Versailles and Giverny :)

My friend Jenna, who studied abroad in Ireland this semester, flew out to visit me in Paris. After she arrived, we made the most of the day by visiting the Orangerie museum, eating baguette sandwiches in Le Marais, and drinking hot chocolate from Angelina’s. The next day, I had to work, but we were able to meet up for a traditional French dinner at the Chartier and then headed to see the Eiffel Tower at night.

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Saturday, we headed to Versailles! It was a rainy morning, so I thought that there wouldn’t be that many people there. Boy was I wrong. There were probably fewer people than if it had been a sunny day, but there were still crowds of people who, like us, were there to see the palace. After getting through the line and into the palace, we toured the beautiful, extravagant rooms.

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After heading for a quick bite to eat (at Angelia’s once again), we went to explore the gardens. Even in the rain, the gardens and fountains are gorgeous. We wandered through the gardens and stopped for lunch at a little café on the other side before heading to Marie Antoinette’s estate. After touring the two indoor buildings, the weather was improving and we were able to explore the gardens. There we found an adorable, little village where the palace’s gardener used to live.

 

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On our way back, we passed through the gardens again. The sun was out and shinning and the fountains were on. Needless to say, the gardens were 10x better in the afternoon than in the morning. After a long tiring day walking around, we left Versailles and headed back to my apartment for a relaxing movie night.

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Sunday were up really early the next morning to catch a train to Giverny. We arrived in Giverny bright and early–around 9:30 am. We headed straight to Monet’s garden. The gardens are stunning and I highly recommend stoping there! After touring the gardens and Monet’s house, it started to rain so we ducked into a little café to escape the storm.Once the weather cleared up, we set out to explore the town…only to find that there’s not much else to see there. There’s an art museum that we opted not to go into (we, especially Jenna, had already seen a lot of museums that weekend and it’s not free for students). So, we decided to go on a walking tour of the town. We were able to see Monet’s grave and learn more about the town. We soon learned that most of buildings on the tour were bed and breakfasts where famous painters once stayed. During the walking tour, we ran into a group of retired American teacher who were so sweet and nice! Next we headed to lunch—pizza! We lucked out and were still eating when it started storming outside for a few minutes. However, after lunch, it was about 2pm and we had 2 more hours to kill before we needed to take the bus back to the train station and we had already done most of the things to do in Giverny (the town is so small, there isn’t a grocery store there). We explored more of the town and enjoyed our last few hours there before catching the train back to Paris and then getting Jenna to the airport to catch her flight back to Ireland.

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It was so great to see you Jenna! I hope you enjoyed your time in Paris. Hopefully we’ll see each other when I’m home this summer 🙂

Fun in Florence

I took a weekend trip to Florence to visit some friends from Elon!

I arrived late Friday night, checked into my hotel, and went to meet up in with my friends for a quick tour of the city. We were meeting at the Duomo (a huge cathedral in the middle of the city). It was only a short walk from my hotel and the receptionist said that it’s impossible to miss it because it’s the tallest building in the city. But, it was dark and I’m not the best with directions so I ended up wandering around for a good while before finally stumbling upon the Duomo. It was wonderful to see my friends and so helpful to get a tour of the city to help me get my bearing my first night there.

The next morning, I wandered around Florence taking photos of all of the sights I saw the night before. Then I went with my friends to see the David in the Accademia and ate at Gusta Pizza for lunch. After lunch we got stopped to eat gelato (mandatory in Italy) and then trekked up to the Piazzale Michelangelo to get an amazing view of Florence! We continued on to the see the historical San Miniato al Monte church and were treated to another breathtaking view of the city. That evening, we went to an aperitivo for dinner–with the purchase of a cocktail, you get to eat an all you can eat buffet. It was delicious and so much fun!

Sunday morning, I climbed the belltower of the Duomo. The 414 step climb was definitely worth it when I got to the top and saw more gorgeous views of the city! My ticket to the belltower also included entrance to the Duomo museum. Most of the museum was under construction, but it was still cool to learn more about the history of the church. That afternoon meet up with one of my friends and we wandered around a market before grabbing lunch. Our next stop was the palazzo pitti palace museum. The museum is filled with old books and letters, gorgeous ornate rooms filled with paintings, as well as some more recent artwork. The palace is enormous and all of the artwork is gorgeous, I walked up at least 150 more steps there…I was definitely sore the next day. I got more gelato that afternoon (while in Italy…eat gelato) and enjoyed walking around the city and seeing more sites before I had to head to the airport for my flight.

Thanks to my friends for showing me around Florence 🙂 I had so much fun catching up with y’all and absolutely loved my time there!

Check out some photos from my trip below!

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Travels!

My mom visited France in March! She came for 10 days with one of our neighbors, Mrs. Karen. It was so great to see them and show them around Paris!

The first weekend there were here, we took a day trip to Lille. I loved exploring more of France and Lille was a perfect city to do it in. It’s an adorable French town an hour train ride north of Paris and we definitely enjoyed touring town and the French cuisine. On both train rides, we sat near the same family who have an adorable little boy, which made for fun train rides 🙂

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Sunday, after my handbell group played, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower! It was my first time going up the tower and the view is absolutely spectacular! Somehow our timing was perfect and we saw a rainbow over Paris from the top of the tower 🙂

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That week I had to work, but met my mom and Mrs. Karen each morning for a breakfast of pastries and then again for dinner while they explored Paris during the day. Then it was off to southern France for a weekend in Bordeaux! This was my first time in the southern France and was definitely worth the trip. Bordeaux is full of so much history–you can see ruins of an ancient Roman city. Needless to say, we had a blast learning more about the city. Sunday was filled with shopping, wine tasting, and some more sight seeing before catching our train back to Paris.

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The end of our trip in Bordeaux also marked the end of my mom’s time in France. She and Mrs. Karen headed to the airport later that night for their Monday morning flight back to the States. I had such a great time with them and am so glad they could make the trip to France to spend some time with me!

Just a 2 weeks later, I found myself in southern France again. This time, I was visiting a friend from Elon in Montpellier. We started off the day walking through a market that’s held under roman aqueducts. After that we wandered around downtown to grab a bite to eat before heading to the zoo–my first zoo in France! The zoo was a lot bigger than either of us thought, but it was still so much fun!

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After walking around all afternoon, we headed back into town for some much needed ice cream.  A few lazy hours later, we headed out for dinner. We ended up eating at a pirate restaurant (because why not) where we at next to this guy (sorry photo’s blurry!). And then went to see a movie before calling it a night. At the end of the day I was exhausted, but loving Montpellier!

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Sunday was devoted to the beach. It takes a little bit of time to get there, but is so worth the short trip. The water was absolutely freezing, but being the beach bum that I am, I loved spending the day on the beach and it was the perfect way to spend my last day in Montpellier.

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