Backpack Europe checking in from Paris!
Day 1 – Arrive in Paris
Well our trip began with everyone meeting up in the Charles de Gaulle airport after arriving from across the Atlantic. Once we had collected all of the trip members, we jumped onto our first (of many) metro rides in the Parisian metro system. The main difference between this one and those to follow is that we now had all of our big packs with us. We all quickly began to envy Sydney F, who had the most compact pack of us all.
The nice part about getting on at the first stop of a metro line is that no one is in the metro car already. We were able to sprawl out and keep the packs from getting in the way of the introductions. Right from the get go, we had a very cohesive group, with everyone jumping into conversations about where they’re from and where they’ll be going to school next year (since quite a few are going to be freshmen in the upcoming semester).
After arriving at our hotel and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we took off for the Eiffel Tower. What better way to get introduced to Paris? We quickly made our way to the front of the line (being in a group has its benefits!), and ascended the famous landmark. The view from the top can’t really be described, so I urge everyone to go over to the smugmug site to take a look.
After some time spent gawking at the French architecture in awe, we made our way down to la rue de Commerce for our first official French fare. La Picquoet was our choice, offering delicious smells with enough room to accommodate our group. This was their first chance to try to cross the language barrier and describe to a Parisian what their order was.
From there, we jumped back onto the metro (without our packs; what a treat!) and returned to our hotel. After a long day (really two days for those of us who didn’t sleep on the flight over), we were all happy to have a nice, clean and comfortable bed.
Day 2 – Bike About Tours
After a refreshing sleep to help adjust us to our new time zone, we had a delicious breakfast in the hotel and got ready for a great introduction to Paris: a bike tour through the streets of Paris. We broke up into two smaller groups and began our tour. We each had small-wheeled, folding bikes; perfect for navigating the small streets of Paris and making our way through the many sites and monuments that we would pass along the way. That is, except for one of us. Matt F managed to negotiate his way onto a regular sized mountain bike. How he was able to squeeze between the tourists is still unknown.
Our guides, Marie and Christian were extremely knowledgeable and quickly made us feel like the locals with our new-found extensive knowledge of Paris. After the tour, we played some icebreakers games to make sure that everyone got a chance to hear a little bit about everyone and then we broke up into groups to explore Paris at our own pace.
Some of the most beautiful parts of the city are found on the side streets that no one thinks to go down. We navigated our way over to the restaurant Mythos, an authentic Greek restaurant, complete with Greek owners, a Greek band and a Greek lady who taught us how to dance. Sydney F and Sydney E were amongst the first to try their hand at learning the new dance.
We made it back to the hotel with some time to enjoy a few quick games of Ninja – a famous 360° game. We marveled at the Ninja dedication of Xander, Alex, Andy, Sydney E and resident Ninja enthusiast, Stacie (staff). We now understand the level of practice and dedication that the rest of us are up against.
The Westcoast Blogger