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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Bonjour de Paris! – Backpack Europe

Bonjour family and friends,

The group has been in Paris for only three days but it feels as through we have been friends for far longer. On the first day at Charles De Gaulle Airport, Jeremy helped to break the ice with his quick witt and sense of humor, sharing riddles with the group. Zach was happy to share his tunes with us and introduced a lot of us to one of his favorite rappers, Wiz Khalifa.
The first day of the trip coincided with Canada Day and Sam, our Canadian Trip Member, definitely did her country justice, winning our “Canada Day Challenge” and sharing her prizes of Canadian themed stickers and temporary tattoos.  The celebrations on July 1st continued into the evening in the artist colony of Montmartre, as our group celebrated Alec’s belated birthday (which occured a day before the trip started) with an authentic French dessert, profiterol.
The next morning, our group set out on fixed gear bikes for an information-packed bike tour of Paris. We travelled like true Parisians and passed through several arrondissements (districts in Paris), admiring both well known and some obscure sights: a stray cannonball from the Revolution, one of the most expensive restaurants on earth, various works of art from the most famous (yet anonymous) French graffiti artist, WWII memorials (and some great stories). Emma really enjoyed our gelato snack in the Latin Quarter and Josh had a blast using Paris’s well engineered bike lanes. Bennett even surprised himself with his ability to ride a bike after not riding one for a while.
The fun continued into the afternoon as the group discovered the quintessential sight of Paris – the Eiffel Tower! Jenny, who enjoys heights, loved the view from the top and Shayna used her awesome photography skills to show us how to capure the best angles of the Eiffel Tower. Back on ground level, Jeremy brought out his disc and we enjoyed some frisbee time on the grassy base of the Eiffel tower, with million dollar views in the background.
Today we hopped onto the Metro and set our sights on the Chateau de Versailles. Honorable mention goes out to Sunny, for her amazing sense of direction and ability to help navigate Paris’s vast metro system. Prior to exploring the Chateau, trip members explored the local market of the town of Versaille. We sampled crêpes and Remi and Aidan got their new favorite, Nutella and French vanilla flavored crepes. Alex shared some historical background information about Versaille, specifically the year the Treaty of Versaille was signed, 1919. The sights and gardens of the Chateau were very ornate and Mara commented on her new appreciation and admiration for achitecture. Of course, to finish off a fantastic day we headed over to Bercy village and sampled some of the finest local cuisine.
We are off to a great start and hope that you are enjoying your summer too.
All the best,

The Westcoast Blogger