Andrew was convinced he saw someone lurking. They went to do the Conciergerie or something I think, but I wasn't interested, so we split up and I went to see Notre Dame. I didn't go inside, but I happened to catch the bells ringing, so I was happy. I shopped around in the souvenir shops near Notre Dame and got a t-shirt and two little Eiffel Towers.

Next, I walked back toward the Louvre and got some pictures outside. Then I walked through the Toulleries and made my way toward our meeting point at the Place de la Concorde. I was still early for our 4:00 meeting time, so I made my way back toward the Eiffel Tower because I figured I could never get too many pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It kept raining off and on, and I was (stupidly) wearing a short-sleeved shirt, so I spent a while huddled up next to a building waiting for it to stop. Luckily the sun came back toward the end.

Once we got back to the hotel, we had a little bit of time and then we went back into town for the optional dinner (€34.50) at Catherine's up near Sacré Cœur. We had to walk up about a billion steps to get there, and I literally thought I wasn't going to make it to the top. The view from the top was amazing, though.

At dinner, we got a basket full of baguette slices while we waited, and that alone would have been good enough for me. I started with the French onion soup (you know, since I was actually in France). It was really good but also really cheesy and none of us knew how to eat it properly without using our hands. My main was some kind of beef, which was okay but not amazing. Maybe I should have tried the duck à l'orange like Thomas did, because he said it was good. The dessert was the best part, though. It was some kind of chocolate cake with a custardy sort of sauce that I kept smearing it in. I ate it in about two seconds because it was amazing. Each table had a bottle of wine, too. I was sitting with Leslie and Thomas who aren't huge wine drinkers, and I don't drink at all, so we were able to give most of ours away to the people who wanted it.

After dinner, some people had signed up to do the optional cabaret show (€80) while pretty much everyone else went out drinking. I was the only one who wanted to go back to the hotel after dinner, so I got to share a cab back with Ricardo. I was really glad he was there because there was a detour and the driver didn't really know where he was going, so Ricardo was able to explain where to go. I was happily in bed by about 10:30.

Then, at about two in the morning, I heard loud knocking on the door and someone screaming my name. I opened the door to find about half of my Contiki group standing there with Andrew and DJ (Serena's brothers) carrying Serena. It was her birthday, and apparently all the free drinks had gotten to her. I especially liked how after seeing me answer the door in my pajamas with no glasses on in a dark room at two in the morning, Andrew actually said "Oh, were you asleep?" Such a smart kid, haha. I'm glad I got those threeish hours of sleep before this little incident at least, so I didn't actually end up missing out on too much sleep.

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