Where can we begin to describe the incredible experiences we’ve had these past few days? After an exciting meeting at JFK airport in New York City, our group was off to Paris to begin our European adventure!
The most unique part of this backpacking trip is our opportunity to experience new cities like the locals – by navigating our own way around the city. After a great first day of getting to know each other, we enjoyed our first dinner together and celebrated our trip member Rachel’s 16th birthday with a live performance, sparklers, and cake. Afterwards, we sailed away on a sunset cruise along the river, the perfect end to a perfect day.
On our first full day in The City of Lights, we visited the Mona Lisa at the famous Louvre museum. We also made our way up the hill to Sacré-Cœur, a mountain-top basilica in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris. At the bottom of the hill, trip members had the opportunity to ride an antique French carousel. Hannah impressed the crew with her French skills, befriending locals along the way. As we walked through the streets of Paris, listened to street music, smelled the aromas of the bakeries, and felt the warm summer air, our excitement for the rest of our trip continued to grow.
The following day, we were blessed with comfortable, warm weather, perfect for wandering around the city. We started the day with an amazing bike tour along La Seine. After experiencing some famous macarons along the Champs-Elysées for lunch, we made our way to the Latin quarter. We ended the night watching the sun go down at the top of the Eiffel Tower, just in time for golden hour. Robert and Julian, our trip navigators, expertly led us through the Paris metro back to our hotel.
We spent the next day exploring the town of Versailles, getting a glimpse of the royal life. We stumbled upon an outdoor market in the town square where dozens of vendors were selling their locally grown fruits and vegetables. The group sampled fine cheeses and feasted on artisanal baguettes. After lunch at the farmers market, we made our way through the Chateau, and eventually to the sprawling gardens. Our tour guide walked us through the Palace’s rich history, detailing the King’s move from his original residence at Le Louvre, to his new, secluded quarters in Versailles.
We closed our night out with a fantastic evening of Karaoke, blown away by the singing abilities of our trip members!
After a few busy days in Paris, we are looking forward to getting back to nature tomorrow as we move along to Tignes in the French Alps. On our last few days in France, we’re savoring each bite of our croissants and fromage.
Signing off for now,
The Westcoast Blogger